The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Lodge Dutch Oven

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meetmike's picture
meetmike

Lodge Dutch Oven

Got a 5 quart Lodge pre-seasoned Dutch Oven arriving from Amazon (best price, no shipping fee!) solely for "My Bread" recipe use. Did the bread before in vintage Le Crueset lidded pot: bread turned out exactly as represented, but pot bottom less than happy with temps 475+. So for those of you who have trod this path before me with Lodge cast iron, do you have any tips that will make my baking trouble free? For instance, I'm wondering if the pot will off-gas on first use, so maybe I should heat it up the first time sans dough? All thoughts appreciated. Mike in Maine

Ambimom's picture
Ambimom

Move your oven rack up a notch so it is not too close to the bottom of the oven.  The closer to the bottom, the more likely the bottom crust will burn or be too hard to cut easily.   I typically preheat the Lodge at 500 degrees F and then lower temp to 450 when I put the dough in.


My bread dough rises in an ordinary skillet lined with greased parchment.  I lift the parchment to lower into the dutch oven to bake covered (dough and parchment) for 30-40 min at 450.  Uncover and finish baking for 20 to 30 min.


Every oven is different as are ingredients.  


BTW, Walmart sells Lodge at very reasonable prices.

meetmike's picture
meetmike

Hi Ambimom:


Thanks for great tips! You're message reminded me that previous loaves were really hard to cut through bottom. If not necessarily burnt, the loaves did stick to the bottom of the pans, and getting that stuck bits of crust off a real chore. That's why I love your greased parchment solution, which also solves the major problem of transferring the risen loaf into that really hot pan--I recall a bit of panic there. Also, now I don't have to explain to my wife why I need those only-linen-will-do towels.


Mike in Maine


 


 

SCruz's picture
SCruz

I use parchment too, but don't grease it. It has never stuck.


Sometimes I put the parchment on the insert for a small springform pan -- a little bit smaller than the diameter of the dutch oven -- and set the insert in with the parchment and bread. It gives me something to hold onto, and with an oven mit I can lower it pretty easily.


Are you using it for all your breads in place of misting and oven stones?


Jerry

meetmike's picture
meetmike

 


Jerry:


Your observation about ungreased parchment paper confirmed this afternoon by neighborhood bagel maven/baker: Agnes says parchment paper comes in three grades, with thickest being "greased," meaning some kind of Teflon coating, and used mostly in fancy pastry baking/construction; thinnest parchment is apparentlly very thin indeed. Agnes says middle grade should be just fine for my purpose. Question: Do you use pre-cut rounds, or tear off roll? I may have the right size springform insert, but having a little trouble visualizing your technique. Do you hold it on opposite sides and (carefully!) lower into Dutch oven? Only plan to use Dutch oven for some breads every now and then. Really like various kneaded and batter breads made more traditionally, and having good luck with my stone. I am wondering if a wetter sourdough will work with Lahey's method; don't see why not: may not be pretty but taste, crust, and crumb should be super. Need to get braver about misting, however, and am taken with the idea of lava stones I read about in TFL. Your thoughts on effective misting? Mike in Maine

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Recently there has been a flurry of posting activity by those of us who purchased the Lodge Combo Cooker. You can check out the threads but the short story is, you can proof your dough in the cast iron. When I do this I dust the bottom with grits or course corn meal. The course meal will act as a buffer and prevent the bottom from scorching and I have never had one stick.


The procedure if you want to load in a pre heated pot, since it's deeper than the combo cooker bottom, is to use parchment as a sling to lower the dough into the DO. No oil or spray required and no meal unless you are baking on the very bottom.


 Preheated or not, remove the cover at 15 minutes and continue uncovered for another 20-25 minutes. 450 or 460F works well. I suggest you bake bolder (longer) than you might think necessary. Just to clarify, the oven gets preheated to 450F but there is no need to pre heat the DO. There is no need to spritz water in the oven or on the dough as you cover it.


Here are 2 links to threads about this subject.
My First CC Experiment


dmsnyder did an excellent profile on this method.


The advantage of the CC is that the lower profile fry pan part of the CC is easy to load without having to sling it in with paper. I just plop it in from the basket. Other than loading convenience, a Dutch Oven works exactly the same.


Eric

meetmike's picture
meetmike

Eric:


Thanks for really useful advice, all confidence building. I've been visualizing the sling--makes perfect sense and avoids risking contact with hot DO. Curious about not having to pre-heat DO, since pre-heating seems to be one of the hallmarks of Lahey's method. Would appreciate learning more about this. Thinking about using a bit of meal in the DO anyway, since sticking was a problem last time I tried this last year. You mentioned a "basket." Do you have those really cool boule shaping baskets? I had thought Santa was bringing the baker one or two of those, but alas...Know a cheap, or at least less expensive source? Mike in Maine


 

SCruz's picture
SCruz

I cut two or three rounds at a time from a roll. They can be used over and over. To lower the springform pan insert I hold it by one edge, manange my fear with a reminder than oven mits work pretty well, and lower it into the hot dutch oven. The insert supports the bottom of the bread better than a sling for me. 


But after what others are saying about proofing the bread in a cool dutch oven, I'll try it next time.


With the insert I've never had a problem with a scorched bottom.


 

silkenpaw's picture
silkenpaw

That way you would't have to put your hands down into the hot pot. Great idea about the springform insert. I'm going to try that.

meetmike's picture
meetmike

SCruz:


Your comments about the springform made me think of lowering it with bread on board with parchment slings, which seems perhaps the best of all worlds. Can't wait to see if springform in cupboard actually fits into coming Dutch Oven. Ah, Sweet Mysteries..............Mike in Maine

LindyD's picture
LindyD

I already have a Lodge DO and two Lodge fry pans and can't justify buying the Lodge combo cooker.  So I used an eight-inch-pan to proof the bread, then lowered it into the hot DO (with the Tartine formula).  


It works - but the bread looks like a giant cupcake after it's baked because it rises above the sides of the smaller pan.  Not particularly attractive.


Make an + using parchment strips, place them in a bowl or basket, proof the dough in the strips and then use them as a sling to lower into the hot DO.  Works perfectly.

meetmike's picture
meetmike

LindyD:


Thanks for your helpful comments. Yours and others make me think I should have investigated the Combo Cooker; another day. Re "cupcake bread," in the absence of boule rising baskets, often I have used springform pan for boule rising, but with an added tinfoil ring around the top of the springform to accomodate both rise and, once it hits the stone, the spring. Stapling the tinfoil round ends makes pretty tight. Only drawback is part of loaf against foil tends not to brown as much, but if inside of tinfoil oiled, I can slip off for last 20 minutes or so of baking. Shapes not perfect, but pretty close and not cupcake. Always trade-offs! Mike in Maine

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Hi Mike,


You can use a steep sided bowl lined with a cotton or linen towel but the best advice I could give you for easy proofing baskets or Banettons is to buy one from the sfbi. I like the linen lined wicker baskets they sell inexpensively. Once you have used them a few times and rubbed some flour into the linen, they work great. Here is the link. I have both sizes. The smaller one is good for up to a 1.5 lb loaf.


Eric

meetmike's picture
meetmike

Eric: Just what the doctor ordered! Thanks so much. Will be ordering first thing Monday am. Looking forward to reviewing SFBI's other products. Happy Baking! Mike in Maine

Sylviambt's picture
Sylviambt

I've always had consistent success with brand name parchment paper. Last week, I ran out and bought 2 rolls of no-name paper at the local store.(It was all they had.) What a fiasco!  The thin paper stuck to every loaf and ruined several hand-made pizzas. 

meetmike's picture
meetmike

Bummer! Thanks for heads up! Will look for quality paper. Mike in Maine

bakerj's picture
bakerj

A few years ago I got to bake bread in what I believe to be the biggest Lodge Dutch Oven that is made. It held 5 two pound sourdoughs at once. We baked them outside with hot coals top and bottom, added some ice cubes for steam. The breads came out as nice as the ones I bake in my Bongard deck oven.