4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 3/4 tsp Kosher salt or coarse sea salt
1/2 – 3/4 cup chopped Rosemary
Vegetable oil or vegetable oil spray (optional)
This recipe is for a Dutch oven bread. Make sure your Dutch oven is at least 5 1/2 quarts and can withstand an oven temp of 450 F before baking.
Combine the flour, water, yeast, salt and rosemary in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix on medium speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, 5 to 10 minutes. 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.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid and let it sit on the counter, 2 to 4 hours. The dough should rise and double in size. You can test it by pushing your finger into it. It shouldn’t spring back.
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.
Spray or coat the bottom and sides of a large Dutch oven with vegetable oil. OR place a sheet or parchment paper in the Dutch oven and put the dough on the paper. Put the lid on the Dutch oven and allow the dough to rise again, 30-60 minutes.
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 a little more 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. (OR – remove the lid but don’t reduce the heat and take it out after 10 minutes. This will make the outside nice and crispy but the inside will still be soft!)
Allow the bread to rest on a rack for at least 30 minutes. This allows the inside to finish cooking.