All About Dutch Ovens And Bread Baking
A Dutch oven is a cast iron, heavy-lidded pot, with many uses.
Its a versatile cooking tool that can bake or boil, on the stovetop, in the oven, or even on a campfire.
Youre here to find a Dutch oven for baking bread. Yet its always helpful to be able to repurpose your cookware. Why keep a separate pot if you want to cook up a stew or even a pot of gumbo?
Preheat Dutch Oven & Bake
Right before you pull the dough out of the bowl, place the dutch oven into the oven and preheat it to 450 degrees F. Placing the artisan bread dough into the warm dutch oven results in a golden-brown crispy crust. When the oven is preheated, carefully remove the heated dutch oven from the oven, spray with cooking spray and put the dough inside.
Quart Staub Oval Cocotte
|Materials||Cast iron and enamel|
The round shape of most Dutch ovens makes baking an oval loaf almost impossible. However, the Staub 5.75 quart Cocotte is oval-shaped and has the same properties as the Lodge . This pot is a workhorse here in my kitchen, and I’ve made countless loaves and meals in it, yet it still looks the same as the day I bought it.
Note that it might be best to preheat this pot at a lower temperature of 450°F , or skip the preheat of the pot entirely , if you’re worried the external enamel might crack.
This pot is larger than the Lodge, above, and I’ve been able to fit oval loaves weighing up to 1000g without issue.
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Calphalon Classic Nonstick Dutch Oven With Cover
The dutch oven from Calphalon is a great pick primarily for its nonstick properties. It has a dual layer of nonstick materials that makes removal stress-free, keeping the bottom of your bread loaf nice and in tact as you take it out. Calphalons Classic Nonstick Dutch Oven is also oven safe up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, and has a tempered glass, clear lid so that you can track the progress of your bread as its baking.
Its also 7 quarts, one of the largest on the list. This lets you make large loaves for big crowds with ease. With its hard-anodized aluminum construction, this dutch oven is also very durable and conducts heat very efficiently, ensuring an evenly browned crust.
Aside from baking bread, this is also a convenient kitchen tool for all other kinds of dishes. It has convenient measuring marks inside the pot, as well as pour spouts on the side of the pot and even a straining lid! This makes it perfect for stews, meats, pastas, and of course, bread.
The only downside to this dutch oven is that due to its nonstick coating, you can only use nylon coated or wooden cooking tools so that you dont scratch the surface and potentially release harmful chemicals.
How To Pick The Right Type Of Dutch Oven
Picking the right dutch oven for your kitchen is a very personal choice and really comes down to what you will be using it for, and how much you are willing to spend.
Prices for dutch ovens start at about $50 and can go all the way up to $400 plus. Price can make a big difference in the quality of the cookware. I started off with a much cheaper brand and by year 5 was already replacing it. My dutch ovens now are on the more expensive side but will be passed on to my kids someday.
When it comes to picking the right dutch oven for your cooking and baking needs here are a few things to keep in mind.
What do you like to cook the most? Is it a lot of acidic foods?
What temps are you cooking at? On the stove, oven, or campfire?
Do you want easy care?
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Types Of Dutch Ovens Compared
Dutch oven is a broad term, meaning there are lots of different types used for various purposes. Most dutch ovens are used either inside or outside, but there are some unique styles as well.
Outdoor Dutch Oven
Outdoor dutch ovens are made for campfires. Theyre made of a thick cast iron thats often sturdier, but less polished than an indoor product. They have sturdy legs on the bottom too, allowing you to set the dutch oven right in the coals of the fire.
Indoor Dutch Oven
Most dutch ovens are found inside, which is likely what type youll be using to make bread. Theyre still made of cast iron, but theyre usually covered in an enamel finish. While theyre not suitable for outdoor use, theyre great for all types of indoor ovens and stovetops.
Special Types of Dutch Ovens
Depending on where you are in the world, dutch ovens come in different styles and with unique purposes. Here are some special types of dutch ovens:
- Bedourie an Australian dutch oven with sides that are flatter than other varieties.
- Potjie this South African version has a round bottom and wire handle, meant for hanging over a fire.
- Chungun a vase-shaped indoor dutch oven, used in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
- Tetsunabe a Japanese dutch oven used for soups and stews.
For bread-making, stick to an indoor dutch oven of ideal size. Yet, if youre interested in making other dishes, you might be curious about other types. After all, every dutch oven has cooking benefits.
Best Dutch Ovens For Sourdough
Have you ever tried to bake bread in a Dutch oven? It results in some of the most perfectly browned, crispy crusted bread with the airiest crumb you have ever seen.
However, although they might seem straight-forward in design, there are quite a few requirements to bake this infamous bread.
Although sourdough is delicious and the steps seem simple, it is a very technical and specific bread to make. You definitely want to use the right oven so your efforts dont go to waste.
So, what are the best Dutch ovens to bake sourdough in? A Dutch oven for baking sourdough should have a flat bottom, tightly sealing lid, and a capacity of 4-7 quarts to ensure room for a good-sized loaf and space for the oven spring. A pre-seasoned Dutch oven is also ideal as it prevents rust.
Below we have listed our top 7 ranked Dutch ovens that will take your sourdough game to the next level.
In this article, we will discuss everything Dutch oven, from what it is, the types there are and the checklist it needs to adhere to, to bake perfect sourdough loaves.
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What Size Dutch Oven Is Best For Baking Bread
The best size Dutch oven for baking bread, as well as no-knead bread, is a Dutch oven between the sizes of 5-quart and 7.5-quart to accommodate the standard loaf of bread recipe.
Why? Because the round shape of 5-quart to 7.5-quart provides plenty of room for the loaf to rise, form, and crust.
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Dutch Oven Requirements For Baking Sourdough
Now that we know the two types of Dutch ovens for sourdough baking, lets look at some important characteristics your Dutch oven should have:
- Whether you are using an outdoor or indoor Dutch oven, it needs to have a flat-bottom. This will help evenly distribute the heat and allow the dough to rise and bake evenly.
- It needs to hold 4 to 7 quarts in capacity . This will allow the dough to have enough space to rise without touching the lid. The vessel also needs to be deep to prevent the dough from rising to the top.
- You need to use a vessel of the same shape that you want your loaf to be in. If you want to make an oval-shaped loaf, you need to use an oval-shaped pot. The same goes for any other shape.
- There needs to be a tight seal between the base and the lid to prevent any steam from escaping. Steam helps promote oven spring, especially in sourdoughs.
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Can You Bake Bread In Enameled Cast Iron
Yes, you can bake bread in an enameled cast-iron Dutch oven because it will heat up to the temperatures required to make the perfect loaf. When covered the Dutch oven will allow the moisture to steam causing the final rise of the loaf. You will also get the wonderful crisp crust when finishing off the loaf.
Is Cast Iron Cookware The Safest
As long as you dont have children under 6 and dont suffer from hemochromatosis , then cast iron cookware is probably the safest type of cookware. You will get a little iron leaching into your food which is not a bad thing.
Thats not to say that other cookware is dangerousit mostly isnt, there are some questions, but regulators wont knowingly allow dangerous cookware on the market.
Just make sure, whether buying a cast iron pan or any other type, to buy from a reputable vendor.
That being said, heavy cast iron Dutch ovens also have advantages around heat and moisture retention when it comes to baking bread.
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Material Cast Iron Or Enameled Cookware
The material is the most important factor to consider when choosing a Dutch oven. Cast iron is sturdy and doesnt corrode or rust, but it is heavy and needs to be hand-washed.
Enameled cookware, on the other hand, is lighter and can go in the dishwasher. Plus, it has a beautiful finish that resists scratching. The downside of enameled cookware is that it cant take as much heat like cast iron cookware.
Enameled Dutch ovens are also more expensive than cast-iron counterparts, so theyre not necessarily worth the extra cost unless you have the money to spare!
What Dutch Oven Shape Is Best Oval Vs Round
Dutch ovens commonly come in both a perfectly-round circle shape and an oblong oval shape. A representative from Le Creuset tells us that the round shape is more popular than the oval shape. “A round fits much better on a burner, which means more even heating,” says Senior Food Editor Anna Stockwell.
However, Anna says if you see yourself cooking lots of roasts, there are advantages to the oval shapesome cuts of meat, like a leg of lamb, would fit better in an oval shape.
For versatility’s sake, the round shape is the best option for most people as it will offer even heating on any stove setup and work for a variety of tasks.
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Enameled Vs Cast Iron Dutch Oven For Bread
Enamel cast iron is convenient and highly durable, where the enamel coating is used to protect the cast iron from any corrosion or damage. It makes it easier to clean and to cook on high heat.
Thinking- CAN you bake bread in enameled cast iron?
Enameled cast iron oven has a longer lifespan than the cast iron oven. Some people are curious about the enamel because it contains toxic chemicals that may negatively affect your health.
But no need to worry-BECAUSE it is entirely safe, there is no poisonous chemical.
It is made of clay coating that can leach lead, but it is safe, and there is no issue using it for cookware. You can easily bake the bread in an Enamel oven with a better experience than the cast iron oven. Cast-iron ovens are also suitable for cooking, but their life span is less than the enameled oven.
Enameled ovens are more costly than cast iron. Also, you can pick one based on your budget. But if we compare them regarding bread taste, there is not much difference in taste for baking the bread in both.
There is no better tool to use for baking bread than a Dutch oven.
But you need a careful selection of the size of the oven because the size of the oven matters with the bread baking experience.
What size dutch oven should I use for baking bread?
You can select different sizes based on your servings.
Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Another amazing Dutch oven from Lodge, only this time it is one of their enamel-coated products.
This 6-quart blue Dutch oven has some of the most and highest-reviewed products on Amazon for Dutch ovens.
It is the perfect size for a not-too-small, but not-too-big sourdough loaf with a perfect design: flat-bottomed round and deep vessel with sturdy handles and a convenient pot lid.
This Dutch oven is a very well pierced Dutch oven with amazing heat distribution capabilities and a stylishly modern look for any home you wont be disappointed in this product!
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The Best Dutch Oven For Baking Bread
March 22, 2022 by
The best dutch oven for baking bread right in your own home. Using a dutch oven is the best and easiest way to create your own bakery-style sourdough bread right in your own kitchen. But what is a dutch oven? Why is it so great? What size do you need? Where do you even start? This guide is a complete look into how a dutch oven works, different types, sizes, uses, and which one is best for your bread baking needs.
Are you an aspiring home bread baker? Have you been baking for a while now and want to take your bread to the next level? Maybe you are thinking there has got to be a better and easier way to get the best oven spring out of your loaves of bread. I’m here to answer all those questions and guide you into selecting the right baking vessel for your bread baking needs. But first, a fun little history lesson:
When Julia Child was perfecting her homemade french bread recipe to share in her second cookbook: Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume 2. She tried over and over again to come up with a technique to get that same rise as her favorite French bakeries. Soft and fluffy bread with a crispy exterior crust. Much more complex than the bread that home bakers were making at the time.
But what is this amazing piece of cookware and how does it work?
When Does A Medium Dutch Oven Work Best
A 6-quart Dutch oven is considered a medium Dutch oven. You might call this size your all-purpose Dutch oven because it can fit a variety of scenarios. Its not so big that it feels cumbersome yet not so small as to be limiting.
This versatile style of a Dutch oven can work for a variety of situations and fits perfectly into everyday cooking you know those recipes we make over and over the ones we can make in our sleep.
Some of the foods that you can cook in a medium Dutch oven include:
Youd consider this the all-purpose Dutch oven that youd use more often than a mini-Dutch oven or a large Dutch oven.
It has enough room, can withstand high temperatures, works for cooking most dishes and you will use it for a long time. Hopefully, this highlights what you can do with each size to determine your choice.
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What Criteria To Consider
To accommodate most recipes for a round boule loaf, look for a Dutch with a capacity between 5 and 7 quarts. Anything smaller and the loaf wont have enough headspace to rise, and in larger pots, dough can spread out to create a flat versus lofty loaf.
Heavy, thick-walled Dutch ovens are best for bread-baking. Thick walls translate to better heat-retention, which is critical for getting even browning on your loaf. A Dutch oven of at least 10 pounds is ideal, and since this weight can make transporting it in and out of the oven a challenge, make sure it has handles for easy lifting.
Some Dutch ovens come with clear glass lids, but for the purposes of baking bread, you should avoid these. A solid lid with a heat-proof knob will provide maximum heat retention during baking. And speaking of heat, seek out a Dutch oven that is able to withstand high temperatures of 400 degrees Fahrenheit or above.
No Knead Bread: Ingredients & Substituions
It only takes 4 ingredients to make this drool-worthy artisan bread. And I don’t recommend making any substitutions.
- All-purpose flour. You can replace up to 1 cup of the flour with white whole wheat flour, but I don’t recommend making any other changes. This dutch oven bread is best when made with all-purpose flour.
- Sea salt. I recommend pure, fine sea salt for the best outcome!
- Yeast. Active dry yeast is the best choice for this no knead bread recipe, however you can use rapid rise yeast but you will still need to let it rise overnight.
- Water. Make sure to use warm water . It should feel warm to the touch but not hot.
- Optional mix-ins. If you’d like to create fun varieties, try mixing in parmesan cheese, fresh herbs, roasted garlic, etc.
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Best American Made: Finex Cast Iron Dutch Oven 5 Qt
Hand-crafted in Portland, Oregon, each Finex Cast Iron Dutch Oven 5 Qt is pre-seasoned with organic flaxseed oil and features a non-stick, rust-resistant bronze finish. This is the best Dutch oven for bread baking made in America, featuring a unique octagonal shape for mess-free pouring. Thanks to the dual quick-cooling, stainless-steel spring handles, you dont have to worry about losing your grip on one of the best Dutch ovens for bread baking, either!