The Fresh Loaf

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Beginner question: Dutch Oven on top of baking stone?

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vink's picture
vink

Beginner question: Dutch Oven on top of baking stone?

Hi, I've just started bread baking, made couple of Rye loaves with resaonable results. 

Right now, I am using a pizza stone, baking directly on it, but covering for the first 10 minutes with a steel bowl. I don't think my steel bowls will last that type of high temperature abuse for a long time.  

I see lots of references, especially on no-knead approaches, to using a dutch oven. Will a dutch oven work/make sense on top of a pizza stone? Also, if I start using the grill to avoid the house getting too hot, should I use a stone on the grill, a dutch oven, or a combination?

Any advice is very much appreciated!

By the way, here is a shot of my first Rye Bread. I used "Erics Fav Rye" recipe from this site. Came out nice. although there is quite some scope for improvement still as well!

HeidiH's picture
HeidiH

Why do you think this will effect your steel bowls?  The melting point of stainless steel is 1510C (2750F) -- hotter than the hottest pizza oven.   Just wondering ... 

vink's picture
vink

I guess I should have thought deeper :-) I just thought that the bowl may get cosmetically marred by getting little bits of flour etc burned on to it at high temperature. I didn't really think about it melting, but as I said, I didn't think about it too deeply. I was thinking that I would not put that mixing bown on the stove, because it might get discolored or something like that. 

flournwater's picture
flournwater

"Will a dutch oven work/make sense on top of a pizza stone? Also, if I start using the grill to avoid the house getting too hot, should I use a stone on the grill, a dutch oven, or a combination?"

No, it makes no sense to place a DO on a baking stone.  Once the DO is properly pre-heated, especially a cast iron model, it will hold an even amount of heat without the addition of a stone.

Using a DO on a grill denies the vessel access to even heating over its surface.  Even a DO over an open fire uses coals in the lid to maintain even heat distribution.

vink's picture
vink

Thanks for your reply.  

I was thinking of a enamel covered cast iron DO, like this one: http://amzn.com/B000N501BK, which is cast iron. 

But, if I can't use it in the grill, and I already have the pizza stone, it does not sound like it makes much sense to get it.  I should just continue to use something else to cover the bread on the stone. 

--Vinod

flournwater's picture
flournwater

There are, of course, other very good reasons to purchase a DO.  Insofar as bread making is concerned, using a DO in a fashion reflecting the ideas for "No Knead" types of breads and other rustic breads is a nice alternative to the typical "load it into the oven and bake on a stone" method.  So you may want to get that DO anyhow.

vink's picture
vink

Thanks, I will keep the DO in my list, but probably not consider it an immediate need.  My wife is the cook in the family, and we don't do much by way of slow cooking stews etc that would benefit from a DO, so bread baking would be the main reason to get one.

I do want to do some no-knead (or minimal knead by folding) type of breads as my next baking project, especially for the types of breads that my kids would like --  Sour Rye isn't high on their list. I have the "Healthy Artisan Bread in 5 minutes" book, I was going to give the main recipe in that one a spin next. 

Thanks again for your insight. 

--Vinod

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Vidod,

It sounds like you have a good start on baking under your bowl. That's a great way to get a good spring and nice color on the crust. Glad you liked the Rye. It's still one of my favorites. I'd suggest baking a little longer/hotter next time. You can pick up an inexpensive DO if you want to try the No Knead breads but they will also work on the stone covered with the bowl as a hearth bread.

Eric

 

vink's picture
vink

Eric, I really like your recipe, thank you for sharing it!

I checked the temp, but I think my probe was too close to the crust, so i ended up taking the bread out too early. As you suggest, I will try longer and hotter next time.

Also, I added about 100 gm of vital gluten. Should I have reduced water for that? The other change was that I proofed the dough in the fridge because the timings didn't work out..

--Vinod

SCruz's picture
SCruz

Your stainless steel bowl may be affected cosmetically. I picked one up at the thrift store for a dollar. It doesn't matter to me if it gets discolored. Another solution.

vink's picture
vink

I orderd the simplest Lodge cast iron dutch oven. Read some issues with the low cost enamel versions, figured that the only issue with the cast iron is that the pre-seasoning may not be good and may need to be redone. Thanks for all your advice.

(And I will keep an eye out for a cheap SS bowl so that I won't worry about cosmetics..)

--Vinod

Chuck's picture
Chuck

You can just leave your pizza stone in your oven all the time. Your oven is a great place to store your stone, you considerably reduce the risk of cracking it since you're not moving it all the time, and it doesn't hurt anything. You can simply treat it as an "odd" shelf that's a little thicker. If you put a pan on top of your stone, the stone doesn't do anything and "makes no sense"  ...but it doesn't hurt anything either. If you just leave your stone in your oven, the one thing you have to always do is allow extra time (double?) to preheat so the stone is all the way up to temperature (which might be enough of a bother to make you take your stone out of your oven:-).

(Of course I'm assuming your stone has at least one inch clearance on all sides so air can circulate in your oven [it probably wouldn't work for bread either if it didn't]. And of course this is for indoor ovens only; an unused stone on a grill or open fire can be a problem.)

vink's picture
vink

Hi Chuck, Yup, it does make lot of sense to leave the stone in the oven because it's so heavy and clumsy,  and that's where it has been stored. We got it many years go when my wife was making Pizza, and we've used it occassionally for that purpose all along; now it's starting to get more regular use with my new bread baking interest.  However, it turns out we have the luxury of a double in-wall oven, so I can bake with or without the stone with minimal effort. Also, the stone always has a little residual flour which heats up and smells like something is burning, so it might be easier if I don't use if I don't have to. 

One of the two ovens is convection: any thoughts on whether convection mode works well for either the DO or the Stone? If one method works better for convection and another for non-convection, then I know where to set up the stone permanently :-) 

Thanks. 

Chuck's picture
Chuck

There was a thread on ovens and "convection" just a couple days ago (although I'm not sure the OP would have initially used the word "convection"). That thread includes a comment from me of course...

(And there are lots more older threads about convection baking too.)

I think the summary is that both can be made to work, there's no clear answer as to which is "better", and often the decision is driven by which is more compatible with your steaming method.