The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Dutch Oven Variations

Greg D's picture
Greg D

Dutch Oven Variations

Sunday I baked a batch of Ken Forkish's "Saturday White" formula.  The formula makes enough dough for two loaves.  I have two dutch ovens, one is a high-dollar Le Creuset and the other is a basic black $35.00 Lodge.  The loaves were cooked side-by- side on the same oven rack using exactly identical timing (475 degrees - 45 minute preheat - bake 30 minutes covered - bake 20 minutes uncovered).  Here is a photo of the two loaves.  While there is some variation due to uneven rice flour dusting (rice flour being a new product for me) notice how much darker the Lodge cooked loaf on the left turned out.  The bottom of the Lodge loaf was nearly burnt but fortunately it was ok.  I think I am going to have to buy a second Lodge dutch oven if I am going to continue using the Forkish method and want to cook two loaves at a time, as I would like both loaves to come out looking the same, and it looks like I will need to shorten the cooking time a bit using the black dutch oven(s) as compared to the white enamel inside the Le Creuset.

Happy Baking!


Nickisafoodie's picture

one out 5-7 minutes sooner as it appears that the heat transfer is quicker, hotter on the darker loaf/Lodge?

pjkobulnicky's picture

One loaf seems great and the other greater. But, I understand your point and actually empathise. I too bake in one ancient and "no longer fit to bring food to the table in" Le Creuset and one ancient cast iron DO. I prefer the cast iron but I too come close to scortching the bottoms for recipes that go off at 475F. My tested solution is to remove the loaves from the DOs when I take the lids off and just finish them on the racks.  It works for me.



Netvet007's picture

Both of these boules were made at the same time yesterday.  I pre-heated both a Lodge cast iron DO and a Le Crueset DO in a 500 degree oven for 45 minutes and then decreased the oven to 475 when loaves went in.  Baked for 30 minutes covered, then 10 minutes uncovered.  Can't tell which was which. These are Pain au Levain via KA Flour recipe.


Barbara Krauss's picture
Barbara Krauss

I have two 5-quart cast iron DOs (one is a combo cooker) but my problem is the weight of those things on my oven shelf when I try to use both at the same time. I am having trouble with bowing shelves now, and of course it takes a very long time for my oven to heat up with all that mass in there. I'm more inclined these days to use my Romertopf and my Emile Henri clay baker; they seem to be a little lighter than the cast iron DOs, with less chance of burning on the bottom.