The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Can you bake sourdough without a dutch oven?

honey_and_bread's picture

Can you bake sourdough without a dutch oven?

I need to increase my production of sourdough bread to about 100 loaves per week fairly quickly. I have a home-bakery and can fit one more oven, but I can make many more loaves if I don't use dutch ovens. Is this possible? Would I need to put a pan of water in the oven, or turn off convection bake mode?

Thank you!

BaniJP's picture

You might need to experiment, but definitely turn off convection. It tends to set crusts too fast and affects oven spring. 
How big is the difference between Dutch oven and no dutch oven (loaves per bake)? Could you handle dough production, fermentation, shaping etc. when baking like 15 loaves at once?

honey_and_bread's picture

With dutch ovens I can make 40 loaves/day

Without dutch ovens I can make 110 loaves/day

That's just regarding oven capacity... I'm not sure how many I can produce in terms of dough production and fermentation, as I haven't tried it yet. I may have to alter my recipe so the proofs are not in the refrigerator. I wonder if that's possible? I'm visiting markets today to give samples and see if they are interested, and if so how many loaves they would like.

gavinc's picture

I don't use a DO. I use a baking stone if you don't have a hearth. You can introduce the desired amount of steam in various ways. You may need to get one stone for each oven. Go for thick ones and preheat for a least an hour.





Sourdough_Hobby's picture

Currently this is how I bake with my home oven, don't know if it will suit your needs or if you have a larger oven but might be something helpful.

I have an oven tray that I keep above the breads for the first 20 mins and then the tray is placed under the stone for the last 30mins while finishing the bread. I found that keeping the tray hot works best. When I load the bread I throw a couple of ice cubes in the tray above. The oven is preheated and kept at a constant 220C without fan and I can fit 4 x 980g loaves, if needed I will use the fan for 5 additional to darken. The loaves are on a standard 600 x 400 pan. 

Sorry about the photo, didn't want to lose to much heat, the tray is in green lines.