My Easy Dutch Oven Bread is a simple white bread recipe perfect for beginning bakers, or anyone who craves a quick delicious loaf. Just 4 basic ingredients make this classic bakery style bread.
If you’ve never tried making bread before, there’s no time like right now.
Whether you’re having a hard time buying bread right now, or just itching for a fun project to take your mind off things, making bread has got to be the most satisfying baking project of all. This rustic recipe makes a large, hearty loaf with a pleasantly chewy crust and a soft, fluffy interior.
A thick slice of fresh baked bread has a way of making a meal feel so much more special, we love it with chilis and stews, and it contributes that all important dose of carbs when we’re having soup for dinner. I’ll often add bread to ‘bulk up’ lighter meals like brothy beans, or a main course salad.
But who’s kidding who here ~ we all know that your warm loaf will most likely be gobbled up before you can even grab your best bread knife. Make sure you’ve got butter, jam, pb, or some good olive oil for dipping.
Why bake bread in a Dutch oven ~
- Baking bread in a covered Dutch oven traps the moisture from the dough as it cooks, allowing the bread to “steam” for the first part of baking. This keeps the crust softer longer and encourages a higher rise.
- You’ll remove the cover toward the end of the baking time, which is when the bread will form its crusty top.
- The shape of the Dutch oven supports the bread so that it’s nice and round and doesn’t flatten out like it can if you baked it on a baking sheet.
What is the best size Dutch oven for baking bread?
- You’ll want to use a round 5 to 7 quart pot. Enameled cast iron is great. That’s the same size you’ll use for soups and stews so the pan will be worth its weight in gold in the kitchen.
Can you bake this bread without a Dutch oven?
Yes, totally! Just shape your dough and place it on a lined baking sheet for baking. You can put a skillet of hot water at the bottom of the oven to compensate for the steaming action of the Dutch oven.
The keys to fluffy, high rising bread ~
- Fresh yeast will always give you the best results. You can use active dry yeast OR instant yeast in this recipe. If you know your yeast is past its prime, try adding a little more.
- Technically the ideal temperature for rising dough is between 75F and 78F.
- Depending on your home, room temperature might be just fine for rising dough. But if not try placing it in the oven with the pilot light on. Believe it or not the heat from that lightbulb will heat the oven just enough.
- One of my favorite tricks in winter is to use a heating pad, set on low. I wrap that in a towel, and then make a ‘nest’ for my bowl of dough…it’s super cozy.
- If you love to bake, consider investing in a dough proofing box, I have this one and love it. It’s money well spent.
More easy bread recipes ~
- Irish Oatmeal Soda Bread
- Rosemary and Olive No Knead Focaccia
- 3 Ingredient Biscuits
- How to Make Pita Bread
- Quick Whole Grain Oat Rolls
Easy Dutch Oven Bread
- Dutch oven
- 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour (562 grams)
- 1 Tbsp sugar (11 grams)
- 2 1/2 tsp salt (feel free to reduce this to 1 or 1 1/2 if you are watching salt intake)
- 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast, or 2 3/4 tsp dry active yeast
- 1 2/3 cup lukewarm water (379 grams)
- In a mixing bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, mix all the ingredients together.
- Knead by hand, or in your mixer with a dough hook, for 6-7 minutes until the dough is smooth and stretchy.
- Rub a little oil in a bowl and add the dough, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 1-2 hours. The dough should roughly double in size.
- Gently turn your dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape it into a large round loaf.
- Line your Dutch oven (or baking sheet, if using) with parchment paper. Place your dough inside.
- Cover again with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise for about 45 minutes. It won't rise as dramatically this time, but should look puffed up.
- Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 450F.
- When the dough is done rising, use a sharp knife to slash it across the top. Slashing, or scoring, is done to allow the bread to expand and to control the way it rises. If you don't slash the dough it can become misshapen as it bakes.
- Place the lid on top of your Dutch oven and place in the oven.
- Bake for about 45 minutes. Remove the lid for the last 15 minutes or so of baking. The bread should be golden brown.
- Allow your bread to cool completely before slicing.