The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Aluminum Dutch Oven vs Cast Iron?

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BigelowBaker's picture

Aluminum Dutch Oven vs Cast Iron?

I love baking in my cast iron dutch ovens, but i was wondering if there is any performance advantage to using cast iron vs. something lighter, like aluminum.

Anyone out there ever do a comparison?

tchism's picture

I don't think it will hold heat as long as the cast iron but should perform about the same if yo were going rouse it for bread baking. On the plus side of course it will be much lighter.

kensbread01's picture

After all, if you go with Lodge cast iron combo the combined weight is 14 lbs, not including maybe 1.5 lbs of dough...

If you cannot lift that, then don't use it. There are lighter weight combo cookers available that will make excellent bread.  I can't speak for an aluminum cooker, but that might work as well.  Try it and see if you have one then report back...

I use two hands to remove the cast iron cooker out of the oven.  I even supplement my oven mitts with work gloves underneath because the heavy weight compresses against the mitt and heat can transfer through.  Once I went to the home depot work gloves underneath, I never had a problem with too much heat on my hands.

But I like the cast iron because of how the lid just slides into place on the top and really seals in the heat and humidity necessary for making the crust.  I lighter weight system might not seal as good.  And you know when that seal is right, you can hear it  click in and feel that when you transfer into the oven, the top will not slide off.

dabrownman's picture

DO's, one is an oval, that can hold a 1,000 g loaf without touching the sides.and they all work as well as the cast iron and CI enameled pots for making breads.  The oval one came with a trivet removble on the bottom that holds the bread 1/3 " off the bottom and makes the very best bread.  You can leave the bread in there with no worries of burning the bottom and you can add a T of water to it before putting on the lid without getting the bread wet.  The rest of the DO's, including CI ones, I have to take the bread out of them to finish baking them on the stone so the bottom doesn't burn.  Aluminum is much easier to handle when hot.

Another great thing about stainless steel mixing bowls and aluminum pots is that they make great light weight cloches to cover the bread of you have a stone to bake the bread on and there is no need to mess with heave hot pots at all.  Aluminum and stainless steel  bowls heat up much faster than CI steel so you don't even have to pre heat them if you don't want to.

Except for the oval turkey roaster that we inherited, I got the other 2 large aluminum DO and the large stainless steel mixing  bowls for a whopping $5 total on dollar Thursdays at Goodwill.

Happy baking.