Bread Experiment: Dutch Oven

When I first started baking bread from the New York Times “no knead” recipe and the Tartine book I used a modified dutch oven type of configuration.  I didn’t actually have a dutch oven, so I had oven safe bowls and a frying pan.  I got good results not not exactly the look I was going for: I didn’t get the tearing or the oven spring.  I’ve experimented with several ways of adding steam to the oven, using cast iron dutch ovens et cetera to try to get those perfect ears.  What I really needed, it seems, was a better size dutch oven and to keep it simple.

As my previous posts attest I’ve really been vexed by my inability to get good ears and the tears in my bread that I was looking for.  My bread tasted good.  My bread had good crumb.  My bread had good oven spring, but it didn’t have the characteristic look that I was expecting most of the time.  For Christmas my husband was nice enough to get me a new dutch oven to help out with the project.  I baked some loaves for Christmas a week ago and while they tasted fine they looked dreadful.  I decided to try to hone my skill again and get practice on the dutch oven.  The results are pretty much exactly what I’m looking for.  The crust is perfect, the tearing is perfect, and so are the ears.  I tried to do a more oblong loaf but it just didn’t cut it.  I either need to do smaller loaves or figure out a way to get a similar dutch oven effect for oblong shapes.  I’m just excited to finally be getting the elusive ears…





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