The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Which size and type of Dutch Oven(s) for my situation....

Thumbpicker's picture
Thumbpicker

Which size and type of Dutch Oven(s) for my situation....

I have a Miele Electric oven and I measured the tray as 18" across. I purchased two 8.7" (22cm x 8cm) bannetons on eBay and am waiting for them. They didn't say if that was the outside or inside diameter so I'm flying a bit blind there...

So I was hoping to bake at least 2 round 750g dough weight loaves at a time - but I'm not sure how that will go if I try and use the dutch oven method. Doing the loaves one at a time seems too difficult re: proving and also will consume a lot of energy.

So I notice lodge has a 5 quart double dutch oven and a 3.2 quart combo oven. 

Firstly would the smaller 3.2 quart one fit a 750g 8.7" diameter loaf?

And are the enamel ones a better choice?

Then I don't think two would fit in my oven anyway which is actually a pretty big oven... Maybe diagonally? I don't know.

Can anyone lend me their thoughts?

 

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

Manufacturers measure bannetons using outside diameter, as it makes them sound bigger.

So 8.7" outer diameter will be about 8.2" inner diameter.

I have the 3.2 qt lodge combo cooker. I love it.  the lid, which can be used as a base, has a 9" inner diameter.  

So using the deeper part of the base might fit your banneton better with less spread, depending on how tight your dough is.  The deeper half of the combo has just over an 8" inner diameter at the base.

I've baked whole wheat loaves of over 3 pounds in it.

Depending on how deep your oven is, two of  the 3.2 qt lodge pots would likely fit diagonally.

How many racks does your oven have?   They might fit one on top of the other, on separate racks.

--

If you want to experiment before investing in dutch ovens, any oven-safe pot or deep casserole dish with a cover can do.  People use Granite Ware.  I've used a borosilicate (Like Pyrex)  casserole with lid.

Thumbpicker's picture
Thumbpicker

I thought the frypan portion of the combo was wider? Maybe it's the photos I'm looking at. Yes I also wonder if it would fit diagonally but I'm afraid to buy two of them only to discover they don't fit. Hence some of the conundrum...

It sounds like you think the bannetons I have are a bit marginal in terms of fitting in the 3.2 qt combo. It's just so hard to know buying this stuff sight unseen. I read somewhere that someone got up to 900g of dough into a 3.2 qt combo. Personally I was aiming for more like 750g per loaf.

I just figured if I was going to the trouble of cooking the bread regularly and it took so much prep that I may as well go for two loaves at once and cut down the frequency of having to bake. Also it would cut the time I'm heating the oven,

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

You can read the exact dimensions on the 3.2 qt lodge combo in the questions and answers section on it's Amazon page.

There's plenty of room. I put up to 1500 g of dough in mine, though that is high hydration whole wheat (meaning it's dense).

One nice thing about the 3.2 qt lodge, is that it has long handles on both parts. Hold pan or pot in one hand, hold banneton in other hand,  invert the pan over the banneton, then flip both over, and the dough plops in without having to touch it.

The thing about bannetons is you don't have to fill them all the way.   So don't worry if the banneton is too large.

Thumbpicker's picture
Thumbpicker

Thanks Dave. Good info.

Thumbpicker's picture
Thumbpicker

The Pyrex/Corningware experiment is not a bad idea. I might do that.

Maverick's picture
Maverick

It might be tough to do 2 Dutch ovens in there. If you have a couple of pots or pans that size you can test it out (or even plates). I have the combo and I really like using the shallow part for the bread and the deeper part for the cover.  The combo oven has a long handle though, but there is a 5qt model that has a skillet lid. But I would think a baking stone and an inexpensive graniteware inverted roasting pan might work better.

Thumbpicker's picture
Thumbpicker

The inverted roasting pan might be better. Especially since I have problems with crusty bread causing blood blisters in my mouth. As much as I love crusty bread, my mouth is delicate these days and the jagged crust cuts my mouth up. I know that sounds ridiculous. It would never have happened when I was younger. So maybe less crusty bread is a good thing?.... It was more the lack of oven spring or expansion that people say won't happen without a dutch oven that bothered me.

HansB's picture
HansB

As for the crust, I'd bake the bread properly then put it in a plastic bag after it cools. The crust then will become soft.

Thumbpicker's picture
Thumbpicker

Thanks Hans I'll likely do that longer term.

foodforthought's picture
foodforthought

Agree making dough for 2-3 loaves is not much more work than making a single. I’ve been keeping the extra dough in the refrigerator and baking fresh bread on successive days. Works well for 3-4 days. Need ~2 hours to pre-shape, shape, then 20-30 minutes to bake. So far have held dough as long as 5 days with no noticeable degradation of quality, oven spring, crumb. Might even get some extra sour notes from the later batches. If you have the fridge space, give it a try.

And, oh, yeah,I am getting great spring and just enough crust on longer batards using an inverted oval roasting pan.

gerryp123's picture
gerryp123

I do a lot of sourdough DO baking.  I use a 5 qt Lodge for bread-dough up to about 800g and a larger (Costco) 6qt round DO for bread-dough up to 1300g.  Difficult for me to bake two DO at a time in my home-oven so I've been baking larger boules in my 6 qt DO.  I shape the dough to be about 1" from the DO sides and all turns out just fine -- good crust, 8" boule, good rise (about 4").

I've recently acquired a "flea market" oval aluminum DO, about 6,5 qts, for a couple of bucks.  Not as heavy as the round DOs so easier to maneuver.  Does not hold the heat as long as CI, but quick to heat  and does a great job.  Last weeks multi-grain rye rose to more than  4.5 "  a new record for me.  

I think it is important to choose a DO relative to the size of the loaf you desire.  Do not leave much space between the sides of the DO and the shape of your loaf.

Works for me!

Thumbpicker's picture
Thumbpicker

What do you guys think of this arrangement? I fiddled around with some stuff that I had. These bowls are about 11" in diameter.

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

It's worth a try to start. 

Thumbpicker's picture
Thumbpicker

I just discovered I have a third shallow tray the same as the ones you can see in the photo and it could be placed on the bottom of the oven and filled with some boiling water.

I tested it and it fits under there.

foodforthought's picture
foodforthought

I think the bowls will work well. Not far removed from what Full Proof demos in some of her videos. My enameled steel roasting pan is similar weight. Per my earlier note regarding dough batching, here’s a batard I baked with dough I made 3 days ago. Will bake one more from same batch tomorrow.

Phil

Thumbpicker's picture
Thumbpicker

Thanks Phil - I will try it and report on the results.

Your batard looks wonderful. I'm waiting for my piece to be sent down the internet line ;-)

Thumbpicker's picture
Thumbpicker

My Bannetons arrived. They are 20cm (8") internal diameter. 

My stainless steel bowls are too shallow unless I make smaller loaves. So that is frustrating.

So I guess maybe I have to make one loaf at a time.

Do I get the Lodge Combo 3.2 qt or the Lodge Double Dutch 5 qt? It's a hard decision. I think the smaller one would fit these bannetons however maybe buying a dutch oven because of cheap bannetons is letting the tail wag the dog a bit... ie. maybe I should get the larger 5 qt one. Except I'm not sure how much larger the bannetons could be because at 8" there is one inch clearance on either of those ovens because they are both 10.5" diameter. So maybe I have the biggest bannetons that are practical anyway for either 10.5" oven.

 

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

The lids on the Lodge 3.2 and 5 quart combo-cooker dutch ovens are the same size, excepting the 3.2 has a long handle and a short handle, whereas the 5 has two short handles.

In other words, the 5 quart model is not bigger in diameter than the 3.2 quart model.  

The difference in capacity is that the deep part, the pot, on the 5 qt has straight sides, versus angled-in sides on the 3.2.  And the 5 qt pot is deeper.

WIth an 8" internal diameter banneton, you will not likely totally fill it with a 750 g boule.  

the 9" inner diameter of the lid/skillet part is measured at the base, and the diameter increases maybe 1/2" as you go up.

I just baked a 1025 g 90% whole wheat boule and used the pot part of the 3.2 combo cooker for the dough, with the lid as the lid.  The pot part has a 8" base, and I used a 8.6" diameter banneton which was not filled to capacity by the dough. 

The two  long handles on the 3.2 combo, one on the pot, one on the lid/skillet, makes it just super easy to flip the dough into whichever part I use.  I hold the banneton in one hand, invert the cast iron over it using the other hand, and flip them over together.

From a user-supplied response to a question at Amazon, these are outside, not inside, measurements of the 5 qt model:

Handle to Handle width: 12 5/8"

Non-handle width: 10 5/8"

Depth including lid: 6 1/4"

So, if you're going to bake on the lid, it is not any bigger in diameter than the 3.2 model.

The 5 qt is currently on sale at Amazon, for $5.91 off the regular price of $39.90, net $33.99, plus tax, includes shipping. https://www.amazon.com/Lodge-L8DD3-Cast-Iron-Dutch/dp/B000LEXR0K?tag=froglallabout-20

The 3.2 quart is currently on sale for $5.16 off the regular price of $34.90, for a net of $29.74, plus tax, includes shipping.   https://www.amazon.com/Lodge-Cooker-Pre-seasoned-Skillet-Convertible/dp/B0009JKG9M?tag=froglallabout-20

(Those links are coded so our webmaster Floyd makes a few pennies to help pay for this web site.)

Thumbpicker's picture
Thumbpicker

Thanks - I took a risk and bought the 3.2 Qt Combo. Hopefully it'll do the 750g dough size - I'll cross my fingers.

Re: the links thanks for going to that trouble but unfortunately I live in Australia where everything costs twice as much haha. Well I laugh about it but seriously things do cost twice as much - I paid AUD 95.00 which is about USD$65.00!

Thumbpicker's picture
Thumbpicker

I found this great video of a person making a mostly plain flour loaf with 975g of dough in a Lodge 3.2 qt Combo. So hopefully this helps other people looking for equipment.

Thumbpicker's picture
Thumbpicker

These are my first loaves with the Lodge Combo. They are 5% Rye, 15% Wholemeal, 80% Bread Flour.