When will she ever stop?
Some people's hobbies can be annoying, you know collecting soda bottles or famous people's hair but mine, Outdoor Dutch Oven Cooking, is more than a hobby, it's turned into an obsession. Every time I fix a meal I try to figure out how long it would take to prepare outside? How can I convert that recipe. I must get help but until then here is my latest, Twenty-four hour sourdough bread.
Good ol' reliable Alton Brown actually had an episode on Outdoor Dutch Oven cooking. I'll not put in the recipe, it's called Knead Not Sourdough and can be found on Food TV's site. What I will talk about it the method. You mix flour, salt, a tiny 1/4 teaspoon of yeast, and water and let it set 20 hours, covered, on your counter. Then you do that normal punch down, turn around, and let rise another two hours thing to the dough. What could be easier, other than going to the bakery.
While the second rise is almost done it's outside to heat up the iron. Then toss your formed loaf into a pretty hot dutch oven to bake for 45 minutes. I'm all about the coals so I had what he suggested which I thought was way too many for the bottom. We are still in the experimental part of my obsession so I loaded on the coals.
After 30 minutes you could smell the bread, a good sign but I feared too early. The lid got lifted at 35 minutes and I gasped, yes literally, because it look so beautiful. This is food porn, folks. The temperature was in the range suggested so I hoisted it from the fire. Letting it cool for a few moments I then got some hand protection to remove the loaf. Now here's where it gets funny. It was somehow welded to the bottom of the pan. Would not budge. After I finally grunted and groaned and freed it from the iron it was pretty burnt on the bottom and the bread, though not a total loss, was still a bit doughy in the center. Alton never turned his loaf over, now that I think of it.
I now know I should have gone with my instincts and had less coals on the bottom and that would have slowed down the baking. It was also a bit saltier than I thought it needed to be so I'd cut the salt in half. Someone more experienced at bread baking might have sliced the top a few places before baking. I have no idea what that does but it always looks good.
Other than that it would be great to cook up a loaf of bread while camping. Imagine that lovely smell drifting through the campground. Hmmmm. Just bring me some butter.