The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

dutch oven combo cooker

mandarina's picture

dutch oven combo cooker

Hello everyone!

I was thinking about buying a dutch oven and then I saw the combo cookers, which I think is a much better investment. But now I have the same question I have every time I buy something for my breads... which size???? I've been checking this site and amazon reviews etc.. People seem to be happy with the 5qt one, but I cannot find the amount of dough that people use to bake, or a maximum amount you should use etc. sometimes I end up with 3lb of dough or more, will 5qt be enough? I tend to buy my bread stuff kinda large, because I bake once a week for the whole week. 

What's your experience with combo cookers? Any preferred brand? 


Thanks everyone!



DanAyo's picture

I have used Cast Iron in the past, but Caroline, aka TrailRunner converted me. I was a total Cast Iron fan. This is what I use and it is very large.

I know many on the forum like Cast Iron and, from experience, they do a great job. Some months back I set out to test Cast Iron against light weight Graniteware. I concluded that Graniteware was lighter, cheaper, heats to temp in 5 minutes, cools down to handle in 5 - 10 minutes, and for me - produces very similar results. 

You would use the bottom of the roaster as a cover and a baking stone for the deck. At times I have placed an ice cube or 2 in the cover, along side the bread for steam. But after many tries I don’t think it is necessary. My breads are springing as good, probably better than the combo cookers I used to use.

If memory serves me well, I think the Cast Iron loses heat once the oven is open, the vessel removed, and the dough is initially placed inside. The recovery from this loss of heat takes longer than the thin Graniteware. My common sense lead me to think that the heavy cast iron would be a great heat sink. I tested with an infrared heat gun. The testing is what made me a believer. 


pcake's picture

i use the round roaster for smaller loaves, and i recently got their pizza pan, which i use with an inexpensive stainless steel dutch oven upside down on top of for the first 2/3 of the bakes.  i plan to get either the rectangular roaster next - i've realized i can not only put two boules in it at a time, i can put a filled loaf pan inside it, cover it and keep the moisture in the roaster on the loaf for 2/3 of the bake.

mandarina's picture

thank you for your comments! I finally got the cast iron one, we talked at home and we think it’s going to be good for other cooking too. Plus there was a sale and the price was good! Hehe. I remember my mom used to have one of those granite ones, I don’t know what happened to it!