Which Dutch oven for bread making is best?
If you’ve been looking for a new and more convenient way to make homemade bread, a Dutch oven may be the next best step for you. Dutch ovens are made of thick cast iron, which gets much hotter than the average bread pan material and cooks more evenly. They’re also incredibly effective and easy to use.
One of the reasons Dutch ovens are great for bread making is they trap steam in. Steam increases the volume of the loaf and lets it develop a shinier crust. The best Dutch oven for bread making is the Lodge 6-Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven.
What to know before you buy a Dutch oven for bread making
How to maintain it
Many Dutch ovens are still made from cast iron, which has to be seasoned often and can’t be cleaned like other dishes. Not only do you have to hand wash it after each use, but you have to prepare it regularly and properly store it to prevent rust.
To season your Dutch oven (which you need to do before first use), take vegetable oil and apply it to the Dutch oven. Rub it in and wipe away any excess oils. Put it in a preheated oven for an hour. Once it cools, it’s ready to use. While this may sound draining, it’s well worth it to have quality bakeware that will last for decades.
How much space you have
You don’t want to end up with a large baking dish you don’t have the room to store. If you want to display the classic piece in your kitchen or easily access it, make sure you get one that’s small enough to fit on your counter or in one of your cabinets. For breadmaking, you only need it to be between 5 and 7 quarts for a decent-sized loaf. If you want to use it for cooking large meals as well, you’ll likely need one that’s at least 8 to 10 quarts.
Where you want to use it
If you plan on taking your Dutch oven on camping trips, you may want one that’s lighter and more portable. There are several different types of Dutch ovens, one being the campfire Dutch oven. This one has three legs and is designed to sit on hot coals. They come pre-seasoned, so you don’t have to prepare it before taking it out.
If you’re using your new Dutch oven at home, you have more choices, including types and materials. If this is the start of your baking journey, make sure you have a great bread knife to serve it with.
What to look for in a quality Dutch oven for bread making
If you’re not up for the commitment of cast iron, that doesn’t mean you can’t get a quality Dutch oven for making fresh bread. Modern Dutch ovens are available in stainless steel, ceramic or enameled cast iron. Each material has its pros and cons. Stainless steel, while lighter, doesn’t retain heat as well. Ceramic is easy to use and light, but it is fragile. Enameled cast iron is the best middle-of-the-road option, as it retains heat but is easy to clean. The only downside is it tends to be more expensive.
Some Dutch ovens only have a top handle or side handles, but you can find ones with both. It comes down to what’s the most convenient for general use in your kitchen. Be sure to always protect your hands before grabbing any of them, though, as all retain heat.
Shape and depth
You can either buy a round Dutch oven or an oval Dutch oven. If you’re only using it to bake bread, the shape isn’t much of an issue unless you want your loaves to come out a specific shape. If you plan to use it on the stove as well, you may want to go with a round one that will better fit your burners. It should also be deep enough to accommodate your loaf.
How much you can expect to spend on a Dutch oven for bread making
You can spend anywhere from $100-$400 on a quality Dutch oven for bread making. Enameled cast iron tends to be on the higher end of the spectrum, while stainless steel is usually lower.
Dutch oven for bread making FAQ
How do you keep the bottom of your bread from burning?
A. If the bottoms of your loaves are burning, you may need to reduce the preheating temperature or insulate the Dutch oven from the heating elements. You can put a baking sheet or stone on the lowest rack to act as an insulator. You can then bake your bread on the middle or top shelf.
Should you score your bread before baking?
A. It depends on your skill level. Scoring bread can easily dry out the top and make it rough and crunchy. However, if you do it correctly, it can help your bread rise more evenly, which will create more uniform loaves.
What’s the best Dutch oven for bread making to buy?
Top Dutch oven for bread making
What you need to know: A smooth and versatile cooking receptacle, this Dutch oven is great for baking and serving multiple guests.
What you’ll love: This round Dutch oven is available in a few different colors and several sizes. You can use it on the stove as well as in the oven. It’s a good size and shape to easily fit in the fridge or a cabinet.
What you should consider: It’s not great for outdoor use. Some customers experienced chipping or melting paint.
Top Dutch oven for bread making for the money
What you need to know: As a sturdy camping Dutch oven, this model is pre-seasoned and perfect for making incredible food out in the woods.
What you’ll love: This oven is ready to go as soon as you receive it. It’s durable and will last you for decades of cooking to come. The material is dense and evenly heats your meal.
What you should consider: Some customers found it too heavy and unbalanced, which made it difficult to use.
Worth checking out
What you need to know: A quality Dutch oven built for easy use with extra-large handles and chip-resistant enamel.
What you’ll love: This Dutch oven is designed to withstand acidic ingredients when marinating and heat food evenly when cooking. It’s available in a number of different colors. It comes pre-seasoned and is one of the lightest cast iron options available.
What you should consider: Some customers received chipped or cracked products.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Anabelle Weissinger writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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