Season your cast iron dutch oven before cooking to ensure a stick-free pot for a perfect result.
by Leon Pantenburg
When I started competing in Dutch oven competitions in 2000, bread was my weak dish. Every International Dutch Oven Society sanctioned cooking competition requires three entries; a main dish, bread and a dessert. I decided that the best plan for my competitive attack was to find a good sourdough dinner roll recipe, and with practice I could perfect it.
So for weeks before competing in the 2004 IDOS World Championships, I made this recipe below on an almost daily basis. My kids went from “Yay!!! Sourdough dinner rolls!!!” to “Dad, why do we always have sourdough dinner rolls?”
I also worked with the same dutch oven that I planned to use in the competition. I finally standardized my recipe on an 8-inch Lodge cast iron, handled skillet/oven. It was small enough to handle easily, and light enough to pick up for some precision browning. The oven is also just the right size to feed my family of five.
By the time I had finished tweaking the recipe, by adding Italian herbs, it was a good as I could make it. The smell while baking is amazing. One judge at the 2004 IDOS championships commented on the evaluation sheet, “Best sourdough flavor here!”. Before I retired from competition, this recipe had won over $500 in prize money and assorted swag in a variety of competitions nationally and around our region.
You can use this recipe in a campfire dutch oven setting, or in a conventional oven.
Sourdough Italian Herb Dinner Rolls
You always increase the nutrition and flavor by using organic ingredients, as suggested in the links.
1 Tbs maple syrup
1 tsp sea salt
2-3 C. flour
1 Tbs baking powder
1 Tbs McCormick’s Italian seasoning (or use your proprietary Italian blend)
1 tsp water
- Add to the sourdough starter, the maple syrup, sea salt, flour, baking powder and herb blend. In other words, put everything together, but the eggs and water, and let rise in a warm spot for about 45 minutes (For Dutch Oven cooking, place 2 or 3 coals on top of the camp oven lid to help the bread rise, depending on the outside temperatures.)
- Lightly form the dough into a loaf or rolls; place in 8-inch or 10-inch shallow Dutch Oven or conventional cast iron or glass baking dish.
- Brush the tops of the rolls with the egg and water mixture. This will allow the rolls to brown up.
- Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. (For an 8-inch Dutch Oven and camp cooking, place about 6 coals on the bottom and 10 to 12 on the top. For a 10-inch oven, use 8 coals on the bottom and 12 to 14 on the top.)
I HIGHLY RECOMMEND AZURE MARKET ORGANIC FLOURS, INCLUDING ANCIENT GRAINS AND LEGUME FLOURS.