If you love sourdough bread and are looking to step up your bread baking skills, then, a Dutch oven is the best investment for you. This is an expensive kitchen appliance, but it is extremely worth it, as it will transform your bread making skills from simple to world-class.
A good Dutch oven for excellent results should possess some of the following features;
- A very heave base plus lid.
- A solid cast iron which should include handles that can handle high heat temperatures.
- It should fit the size and shape of your loaf.
- It should be well crafted with a seal in between the base and the lid to ensure that heat doesn’t escape.
Sourdough bread makes use of natural and wildly caught yeast in order for it to rise. Because this yeast is not as strong as the commercially bought yeast, sourdough bread will require all the help it can get in order to rise as needed. Therefore, baking this bread in the Dutch oven gives you the following results;
- Best oven spring – best rise in the oven.
- Best crust – thin and crispy.
- Best crumb – Open holes and airy texture.
In short, what I am trying to say is that; using a good quality Dutch oven will give you the same results in your bread, to one that has been made by professional bakers. It has an IDEAL bread baking environment.
Best Dutch Oven for Bread Making
Lodge Company is a top choice for most people, and it stands to reason that we would choose one of their most popular Dutch ovens as out best oven.
You really cannot go wrong with this company’s products, and while the cost is a bit high, the fact that it’s made of a porcelain enamel material, which is the best in the industry, makes it perfect for your bread making.
Dutch Oven Reviews
1. Lodge L8DD3 Double Dutch oven
This oven is designed to make it easy for you in the kitchen. It is actually one of a kind, and not only is it beautiful to look at, with a lovely elegant red coloring but it also the porcelain enamel makes it ideal for all meals.
Lodge is a trusted company when it comes to Dutch ovens, and most of the highest-rated products come from this company. This particular oven is pre-seasoned and ready for you to use. It has both cast iron and enamel and comes in 5-quart capacity.
It is multi-functional, which means that it can be used for more than bread baking, plus the tightly fitted lid means that it will lock the flavor and steam in the pot, ensuring your food cooks nice and slow, with excellent results.
The oven has an even distribution of heat coming from the bottom and all through the sides. Plus it has loop handles which means that it will give you a good and easy grip and doesn’t get too hot when handling it.
It is available in a variety of colors other than re, and you can choose a black or pink, or blue, whichever one you want. These sit well in any kitchen and can greatly enhance the décor.
- Large capacity of 5 quarts.
- The lid doubles as a skillet.
- It has an even heat distribution.
- This is a heavy-duty performance oven.
- It can only be hand washed.
- It has a limited warranty.
2. Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 5-1/2-Quart Round French (Dutch) Oven
I would recommend this Dutch oven because of one important quality that you shall appreciate; the plastic knob.
With most of these ovens, the possibility of getting burnt as you cook is quite high, and when you have one that ensures you can open and close it when you like is an excellent option.
The knob doesn’t get hot and can withstand very high temperatures. In fact, it can withstand up to 500 F. You must, however, ensure to cover it well with foil to prevent damage.
This Dutch oven measures 5 ½ quart, which means that it is large enough to handle most of your baking and cooking needs. The dimensions of the oven work very well in terms of its depth and diameter. You can be able to bake your bread that is both delicious and aesthetically pleasing.
The lid is sufficiently heavy and tight for baking purposes, but it is not too heavy that you cannot be able to hold it when cooking. It also retains flavor, moisture, and heat while you bake, ensuring that you have the best and most excellent results at all times.
This model is extremely convenient and comes in an assortment of colors for you to choose from. All of these make it very easy for you to enhance the look of your kitchen and make it stand out.
This product does have quite a substantial price tag on it, but it is more than worth it. So, go ahead and try it. You shall not regret it at all.
- It is easy to clean the oven.
- It has a good handle that ensures you don’t burn your fingers
- It is available in a variety of colors
- The heavy lid ensures to lock in the moisture.
- It is a good enough size for baking all types of bread.
- It is durable and long-lasting
- It is very expensive.
3. Calphalon Classic Nonstick Dutch oven:
I recommend this Dutch oven because of its price tag. This has got to be the most economical and affordable Dutch oven in the market, and anyone can afford it. It may have a simplistic design, but rest assured it will do the job for you.
Made of durable hard-anodized aluminum which is high-quality and fast-acting. It also has a dual-layered non-stick interior that makes it easy for food release and cleanup. It offers a stovetop for versatility and it is perfect for browning and searing meats.
It can also be used as a slow-cooker for perfection and it is safe for up to 450 degrees.
Large capacity – The oven has a generous capacity of 7 quarts, which is one of the largest, and for the price you have to pay for it, this oven is perfect for large families. It is also non-stick and can be used to prepare soups, chili, stews, and whole chicken recipes.
It has marks to help you save on time while in the kitchen. When preparing your favorite foods, there are measuring marks for where each should reach. It also has convenient pour spouts and a lid that is tempered that lets you pour out liquids.
Non-stick interior of the oven has a dual-layer that allows food to release with lots of ease, plus the clean up is easy when the meal is finished.
Made of hard-iodized aluminum material: the construction of this oven is high quality and makes it withstand daily use. It also ensures that it is long-lasting and durable.
Warranty: This is yet another reason why I highly recommend this oven. It has a full lifetime warranty. The company can replace any item you find defective and their workmanship is excellent. If you care for this oven according to the instructions, you shall enjoy it for many years to come.
- Reasonably priced.
- Easy to use.
- Versatile and can be used to cook a variety of dishes.
- Large capacity.
- Lifetime and full warranty.
- It is not dishwasher friendly.
4. Tramontina 80131/037DS Enameled Cast Iron Covered Round Dutch oven:
I highly recommend this Dutch oven as it has great craftsmanship, and in addition, it is made to ensure an excellent bread baking experience. The price is also perfect for an enameled cast-iron Dutch oven that you shall not find anywhere else.
It has a heavy cast iron construction that ensures a great heat distribution and retention. This offers the best conditions for bread making and ensures that all of your bread come out exactly as you want them to, each time.
It weighs just 12 pounds, which is lighter than expected, and the porcelain-enameled surface is available in a variety of colors. This ensures that you choose what you want to enhance the décor in your beautiful kitchen.
The lid also fits tightly and perfectly, trapping in all of the heat and moisture. In this way, nothing escapes, and the stainless steel knob makes it easy to hold the lid off after cooking is completed.
It has high-temperature ranges and can go up to a maximum of 450 degrees.
It has a lifetime warranty.
- It is easy to use.
- It is made of sturdy cast iron material
- It comes in a variety of shapes and sizes.
- It can withstand high temperatures.
- The enamel may chip if not well taken care of.
5. Anolon Vesta Cast Iron Cookware 5-Quart Round Covered Dutch oven:
The design. This is the reason why it is on my list. It is one of the most beautiful Dutch ovens you are going to find, and the fact that it is paprika red makes it more appealing to the eyes. Your kitchen décor shall forever be changed when you use it.
This oven fuses the best of heating technology in a singular stove style, and its performance is that of a creative cast iron cooking.
It has a sleek appearance that features wide and high sides. This pot has a sturdy porcelain enamel exterior with a stainless steel loop that is large enough and available at the top of the lid for easier lifting.
The lid is heavy and has an easy-grip, plus it’s also stable and easy to handle when hot. This oven can withstand up to 500 F temperatures, and this makes it suitable for baking bread and other types of casseroles you may be interested in.
It is stain-resistant on the inside, which prevents browning and also makes it easy to clean. The base is flat and offers an even heat distribution, with excellent results each time you cook with it.
The model comes in two distinct colors.
- It has an ergonomic design.
- It is suitable for heavy performance.
- The lid is large and heavy with a good grip.
- It comes in a beautiful color.
- Since it is very new in the market, the price may be high.
There are many Dutch ovens in the market today, and if you do not know what to look for, you might just end up confused. Here are some of the features to look out for when buying a good quality Dutch oven;
1. Shape and size of the oven:
This is probably one of the most important factors to consider. The size and the shape that you want will determine the oven you shall buy. As yourself these questions as well;
- What size of loaf do I usually make? This means volume.
- What dimensions of the rim I’m I looking for?
2. Size of loaf
If you have never baked a sourdough loaf of bread in a Dutch oven, then, you should be prepared for how large the bread will grow when baking starts. The Dutch oven you choose should be large enough to allow the bread to increase in size and not limit it.
Generally speaking, if you are making a white loaf, you should ensure to buy a Dutch oven that is four times more in size to the loaf.
Let me explain this – if you want to make a 1kg loaf of bread you shall need a Dutch oven that can handle at least 4qt or 4lts of water in volume. If you want bigger loaves of bread, then go for even bigger Dutch ovens.
You should also look for a tall Dutch oven, and one that is not shallow, because the bread rises upwards, and not outwards.
3. The shape of the oven should be same as your loaf
If you want a round bread, then choose a round Dutch oven, but always ensure to leave a little room for expansion. This should be a tall oven as the bread will expand upwards and not outwards.
In case you are unsure of the size of the loaf you wish to make, always go for the largest Dutch oven. Using the large one will ensure that you get excellent results from your bread, and a small Dutch oven will give you some disastrous results.
So, when you buy this type of oven, take time and consider the type of results you are looking for and invest in good quality, large oven that shall serve you well for a long time.
4. Type of coating:
There are two main types of Dutch ovens you are likely to find in the market;
- An enamel-coated Dutch oven.
- A cast-iron Dutch oven.
4.1 Enamel coated oven:
This type of Dutch oven has a ceramic or metallic core. Ceramic usually is a good conductor of heat and this type of coating makes it easy to use and convenient.
Enamel is sturdy and has the same level of durability as the cast iron but it eliminates the hassle of rusting and leaching which are common with cast iron. It also doesn’t need seasoning, and it is usually dishwasher safe.
Most manufacturers recommend washing enamel coated cookware by hand to ensure its longevity.
On the flip side, this type of oven is very expensive, compared to the cast iron one. The enamel can also chip and it often comes with non-metallic knobs that you cannot use when the temperatures are very high as they can burn you.
Baking bread in this oven, however, yields the most delicious results each time and has very little room for error.
4.2 Cast Iron:
Cast iron provides a piece of cookware that is both timeless and durable.
This material is a good conductor of heat and is also the most endorsed material for quality cookware by professional cooks. It can withstand high temperatures without degrading in value, and it is very useful for making different types of dishes.
If however, you want to buy a Cast Iron Dutch oven, it will need to be seasoned before use to make it non-stick.
Seasoning also prevents the food from sticking to the oven when maintaining the properties of the cast iron.
Many manufacturers, however, preseason their pots before the sale in order to make sales easy.
This type of pot, however, requires excellent care of all the pieces such as cleaning them and maintaining them in order to retain the integrity of the metal.
With excellent proper care, a Dutch oven can last many years.
For the Dutch oven to function as required, it must have a tight-fitting lid that will retain the heat and moisture and help cook the bread in the shortest time possible. Remember if the moisture leaves the pot, cooking will be halted and the results will be less than desirable.
Ensure the lid is heavy and tight-fitting.
Most Dutch ovens do not have good handles, and they can burn you if you are not careful. These ovens cook at very high temperatures, so ensure to choose one that has good handles, or use protective gloves when using the oven.
But what exactly is a Dutch oven?
A Dutch oven is a large cooking pot made of metal that acts as a simple oven when heated or when it’s placed next to large coals.
If you already have one in your kitchen, then you know the kind of workhorse this kitchen appliance really is. It is versatile cookware that can be used for more than one task such as making soups and stews and even oven-baked roasts and casseroles.
In fact, if you can make it in a conventional oven, you can probably make it in a Dutch oven as well.
The best use for this oven, however, is making sourdough bread and this is the kind of bread that comes out as artisan styled loaf but has been cooked from steam created in the Dutch oven. They normally have heavy lids that retain steam and yield a crispy bread crust.
Historically, these ovens have been used for centuries and the iron pot method is actually based on an old European cooking technique that would use clay pots.
Which is better, enamel or cast iron?
They are both okay, and in most cases, Dutch Ovens come in both materials. The enamel is good and prevents the iron from being absorbed into the food.
Typically, enameled ovens are more expensive compared to bare cast iron.
What is really so good about a Dutch oven??
This type of oven is what you would call a kitchen essential if you love baking bread. It is thick and heavy and a good conductor of heat, plus it is able to retain this heat and use it for cooking the bread and other foods slowly and at the right temperature.
You can also use this oven for so much more than just baking bread.
How does it work?
These ovens are made of cast iron material with tightly fitting lids. When seasoned, they become non-stick, and this means that they can retain heat. You need to place your dough in the oven, and then place it on a heated surface or on coals.
The oven will then heat up, and since the lid is tightly fitted, the heat shall not escape and will be used to cook the food in the oven.
Should I season the enameled cast iron after buying?
Well, in most cases, you shall find those in the market have already been seasoned. However, the enameled cast iron will not require seasoning completely. There is a thin border of cast iron that is exposed on the rim of the lid.
This is what needs to be seasoned so as to protect the surface.
Why do they have legs?
It is important for this oven to have a bottom with legs as it can stand on its own on a heated surface or on coals as you cook with it. This also raises the rim to hold hot coals.
A Dutch oven may be expensive, but it is one of those kitchen appliances that you shall appreciate having in your home.
Not only can you use it for making bread, but you can also use it to cook up your favorite slow roasts, your casseroles, and even whole chicken. This is the type of product that is extremely versatile and makes it worthy to own it.
Ensure, however, choose the right product from reputable manufacturers that I have outlined above to avoid wasting your money.
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