This bread could not be easier to make. It’s baked in a dutch oven in your oven, which gives it a remarkable crust. And the long rising time and special ingredient of lager give it a great crumb. A perfect loaf to start on Friday evening, and enjoy with Saturday night dinner.
This recipe is from Cook’s Illustrated’s All-Time Best Recipes compilation.
Prepare the dough Stir together 3 cups all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp rapid rise yeast. Then stir in 6 tablespoons of a mild lager (room temperature), 3/4 cup plus 2 T water (room temperature) and 1 T white vinegar. Stir until a shaggy ball forms. Then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for anywhere from 8 to 18 hours.
Shape and Rise the Dough In a 10″ skillet, lay down a sheet of 18×12″ parchment paper and spray with vegetable oil. Move the dough to a lightly floured counter and knead it 10 to 15 times. Shape the dough into a ball by pulling edges into the middle. Then put the loaf, seam side down, in the prepared skillet and spray the surface of dough with oil spray. Cover loosely with plastic and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 2 hours. The dough should barely spring back when it’s poked with your knuckle.
30 Minutes Before Baking Put an oven rack on the lowest position and put a dutch oven (with lid) on the rack, heating the oven to 500 degrees. Lightly flour the top of the dough and with a sharp knife, make a 6″ cut along the top. Carefully take the pot from the oven and take off the lid. Pick up the loaf by its parchment handles and lower it into the pot. (Let any extra parchment hang over the pot’s edge.)
Cover the pot and put it in the oven. Turn the oven down to 425 and bake with the lid on for 30 minutes. Then take the lid off and let it continue to bake until the crust is deep golden and the loaf is 210 degrees (20 to 30 minutes longer).
Then carefully take the loaf out of the pot and onto a wire rack to cool. Suggested time is 2 hours. Good luck not slathering it in butter and eating it before then.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp rapid-rise yeast
- 3/4 cup plus 2 T water, room temperature
- 6 T mild-flavored lager, room temperature
- 1 T white vinegar