Crusty Whole Wheat Dutch Oven Bread Recipe

Find your new favorite dinner companion in this whole wheat Dutch oven bread.

Having a go-to, EASY whole wheat bread recipe is critical. There are times you just don’t have all day to invest in your bread, you know?

And truthfully, many whole grain recipes take time. There’s just no way around it. From sandwich loaves to dinner rolls, whole wheat typically requires some patience.

And that’s where this easy recipe comes in to save dinner time.

If you’ve never made whole wheat bread in your Dutch oven, you’re in for a treat.

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What’s so great about Whole Wheat Dutch oven bread?

That’s a valid question. I mean, you would think cooking bread in a round pot typically reserved for roasts and soups wouldn’t make that much of a difference.

But when you add a simple whole wheat dough, a Dutch oven, and some steam – you get a crusty, chewy artisan loaf that is simply delicious.

And the BEST part is, this recipe is hard to mess up. This is truly one of those recipes that is forgiving, even if you don’t get the amount of flour just right.

You heard me: a freshly milled wheat recipe that is practically no-fail. It’s perfect for beginners.

And even better- there’s very little mixing and NO actual kneading. And since the dough only has to rise one time, you get to enjoy it much sooner than most whole wheat bread recipes.

The Shortest Ingredient List EVER for Whole Wheat Bread

In this recipe, I’m using freshly milled wheat berries: part hard white wheat, part spelt.

The only other ingredients are: hot water, salt and yeast; and a little olive oil to brush on your loaf at the end. (You may choose to sprinkle with Italian seasoning, too. But it’s optional.)

The simplicity is one the things that makes this recipe really versatile and easy to replicate over and over.

How to Make Whole Wheat Dutch Oven Bread

As usual, you want to mill your grains on the finest setting. Then you’ll add 2.5 cups of hot water to a mixing bowl along with 3.5 cups of the flour.

Stir mixture and let sit for 20 minutes. I don’t skip this step very often; it really helps the grains soften as they have time to soak up the moisture.

The rest of the hot water, salt and yeast is added, along with the remaining flour. You only need enough flour to form a thick, stretchy pancake batter type of dough.

Thick, pancake batter dough that stretches when you pull it up from the bowl.

No kneading is required- just a thorough mixing until you know you’ve mixed in enough flour for the batter to hold together and not be complete soup.

The dough then goes into a covered bowl to rise for about 1 to 1.5 hours until doubled.

Bowl with lid removed and dough risen to double.

From there, you’ll turn it onto a floured surface to shape it into a loose ball shape.

Flip the dough over, smooth side up and place into your preheated / pre-greased Dutch oven.

I use a 6-quart enameled Dutch oven, but a cast iron Dutch oven works great, too.

You can even bake your bread on a baking stone or large sheet pan if you don’t have a Dutch oven. I do think the heavier pans help create a crispier crust, though.

You’ll score the dough before baking. Then place in the oven, where a bowl of steamy water on the bottom rack will create that delicious, crispy outer crust on your loaf.

Bread in preheated Dutch oven, scored with an X and ready to bake.

Bake at 450 degrees F for 30 minutes. Brush the top of the loaf with olive oil. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning if desired.

Return to oven for approximately 10 more minutes.

The important step at the end is to be sure and use a meat thermometer to reach 200 degrees in the middle of your loaf. Otherwise, it’s really easy to end up with a doughy, undercooked center once it cools.

Turn finished loaf onto a rack to cool for at least 20-30 minutes before slicing.

I use an electric serrated knife for this bread. We like to cut the loaf in half, then cut slices across each half.

This bread is softer the next day, but you can easily drizzle more olive oil over it and pop it into the oven if you want a crispy crust again the next day.

Store in a bread bag on the counter for a few days, or refrigerate to make it last for around a week.

Serve with some hearty soup, stew or pasta!

Sliced whole wheat dutch oven artisan bread

Whole Wheat Dutch Oven Bread

Yield: 1 loaf
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes

Crusty, chewy whole wheat artisan bread has the perfect texture for dipping in soups or paired with a pasta dinner.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups hard white wheat berries, freshly milled into fine flour
  • 2 cups spelt berries, freshly milled into fine flour
  • 3.5 cups hot water
  • 2.5 teaspoons salt
  • 3.5 teaspoons yeast
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions

  1. Stir the flours together. Add 2.5 cups of the hot water along with 3.5 cups of the flour to a mixing bowl. Stir just until combined (about a minute). Let sit for 20 minutes.
  2. Add another 1 cup of hot water to the mixture, along with 3 more cups of flour, 2.5 tsp salt and 3.5 tsp yeast all at once.
  3. Mix on low speed until incorporated, about 4 min. Dough should be elastic and still sticky, and will stick to the bottom of the bowl. You want it to be just incorporated enough to be combined and not a soft-looking dough as for a sandwich loaf. You’re not kneading, just mixing it. It will have a wet look to it. However, if it’s too soupy and not elastic enough, add another ¼ cup of flour at a time until you get a thicker consistency (like a thick, stretchy pancake batter--see image in post.)
  4. Place dough in a large bowl in a warm area or on top of a heating pad on low heat. Cover with saran wrap and then a tea towel. Let rise until doubled, about 1 to 1.5 hours.
  5. Near end of the rise time, preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Grease Dutch oven with 2 tbsp olive oil. Fill a large oven-proof bowl with about 4 cups of water and put it on the bottom rack of the oven. Place the greased Dutch oven on the top rack to preheat for a few minutes.
  6. Once dough has doubled, turn dough out on floured surface. Shape and gently bring all the corners to the center to form a round shape.
  7. Flip dough over, smooth-side up and place in the hot Dutch oven. Use a sharp knife to score an "X" across top of dough.
  8. Place into the oven with NO lid. Leave the bowl of water on the bottom rack while baking.
  9. Bake on 450 for 30 minutes. Take out of oven, brush with more olive oil and about a teaspoon of Italian seasoning (if desired). Place back in oven for another 10 minutes, or until internal temp reaches 200 F.
  10. Transfer immediately to a cooling rack. Let cool for at least 20 minutes. Then use an electric serrated knife for easiest cutting. Cut loaf in half, and then slice across each half.

Notes

This crusty bread is much softer on the next day, and still as delicious.

Store in a bread bag for a few days on the counter, or in the fridge for up to a week.

We like to serve ours with soups or Italian pasta dishes. It's also great with just butter or jam.

*You can substitute all hard white wheat for the spelt if desired. It will usually take less hard white wheat flour for the same amount of spelt flour, so just pay attention to consistency as you're mixing the dough and reduce the amount of flour accordingly.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 172Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 335mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 4gSugar: 1gProtein: 6g

You might also like:

Easy Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls

Fresh Milled Flour Sandwich Loaf

Easy Chicken and Dumplings

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Oatmeal Spelt Cookies

Vertical graphic with whole wheat dutch oven bread sliced in a basket with a tea towel with text "Easy Dutch Oven bread with Fresh Milled Flour"

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