Dutch Oven Bread

This is adapted from an original recipe posted by Mark Bittman in the New York Times.

This is a base recipe.  Feel free to add herbs or roasted garlic to enhance your loaf.

3 cups of flour
     Optional: 1 cup of whole wheat, 2 cups unbleached white
1/4 tsp. instant yeast
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 cups of water

Mix the flour, yeast, and salt together and then add the water.  Cover with plastic (or other means of sealing) and let stand at room temperature for 12-18 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat your oven with your Dutch oven in it to 500 degrees.

The dough should appear bubbly.  Dump on a floured surface and fold five times.  I do this by pulling two sides of the dough ball and folding them into the middle.  Then I stretch the other two sides into the middle and so on.

Place the dough, seam side down, into the hot Dutch oven.

Bake 30 minutes with the lid on, then reduce the heat to 475 degrees and remove the lid bake for another 10-15 minutes.  My mom and I have been experimenting with the time and temperature after the lid is removed.  She lives in a higher altitude and uses the entire 15 minutes with the lid off at 475.  I stick to the 10 minutes or less with the lid off.  So it will depend on where you live.

When your loaf is finished baking, cool on a wire rack.