THE Best Crusty Bread (Dutch Oven)

Pat DiMercurio Recipe

By Pat DiMercurio javancookie

12 or depending on how the loaf is sliced
10 Min
45 Min

Since I retired in 2010, I have been in search of the perfect Crusty Bread recipe. You know, the kind you find in great Italian restaurants that have a gorgeous crackly crust and a chewy inside, perfect for dipping in olive oil? I cannot take credit for this recipe. I actually don't remember where I found it, except it was an adaptation from a site called Simply So Good. The only thing I did differently was use bread flour instead of AP flour. If someone here posted this recipe, please accept my congratulations...(a fine loaf indeed) and my apologies for posting again.

pinch tips: Slow Cooker/Crock Pot Hints


3 c
bread flour
1 tsp
active dry yeast
1 1/2 tsp
1 1/2 c
water, warm

Directions Step-By-Step

Whisk flour, yeast and salt in a 3-4 quart bowl with a tight fitting lid. I like to use my trusty Tupperware. If you don't have a bowl w/lid use plastic wrap on a bowl. Add the water and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough is mixed well. The dough will be quite sticky and shaggy looking, but that's OK. Cover the bowl and set aside for 12-18 hours,(up to 24) overnight is fine.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place a cast iron Dutch oven with the lid into the oven while preheating and heat the pot/lid for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, scrape the risen dough from the bowl onto a heavily floured surface. (Dough will still be very sticky.) With floured hands, gently shape the dough into a round loaf, making sure there's enough flour on the surface so dough doesn't stick. let the dough just sit there until you're pot is preheated.
Take the hot pot from the oven and gently place the dough into the pot. Cover with the lid and return to the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid at that time and return the pot to the oven for another 10-15 minutes. Gently shake the loaf onto a cooling rack and enjoy the beautiful aroma. Give it a chance to cool before cutting into the loaf.

About this Recipe

Course/Dish: Other Breads
Main Ingredient: Flour
Regional Style: American
Other Tag: Quick & Easy

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Melanie B MelBelle
Jan 25, 2013
Sounds great. I'll have to give it a try.
Jan 25, 2013 - Bea L. shared this recipe with discussion groups: 6 and less CHATTERBOX GENERAL QUESTIONS Looking for...
Bea L. BeachChic
Jan 25, 2013
How gorgeous!!!!!! I'm going to give this a try. Pinched!
Sandy Mika mikasldy
Jan 25, 2013
Pat, you mentioned the original recipe was made with all purpose flour, was that the only difference? I would like to make this right now but haven't any bread flour.
jana bennett janachoo
Jan 25, 2013
Thanks for sharing. I can't wait to try this recipe. Looks like true Artisan bread!!
Shelia Senghas earthbaker
Jan 25, 2013
Pat, I am so excited about this recipe as it reminds me of when my mother last used the cast iron Dutch Oven to make bread. It has been sitting idle by the fire place for quite sometime. I think it is time to put it to good use with this recipe. I am looking forward to baking this bread, thank you for sharing your recipe. Happy Baking!
Toni T Toni6921
Jan 25, 2013
Do you put the dough in the refrigerator when you let it rest for 12-24 hours?
Pat Duran kitchenchatter
Jan 25, 2013
Hello Pat my friend- I see you are still up and about- so glad you posted this recipe- I t sure sounds so good- I will have to try this one- while the weather is cool-61^ before the Spring heat approaches.haha- thanks for sharing..hugs ,the other Pat
Millie Johnson BISCUITMAKR
Jan 25, 2013
Such an easy recipe and a beautiful loaf of bread !
Maria * WWCook1
Jan 26, 2013
Pat I'm so glad you posted this recipe which I will try real soon. As I was cleaning out one of my cuboards, I accidently broke a paper bag of bread flour which I will now use asap. The picture and recipe look very tempting. Thanks for sharing.
Jan W Neeniejan
Jan 26, 2013
Pat, this looks wonderful! I love a good crusty bread...but got two questions!
First, do you add any little bit of sugar to this? I'd think the yeast would need it to make it rise, as salt inhibits the yeast...
Second, do you grease the Dutch oven at all?
I can't wait to hear back from you, I'm ready to chew on some of that bread!!!
Thanks! ♥
Pat DiMercurio javancookie
Jan 26, 2013
Oh for Pete's sake; I just typed in about 4 paragraphs here and forgot to hit submit. Let me try this again and hope I answer everyone's questions.

This is super easy. I use a Tupperware bowl & lid to raise the dough and do it overnight. It just sits on the counter top for 12-24 hours, no need to refrigerate or keep a constant warm temp. It doesn't need sugar as the active dry yeast has so many hours to rise. The dough will have the consistency of a thick brownie batter. When you're ready to bake, preheat your Dutch oven in your stove oven for 30 minutes. I turn on my stove, pop in the dutch oven & lid and then dump the shaggy-looking dough onto my well-floured pizza peel. (Saves having to clean up the counter top.) Flour your hands and shape the dough into a round loaf and let it rise for the amount of time your pot is getting hot. I don't grease the pot and gently place the dough into the pot, cover it and put it in the hot oven.
I've seen recipes on JAP and other sites where the bakers use other types of flour, like rye, and add-ins like rosemary or raisins. They also use enameled Dutch ovens or pots with lids that can withstand the 450 degree heat. My Dutch oven I bought from ABC Warehouse (an appliance and electronics store here in town)and is just your plain, no nonsense cast iron. I didn't want to spend $50 + on a pretty enameled pot like you see at Bed Bath & Beyond or like a Paula Deen product. I paid $20 for mine. If you look in the camping depts. in some stores you can probably find something that'll work for you. Have fun and let me know how your breads turn out :)
Ka Garrett FarmerMOM
Jan 26, 2013
Pat you are a goddess. Where I live in East Texas, crusty bread is non-existent...Growing up on the West coast crusty bread was a staple of my diet. I have been known to eat bread and butter for a meal....It looks great I will definitely be making this soon...Thank you