The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Dutch Oven vs La Cloche

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Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey

Dutch Oven vs La Cloche

Have been using a Lodge Dutch Oven (for my experiments with recipes from Ken Forkish's Flour Water Salt Yeast).

Am now considering adding a (Sassafras) La Cloche for those, and - especially - other recipes.

Are there distinct (dis)advantages to either a D/O or Cloche, please; I use a slow electric oven?

TIA!

FueledByCoffee's picture
FueledByCoffee

not really much of a difference other than the loading aspect.  I have a La Cloche but before you go and buy one there have been some people that have made their own for much cheaper...clay plant potter and a few nuts and bolts to make a handle utilizing the drainage hole on the bottom of the planter...pretty darn simple.  Of course this assume that you have a baking stone to put it on top of.

Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey

Thanks, FueledByCoffee; I'm not really that handy… may even lack the right tools!

So really nothing to be gained in terms of moisture(-retention and distribution), crust-formation, or quality of spring etc?

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

No tools needed.  Just a clay pot from any nursery and a couple of washers from any hardware store along with a bolt and a screw.  Just screw them all together and voila, a le cloche for about 5.00.  HERE is a link to a photo of one made by member quitan.

SLKIRK's picture
SLKIRK

I HAVE BOTH AND CAN SEE VERY LITTLE DIFFERENCE --- I HAVE USED BOTH AT THE SAME TIME IN AN OVEN AND GOT IDENTICAL RESULTS --- 

 

TONYK

OldWoodenSpoon's picture
OldWoodenSpoon

Weight and size choice.  The La Cloche comes in just one size and is much lighter than a Lodge cast iron DO of similar diameter.  There are more size options in the DO line. I cant see any difference in the results.  Both store plenty of heat to spring a loaf.  Oh, and the proportions are different too.  The La Cloche has low sides and a deep top.  The DO has high sides and a low top.  As a practical matter I find the La Cloche easier to load by a lot.  I should add that I preheat my La Cloche to 525F before loading.  Top and bottom.

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

The lodge combo cooker only has a deep top if the deep pan is on top. Put it on the bottom and you have deep sides. 

OldWoodenSpoon's picture
OldWoodenSpoon

On me, that one!

OldWoodenSpoon

Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey

… everyone!

That's all extremely helpful. Looks as though I'm going to save myself some money :-)

Bakingmadtoo's picture
Bakingmadtoo

I personally far prefer LaCloche (I have both), it is lighter, not so frightening when hot and I can put it in the oven from room temperature if I choose.  But I am not sure I would spend the money buying one if I already had a Lodge.  Unless you bought the oblong LaCloche, which is good for longer thinner loaves, or alternatively look at Mason Cash or Rompertoff clay cookers. I have a brilliant Mason Cash oval one that is just as good as my LaCloche but a lot cheaper to buy, and I can bake the shape of loaf I prefer. I am not fond of round loaves as I find them impractical. At least you would get more versatility from spending the extra cash. I think the finished bread is equally good with all of them.

Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey

Hi , and thanks so much for your helpful comment :-)

I was thinking of adding an oblong pan too. For La Cloche, it'd be this one, wouldn't it.

But if Mason Cash is cheaper, that might be worth looking into (as well/instead): I can't actually find the one you must have, though.

May I trouble you for an ASIN, SKU or other link, please? Not this?

Thanks again!

Bakingmadtoo's picture
Bakingmadtoo

Yes, that is the oblong one, I don't use it often as it is a bit narrow. This is the oval one I use http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B004ZGXGRO/ref=oh_details_o04_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

although I am UK based so not sure if you can get them there. I bought that particular one because of the dimensions which are perfect for the size of loaf I like, but there are many, many different sizes in clay bakers across different brands, so it is really a question of looking for a size that would be good for you.

Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey

Thanks, Bakingmadtoo!

(I'm actually a British expat here in California.)

It doesn't look like it: the ASIN which you kindly linked to (B004ZGXGRO) doesn't exist on amazon.com.

'Mason Cash Mason Cash Medium Clay Cooker' produced a Romertopf… eventually!

But neither that, nor the item offered in the US by Pacific Merchants, is anywhere near so cheap as what you've been lucky enough to find.

All that makes me think La Cloche - assuming it's the same quality and principle - may be the place to look?

Again, your help very much appreciated!

Gingi's picture
Gingi

HI there.
I used a DO many many times. I just realized that with a thick, well-heated, good baking stone, the result is even better. That is to say, if you introduce steam properly. For me, baking on stone is the best way to connect to earthy, real baking. Therefore, I would recommend a good baking stone and getting used to using it solely.

Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey

Gingi,

Thanks - do I understand you aright, that a stone - like this one which I have - and no container is in your view best?

Gingi's picture
Gingi

after a  year; it was when some of my tomato sauce of my pizza spilled and it cracked. I'm currently using Joe Dough baking stones and so far they are perfect. I pre-heat them and the are sturdy and amazing in absorbing heat. 

Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey

…any kind of container on the stone?

Just peel the proofed and formed dough onto it and bake?

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

All ovens are not created equal in terms of how well they hold in the steam. Even in the same oven, the results may not be consistent from one bake to the next. The covered pots eliminate that variable.

That said, I bake almost solely on stone too, but I don't bake many artisan type breads. This is even though I have a couple of cast iron d.o.'s and several pyrex type bakers. I even bought my last d.o. with mainly bread baking in mind, but I just decided I would not use it for that.

You will get very good results if you can find some type of cover to use with your stone too, although without the shape aiding provided by d.o.'s, cloches, etc.

Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey

Thanks, mrfrost!

I've so far had pleasing results with my Lodge d/o - even though I had to place folded parchment paper under my proofed dough and reduce the time baking without the lid to prevent scorching. And I have a slow (-50℉) electric oven.

Since I haven't really otherwise experimented with the steam factor, your comments are especially helpful: both the cloche and d/o will of course trap in moisture so I should continue to investigate the cloche as I already have the d/o.

My reason for posting here in the first place was to see if there's a consensus about the superiority (or not) of the cloches over the dutch ovens. It seems as though there isn't.

Taking the thread in a slightly different direction, long before I started baking myself (when I was still using a bread machine) I'm sure I remember reading that modern baking techniques (non-artisan, mass-production) that use steam are inferior to dry bake ovens. Is that still considered true for artisan loaves?

Gingi's picture
Gingi

just a small little iron tray on which I through ice before placing the bread, and a ig tray with some stones (to increase surface area) on which I pour boiling water seconds after I place the bread.

Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey

Gingi,

So if the loaf is well formed in proofing, you're relying on its own shape and structure to keep it firm; and concentrating on moisture around it?

I'll try that; thanks!