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Whole-Grain Artisan Breads for a Dutch Oven

By Wendy Akin


Tags: bread baking, Dutch ovens, rye bread, multigrain breads, sprouted grains, grains, sourdough starter, bread starters, Texas, Wendy Akin,

rye bread 

A friend brought me a loaf of her sourdough multigrain bread baked in a Dutch oven and offered a starter of her sourdough. Somehow, I have a black thumb with sourdough, so I set out to develop a recipe with well developed flavor, skipping the care and feeding of a long-term starter.

Two well developed starters and a three-day process worked really well. With that done, other grains and flavors came along naturally. You’ll spend just a few minutes the first two days, but plan ahead so you have fresh delicious bread the day you want it.

Some methods for Dutch oven baking say to rise the dough in a bowl or whatever, heat the Dutch oven and then slide the risen dough into a 450 degree cast iron pot. The danger of burns and deflated dough helped me decide to go with the cold Dutch oven. Cold works perfectly, I promise.

If the weather forecast is for several cold days in a row, I don’t clean the bowls. When you pour the Starter #1 into Starter #2, mix up another batch. When you mix the final dough and turn it onto the board to stretch and fold, mix up another Starter #2. It’s great to have really good bread stashed in the freezer when the weather turns too hot to turn on the big oven.

My Dutch oven is a 6 quart so this is a huge loaf.  I usually cut it in half and freeze half for later.  If you have a 4 quart, reduce the recipe to 2/3. Divide by 3, then multiply by 2 for the quantities for a 4 quart Dutch oven.  Conversely, if you find another recipe for a 4 quart and have a 6 quart Dutch oven, divide by 2 and multiply by 3 to increase the recipe.

Multigrain Bread Recipe for 6-Quart Dutch Oven

Ingredients:

Starter #1 on Day 1 (a poolish type)

 • 8 oz (1 cup) water
• 4 ½ oz (1 cup) all purpose flour
• ½ tsp instant yeast

Starter #2 on Day 2 (a biga type)

• 5 ½ oz (1 ¼ cup) 10-Grain Flour
• 9 ¾ oz (1 ¾ cup) whole wheat flour
• 2 tsp sea salt
• 2 tsp instant yeast
• 16 oz (2cups) water
• all of starter #1    

Dough on Day 3

• All of the starter #2
• 9 oz (2 cups) bread flour
• 2 Tbsp non-gmo oil
• optional: seeds for the top – poppy, flax, sunflower, etc.

Rye Bread Recipe for 6-Quart Dutch Oven

(see top image)

Ingredients:

Starter #1 on Day 1 (a poolish type)

• 8 oz (1 cup) water
• 4 ½ oz (1 cup) all purpose flour
• ½ tsp instant yeast

Starter #2 on Day 2 (a biga type)

• 5 ½ oz (1 ¼ cup) bread flour
• 9 ¾ oz (1 ¾ cup) dark rye flour
• 3 Tbsp vital gluten
• 2 Tbsp deli rye flavor
• 2 Tbsp caraway seeds
• 2 tsp sea salt
• 2 tsp instant yeast
• ¼ cup molasses
• 2 cups water
• all of starter #1

Dough on Day 3

• All of starter #2
• 9 oz (2 cups)  bread flour
• 2 Tbsp non-GMO oil

Sprouted Whole-Wheat Bread Recipe

Ingredients:

Starter #1 on Day 1 (a poolish type)

• 8 oz (1 cup) water
• 4 ½ oz (1 cup) all purpose flour
• ½ tsp instant yeast

Starter #2 on Day 2 (a biga type)

• 9 ¾ oz (1 ¾ cup)sprouted whole wheat flour
• 5 ½ oz (1 ¼ cup) bread flour
• 2 tsp sea salt
• 2 tsp instant yeast
• 2 cups water
• all of starter #1

Dough on Day 3

• All of starter #2
• 9 oz (2 cups) bread flour
• 2 Tbsp non-GMO oil

Directions for All Breads:

Day 1: Starter # 1

This is easy to stir with just a spoon or whisk. In a 4 cup bowl, stir the yeast into the flour. Add the water and stir into a smooth batter. Cover the bowl and leave it on the counter overnight, at least 12 hours. It will bubble up and have a slightly tangy smell when you’re ready to proceed.

Day 2: Starter #2

Mix all the flours and other dry ingredients in the mixer bowl or other large bowl. Add the water and starter #1. Mix well with the dough hook and continue on machine speed #4 for about 5 minutes. Cover the bowl and refrigerate over night.

Day 3: Final Dough Day

Add in the bread flour, mix in well. Machine knead for 5 minutes, turn off the mixer and let the dough rest for 10 minutes. It won’t rise yet, because it’s cold. Turn the mixer back on and machine knead on speed #4 for another 5 minutes. As the dough clears the side of the bowl, pour the oil down the inside of the bowl so the dough gathers on the hook. Turn the dough out onto an oiled board and do a stretch and fold to develop the dough. Stretch and fold, turn the dough and repeat, then turn the dough over and let it rest up to 20 minutes. Repeat a double stretch and fold.

Prepare your Dutch oven. Trace the bottom of your oven on parchment paper and cut the circle to fit. If your oven isn’t “seasoned”, spray with oil first then put the parchment in and spray that, too. Don’t forget to spray the lid as well. Another “lazy” note: Because I intend to use this big beautiful pot just for breads, I don’t wash it! In just this winter, it already has “seasoned” and no longer needs to be greased. The parchment circle will last through a few bakes.

Rise and bake. Form the dough into a smooth ball, pulling the sides to the bottom. Place the dough into the Dutch oven, cover and allow it to rise until almost doubled. If the house is cool, this may take 2 hours. When the dough is nearly risen, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Wait 15 minutes or so to let the oven completely heat. Slash the top of the loaf in a cross or cross hatch as you prefer.

Put the covered Dutch oven into the center of the oven and set the timer for 30 minutes.  At the end of the 30 minutes, take the lid off the Dutch oven; the loaf will have risen nicely but won’t be very brown. Close the oven and turn down the temperature to 350.  Set the timer again for another 30 minutes. Now the bread has a beautiful deep brown crisp and crackly crust. Check the internal temperature of the bread — it should be close to 200 degrees. If it’s not there yet, bake another few minutes then remove to a wire rack.

Cool. Leave the bread in the Dutch oven for a few minutes to completely bake the interior then turn out onto a rack. Let the bread cool completely, about an hour or more before cutting. Please be patient — if you cut your beautiful loaf too soon it will be gummy inside.

Sources for Flour and Supplies

Dutch oven. 6-quart Lodge Enameled Cast Iron, sometimes on sale at Kroger for about $50. Also on Amazon for about $57 with prime shipping. There are a few others much more expensive — I am very happy with the Lodge.

Ten-grain bread flour. Bob’s Red Mill, available in large pack on Amazon or from Bob's Red Mill website, also at King Arthur Flour.

Sprouted whole-wheat flour. One Degree Organic is available at Sprouts grocery, and at Target stores. Amazon carries both the One Degree Organic and King Arthur with Prime shipping.

Dark rye flour. Bob’s Red Mill, available in some groceries, sometimes in the organic department or Hodgsons. Both available on Amazon.

Vital gluten. Bob’s Red Mill, Hodgsons, or King Arthur. Sometimes in groceries, also on Amazon.

Deli rye flavor. From King Arthur or substitute ground caraway seeds with a pinch of citric acid.

Wendy Akin is happy to share her years of traditional skills knowledge. Over the years, she’s earned many state fair ribbons for pickles, relishes, preserves and special condiments, and even a few for breads. Read all of Wendy’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.


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