I've seen a few recipes for this on blogs lately, and thanks to the amazing Dutch oven that I got from my in-laws for Christmas, I knew it was something I wanted to make! I looked through a few of the recipes, and decided on this one from Homemade by Holman, since after browsing through other recipes on her blog there wasn't one that didn't make my mouth water! She adapted her version a little from the Pioneer Woman's blog, and after looking at that version too, I decided on a combination of the two, with a little change of my own - olive oil instead of melted butter. Also, I only had fresh thyme, so that was the only herb I used and I added a little fresh cracked black pepper too, since I love the way it looks in white bread. This was so easy to make, and the end result is gorgeous! I haven't dug into it yet, since I want my husband to see how beautiful the finished product is, but it smells so good, I can't wait!
Dutch Oven Herb Bread
Adapted slightly from Homemade by Holman
and Pioneer Woman
4 cups bread flour
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. fresh cracked black pepper
4-5 springs fresh thyme
1 tsp. olive oil
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 tsp. active yeast
1 cup lukewarm water (my dough required more like 1 1/4 cups)
Combine yeast and water let sit while you measure the remaining ingredients. Chop herbs and garlic. Add flour, olive oil, salt, pepper, herbs and water/yeast mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix together, adding additional water 1 tablespoon at a time until all of the flour has been picked up and forms a ball. Knead about 10 minutes, or until dough passes the "windowpane test" (tear off a small piece of dough and stretch it, it should be somewhat translucent instead of tearing).
Spray a large bowl with olive oil spray, form the dough into a ball and place in bowl, tossing around to coat the bread. Cover with plastic and let rise for 1-4 hours until doubled in size. Mine was good to go after about 2 hours.
Spray a 6-8 quart dutch oven with more olive oil spray, and place it in the oven while it preheats to 450 degrees. Punch down dough and form into a smooth ball. Transfer the dough to the hot dutch oven (carefully)! Cut a large, deep "X" into the top of the dough. Cover and bake about 20 minutes. Remove lid and continue baking for about 15-25 more minutes until the top is crusty and light golden brown.