The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Are Lodge cast-iron pots still a good option for Dutch ovens?

hander's picture
hander

Are Lodge cast-iron pots still a good option for Dutch ovens?

Longtime-lurker. First-time poster. Thanks for all the interesting threads.

I've been baking for a few years and would like to replace my enamel pot I use at a dutch oven. (It's the wrong shape and too big). A few years back I planned to get a Lodge 5 quart but here, in the UK, they were horrendously expensive vs the US. The price has come down a little which helps, but what always appealed to me about this pan was the possibility of using it upside down - ie putting my dough on the skillet lid and scoring it there - rather than in the dutch oven with hot (preheated) sides that regularly burn me or restrict my scoring practice.

My questions:

1 If you use a Lodge for sourdoughs and the like, which way do you use it? What size loaves are you baking in it?

What size banneton fits perfectly with the 5 quart version here? - https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lodge-litre-Pre-Seasoned-Double-Handles/dp/B000LEXR0K/ref=pd_sim_201_5?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=G5BXPM260AARBPNXDP8T

Any other observations?

2 If you don't use a Lodge, do you swear by anything in particular?

Appreciate help.

HansB's picture
HansB
Gillpugh's picture
Gillpugh

I use a 3 quart lodge combo. frying pan bottom which I use as the base.  500  cane banaton to prove 

. Actually just looking at bakery bits (U.K.) to order new prooving basket , not sure to go with same or brotform - never used one of these and they are cheaper, so any one know the difference ?

hander's picture
hander

But we eat bread too quickly for that.

3 quart pans seem really small to me. Anyone got a 5Q (4.7L) as above?


Gillpugh's picture
Gillpugh

My bigger loaves 800 also fit in the 3 quart.  If I make the smaller loaves I bake one after the other in the same pan.

if I get good strength, 1000 fits in it.  If it blobs a bit, I do catch the sides!!  

i agree with comment below, this pan weighs quite a lot, I would think the bigger one would be too heavy for me. 

HansB's picture
HansB

I regularly bake 900g-1000g loaves in the 3qt. Lodge. 

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

hander,  I was not sure whether I wanted the 5 quart or 3 quart, but chose the 3 quart combo cooker and think that is the right size for loafs around 800 grams  ( 454 flour  80% hydration )  As Hans says, you can probably go a bit bigger.  My guess was that if I went with 5 quart,  I would lose some of the steam effect since the cavity is much bigger.  Remember that the steam that is in the cooker is just the steam coming out of the dough, so the larger the container, the less humid inside. Plus, the 3 quart is plenty heavy for me, the 5 might be too much. 

hander's picture
hander

REally useful this. It's clear I need to go back to research of sizes of pans. Will update when I get further...

If anyone wiht a 4.7L of the Lodge can comment, that would be appreciated.

HansB's picture
HansB

Since we’re talking about Lodge. FWIW, I have always preheated the cooker and have had a bit of over done bottoms. On my last bake I only preheated the top and had a better result. 

Gillpugh's picture
Gillpugh

Interesting. The bottom  if my bake was too crispy(hard), last time so was thinking about taking it out if the lodge completely for the last 20 minutes  or so, as I normally take the top off and finish cook on bottom(lid) .  What do others do ?

WatertownNewbie's picture
WatertownNewbie

I use a 4-quart model Lodge cast-iron Dutch oven.  Before inserting the dough, I pre-heat the Dutch oven and sprinkle semolina on the bottom.  Burning the bottom of the loaf has never been an issue, but if it were, I would move the rack that the Dutch oven sits on up a level.  I leave the loaf in the Dutch oven for the entire bake (lid on for first twenty minutes and then lid off for the remainder) and generally end up with loaves in the 700-800 g weight range.