One of my friends makes amazingly delicious rustic whole wheat bread and I got jealous.

How was he doing it? My bread always comes out great, but I was not getting the same crust he was. What was his secret?

Well, it turns out his secret was a dutch oven he’d found at a goodwill. He also has the attention span for sourdough starters and he has a really good one going.

By baking in a dutch oven, your bread stays at a more constant temperature and steam can’t escape as easily, so you get a nice thick crust.

While I wait to get my hands on some of his sourdough starter, I got a beautiful Lodge dutch oven. From my understanding, they work just as good as the Le Creuset dutch ovens, without costing a fortune. Also, it’s red. So it matches my mixer. Did I ever mention how much I love the color red?

Anyway, my beautiful dutch oven came in the mail today and it’s my weekend, so some bread had to be made.

This recipe is a development of recipe research around the web, I didn’t follow any particular recipes specifically, so it’s all mine.

Whole Wheat, Walnut, Olive and Rosemary Loaf

2 1/4 cups Bread Flour

3/4 cup Whole Wheat Flour

2 tsp Salt

1/2 tsp yeast

3 tsp roughly chopped fresh rosemary

1/2 cup roughly chopped calamata olives

1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts

1-1 1/2 cups luke warm water

1 tsp olive oil

In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together and slowly add the water while mixing the dough together with a wooden spoon until the dough begins to come together. When your dough comes together into a shaggy ball, knead the dough to bring everything together. If the dough is too wet, add more flour. Too dry? slowly add more water.

Oil a large oven safe bowl with some olive oil and toss the dough in the oil. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and place in a warmed oven for 3 hours (or more) and the dough has doubled in size.

Turn the oven on to 450°F and place the dutch oven in the center of the oven with a little bit of water in it (let the steam begin).

Lightly flour the table top and turn your dough out carefully onto the table. punch down your dough and form it into a nice loaf. Cover the loaf with plastic wrap and let sit for another 30 minutes. At this point you can also sprinkle the dough with seeds and things to make it look all rustic and pretty.

Carefully take the lid off the dutch oven and place the loaf of bread in the dutch oven. Spray the lid and inside of the dutch oven with water and quickly place the lid back and close the oven. Bake for 30 minutes, no peeking!

Take the lid off the dutch oven and bake the bread for another 15 minutes or until golden brown and the bread sounds hollow when the bottom the bread is tapped.

Let cool for at least 20 minutes.

Or don’t, it’s your bread.

Total Time: About 4 1/2 hours