Pat DiMercurio Recipe

THE Best Crusty Bread (Dutch Oven)

By Pat DiMercurio javancookie

12 or depending on how the loaf is sliced
Prep Time:
Cook Time:

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.


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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Nina Radley nradley
May 19, 2015
I've tried a bunch of similar recipes with slight variations and this one is the best!
Heidi Smart Warren Heidijoe
May 6, 2015
i use this recipe all the time, love it...... thank you for sharing.
Heidi Hoerman heidicookssupper
May 4, 2015
Linda, the fool proof method is to use an instant read thermometer and test it -- if it's between 200F and 210F in the middle, it's done. Such thermometers are all of about $3 to $5 at the grocery store. You just poke one in the hot bread and if it goes up to 200+, you're done. I cook most breads at a lower temperature, including this recipe, since I like a lighter crust. That means I have to adjust the times a lot. So the thermometer works a charm. I also poke it in chicken, pork chops, and the like to make sure I've reached safe temps.
May 4, 2015 - Melanie B shared this recipe with discussion group: Odds & Ends & This & That.
Pat DiMercurio javancookie
Feb 16, 2015
Linda, sometimes ovens need to be re-calibrated. Buy an inexpensive oven thermometer and place it in your oven before you make your next batch of bread. Even though you have set the temp at 450°, you may find that the new thermometer shows the oven temp only going up to 400°. Or something showing that the set temp is not the true internal oven temp. Then you can adjust your oven accordingly. A total of 45 minutes should be plenty of time to bake the loaf, 30 minutes covered and 10-15 minutes uncovered. I place my pot on the lowest level my rack can go when I bake bread too.