The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Burning the bottom of my bread

MaraZedan's picture

Burning the bottom of my bread

Hello. This is my first post on here and I'm hoping someone can help.

The recipe:

I am using a Lodge dutch oven, center rack in a gas oven. I can't move it any higher up as the dutch oven will not fit. The recipe calls for placing the dough+dutch oven into a cold oven then heat to 450. I heated to 425 instead, baked for 50min then removed lid (the edges already looked VERY dark). I then popped in my thermometer, waited until it came up to EXACTLY 205 degrees, then pulled it out.


Any thoughts?

mrfrost's picture

Try placing the d.o. on a baking sheet pan, and/or a layer(s) of aluminum foil. I think I have read this has worked in several threads in the forums here.

Ford's picture

Are you preheating and letting the oven remain at that temperature for about 30 minutes? If not, try that.


Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

This is a type of dough that is supposed to get better oven spring from a cold oven start.  Shouldn't be necessary to preheat.

I have seen similar behavior when the oven doesn't hold high temp heat well - the lower element will keep coming on and staying on for longer than normal, which superheats the bottom of whatever you are baking and causes burning.  With my oven, I was able to mitigate this somewhat by (don't panic!) plugging the totally-open-to-the-oven-cavity chimney under the rear burner with a wad of aluminum foil.  Of course I removed that burner totally to avoid accidental use with the plug in.  If you can look through that so-called "vent" under a rear burner and see the oven light when it is on, that's the problem.  If not, your oven is probably properly baffled to help retain heat while venting air.  Don't plug in that case.

Thankfully I have since moved and the new place has a better oven that doesn't act like a space heater.

There may be some other problem such as a worn element or a thermocouple that's on the fritz, if your bottom element is coming on too often or not shutting off properly.  Check oven temp with an oven thermometer - it could also be simply over-heating.  Often an oven will be closer to accurate at low temps than high - my oven currently runs about 15 degrees low at 350, but 25 degrees low at 450.

If none of that is going on, you could try switching to the Lahey method - which is to preheat the dutch oven, then drop the bread in using a parchment sling and bake following that method.  Google Lahey no knead bread.

Arlyp75's picture

Preheat the d.o. and let the dough rise in a bowl or on parchment paper.  When dough is ready, plop it in the hot d.o., parchment paper and all

holds99's picture

Set your Dutch Oven on a baking stone placed in the middle of the oven rack when baking.  The baking stone will retain and spread the heat evenly, acting as a heat shield between the bottom of the Dutch oven and the heating element in the bottom of your oven.  Arlyp75 is correct about using parchment paper.  Parchment also acts as an insulator and minimizes scorching on the bottom of the loaf.  When using a Dutch oven to bake, which I do frequently, I let my dough rise, covered, in a parchment lined stainless steel mixing bowl.  Then, after it has risen I transfer the dough out of the bowl, using the edges of the parchment paper to lift it, and place it into the Dutch oven.  Just be sure to leave enough extra parchment overlap to be able to lift the dough out of the bowl and into the Dutch oven.

Incidentally, when using a Dutch oven I bake a very high temperature (480-500 deg. F) then halfway through the baking cycle lower the temp by 20-30 deg. F.  Remove the lid of the Dutch oven during the final 5-10 minutes of baking to ensure a nice brown top crust.


pal251's picture

Off subject a little bit but are you guys using the plain cast iron dutch ovens or a enamel covered dutch oven?

holds99's picture

I started out using an old cast iron Dutch oven that my mother-in-law loaned me.  Since I began baking two large loaves (approximately 4 lbs. each each time I bake (I mix approximately 8 lbs. of dough at a time), I purchased a couple of large round enamel Dutch ovens.  Subsequently, I found two large oval Dutch ovens, which I now use regularly for the large loaves.  I prefer the oval shape, as opposed to the round shape, for most of my sourdough loaves.  I also bake free form, using heavy duty baking pans lined with parchment and liberally sprinkled with semolina.  Semolina, unlike corn meal, keeps the bottoms of the loaves from scorching when using high heat.  The loose semolina that's on the parchment around the perimeter of the loaves,will get very brown, but not the semolina on the bottom of the loaves.

holds99's picture

Here's a link to a blog I posted a while back baking Hamelman's light rye using a Dutch oven.


Breadboard's picture

Mara,  I don't pre-heat the iron, that scorches the bread...Proof the dough in a greased Dutch oven.  When the dough is ready to bake set the Dutch oven into a hot-n-ready kitchen oven and the bread will turn out perfect.   I bake on the center rack in a gas oven.  I also bake in a Big Green Egg.  Crust is golden brown.  Suggest you try reduce temp to 400 degreesF and see what you get before going hotter.   Bread is done at 200 degrees internal. 

Good luck, have fun!