The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

what to use - 4.5 qt lodge or 6 or 8 qt stainless steel?

pcake's picture
pcake

what to use - 4.5 qt lodge or 6 or 8 qt stainless steel?

i have shoulder issues, so i'm not sure i can lug a 6 quart lodge (or other) cast iron dutch oven, but i can sling the 4.5 quart version, which weighs about 3 pounds less.  it's still challenging, but i can do it.  will the 4.5 quart be large enough for a variety of breads?

my option is to go with stainless steel DO with a stainless steel lid rated for 500 degrees.  my options there include 6 quarts or 8 quarts (the 8 quart interior is 9.375" if that's large enough), and at just over 5 pounds for a pretty robust one, i can handle these fine.  i could use a stone right under one if i needed to.

thank you for any thoughts on this.  i've read about a trillion threads, and they don't all agree...

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Tell us what size loaf  ( weight in grams of flour will help ) and i might be able to offer some suggestions.  With DO, it is helpful to have the container appropriately sized to the loaf.  If you put a small loaf in a very large DO, the steam escaping from the loaf will have lots of volume of air to be distributed in.  With the right size DO, the steam will surround the loaf.

pcake's picture
pcake

being a beginner, i don't know - so far, i've made exactly 2 loaves and they were actually too small.  on the one hand, i'm in a household of two.  on the other, i want to be able to follow the average recipe online or at least halve it perfectly.  you've got me thinking that 4.5 quarts will be better for me than a 6 or 8 quart one.  

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Pcake, are you handy with Excel? If you are, I can post a download link that will enable you to get my Dough Calculator spreadsheet. It’s setup so that you can enter either the percentages or the weights. Once done you can change the desired dough weight and it will calculate any size dough you want.

Let me know if interested.

Dan

pcake's picture
pcake

i don't have excel but i believe i can open excel spreadsheets in open office.  i'd love to have the link, please :)

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I think I may have a perfect solution for you. Granite Ware is an extremely light weight roasting pan. I used to use heavy cast iron covered pots thinking that they would hold the heat. My testing, along with the help of TrailRunner proved to me that my thinking was wrong. See this link for more information. http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/55493/combo-cooker-loosing-lot-heat#comment-401714

Here are the roasters that I am talking a about. 

This one is large and will require a very large baking stone. Make sure the roaster will fit completely on your stone to prevent loss of steam. https://www.amazon.com/Granite-Covered-Rectangular-Roaster-Inches/dp/B000050AVD/ref=sr_1_4?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1522417754&sr=1-4&keywords=granite+ware

This one is most commonly used. https://www.amazon.com/Granite-Ware-0508-2-15-Inch-Covered/dp/B0161V9TS0/ref=sr_1_6_m?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1522418212&sr=1-6&keywords=granite+ware&dpID=41l19qyhAdL&preST=_SY300_QL70_&dpSrc=srch

After beng “schooled” by TrailRunner I no longer use Cast Iron. Oh! Another great benefit of Granite Ware is, you can take it out of a hot oven and it will cool to touch in less than 3 minutes. I often don’t preheat the GW because it gets hot almost instantly in the preheated oven. MANY THANKS, TrailRunner...

I think you could also use a metal mixing bowl for the same result and purpose.

Dan

pcake's picture
pcake

my mom used a granite ware roaster for all her roasts for years.  are there any advantages to granite ware over stainless steel?  

i have a set of thin metal mixing bowls.  i think i'll try a couple sizes and see what size loaf works, then go with that size of DO.  thanks for the suggestions :)

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Any thing that will cover your bread and take the heat will work. I’ve discovered that there is no advantage to using heavy covers over the very lightest ones.

Actually, my testing shows that the knight weight cover recover heat much faster than cast iron.

Dan

pcake's picture
pcake

so does this apply, in your experience?

"With DO, it is helpful to have the container appropriately sized to the loaf.  If you put a small loaf in a very large DO, the steam escaping from the loaf will have lots of volume of air to be distributed in.  With the right size DO, the steam will surround the loaf."

or if the DO isn't too wide (just under 9 inches) but is a bit taller - say 8 or 8 1/2 inches - will that work for a smaller but full sized loaf, maybe 1.5 pounds?

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I think ideally it would be best to have a cover that closely fit the fully risen baked dough. But I like the largest cover that I can find to fit my stone. That way I’m good for any sized loaf I want to bake.

Sometimes I put an ice cube or two with the bread under the cover to increase the steam.

At this time the Granite Ware works for me...

Dan

pcake's picture
pcake

what size loaf do you bake in the granite ware roaster?

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I have a large stone that handles baguettes. 20” x 16.5” I like the largest roaster because it is rectangular and can handle 2 boules at a time. I bake for the neighborhood.

But for single loaves the smaller one is excellent. 

Dan

pcake's picture
pcake

do you have the smaller oval raster?  it sounds pretty short for a small boule, i think, but am unsure.  

btw, i ordered the granite ware bean pot
https://www.amazon.com/Granite-Ware-Bean-Pot-4-Quart/dp/B003RY64LK
it's 4 quarts, a good height for small loaves, and for very little money will let me get an idea of the size i'll be needing by playing with it a bit, and if it doesn't work out, it's less than $10.

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I mostly use the bottom part of this one. I don’t want my bread to touch the sides. https://www.amazon.com/Granite-Ware-0508-2-15-Inch-Covered/dp/B0161V9TS0/ref=sr_1_6_m?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1522418212&sr=1-6&keywords=granite+ware&dpID=41l19qyhAdL&preST=_SY300_QL70_&dpSrc=srch

But the small round will definitely keep the steam near the dough and if the dough is large enough to touch the sides it will keep it from spreading more.

may be a great idea! Let us know how it works out.

Dan

Oh, I just put a cold pan into a preheated oven set to 500F. In about 2 minutes it registered 504F. I’m glad TrailRunner didn’t give up on me...