If you’ve ever considered trying your hand at baking bread, but considered the task too intimidating or you have a fear of working with yeast, this recipe for Dutch Oven Bread with Cheddar and Everything Bagel Seasoning is for you.
This recipe will walk you through the basic steps to making homemade bread with little effort, without difficulty, but with incredible results.
Thank you to Bob’s Red Mill for sponsoring this post! Even though I was compensated for this post, all opinions are my own.
Bread-Making for Beginners
Back in 2006, a recipe for No-Knead Artisan Bread by a guy named Jim Lahey was published in the NY Times and it changed everything.
It gave beginner bread-makers and home bakers and all those in between the chance to break free of the kneading and the special equipment and the hands-on time investment it takes to bake bread from scratch at home.
This recipe for Dutch Oven is based on that concept. It gives you the opportunity to bake delicious, homemade bread in your very own home kitchen without much ado.
Using only the very best in flour from Bob’s Red Mill plus the base recipe from Bake From Scratch, I created my own version of this crusty, rustic bread using cheddar and everything bagel seasoning. And it’s heavenly.
Ingredients Needed to make homemade Dutch Oven Bread
Luckily, making Dutch oven bread is pretty simple, as far as bread-making goes. Very little hands-on time required, virtually no kneading, and I bet you have the majority of the ingredients in your pantry already.
- Bread Flour: bread flour has a higher protein content than all-purpose flour. This gives the bread structure and produces more gluten, those stringy bits in the dough that give the bread it’s chew and texture. I also use this in my Condensed Milk Bread recipe - another easy to bake recipe for beginners.
- Whole Wheat Flour: using a little bit of whole wheat flour in addition to the bread flour gives the bread a slightly nuttier flavor and heartier texture. Blending flours in this way allows the bread to have delicious flavor without the full-out heartiness of using all whole wheat
- Salt: I prefer to use kosher salt, however, you can use whatever kind you have. Salts have varying levels of saltiness, so start out by adding just a little bit then adding more if you need to. You may want to add more or less than is called for in the recipe based on your preferences
- Instant Yeast: this recipe calls for instant yeast, which can be directly mixed into the dough with the other ingredients without having to first be dissolved in warm water and allowed to “bloom” like active dry yeast. If you only have active dry yeast, dissolve it first in about a tablespoon of warm (105ºF-110ºF) water and allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes. It should become foamy and smell yeasty. If this does not happen, your yeast has likely expired and will not activate to give your bread the rise we’re looking for. Throw it away and go grab some yeast from the store
- Warm Water: I like to use filtered or tap water for this. Nothing special, just make sure it’s about 105-110ºF and not any hotter, as this will kill the yeast. If you do not have a thermometer, the water should feel like very warm bath water
- Shredded Cheese (optional): I recommend using a semi-hard or hard cheese such as a sharp cheddar (mild cheddar’s flavor won’t come through in the baked bread) or asiago. I prefer to buy a block of cheese and shred it myself, as the pre-shredded kinds tend to have fillers and/or preservatives in them
- Everything Bagel Seasoning (optional): you can find this at Trader Joe’s or Amazon or you can make your own by mixing together equal parts poppy seeds, sesame seeds, minced dried garlic, minced dried onion and kosher salt
- Rice Flour or Semolina Flour: You will only need a tablespoon or so of one of these flours. They are used to prevent the dough from sticking to the banneton basket while proofing and to the parchment paper while baking
How to Make Dutch Oven Bread
Stream in the water while mixing to form a sticky dough using a stand mixer or with a wooden spoon. That’s your dough!
Allow this to rest/proof at room temperature for 1 ½ - 2 hours then place in the fridge overnight to develop more flavor and gluten. The cold dough is easier to shape, too, which is what comes next.
On a clean work surface (I use a very large wood cutting board or my clean countertop) coated with flour, press the dough into an oval shape about 1 inch thick.
Then, grab the bottom edge and gently stretch and fold bottom third over to the center (like you’re folding a piece of paper to fit into an envelope).
Next , stretch the right side out and fold the right third over to center. Repeat this with the left side.
Finish by folding the top third of the dough over the previous folds. Then, roll the loaf away from you, and using both hands, cup dough and pull it toward you to seal.
Turn the dough 90 degrees and pull again, repeating the process until a tight, smooth ball (boule) forms. If needed, pinch the seam on the bottom of the loaf to seal.
Loosely cover the dough with a clean dish towel, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F / 24°C) until puffed, 1 to 1½ hours.
Now you’re almost ready to bake! Place your empty Dutch oven with the lid on inside your oven and preheat the oven to 500ºF (260ºC) for at least 30 minutes.
This will provide the perfect environment for the bread to get that crispy exterior and airer, perfectly baked interior.
Turn your dough out of the banneton or bowl onto a floured piece of parchment paper. Be sure the parchment paper is long enough for you to grab onto the sides and lift the bread to place gently into the hot Dutch Oven.
I highly recommend doing this with high heat oven mitts.
Place the lid back on and into the oven for 25 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for another 25-30 minutes. The top of the bread should be a dark brown and the internal temperature of the bread should be at least 200ºF (93ºC).
As tempting as it may be to slice into the bread while it’s hot, allowing the bread to cool will allow the bread to achieve the light and airy texture it’s intended to have.
As opposed to a gummy, sticky, wet texture that will result if you slice into while it’s still hot. No bueno.
Don't worry - why you're waiting, prepare your meatless baked ziti to accompany it for dinner. Pairing these two for dinner are sure to be a hit.
Enjoying a weekend brunch? You can also have a slice of this bread slathered with butter over coffee. You could try a New York Style Bagel and add some whipped cream cheese too. Either way, it's going to be a delicious, filling meal.
Like this recipe? Follow me on Pinterest for lots more recipes just like this one! And don’t forget to pin this recipe for later by clicking on one of the images below the recipe. Or, click on any of the images in this post to save to Pinterest.
Looking for more homemade bread recipes? Give these a try:
- 3 ½ cups bread flour
- 1 ¼ cups whole wheat flour
- 4 teaspoons kosher salt (use less salt if mixing in a salty cheese such as Asiago)
- 2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 cup shredded semi-hard cheese (see note below), such as sharp cheddar, or a hard cheese, such as Asiago, optional
- 3–4 tablespoons everything bagel seasoning, plus more for sprinkling on top, optional
- 2 cups warm water (105°F / 41°C to 110°F / 43°C)
- Rice flour or semolina flour, for dusting
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together bread flour, whole wheat flour, salt, and yeast.
- Add cheese and everything bagel seasoning, if desired, stirring to combine evenly.
- Affix the paddle attachment to the stand mixer and begin beating the mixture at medium-low speed (2 on a Kitchenaid mixer) while streaming in 2 cups (480 grams) of warm water until a sticky dough forms, about 30 seconds.
- Lightly spray a large bowl with cooking spray or coat lightly with vegetable oil.
- Place dough in the bowl, turning to coat all sides.
- Cover with a clean dishcloth and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75° / 24°C) until doubled in size, 1½ to 2 hours.
- After the dough has doubled in size, cover with plastic wrap or beeswax wrap (impermeable membrane) and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or preferably overnight (8-10 hours).
- Remove dough from the fridge and turn it out onto a heavily floured work surface.
- Using floured hands, lightly press dough into a 1-inch-thick oval.
- Grab bottom edge, and gently stretch and fold bottom third over to center.
- Stretch right side out, and fold right third over to center; repeat with left side.
- Finish by folding top third over previous folds.
- Roll loaf away from you, and using both hands, cup dough and pull it toward you to seal.
- Turn dough 90 degrees, and pull again, repeating the process until a tight, smooth ball (boule) forms.
- If needed, pinch seam on bottom together to seal. Place dough, seam side up, in a banneton (proofing basket) dusted with rice flour or a medium bowl lined with a kitchen towel that’s been heavily dusted with rice flour.
- Loosely cover dough with a clean dish towel, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F / 24°C) until puffed, 1 to 1½ hours.
- When dough has 30 minutes left to rise, place empty Dutch oven with lid in cold oven then preheat oven to 500°F (260°C)..
- Once dough has puffed up, dust a piece of parchment paper with rice or semolina flour, and turn out dough, seam side down, onto parchment.
- Brush top of the loaf lightly with bread flour (I like to use my hand to rub the flour over the top of the dough so it’s lightly coated).
- Using a spray bottle filled with water, spritz the top of the dough lightly then sprinkle the dough with everything bagel seasoning, if desired.
- Using a lame, razor, or very sharp kitchen knife, score the bread into desired pattern.
- Carefully remove hot Dutch oven from oven; remove lid, and place dough, on parchment, carefully into Dutch oven.
- Cover with lid, and place back in oven.
- Immediately reduce oven temperature to 425°F (220°C).
- Bake for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, remove the lid, and bake until top of loaf is dark brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted in center of loaf registers 200°F (93°C), 25 to 30 minutes more.
- Immediately remove loaf from Dutch oven using parchment to lift the bread out, and let cool completely, at least 2 hours, on a wire rack before slicing or storing.
- I recommend buying blocks of cheese rather than preshredded cheese, as preshredded cheese is often coated in potato starch and natamycin (an antimold agent). These compounds can affect the way the cheese melts and is distributed in your bread loaf, so when shopping, reach for the block or wedge rather than the bag
- Store completely cool loaf in a bread box, reusable wrap such as Beeswax, or a plain paper bag
- If you have sliced the loaf, place cut side down on a cutting board for 1-2 days to keep the bread from drying out. After 1-2 days, place in a bread box, beeswax wrap or paper bag
- I do not recommend storing in the fridge, as this will dry out the bread
- To freeze, slice the bread, place slices in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in the freezer for at least an hour. Add frozen slices to a freezer-safe plastic bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Frozen bread is best reheated in a toaster oven
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Thank you to Bob's Red Mill for sponsoring this post!