The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Cast Iron Dutch Oven Question

smarkley's picture
smarkley

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? 


Sorry all for double posts.. I made a blog entry by accident :(


Thanks in advance... Steve


holds99's picture
holds99

Steve,


I use a Dutch oven regularly for artisan boules of all types.  A while back I posted a blog on how I use my Dutch oven.  I preheat my Dutch oven to 500 deg. in the oven and use parchment under my loaves during proofing. Leave enough parchment on each side so you can easlily lift the dough from the pan (placed next to the hot Dutch oven, where they do the final fermentation and place them into the preheated Dutch ovens.  Use oven mitts so as not to get burned when handling the hot Dutch ovens.  Bake with the lid on and remove the lid during the final 10 minutes of baking in order to get the tops nice and brown. Here's a link:


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/7967/hamelman039s-light-rye-baked-dutch-oven


Good luck with your baking.


Howard


EDIT: Re: Curing your Dutch oven.  If you're using your Dutch oven exclusively for baking there is no need to cure it (lightly coating the inside of the Dutch oven with oil and placing it in a very hot oven to seal any pores in the metal).  The reason for curing a Dutch oven, or any cast iron pot, pan, or steel wok is to seal the inside surface (bottom and sides) to keep meat from sticking to the bottom and sides when you sear it i.e. preparing bouf bourgonion, coq au vin, searing meat in a wok, etc. 


If a cast iron cooking vessel is cured properly it won't give off any smoke unless new oil is added.  If you're planning on using your Dutch oven exclusively for baking, I wouldn't advise curing it.  Curing is not necessary when using parchment paper under your loaves when baking your bread.  Without parchment paper under your loaves you risk having your loaves sticking to the bottom and sides, even in a cured vessel.  Any smoking oil in the Dutch oven is likely to impart an undesired taste/flavor onto and into your loaves.  Anyway, see the link I posted. 

JavaGuy's picture
JavaGuy

You probably have oil on the dutch oven. Try using a grill to get rid of the smoking. Just wipe it down with a dry paper towel first to remove any excess oil, set the grill on medium low and leave it until it's done smoking.


As an added bonus, the coat of oil will 'carbonize' and make a non-stick coating. If you don't use your cast iron frequently, you should give them a light coat of cooking oil and bake them on the grill once a year.


I had to do this once with a baking stone that a family member decided to use for baking cookies. It smoked for an hour, but now it works fine. Although, it's now relugated for permanent grill duty. Works great for pizza and flatbread.

rockfish42's picture
rockfish42

There are very few oils that won't smoke at those temps, your best best is to minimize how much oil you're leaving on the oven. I generally rub my CI pans down with a bit of palm shortening and then buff "dry" with a paper towel to remove excess. You only need a very thin coating to keep rust at bay and this gives a better seasoning over time I've found.

Jazzdad's picture
Jazzdad

I've tried all kinds of oils in seasoning my CI and woks and I find the one that leaves the best carbonized coating is lard once its carbonized normal cooking only adds to this base if you've oiled then you must temper in a hot oven to carbonize before baking to avoid smoking your bread I'd surmise.

RiverWalker's picture
RiverWalker

shouldn't the oil/fat used in seasoning, be brought past the smoking point, in the process of seasoning?

rockfish42's picture
rockfish42

Yes, for seasoning purposes you want the oil to smoke. I think smarkley was asking about the fact that his already seasoned dutch oven was smoking when he heated it up for bread baking.

yozzause's picture
yozzause

When camp ovens are brand new it is best to burn them in an open fire to get rid of  any coating that is applied in the manufacturing and transportation stage. i have been told that by people that use them almost daily that the trick is to then boil up a pot of potatoe peelings first then after that just a quick wipe with an oil rag at the end of each cooking and  baking session and they will last a long long time.


regards yozza

Jazzdad's picture
Jazzdad

on the rag if you don't mind me asking? I've never heard of the boiled potato peelings that's a new one on me I'll have to try it. Thanks 


Best regards, Steve

rockfish42's picture
rockfish42

I've seen similar instructions on carbon steel pans, supposedly the starch acts as a catalyst for the polymerization of the fat. Cooking roux in a cast iron skillet seems to season them much faster than just frying by itself.

BettyR's picture
BettyR

the cooking roux. I've done that for years and it seasons cast iron quicker than anything.

Jazzdad's picture
Jazzdad

to sop up the file gumbo. Kind of makes me wish I had a CI pan that needed seasoning. Mine are never washed with soap either. Thanks for the info about the roux, of course roux has butter in it, along with the starch of the flour.  Steve

smarkley's picture
smarkley

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!


Steve

BettyR's picture
BettyR

you turn the pan upside down so the oil doesn't pool and make a sticky mess inside the pan. If you have any way of heating the pan outside that would probably be the best thing for you to do so you don't smoke up your house.