The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

What size Lodge cast iron Dutch oven is best for no-knead bread?

  • Pin It
cheesehappens's picture
cheesehappens

What size Lodge cast iron Dutch oven is best for no-knead bread?

After curiosity finally got the best of me, I bought the book and then read countless posts here and elsewhere without finding an answer to my question. Your help is much appreciated!


Donna Beth

b_elgar's picture
b_elgar

I find that a 5 qt is perfect for the standard Bittman/Lahey recipe.

MichaelH's picture
MichaelH

that a 5 qt. is just right. As to cost, you could spend the rest of the evening trying to save $5 on a pot that will last you the rest of your life, or you could buy one on Amazon or at Walmart and be done with it.


Good Luck.


 


Michael

staho88's picture
staho88

was on the lodge 5 qt at Target for 29.99.  Prices on DO's really can vary.  You might find a better deal on craigslist, ebay, garage sales, etc , but that is obviously hit or miss.

LindyD's picture
LindyD

At Amazon - that's the Lodge 5-quart.  Free shipping.


I agree it's great for the NK bread - also for soups, stews, etc.

staho88's picture
staho88

That one used to be $35, so they lowered their price.    Pretty good deal--preseasoned and free shipping

Jolly's picture
Jolly

If you live in Oregon:


At Bi-Mart, they have the Lodge 5-quart enameled Dutch ovens on sale for $59.00. The ones I looked at came in two colors red and blue.


I'm also interested in buying one. Can anyone tell me if the Lodge enameled Dutch oven chips. They are absolutely beautiful, the enamel coating looks really good and heavy.


 

EvaB's picture
EvaB

2 enameled dutch ovens for over 30 years, one actually a handme down from my mother, neither are lodge but while both have suffered some scratches in the enamel (DO NOT use metal spoons) they are still well enameled. Yes enamel can ship its essentially glass melted into a mass on the metal. So don't add cold water to a hot dutch oven, or hot water to a cold one, dutch ovens are cast iron, and will shatter like glass if dropped. After all that, I have cast ware that is over 150 years old still being used and in good shape.


If you can get cast enameled then its a good deal, just remember to not use metal implements on the enamel surface, make sure you don't try to pick it up without heavy gloves when hot, and try not to drop it.


If its preseasoned that is all to the good, having had to actually burn off the coating of some Chinese made stuff, and then season it myself, I would love to get a preseasoned pan! And I could actually burn it off in a wood fire out of doors, you don't want to have to do that in an apartment! The fumes are horrid.

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

In a follow-up column of Dec 6, 2006, NYT food writer Mark Bittman said he prefered a slightly smaller pot than a 5-quart.

Quote:
THE POT The size matters, but not much. I have settled on a smaller pot than Mr. Lahey has, about three or four quarts. This produces a higher loaf, which many people prefer - again, me included. I'm using cast iron.

I use a 5-quart dutch oven when I make no-knead bread. The NYT recipe makes about 1 & 1/2 pounds and I found the loaves I baked typically were about 3 inches high.


Lodge does offer 3-quart and 4-quart sizes for their cast iron dutch ovens - see http://www.lodgemfg.com/Logic-dutch-oven.asp


On the other hand, as many TFL members have pointed out, a 5-quart capacity dutch oven is a flexible size for all sorts (and shapes) of bread. Here, for example, is a loaf that I baked in my 5-quart dutch oven using a very different recipe...this loaf is about 1 pound and about 4 inches high.


ezarecor's picture
ezarecor

Interesting, I had never seen the follow-up or the comment.  I do find that a 3.5qt pot is about perfect.


I have a 5qt lodge that also works well.  I find I can get good spring and overall height in the 5qt, but a little less than in the 3.5qt.


Lahey seems to be not to concerned about the treatment of the proofed load, but I've found that placing it carefully in the pot, rather than chucking it, results in a higher rise.


Ed.

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

Do you own (or have you read) Lahey's new book? I'd like to know if he sticks with the high hydration dough that was originally popularized by the NYT article.


Bittman gave weight measurements for no-knead bread in his follow-up article - the hydration is 80%. 

Quote:
WEIGHT VS. VOLUME The original recipe contained volume measures, but for those who prefer to use weight, here are the measurements: 430 grams of flour, 345 grams of water, 1 gram of yeast and 8 grams of salt. With experience, many people will stop measuring altogether and add just enough water to make the dough almost too wet to handle.

Looking forward to your response - thanks - SF

ezarecor's picture
ezarecor

My conversion of the NY Time recipe from volume to weight has an 81% hydration.


My transcription of the "My Bread" version into my breadsheet has a hydration of 75%.  I don't remember off hand if Lahey provided the weights in the book or I calculated them.  I still have My Bread out from the library, so I'll check when I get home.


Ed.

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

thank you for taking the time to do this for a fellow TFL member. I appreciate it. - SF

ezarecor's picture
ezarecor

The hydration in "My Bread" is 75% and Lahey provides the weights.


Ed.

Frequent Flyer's picture
Frequent Flyer

I make cheddar-jalapeno loaves by this method.  I've played around with the pot size and "forms" in pots to hold a different shape to the loaves made by the Lahey method.  I use a 2 quart casserole with domed lid with good results.  I proof the loaves in baskets, invert onto parchment and lower the loaves and parchment into the heated dish.  The parchment protrudes below the lid, but seals sufficiently.


One strange thing I did a month ago was to proof a loaf in an oval brottform and place rolled and crumpled alluminum foil "ropes" (if you will) along 2 sides of a cast iron pot.  These formed an oval space in the pot in which to place the oval loaf, offering some support to it's oval shape.  I used the parchment here also and that worked well. 


I

flyboy912's picture
flyboy912

Never mind the heavy cast iron. Which I have, both bare and enameled, I have been getting better results with GraniteWare roasting pans. I use two, 11x7 inside. Covered for 10-15 minutes. No steaming, light to handle and inexpensive. I have the dough rise in a wicker basket, sitting in parchment paper which I lift out and set directly into the pan. Works great, good oven spring, and don't have a heavy dutch oven to wrestle with.

008cats's picture
008cats

I am intrigued by using the GraniteWare. Do you preheat the pan? Were your temp and times similar to what you used with the heavier cast iron?

Dillbert's picture
Dillbert

the discussion on "the best" quart size is a bit puzzling to me. 
"quart" is a measure of volume.
a pan 1/16 inch deep can be of sufficient diameter to hold "x quarts"
not all brands of "x quarts" have similar diameter and depth.

I make Bittman's original (?) no-knead - 430 grams of flour, 345 grams of water - I have a scale, I weigh the stuff - flour and water.

I use a (preheated) all metal pot - 7 inch diameter x 4 inch deep, with lid (domed) - so that may put it at 4.5-5 inch from inside bottom of pot to inside of lid

I judge my success by how close the bread comes to the lid.  a little bitty sticking to the lid is my personal definition of "perfect" - nice holes, nice crumb.

do the math
7 inch diameter x pi (3.1416) x 5 inches deep = 110 cubic inches (rounded)
231 cubic inches to the gallon, that's 1.9 quarts.

the top of the loaf is not flat; it's also domed; so the bread cubic inch volume is _not_ 110 cubic inches.

shape plays a role.  we might munch the bread as a 'side' to a meal, and then again - I like to make sandwiches.  a 7x4 inch slice of bread is kind nice for a sandwich (center slice....)


one could imagine that 430 g flour + 345 g of water (all other factors being equal... a bad assumption, but . . . ) expand to some "similar" volume.  just as success in 'shaping' a loaf adds to the degree of 'bakers satisfaction' seems to me the dimensions, not volume, of the no-knead bake pot is likewise important.

ezarecor's picture
ezarecor

I think the discussion originally focused on volume because that's how dutch ovens are typically specified ;)


That said, my theory is that a pot of smaller volume maintains a higher relative humidity during the covered bake and that higher relative humidity, to a point, contributes to better spring.  This is the hypothesis that explains what I have observed; it is far from tested -- yet.


So, my interest in pot volume has little to do with fitting the dough in.  However, with a 3.5 qt oval Le Creuset and a recipe of 400g of flour and 300g of water, I have to shape a relatively tight oval shaped loaf that grows to nearly fill the pot.  


I've been thinking of trying a loaf baked on my stone with my pot inverted on top.  I'd have more time for experiments if I wasn't always out of bread ;)


Ed.

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

The volume of a cylinder (our pot) is the height timess the area of the base.  The base's area isn't D×π, but rather the radius squared times pi.  Thus


πr²h, or 3.1416 × 3.5² × 5 = 192 in³ or .83 gal = 3.3qt.


Just picking nits. :shrug:

flyboy912's picture
flyboy912

GraniteWare is the stamped out steel stuff that is enameled and baked on. It's only drawback is that if it is dented, it chips and rusts. So----don't dent it. Yes, I leave it in the oven while the oven heats so that it is hot. But it is so light that taking it out and putting the dough in is not so risky as handling the heavy stuff. Incidently, I collect the heavy stuff and have a "ton" and am slowly getting disenchanted with it. Am building up with "Commercial Aluminum Cookware"  the precurser to Calaphan. Made in Toledo, Ohio. Wonderful stuff.

carefreebaker's picture
carefreebaker

After making many loaves of Lahey's bread in a heavy, enameled 5 qt. Dutch oven and a 2 1/2 qt. ceramic covered casserole, I bought a medium sized Graniteware roaster and a clay Romertopf baker at Goodwill. Spent $50 on the Dutch oven and $10 on the ceramic casserole. I spent $4.00 on the roaster and $8.00 on the clay baker. (Target carries the roaster for under $12.00.) I found the oven spring to be much better with both the roaster and clay baker. I also bought wicker baskets (one round and one oval) for $1.00 each at Goodwill. I use parchment paper and lift the dough instead of dump.


I found after using the Dutch oven almost daily in my oven, the rack with getting warped from the weight. I found the safest utensil to be the roaster. Lightest, easiest to handle.


I preheat both the roaster and clay baker in the oven.

marslizard's picture
marslizard

I have had great results with No Knead bread baked in a white Corning Ware 2.5 quart casserole. The result was actually better than my Le Cruset pan (bottom burned in Le Cruset).  You can get corning ware for 19.99 at Bed Bath and Beyond. Our Walmart has it for 22.96

Dragonbones's picture
Dragonbones

I'm a fan of the plain cast iron "Lodge Logic 5-Quart Double Dutch Oven and Casserole with Skillet Cover" because it's perfectly sized for a boule, even a BIG one, is big enough for a chicken, and the top can be inverted to double as a skillet, the perfect size (and weight) for a thick-crust pizza, or you can do some English muffins on it.  So 5 quarts is about right.

joyfulbaker's picture
joyfulbaker

Marslizard, hi!


How hot does the oven get initially when you use the Corning Ware casserole for your bread?  Do you reduce the heat during the bake; if so, at what point and at what temperatures?  Thanks for your help!


Joyful

Dihjet's picture
Dihjet

Hi there. I just joined this group and it looks terrific. I've NEVER baked bread before (not counting banana breads, etc.) and having just purchased a Kitchenaid, I was ready to jump in. The tons of instructions always scared me off. I live an extremely busy and hectic lifestyle and didn't think I had the time to let things rise, punch down, come back and do it again after a prescribed time, etc.


The no-knead recipe inspired me into thinking I can do it. 


Anyway, I wondered about the dutch oven size because I'd like to try and make it in my counter top oven. After reading comments here, I decided to write to the Sullivan Street Bakery. It's not a complete answer, but here's what they responded:


 


We love to hear about peoples interest in baking bread and are more then happy to assist with any questions. I have spoken with our bakers and they tell me that the size of the Dutch Oven makes no difference in the quality or taste of the bread, the only difference is the amount of dough you use and the resulting size of the loaf. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

 

 

marslizard's picture
marslizard

Joyful,


Sorry I haven't been on here for quite some time! I heat my oven to 470 degrees. I bake the bread with the lid on for 22 minutes and then bake another 9 minutes or so with the lid off at the same 470 degrees.


I bake 14 oz. boules in both the 1 1/2 quart round and 2 1/2 round casseroles. I bake a 1 lb. 11 oz. loaf in the oval 2 1/2 quart casserole --- it is a tight fit but I am aiming for a 1 1/2 lb. after baking weight. I can fit a total of 8 casseroles in my oven at a time.


I baked around 100 to 120 rounds and loaves per week from May to the middle of October and sold every last one a local farmers' markets.  So the quality and consistancy of this method has been quite good.

Eidetix's picture
Eidetix

The cap on the lid of a Lodge Dutch oven cannot take temperatures above 400 F.


On Amazon, they suggest buying the Le Creuset cap with the Lodge 5.5 quart. Screw one off and the other on, and for $10 you get a lid that can take temps up to 550, which is maximum heat on most home ovens.

Dihjet's picture
Dihjet

WOW! I wish I had read this before I just purchased the Lodge.


I saw those caps next to the Le Creuset ovens, but didn't think I needed it for the Lodge. Now I'll have to go back. Thanks so much for sharing that.


 

ezarecor's picture
ezarecor

My Lodge has a cast iron loop, no cap.  It's the five quart with the handle, which removed since it's of little use when you're not cooking over a camp fire.


For my Le Creuset, I simply cover the lid caps with aluminum foil and have never had any issues.  The reason I switched to the Lodge was that my better half didn't like the enamel in the Le Creuset getting discolored and the price was right.


Ed.

Dihjet's picture
Dihjet

As it turns out, the Lodge 5 quart I purchased has a cast iron loop like yours. There was no plastic cap. So I'm good.


I just tried the recipe but made some mistakes. However, I'm on my way to making bread. Thanks for all your advice.

Barbara Krauss's picture
Barbara Krauss

I just received my copy of Tartine Bread a few days ago and even though I already have several Le Creuset Dutch Ovens in various sizes, I went ahead and ordered the "combo" because I liked the idea of being able to place the bread on the more shallow top and cover it with the deeper 5-quart piece.  Less chance of burns that way. I chose the one without the handles.  Here is the link for the one I bought:


http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000LEXR0K/ref=oss_product


Barbara


 

joyfulbaker's picture
joyfulbaker

Thanks, marslizard.  I definitely will try the Corning.  I have a 5-qt cast iron Dutch oven and used to bake bread in it all the time, but I got tired of the weight and having just one loaf.  I've been splitting the dough and baking on the stone w/ parchment and steaming ("spritzing" actually) the oven.  But this sounds much better.  I don't do anything like your volume; your output is definitely impressive.  I have thought about farmer's markets and may give it some more thought.


Joyful

drmike's picture
drmike

Does a Corning casserole with glass cover work as well as a cast iron Dutch oven?

Mike

 

drmike's picture
drmike

I replaced the plastic knob of my Le Creuset pot lid with a stainless steel screw loop (+ washers & nuts) that I bought at Home Depot for about $5.  It works perfectly, and the lid can be easily raised using pot holders.

Darwin's picture
Darwin

A 5qt is a great all around pot, a must have for me.  The oblong dutch oven provides a bit more length. The 3qt. combo DO cooker is bread and other uses, just flip it over.  

Antilope's picture
Antilope

Enamel coated cast iron will chip eventually. I have some Griswold cast iron pieces that I use weekly and they are from 1945 (inherited family pieces) and going strong. As long as you don't subject your black cast iron to abrupt temperature changes or let it rust, it should last forever.

cmtigger's picture
cmtigger

Has anybody tried the Lodge bread pan?  I bought one on a whim today.

Antilope's picture
Antilope

but haven't used it yet. Seems well made it's heavy.