When I saw that this month’s list of Better With Veggies’ Meatless Mondays from A-Z, I was especially excited about week ‘Y’ yeast. I had been dying to try the French Oven Bread recipe from Le Creuset for quite some time and figured this was the perfect time to try my hand at bread baking for the first time. However, due to my inability to leave a recipe as-is, I decided to add a bit of a more savory flare to the French loaf by adding in sweet onion and fresh dill, which turned out incredibly well. I do believe I can stop buying bread at the grocery store- I have a new hobby.
The following instructions are from the Le Creuset website; my additions are noted in italics!
Combine the flour, water, yeast and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix the previous ingredients thoroughly and then add diced onion and fresh dill. Mix on medium speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, 5 to 10 minutes. Depending on the size of the bowl, you may need to stop the mixer and remove the dough from the dough hook if the dough is not developing thoroughly. When the dough looks smooth, cut off a piece and stretch it. If it stretches to the point of transparency, it’s mixed enough. If not, continue mixing. Make sure that the onion and dill are fully incorporated into the dough, I found this is easily achieved my kneading by hand.
Remove the bowl from the mixer and cover it with a pot lid or plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise until it has doubled in size and does not spring back when you push your finger into it, 2 to 4 hours. With the additional ingredients this time is more toward the four-hour mark as the dough rises more slowly with the extra weight. As it was getting late as I was letting the bread rise, I left it to rise overnight.
Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead it to release the gas and redistribute the yeast. Shape it roughly into a ball, cover it with a towel, and let stand for 10 minutes to allow the gluten to relax.
Shape the dough into a tight ball – the tighter the better – by rolling it on the work surface between your palms.
Spray or coat the bottom and sides of a large French oven or other heavy ovenproof pot (5 1/2 quarts or larger) with vegetable oil. Put the dough in the center of the pot and place the lid on. Allow the dough to rise again, 30 to 60 minutes (less if it’s very hot and humid, more if it’s cold).
Preheat the oven to 450 F.
Rub 1 tablespoon olive oil, or more if you like, gently over the surface of the dough. Score the bread with a sharp knife or razor, making an X or a hash mark; this will allow the dough to expand freely. Sprinkle the dough with salt. Cover the pot and place it in the oven.
After 30 minutes, remove the lid, reduce the oven temperature to 375 F, and continue baking until the bread is nicely browned and cooked through. It should have an internal temperature of 200 F or so when done. I found that the bread took a bit longer than the 40 minute cooking time to turn brown, I let the bread cook for 30 minutes after the lid was removed. Make sure your bread is a flaky golden brown before removing it from the oven!
Allow the bread to rest on a rack for at least 30 minutes so that the interior finishes cooking.
Please note: Only our (Le Creuset) Signature phenolic knobs and stainless steel knobs are oven-safe at this temperature. Classic phenolic knobs are oven-safe to 375 F. If using a Classic oven, remove the knob when baking at temperatures higher than 375 F.
Fresh baked bread slices with a bit of butter and some of my Hearty Vegetable Soup is a delicious, healthy winter meal!
|Tinkerbelle Wants Some!|
What is your go-to winter comfort food? Let me know in the comments below!