Cast Iron

My favorite bread recipe using King Arthur flours.

February 18, 2017
0 Ratings
Photo by Rebecca Zicarelli
  • Makes 2 loaves; 500g. weight of flour by baker's %'s
Author Notes

I love this bread. This recipe makes two 500g. (using bakers percentages) loaves, baked in dutch ovens. I had a bag of King Arthur organic white flour, and it's about 100g. give or take shy of the 1,000g I'm used to baking with, so I made up the difference with KA's organic whole-wheat flour. Since I'd used all the white flour in the bread dough, I shaped the loaves and dusted the bannetons with the whole wheat flour, and the results and perfect.

The dough is 87% hydration, and requires minimal handling -- no kneading, just a few folds. Instead of effort, it requires time. The loaf is light, extremely crusty, with an excellent airy structure, good bite, and fine crumb.

It requires the equipment typical of dutch-oven breads; a scale, proofing bucket or large bread bowl, two bannetons, and two 4 or 5 qt. cast-iron dutch ovens. —Rebecca Zicarelli

What You'll Need
  • 870 grams water, body temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 2 pounds (one 2-pound bag) King Arthur Organic white flour
  • however many necessary grams King Arthur organic whole-wheat flour to make 1,000g. flour total weight, plus extra for shaping the loaves and dusting the bannetons
  • 2 scant teaspoons kosher salt
  1. sprinkle the yeast in the water to dissolve it; you do not have to proof it.
  2. Mix the flours and salt in a container or bowl large-enough to hold two 500g. loaves of bread. Fluff it up well, to get air into it.
  3. Stir the water/yeast mixture into the flour to make a sticky, ragged dough that just comes together. Cover with a damp towel and lid, and let it rest for at least 20 min., but no longer than 1 hour.
  4. With a silicon spatula or your hand dipped in cold water, fold the dough by slipping the spatula or hand down underneath the dough, pull and stretch it up and fold it into the middle, turn the proofing container 1/4 turn, working four to six folds total.
  5. Let the dough rest another hour, and repeat the folds; remember to wet your spatula or hand. Cover with a damp towel and lid, and let proof overnight in a cool room (below 60℉,) or in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
  6. Three hours before you plan to heat the oven, Fold the dough again, and set it out to proof in at room temperature for 20 minutes. Flour the bannetons and breadboard generously with the whole-wheat flour. Turn the dough out onto the board, and use a dough scraper to make sure the bottom isn't sticking and the dough is evenly distributed. Sprinkle a line of flour down the middle of the dough, and cut it into two pieces along the line with the scraper. Fold each loaf one more time, sprinkle the seam with flour and gather the seam up into you fist, and round the loaf to make a good skin to hold the dough while it does it's final proof. Put the loaf seam-side down into the banneton. Your skin will eventually become the bottom crust, and the floured-seam crust will crack to provide room for oven expansion. Tent plastic bags over the bread (I use produce bags from the grocery store,) and let them proof at least an hour; if it's cooler, even longer. When the top of the loaves are just beginning to reach the tops of the basket, preheat the oven and two cast-iron 4 or 5 qt. dutch ovens to 450℉ for an hour.
  7. When the loaves are fully proofed -- the sides of the loaves will be at the top of the baskets and a finger pushed into the dough will leave an indent, remove a dutch oven (take care!) turn a loaf out onto the bread board, and gently put it in the oven, taking care to pull the top apart a little bit. Cover, return to the oven, and repeat with the second loaf. Bake for 40 min., remove the covers, lower the temperature to 425℉, and bake an additional 20 min. Turn loaves out onto a rack and let cool completely before slicing. Make sure to take time and listen to the sound of the crust cooling and admire the little explosions of flour as the crust crackles.

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