Dutch Oven Bread

Last Sunday, for Mother's Day, my mom came out for a visit.  We went to see Carole King and James Taylor and had a lot of fun.  She also brought me presents and cleaned my apartment.  I think she might have the holiday backwards.

My presents were a cast iron skillet and dutch oven. Of course I needed to bake something in my new present as soon as possible.  After perusing the internets for a while, I came across this interesting recipe, with a secret ingredient (which isn't going to be secret for much longer as I am going to tell you).

And the secret ingredient is . . . beer!  The recipe has actually very few other ingredients.  And it looked like suspiciously little effort for a bread recipe.

First mix the ingredients together.

Let them rise.  No kneading required.  What!?!  Okay, I'll admit, I kneaded a little.  I can't help it; I was making bread.  There are somethings that are just not done!

The dutch oven is the key here.  Do you have a dutch oven?  No?  Why ever not?  Okay, I know you don't have an amazing mother who brings you one for mother's day, but really.  You should go get one.  Like now.  I'll wait.  Why am I being so insistent?  Because the crust on this bread is so fabulous I don't want you to go another day without trying it.  The dutch oven keeps both heat and moisture in, so the crust gets crispy and the bread stays moist.  I almost cried tears of joy at this crust.   
Fabulous!  The bread was very tasty, despite it's simplicity, dense and moist with that great crust.

It would be great as sandwich bread or with a hearty soup.

But in my opinion, the best way to eat this (or really any bread) is as cinnamon toast.


Dutch Oven Bread

3 cups  bread flour
2 tsps yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup beer
1 tbsp white vinegar

1. Mix all ingredients together, about 5 minutes by hand (3 in a mixer).  The dough should be sticky but still form a ball, so add more flour or beer as necessary.  
2.Cover and let rise for 2 hours in a warm spot.
3. Shape into a flattened ball and place on parchment paper in a pie plate.  Cover and let rise another hour or so.
4. 40 minutes before the dough is done rising, place the dutch oven in a 425 degree oven.
5. Once the dutch oven is preheated, carefully remove from the oven and transfer dough (parchment and all) into dutch oven.
6. Replace in oven, cover and cook for 25-30 minutes.
7. Remove the lid and cook an additional 15 minutes to brown the outer crust.
8. Remove bread from dutch oven to cool.
From Patrick Lynch 

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