Using a dutch oven really improved my sourdough loaves



The parchment paper is unnecessary. I just plop it in there, and I’ve never had any trouble.


I really need to try this with an old, long established starter. I got a starter going myself with just flour and water, it took a couple of weeks, but the final result may have looked like a loaf of bread, but it didn’t taste that good. It had a very strange taste to it, and I figured the type of yeast that I ended up cultivating wasn’t he best for making bread.


I get pretty good results with sourdough by preheating the oven to the maxxx with a bowl of water in there, and then putting the loaf in (leaving the bowl of water) and turning it down to bread temperature. This accomplishes the same goal as the Dutch ovenlol, which is to prevent the crust from drying out too quickly.

I thought about using a Dutch ovenlol because it would be slightly simpler, but round loaves are useless to me, so I shape my loaves in a long oval banetton and bake them on a regular baking tray. The banetton has its own set of problems but when it works it works well.


The parchment paper is nice if you like to score your loaf before baking, as it sidesteps any issues with the dough sticking to your work surface while you score it after turning it out of the proofing basket.

Sometimes I skip it and score in the Dutch oven, but it’s harder to get a good angle without risking burns…


I also dislike round loaves. I’ve been making smaller oval-shaped loaves and plopping them into a round dutch oven, and they turn out alright. I’d love to get an oval-shaped dutch oven but don’t really have the space to store it…

Unfortunately my oven is a gas model, so it vents the air inside quite quickly. I’ve had no luck generating steam inside the oven without a pot to hold it.


I could have sworn I tried the plop method and my bread came out flatter - like the plopping knocked a lot of air out.


As I scrolled through the pictures, I literally was thinking, “show it cut open… show it cut open…” in a creepy “take it off!” voice.

I wanted to see some butter melting on it, too, but I’m pervy like that.


I’ve always wanted to try a dutch oven for car camping, but it’s really kind of overkill for the kind of cooking that I have the energy for after a day of walking.


So, the first thing I thought upon reading your comment was: What about the knob on the lid? because I had followed Jason’s link to Amazon to see the Lodge Dutch oven that he mentions, and it looks like this:

So I went looking further, and now I know that some Lodge Dutch ovens have lids with no knob, and it all makes sense :slight_smile: They look really handy:


Why the Dutch oven works: According to Patrick Lynch“By placing the risen bread dough into a 425°F Dutch oven, you get the massive surrounding heat of a professional oven, and in the covered pot the bread itself supplies the moisture needed to produce a great crust. Home bread bakers have two problems: home ovens don’t create or retain heat like commercial bread ovens, and home ovens don’t have the humidifier systems that professionals use to create the “crackling crusts” that artisan bread bakers treasure. Using Dutch ovens (covered metal or ceramic pots) solves both the heat and moisture problems.”


I have cooked many a loaf in a Le Creuset. That said, I prefer the Lodge 3 Quart Combo Cooker set. It’s cheap and easier to use than the Le Creuset, since you can put the dough in the skillet and cover it with the saucepan. Easier to score the top of the loaf before sticking it in the oven, too.

Plus, heating an enameled Le Creuset to 500 degrees while empty (you are pre-heating, right?) will tend to shorten its life.


I suppose one could remove the knob and support the lid on a cast iron fry pan. I haven’t used mine for years because the enamel is ruined (like all my cookware) but the underside of the lid is not ruined yet.


Don’t get me wrong, the enameled Le Crucet is [FINGERKISS] divine.

But I wouldn’t go camping with it. I’ve baked biscuits in camp with my Lodge. Fantastic tool.


But you need a peel to place the bread on the stone, don’t you? We make challah, and rise the braided dough on a sheet that then gets placed in the oven. I think we’d get more pop if we used our stone.

I’d love to make sourdough, but keeping a starter is like having another pet! As a friend once said when our kids were toddlers, “if it doesn’t cry, meow, or bark around here, it ain’t making it…”


I was about to say it doesn’t make my bread come out flatter, but then I realized what if it IS and I don’t know because I’ve always done it that way? So I’ve got some experimenting to do this weekend.


…tasty, tasty experimenting…


I use the Lodge Cast Iron Dutch oven and have been quite successful with it. The parchment paper is an essential component - without it, the bottom of the loaf practically sears before you can get the pan back in the oven


Yeah, or something you can improvise as such. I’ve got a peel, but sometimes end up using a giant spatula or flat baking sheet instead. Also, when I use the stone for baking something like a fruit galette, I cook it on baking parchment sitting atop the stone (so it just slides right off the baking sheet into the oven).

I certainly can’t keep them alive, in the long term. I end up mostly making breads that can be done with just an extra day of fermentation.


This post, and the thread here helped motivate me to make my first loaf of bread. Bought flour and yeast last night, and made a loaf of the basic no-knead bread using The Kitchn’s instructions. Just had a few slices with butter and hard salami for lunch. Mmmm, happy Bethany. Thanks, y’all :slight_smile: