The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Dutch Ovens

Victor Mello's picture
Victor Mello

Dutch Ovens


I am based in Woking in the South East of the United Kingdom and have been benefiting from this excellent site for a while.

This is my first post.

Some of you use Dutch Ovens and I am considering buying one. I would be interested to hear your views on the best way to go.

-plain seasoned cast iron?

-enamelled cast iron?

-do you oil your dutch ovens and then coat with rice flour?

-do you use grease-proof paper inside your dutch oven?

Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for putting in the effort to create such a great worldwide resource.


PetraR's picture

I have an enamelled cast iron and got it from Sainsbury's  they are FANTASTIC, I have by now a few of them as we love to cook our meals in them.

My Bread one is MINE though :)

I proof my loafs in a banneton, than I turn them out on parchment paper and lift it with the parchment paper in the hot dutch Oven.

For a loaf made with 500g of Flour and 300g of Water I bake on 250C for 30 Minutes , turn the heat down to 200C and bake without lid for a further 20 Minutes.

For loaf made with 750g flour and 500g Water I bake on 250 for 40 Minutes , turn the heat down to 200C and bake for a further 30 Minutes.

Works every time, good Oven spring.


David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

I use the Lodge Combo Cooker, which is plain old cast iron.  Other than wiping it with a little oil after use, I don't add rice, flour, oil, parchment paper or anything else when adding the dough.  Though, flour does land in the pan and will often turn brown by the time the loaf comes out.  If you have enameled cast iron, that flour tends to stain the enamel. Does not change the functionality but it does make the cookware less attractive.

Actually, I now use two of the combo cookers as they fit side by side in my oven. I use the shallow pan to put the bread in and cover it with the deeper pan.  I also use the shallow pan to make omelets, using a little coconut oil. Never had a sticking problem with bread or omelets.

If you can't transfer the dough easily to your dutch oven, it makes sense to make a "sling" out of the parchment paper and  put that in the dutch oven with the dough for the first half of the bake.

Antilope's picture

I have both enameled and plain black iron Dutch ovens.

I use the black iron Dutch oven for baking bread. It works great.

I have only used the enameled Dutch oven for normal baking and small pieces of the enamel have chipped away around the top edge. So I would be reluctant to use it for baking bread at high temperatures and the thermal extremes it would undergo. Other brands of enameled Dutch ovens may fare better.

dabrownman's picture

thrift stores.  I have found 7 DO's there of various sizes and types for a total of $1 each.  They all work great.  My favorite is to put the proofed dough in a hot oven on a hot baking stone and cover it with the bottom of a hot aluminum DO.  No need to transfer to any hot DO, no synthetic steaming required and you get the best bread possible and best of all worlds.  Any large metal pot that is oven safe will work  I also use an overturned stainless steel mixing bowl for this purpose in my counter top mini / toaster. convection oven which also makes great bread.

I don't use my enameled cast iron DO's for bread as they stain easily.  IF you want to transfer dough to hot Do then the Lodge Combo Cooker is the only way to go.

Happy Baking 

hanseata's picture

to cover a bread with the DO instead of putting it in there. If you have a very soft bread, you need to move very quick and aim precisely, though, otherwise your pesky Tartine loaf spreads before you can nab it.

I used both, a non-enameled cast iron pot, and a fancy enameled one. Both work just fine. Usually I bake only very high hydration breads like Forkish's or Tartine's loaves, or some of Farine's creations, (like my favorite Barley Bread), in a Dutch oven.

For my little bakery this wouldn't be possible, you can't put 4 DO's in a regular home oven.

I never treat the DO's other then clean them (and oil the non-enameled pot after washing). For transferring a high hydration loaf into a piping hot DO I use a (cut to fit) parchment paper sling, to save my skin.

Happy Baking


AbeNW11's picture
AbeNW11 (not verified)

work on Stovetop? If so, what would you method be?

sirrith's picture

I use a Lodge double dutch oven; its a bigger version of the combo cooker, without the long handles.  I bought it specifically for bread baking, because I did not want to risk ruining my nice Staub/Le Creuset pieces by using high temperatures and banging them about the oven.  Also, the Lodge has the huge advantage of allowing you to use it upside down, so you can place the bread gently in the shallow bit, and cover it with the deep bit, instead of either dropping the bread in and deflating it, or reaching deep into a blisteringly hot metal pot to avoid damaging your dough. 

sirrith's picture

I forgot to answer the other questions! 

I don't oil it or flour it, I just use a piece of baking paper cut to a round shape, to avoid the bread sticking to the bottom of the pot.  The paper can be reused 2-3 times before it becomes too crispy and fragile. 

I bake covered for 10-15 minutes, then uncovered for 30-40 minutes. 

Kiseger's picture

I use a Le Creuset but only their "satin black" range which is a matte cast iron and does not have the glossy enamel like the beautiful coloured range.  This has a metal handle which withstands very high heat and the pots are designed to take higher temperatures.  I have oval for batard shapes and round for the boules.  I always heat my DO while the oven heats up and the best way to get the bread in there is to use Karin's method of a pre-cut parchment sling.  I don't oil mine and just rinse and wipe it down - it doesn't get particularly crusty because I am using the parchment anyway.  The Lodge is a better design so you don't have to "drop" your dough in, but for the moment the Creuset really works for me!

Victor Mello's picture
Victor Mello

Thank you very much for your comments and suggestions. Much appreciated.

I currently use a stone with an old stainless steel dome (a steamer cover from a microwave oven) and it works well but I like the look of the Lodge Combo Cooker. Might have a go at that.

I will use one of my girlfriend's enamelled DOs to see if it will improve on the stone and stainless steel dome before I proceed.

Keep on baking!

doughooker's picture

A word of caution when baking bread in a d.o. on a stovetop. The d.o. sits directly on the burner and you risk getting a loaf with a burnt bottom. Dealing with that is the big challenge. You could try some kind of riser such as an inverted cake pan on the bottom of the d.o. but you might also need an insulator such as a miniature pizza stone on top of that.

Antilope's picture

on the stove top in a covered cast iron skillet. But halfway through cooking you have to flip them over, and they aren't that thick relative to a boule of bread. I have not tried a boule of bread on the stove top.

Victor Mello's picture
Victor Mello

I bake my bread on a stone in the oven and cover it with the stainless steel dome.

Thank you for your comments.