The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Cast Iron Dutch Oven Question

smarkley's picture

Cast Iron Dutch Oven Question


Hello all...

We would like to use our cast iron Dutch Oven for baking bread. The problem I see is, when we heat it up to 400+ degrees the Dutch Oven smokes a lot... we are using canola oil for seasoning the Dutch Oven, and I wonder if that is the problem.

Does anyone have suggestions on how we can fix this, so we can use the Dutch Oven for baking at higher temperatures? 

Thanks in advance... Steve



wally's picture

Steve -  Chances are the canola oil is the culprit.  I don't have any suggestions, other than that you'll reach a broader TFL audience for questions if you post them in the Forum rather than under Blog.


smarkley's picture

Yes... darn I JUST realized that too.. I created a blog entry rather than forum question.. 

Darn noobs...

Please delete this blog entry... Thanks, Steve


reyesron's picture

I actually don't know if I'm replying on a blog, or a forum and it don't really far as I know, and I could be wrong, you don't have to continually season cast iron.  I've only done mine once and it has stayed seasoned for years, through usage of course.  I think if you use it to bake, and it smokes, that should only happen once if you don't season it again.  Cast iron and enameled iron work really well without anything inside except maybe a couple of pinches of semolina, or wheat bran...

Jeff Whatley's picture
Jeff Whatley

Larry, you are right about the canola oil, as it has a relatively low smoking point of about 350 degrees.  Steve, I think reseasoning the pan with a good quality peanut oil would raise your smoking point at least another 100 degrees.  Another solution would be to use an enamal (Le Cuisette) Dutch oven, sprayed with Webber grill spray.  This should easily handle your 500 degrees with little or no smoke.  Good luck, Jeff

Ambimom's picture

I bake bread in my 5-quart Lodge dutch oven every week.  I pre-heat the dutch oven (covered) for 30 min at 500 degree F.  When I remove the lid to place the bread in the pot, it often is smoking.  It's the oil polymerizing to the cast iron making it non-stick.  The same thing happened (or should've happened) when you first seasoned your pan.  It's perfectly normal.

maxholloway's picture

Ambimom --

Please tell me more about your Dutch Oven baking. Do you pre-heat the DO in an oven? Do you use charcoal to maintain heat? Do you wet the dough or use some kind of steam device? I'm very interested in learning more.



Ambimom's picture

I bake no-knead sourdough every week using Lodge 5-quart dutch oven.  You can use an enamel-coated DO too, but you'll have to remove the knob and replace it with a metal knob before you bake.  The high temperatures can cause the non-metal knobs to explode in your oven.  The uncoated Lodge DO has a metal handle.

  I preheat the DO (lid on) in my regular oven at 500F for 30 minutes. Then I reduce the heat to 425F, bake bread with lid on for 45 minutes (bottom rack) and 20-25 more minutes uncovered until the internal temperature of the bread measures 210+F.  My recipe is double the size of the most other NK bread recipes.  You'll have to find what works best for your oven.

My breadmaking is strictly indoors.  I wouldn't begin to know how to do it in a campfire with no I don't use coals.  Alton Brown did an eipisode on Good Eats, "Going Dutch," which is available on Youtube.

By cooking the bread in a covered Dutch oven inside a regular oven, there is a simulation of a commerical steam injection oven so no need to spray.  The dough is fairly moist.

There are thousands of recipes for no-knead bread all over the Internet.  The one I use works for me, but every oven is different as will be the ingredients you use.  Find a combination that works, except I recommend investing in a scale for measuring by weight (either grams or ounces) and  not by volume.

smarkley's picture

Thanks for all the great Suggestions, Everyone. I have not had the time to try them yet... darn real life is too busy! Heh heh... 

At this point my plan is to heat the dutch up to 500 and let whatever oil is in there burn out.

Thanks again!


smarkley's picture

In case anyone is following this thread...

Yesterday I cranked the oven up to 500 and put the Dutch Oven in... after two cycles of hitting the 500 degree mark, I opened it up... it smoked a little and was done!

So I tossed in my Steel Cut Oat Bread... and it turned out great (sorry no pictures) -- so now I am off and running on the dutch and will not season it again, like you do for camp cooking.

Thanks again, for all the suggestions -- Steve