This recipe is adapted from the New York Times Dutch Oven Bread that swept the nation a few years ago. The recipe's creator was actually Jim Lahey, owner of Sullivan Street Bakery**
A few years ago a friend passed along a recipe to me that totally changed how I viewed making bread. It was the recipe for bread in the Dutch Oven that the New York Times published from Sullivan Street Bakery.
I used to look at making bread as a chore that required time and patience...with three young kids, both of those items are often in short supply. This bread requires neither, but it also requires both. The neither comes from the fact that you do not need to babysit this bread and need it and take care of it. The both comes from the fact that it takes about 12 hours from start to finish.
I often serve this bread at dinner parties and people always make a huge fuss over the fact that I made fresh, crusty bread. I like to share my secret with them so that their friends can make a fuss when they make it too :)
It is best served with my recipe for honey butter that I have included below.
In the original recipe they use instant yeast, but I am old-fashioned and really like to see my yeast growing before I add it to my flour mixture.
New York Times Dutch Oven Bread--My Way
1/4 teaspoon of active dry yeast
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt
Additional flour for shaping
Dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup of water that is 105-110 degrees for 5 minutes.
In a large bowl mix flour and salt.
When the yeast is ready add it to the flour mixture.
Add an additonal 1 1/2 cups of warm water to the flour and stir well.
It will be really messy looking...that is okay.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
When the oven is ready, put your dutch oven with the lid on it in it to preheat the pot. While the pot is preheating release the dough from the bowl onto a lightly floured cutting board (I flour my hands too because this dough is really sticky) and shape it into a round circle, tucking all seams. The dough will be very wet and will not take shape well, this is normal. Do not add more than a dusting of flour. Cover the dough with saran wrap and set it aside.
Remove the pot from the oven and immediately remove the loaf of bread and place it on a cooling rack for 10 minutes.
Cut while warm, spread with honey butter, and try not to eat the whole loaf at once.
1 stick of salted butter, softened
1 Tablespoon of real honey
Place the butter into a small bowl and mash with a fork until spread out. Drizzle the honey over the butter and mix well until combined. Put the butter into a crock covered with plastic wrap and chill until ready to serve.