The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Cast iron vs Clay

Dgrock's picture

Cast iron vs Clay

When not baking directly on a baking stone, I’ve been using a Lodge cast iron dutch oven to bake my bread. Considering a clay baker with lid. Are there advantages to the clay baker over the lodge cast iron, or vice-versa? Thanks! 

barryvabeach's picture

Clay is lighter  ( pro )  but also easier to break ( Con ) .  You can break clay by dropping or by thermal shock -  it is very hard to break cast iron.   

dbazuin's picture

Not sure if break easy is always a con. If I drop a cast iron pot on my floor it will definitely damage my kitchen floor. 

idaveindy's picture

If you already have one of the combo-cookers, I don't think you can do better.

I have this:

(amazon is currently sold out. here is a link to Walmart: )

which is the 3.2 quart model with long handles.

The main benefit, baking on the lid, is that you can score the dough after putting it on the lid, without burning your hand.  The second benefit, for me, is that with an oven glove, I grab it by the long handle, grab the banneton with the other hand, invert the cast iron over the banneton, and flip them over together, and the dough plops right on/in.

One advantage to a clay baker is the lighter weight.

Dgrock's picture

Thanks...great point about the scoring. One difficulty with my Lodge is the depth and difficulty getting the dough to drop in nicely from the banneton. 

Benito's picture

Have you tried flipping your dough out of the banneton onto parchment paper.  Then you can easily drop the dough on the parchment into the Dutch oven using the parchment like a sling.

Dgrock's picture

No, but that’s a great tip...thanks!

Dgrock's picture

Also wondering if there’s a discernible difference in the result of the bake between cast iron and clay? 

gerryp123's picture

Here is my technique for moving bread from banneton to DO. 

Place ppaper over top of banneton and cover with cookie sheet.  Invert and remove banneton, liner, etc.  Score the bread and make ready for transfer into (hot) DO.  Place over DO, hold ppaper in one hand and quickly pull away the cookie sheet.  The bread (and ppaper) will easily drop into the DO.  Cover with DO lid and bake.

Always works for me! 

Dgrock's picture

Great tip...will give that a try. Thanks!