Once you have a good sourdough starter concocted, a whole new world of baking opens up. This prize-winning sourdough bread recipe uses a cast iron Dutch oven and charcoal.
by Leon Pantenburg
When I started competing in Dutch oven cookoffs about eleven years ago, bread was my weak dish. Every International Dutch Oven Society sanctioned cookoff requires three entries; a main dish, bread and a dessert. I decided that the best idea was to find a good traditional sourdough dinner roll recipe, practice it, and tweak it to my personal preferences.
So for weeks before competing in the 2004 world championships, I made this recipe on an almost daily basis. My kids went from “Yay!!! Sourdough dinner rolls!!!” to “Dad, why do we always have to have sourdough dinner rolls?”
I also worked with the same camp oven. I finally standardized on an 8-inch Lodge cast iron. There were several reasons for this: It was small enough to move easily, and light enough I could pick it up to do some precision browning. The oven was also just the right size to feed my family of five.
By the time I got done practicing, this recipe was a good as I could make it. One judge at the 2004 IDOS championships commented “Best sourdough flavor here!” on our evaluation sheet.
Like anything, practice makes perfect. Before I retired it from competition, this recipe had won over $500 in prize money and assorted swag in several different Dutch oven cookoffs.
Check it out – this recipe has been very good to me!
Sourdough Italian Herb Dinner Rolls
2 c sourdough starter (You can’t avoid this step: Click on how to make sourdough starter for a starter recipe.)
1 Tbs maple syrup
1 tsp sea salt
2-3 c flour
1 Tbs baking powder
1 Tbs McCormick’s Italian seasoning
1 tsp water
- Mix everything but eggs and water together and let rise for about 45 minutes (Put 2 or 3 coals on top of the camp oven lid to help the bread rise, depending on the outside temperatures.)
- Form the dough into a loaf or rolls; place in 8-inch or 10-inch Lodge shallow camp oven.
- Brush the tops of the rolls with the egg and water mixture. This will make the top brown.
- Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. (For an 8-inch oven, 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.) “