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Sunflower seed Dutch Oven Bread

by Saara

Dutch oven bread to me means a no-knead bread. Sometimes I do use my cast-iron casserole to bake carefully baked sourdough, too. But when speaking of ‘dutch oven bread’ instead of the baking technique of using a cooking pot, I refer to a no-knead bread.

I rely on this when my starter is not strong enough & fresh bread is needed on the table.  It’s an easy & beautiful option:  mix the ingredients the night before & bake the bread the following morning. No machine needed, a large bowl and a wooden spoon will suffice.

Over the years I’ve baked this bread so many times. Beyond two digits. It’s based on a water – flour ratio with which you can have endless flavor possibilities.

Over the summer I fell in love with this variation of sunflowers, oat flour and whole grains as they build a full and nutty flavor combination. I like to mix and match different types of wheat flour in order to give this quick bread a bit more character (and make it even healthier).

Last week when I visited a local organic farmer, it was a perfect opportunity to bake this bread again as I wanted to enjoy those fresh bags of flour as soon as possible. Hope you enjoy this recipe too!

Dutch oven bread with sunflower seeds, oat flour & whole grains

Ingredients

350ml  water 
9 grams fresh yeast (or 1/2 tsp dry yeast)
3 dl / 195g wheat flour + extra for shaping
2 dl / 130g oat flour 
1 dl / 65g whole wheat flour
1 dl / 65g spelt flour
1,25 dl / 0,65 cups sunflower seeds
2 tsp sea salt

Preparing the Dough a Day Before

In a large bowl, combine and whisk all dry ingredients well together. If using fresh yeast, mix it with a small amount of warm water (37-40°C/ 98-104°F) until fully dissolved and then combine the yeast mixture with the rest of the warm water. Finally, quickly mix the dry ingredients and yeast water together.

The dough is wet and needs to be covered with a tea towel or a lid. Keep the bowl in a warm spot overnight. Depending on the room temperature, I give this a rather long rise. During summer 8-10 hours was great but last week I gave the dough 15 hours to double its size. No need to get fuzzy: if you need to bake this within a 6-8 hour window it’s okay, your bread will look like an artisan piece. However, the slower and longer the dough rises the better the bread will taste. 


Shaping & Baking 

Place the dutch oven in the middle rack and pre-heat the oven to 225°C / 437°F (no fan). With a spatula, bring the dough together in the bowl and then dump it on a well-floured working surface.

Shape the dough into a round ball shape. Some like to use parchment paper to move the bread into the dutch oven but it is not necessary. Let the dough rest under a tea towel until the oven is ready (no rush).

Bake the bread for 30 minutes with the lid on and another 15 minutes without the lid. When removing the lid, it’s a good idea to stick a simple roasting thermometer into the bread to make sure the bread gets fully baked from the inside  (98°C/208°F).

Dutch oven bread has a crunchy crust and soft moist crumb so patiently let the bread cool on a wire rack before slicing. Keep the bread in room temperature covered with a tea towel and avoid storing it in a plastic bag.


Oh and the ratio! As this is a relaxed recipe based on volumes rather than weight units, it gives you both the freedom to mix and match but also the responsibility to observe. The dough is wet but not too runny – so add more flour if you’re insecure.

I always keep the amount of water and normal wheat flour constant (3,5 dl + 3 dl), then choose 4 dl to combine other types of flour and finally add my extras if any. While the possibilities are endless, I do hope you try this sunflower + oat flour + whole grains combination. It’s in my top three of dutch oven bread variations. I would love to hear your favorite dutch-oven bread, too!

Love, Saara

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