EASY DUTCH OVEN ARTISAN BREAD
3 ½ cups flour, divided
¼ teaspoon yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon honey
1 ½ cups hot tap water (125-130 degrees)
Combine 3 cups of the flour, yeast, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk to combine.
Dissolve the honey in the hot water by stirring with the measuring spoon. Add to the flour and mix until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 3-4 hours.
After 4 hours (or more – I find the longer it rises the better the texture), your dough should have bubbles on top and be slightly risen (it will be wet and sticky). Place ¼ cup of the remaining flour on your countertop. Dump the dough on top of the flour, making sure to scrape it all out of the bowl, and then sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup flour over the top.
Using your hands, gather the dough and lightly fold in the flour so all of the sticky areas are covered. The dough will be very soft. Gently fold it over itself a few times, ensuring that the wet areas are well coated in flour. Form into a ball. There is no real kneading for this dough – only incorporating the flour and forming into a soft ball.
Place a piece of parchment paper in a clean bowl and place the dough on top of it. Let rise for 30 minutes.
Place an empty 6-7 quart oven-proof Dutch oven (with cover on) in your oven and set temp to 450 degrees while the dough is rising.
After 30 minutes, remove the hot pan from the oven and take off the cover. Lift the bread up by holding the sides of the parchment paper and place it in the hot pot (including the parchment). Place the lid back on and place it back in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes.
Remove the cover and bake, uncovered, for an additional 15 minutes.
Let cool (if you can wait). Slice and devour!!
Note – when you measure flour, you should stir it first to add ‘air’ so that you are not measuring ‘compacted’ flour which can affect the consistency of your bread.