Introduction: Dutch Oven BLACK Bread
This is a super easy, 5 ingredient, no-knead bread. It's a fun variation to ordinary white and brown bread. It looks great served on a platter as tartines (open faced sandwiches). You can get creative with colorful toppings and ingredient mixes. Please note, while many people make health claims about Activated Charcoal Bread, they're un-proven. We are only using this addition as a fun way to play with color!
Step 1: Ingredients+Equipment
- 3 cups plain all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp activated charcoal powder USA Sourced Activated Charcoal Powder - from Hardwood. Use for Teeth Whitening, Skin Cleanser, Activate Charcoal Toothpaste, Food Grade Body Detox. 1 Lb Bulk Bag of Loose Activated Charcoal
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 1 tsp instant yeast
- 2 tsp salt
- toppings (we'll get to those later)
- Le Creuset pot OR other cast iron dutch oven. Le Creuset LS2502-317FSS Signature Enameled Cast-Iron Oval French (Dutch) Oven, 6.75 Quart, Oyster
- stand mixer with dough hook OR large mixing bowl and wooden spoon KitchenAid Classic Series 4.5 Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer, Onyx Black (K45SSOB)
- cup measures
- tsp + tbsp measures
- new Exacto or razor blade
- wire cooling rack
- cling wrap
- big rubber band
- parchment paper
Step 2: Mix the Ingredients
Measure the flour then add to your mixing bowl. It's best to keep your yeast separate from the salt and other ingredients until it's all mixed up. To do this we make a little volcano shape with the flour, add the 1 tsp of yeast to the hole in the top. Then put the 2 tsps of salt and 1tbsp of activated charcoal around the base. Measure out the 1 1/2 cups of warm water (about 110 to 115 degrees F) and pour this around the outside of the mound.
If you're using a Kitchen Aid or stand mixer, switch the attachment to a dough hook. Mix on low for a couple of minuets until everything comes together. OR If you're using a bowl and wooden spoon, add the ingredients using the same method as above, keeping the salt and yeast separate until everything is added . Now stir the ingredients together with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together and the charcoal powder is evenly distributed.
You should have a loose, slightly sticky dough. If it seems very dry or stiff then add a little extra warm water, if it is too wet and runny then add a little extra flour.
Remember this is a no-knead bread, once the dough has come together stop mixing.
Step 3: Rising the Dough
Cover the mixing bowl with saran wrap using a rubber band to hold it securely. Place the mixing bowl in a warm area (around 75°F-80°F) for 8-12 hours or until the dough is a bit over double it's original size. This is the "Bulk Fermentation" Stage.
Alternatively, place the dough in the refrigerator to allow it more time to rise. This will result in a bread with a more complex flavor and is referred to as "cold fermentation" I find 24 hours to be optimal for this recipe but you can experiment with longer times.
Step 4: Shaping the Dough
Preheat your oven to 450°F
Flour your work surface and your hands, unwrap the mixing bowl. Transfer the risen dough onto the floured surface.
We're going to remove some of the gas that was created in the bulk fermentation by "punching down" the dough.Take the edges on the dough, fold them into the center and press down lightly. Do this a few times until the dough has reduced in size. Pick up the dough and perform the same task, pinching the edges together in the center. This will help to form a tight ball. The pinched side will be the bottom of your loaf. Transfer the dough to a floured sheet of parchment paper, sprinkle the top lightly with more flour. Cover the dough with a sheet of plastic wrap. Let it rest for 30 minutes.
Now score the top of the bread with a sharp knife, a new exact-o blade or razor blade is best. You can score whatever pattern you like!
Immediately after shaping your dough, place an empty dutch oven, with lid, on a center rack in the middle of your oven. The extremely hot dutch oven traps steam and gives the roll a delicious crust!
Step 5: Bake the Loaf
After half an hour of resting the dough and pre heating the pot we're ready to bake. VERY carefully remove the dutch oven and place it on a heatproof surface or trivet. Use extra caution because the heavy cookware pot should, by this time, be piping hot! Uncover your dough and place it next to your dutch oven. With an oven glove, carefully remove the lid of your pot and place it to one side. Then, quickly lift the dough by the parchment paper and transfer it to the pot. Replace the lid and return the whole thing back to the middle of the oven.
Set your timer for half an hour.
When the timer goes off your house will be filled with the perfect smell of baking bread. Carefully remove the pot from your oven. To check if it's done, lift the roll out of the pot and tap it on the bottom. If it makes a hollow noise then it's done. If it makes a quiet, dull thud then it need a more cooking. If it needs more time, it is ok to return it to the oven without the lid at this stage. Keep checking every couple minutes until you get that nice hollow sound.
Then place it on wire cooling rack on your kitchen counter and cover with a clean kitchen cloth. We know it's very hard... but let it sit at least 20-45 minutes before cutting into it!
Step 6: Toppings!
This is where you can get creative. The toping and flavor combinations are endless.
Check out our main image featuring these combos:
- goat cheese with crushed blueberries, crushed pecans, drizzle with honey
- cream cheese topped with slices of cucumber and mint leaves
- cream cheese with prosciutto, sliced heirloom tomatoes, topped with micro greens
- goats cheese topped with fresh strawberries and then drizzled with balsamic glaze
- cream cheese topped with finely sliced watermelon-radishes and a soft boiled egg
- and the classic, cream cheese with smoked salmon and dill
Let us know if you come up with any delicious combinations.
Second Prize in the
Baking Speed Challenge