Week 3 of The Great British Bake Off and it was bread week. There were Dampfnudel with burnt bottoms, tears over undercooked brioche, smutty shaped bread plaits and a bread arc where the animals went in one by one…
I decided to have a go at a bake this week which I have wanted to try for a while. I made artisan bread using a dutch oven. A dutch oven is basically a covered earthenware or cast-iron container with a lid. I used my Le Creuset casserole dish and it worked perfectly.
I used a basic white bread recipe:
- 510g of strong white flour
- 4tsps dried active yeast
- 4tsps sugar
- 450ml warm water
- 3 tsps salt
Mix together the yeast and sugar and water in a bowl and leave for 5 minutes until the yeast reactivates. Once this happens it will be frothy.
Mix together the flour and the salt. Then gradually add to the yeast mixture. Once all the flour is mixed, turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead until it is smooth and elastic.
To prove, place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp t-towel and leave for about 20minutes.
Whilst you are proving the dough, preheat the oven to 200 degrees with the dutch oven already inside.
To test if the dough is proved, you can perform the finger test. Lightly press the dough with two fingers, if it springs back up it hasn’t been proved for long enough, if it collapses or sags, it has been left to prove for too long. You want to see indentations where you pressed.
Carefully lift the dough out of the bowl, do not de-gas it, coat the top and bottom in flour and place gently into the pre heated dutch oven.
Cook for 30mins with the lid on and then remove the lid and bake for a further 8mins to get a lovely crunchy top. Don’t open the lid whilst cooking for the first 30mins as it will let the heat out (and spoil the surprise!)
It makes a delicious light loaf, with a soft, fluffy bread and a crisp, chewy crust.
Next time…. GBBO’s very first ever batter week! I presume we can expect, pancakes, Yorkshire puddings and something fancy no one has ever heard of!