Do I need a Dutch Oven/Cloche?
About a month ago I started baking bread and my sourdough has been a great success at home! Obviously, I have a long way to go and am by no means an expert, so I've been reading a lot on this forum and have learned some interesting things, so thank you!
Lately, I’ve been considering buying a better pan for baking bread. I’ve been using a stainless steel pot to bake my sourdough boules but they don’t turn out as expected (the oven spring isn’t that great). Also, I’m experiencing some uneven browning, the top is pretty much burned but the sides are still very pale. I often have to shield the upper heating element with a sheet pan after uncovering and have to bake 30 minutes more than indicated on many recipes. I’m already planning on making diastatic malt, which might help with the colour.
The method I use is preheating the oven to 230 C (which is its max) with the pot inside. After putting the boule in the pot I drop a few ice cubes in to generate more steam. Although the quality of the pot is quite decent, the lit is very light and it starts shaking when I add the ice cubes. The walls of the pot are obviously not as thick as dutch ovens too. That's why I was wondering whether a Dutch oven/ceramic cloche will improve the oven spring as well as the browning?
Moreover, I really like the ice cube method, but can you use it in a ceramic cloche (like the Emile Henry ones) or with a Staub which has an enamel layer? Another thing I read was that a lot of people use a cold DO in a cold oven to prevent damage on the enamel, but since my oven is quite weak I'm not quite sure whether that will impact my bread negatively. So I was looking into cast iron Dutch ovens as well. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to get my hands on the Lodge combo cooker. So it’s between the ceramic cloche, cast iron DO and the enamel DO.
Would love to hear your thoughts on this!