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Dutch Oven or other recommendations

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    Dutch Oven or other recommendations

    Hey all,

    My wife has recently gotten into baking bread, and she really likes it. So far we've only really done the Jim Lahey no-knead bread recipe with a single foray into a loaf bread, but she's taken off with it once she discovered how easy it was for her to do herself. As a point of reference, she currently has three things of dough ready for baking (you may notice I don't know any of the lingo yet).

    We've been using an enamel-coated 6-qt dutch oven for baking the bread, and it has worked well. The problem comes in last week when she used the same dutch oven for two or three loaves in a row without cleaning and reheating in between. Some stuff got baked on, turned black, and when it was finally removed it took some enamel coating with it. We don't want enamel getting into our food, so we've gotten rid of it. The better half is also now looking for something without a coating that may break off into food.

    So now I'm looking for something new to bake bread. I'm thinking cast iron because I used our previous dutch oven for making soups and chili as well, but I'm open to suggestions. And if we go with cast iron, is there one you recommend? Lodge? What size, what style lid, etc?

    Thanks in advance

    For round loaves, you could get the Lodge Combo Cooker: https://www.lodgecastiron.com/produc...ooker?sku=LCC3

    It was a few advantages....

    1) It's very easy to put the dough on the bottom, flat part. You're not reaching into a 500F cast iron vessel.
    2) You can cover that with the dutch oven part and it will capture the moisture in the loaf for steam. You can them remove that to finish without steam.
    3) It's just cast iron. No enamel etc.

    What I find easiest is to proof the dough in a basket, then turns out onto a piece of parchment paper that's on a pizza peel. Then simply slide that on to the bottom of the combo cooker and cover.

    Another option is this, which is similar but ceramic: https://breadtopia.com/store/breadto...o-bread-baker/. The Lodge doesnt hold batards as well as this seems to (I have a Lodge, not this one)

    Breadtopia is a good place for all kinds of supplies, too. See their full set of baking vessels here https://breadtopia.com/product-categ...aking-vessels/


    • PBCDad
      PBCDad commented
      Editing a comment
      I'm not great with visualizing sizes, but the one you linked is only 3.2 quarts which is half the size of a standard dutch oven. Is that big enough for breadmaking, and does it limit it to only making bread or is it still versatile for other cooks?

      I have a 12" Lodge skillet so I'm already prepared to do additional seasoning.

      Thanks for the Breadtopia link too!

    • rickgregory
      rickgregory commented
      Editing a comment
      PBCDad - The Lodge is 9-3/4" across (usable space, there's a lip for the cooker to rest on). Really large loaves would require something bigger, but this fits a surprising number of round loaves.

      If she gets really serious about baking, you'll end up with a couple of baking vessels and assorted other stuff. It's like smoking - the more you do it, the more MCS kicks in.
      Last edited by rickgregory; February 26, 2021, 04:10 PM.

    • Sam6687
      Sam6687 commented
      Editing a comment
      For sure the combo cooker is the way to go. i have this and a lodge 5qt dutch oven, the combo cooker is much easier getting the bread in and out of but both bake up great bread.

    Funny you should ask. I have THIS ONE from Lodge ... which works especially well (no burnt knuckles) if you invert it for baking:

    Click image for larger version  Name:	DB3562DC-DDDB-491C-A031-D56D7568909B_1_201_a.jpeg Views:	0 Size:	2.04 MB ID:	995909

    Click image for larger version  Name:	D21DB700-324E-4528-B607-B7C6ED4FBBB2_1_201_a.jpeg Views:	0 Size:	2.24 MB ID:	995910

    ​​​​​​​I do believe that rickgregory and I may have been typing about the same DO at the same time ... (great minds) ...
    Last edited by MBMorgan; February 26, 2021, 02:44 PM.


    • RonB
      RonB commented
      Editing a comment
      That's one of the ones I have, and use the most.

    • PBCDad
      PBCDad commented
      Editing a comment
      This one was recommended on a website for baking bread, and at 5 qt seems a better size. It's out of stock on Amazon but I may get this one off the Lodge website

    • mnavarre
      mnavarre commented
      Editing a comment
      This is what I use for baking also. It's also my favorite pot for making beans and the skillet/lid is the perfect size for frying tortillas.

    The advice above may well take me to buying a combo cooker.

    But, for when she moves on to other crusty style loaves that don't cook in a Dutch oven, I enjoy using my Lodge 14 inch cast iron pizza pan with a Lodge skillet under it to pour water into for the steam. As above, a pizza peel and parchment paper make it easy to load. I do, however, use my heavy duty Pitmaker gloves to handle these items that have preheated for so long.

    And then she can move on to pizza, too!


      The only downside of the Lodge is that it's not oblong and some oblong loaves wont fit (some will of course). In that case, hit up the Breadtopia site above for cloches that are specific to oblong loaves.

      Something that isn't obvious about the Lodge, is that the flat bit is THICK and could easily be preheated and serve as a small pizza 'stone'. I use it to cook bacon, etc too. It's definitely not an all purpose skillet since it is quite thick and holds heat... but for things where you want that (searing steaks etc) it's useful.
      Last edited by rickgregory; February 26, 2021, 03:30 PM.


        You can also do what I sometimes do. I have a baking stone in the oven. I invert a large stainless steel bowl on that to create a dome oven. Cheap, but effective.

        I also have a Dutch oven with a skillet lid, but I can’t give you a link because it is now unavailable.


        • Willy
          Willy commented
          Editing a comment
          I do this too, and it is much easier than maneuvering "heavy" cast iron pieces. I added a METAL (cuz...no melt--LOL) cabinet pull to the outside of the bottom of the bowl to make it easier to lift the bowl off--just drill a hole through bowl bottom and screw/bolt the pull in place. A baking stone (or steel) and a stainless bowl--my bowl came from a 4-piece Costco mixing bowl set--and you're set to bake bread!

        Saw this set on sale at Walmart. I may need to go pick this up.



        • Thunder77
          Thunder77 commented
          Editing a comment
          Looks nice, but I have all the CI skillets that I need! 😎

        I've used a DO with great success, but prefer a cloche.

        Click image for larger version

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        • MBMorgan
          MBMorgan commented
          Editing a comment
          I was gifted a very nice cloche that I've tried a few times without a great deal of success (not the cloche's fault). It's fairly large and I normally bake pretty high hydration bread (75% is typical) so the squishy boule has a tendency to spread out too much ... which gives me more of a very tasty sourdough pancake than a proper loaf. The smaller-diameter 5 qt. DO does a better (for me) job of containing the spread ... so it gets used while the poor cloche gathers dust in storage.
          Last edited by MBMorgan; February 26, 2021, 10:17 PM.

        You should be using parchment paper. The method I like has you line a bowl with parchment paper, and the dough goes in that, covered, while the Dutch oven heats up. It rises a bit. Then you lift if out with the parchment and into the Dutch Oven. When baking is done you lift it out with the parchment. Neither the bowl or the DO touches the dough so there is no cleanup for either.

        This video shows it:



        • PBCDad
          PBCDad commented
          Editing a comment
          We did it that way the first few times we made bread, but we noticed the bread is noticeably flatter with the parchment paper. It's probably to do with our process, but cornmeal in the DO got a better rise while baking.

        • mgaretz
          mgaretz commented
          Editing a comment
          Likely not due to the parchment. I get varying degrees of rise all the time and I always use parchment. You could combine cornmeal and the parchment. I have thought of doing that since I usually bake rye, but haven't tried it yet. Maybe on the next batch.

        I am using this Lodge: https://amzn.to/3bN1fxm


        • jfmorris
          jfmorris commented
          Editing a comment
          I have the same basic one but with the wire bail handle.

        If you have a stone or steel you can bake on that with no containment. You just have to augment the humidity. You can do this by putting a sheet pan in the oven where it won’t interfere and adding a cup of hot water to that pan right when you add the dough.


          I second the recommendation for a Lodge 5 quart cast iron dutch oven. I originally asked my wife for the 7 quart model and am so glad she got the 5 quart instead. Mine has the bail handle which stays cool on the stove for picking it up and moving it without a pot holder. I use mine for bread, stews, chili, frying, etc. works great on the grill, stove top and in the oven.

          I have a Misen 7 quart enameled one on the way at some point from their recent Kickstarter. I doubt their enamel will be coming off.

          We often use the same no knead recipe to make loaves of bread, baked on parchment paper uncontained on a baking sheet. I just cut the baking time from 50 to 30 minutes when doing that.


            I have this one - my wife got it at the local Academy:



            • klflowers
              klflowers commented
              Editing a comment
              That's the one I have too. I got it at the factory store in South Pittsburg. If you haven't been to the Lodge open house they do during the cornbread festival, you should plan to take it post coved. It is interesting, then they funnel you straight to the store, which is not a good thing lol

            • jfmorris
              jfmorris commented
              Editing a comment
              klflowers the cornbread festival is on my list of things to do. I drove through South Pittsburg last Wednesday going and coming from Chattanooga. I really want to do the factory tour at Lodge during the festival.

            I recommend what Thunder77 wrote at Post #6.


              The advantage of the dutch oven technique is just that it lets you more easily control when you stop with the steam. It will be limited by when you remove the lid (or the cooker in the case of the lodge, so if you want to bake with steam for 25 minutes, you can remove the lid then and the minimal moisture there will quickly dissipate.

              Whether this is important... eh. If you have a baking steel, the inverted stainless bowl over the loaf works just fine. So does adding a pan with water and letting that steam away.
              Last edited by rickgregory; March 1, 2021, 12:53 PM.



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