By Anna Theoktisto
Remember the bread machine craze of the 1990s? That little “modern marvel” did all the work for you, yielding predictable, symmetrical loaves. And while the bread was always good, I believe that the true romance of baking comes from getting your hands dirty. That’s why I adore this recipe for Dutch Oven Bread. For beginners, it’s the perfect stepping stone into the world of yeast baking. If you’ve been baking for years, it’s a step back in time to when bread was rustic and purposely imperfect. There are many layers of flavor hidden within this recipe’s four simple ingredients: flour, water, salt, and yeast. But the real magic comes from the cast-iron Dutch oven, the perfect vessel for baking bread. It acts like an oven-within-the-oven, maintaining a high and steady heat that transforms this sticky dough into a gorgeous round loaf with a crisp crust and excellent crumb structure. When you’re ready to start, follow our full step-by-step recipe. But if you’re new to baking, here’s a quick overview of the experience before you begin.