How about using a Dutch oven to bake some bread? It produces bread with a crust that is precisely toasted and a crumb that is light as air.
While the components for making this infamous bread may look simple, there are actually quite a few of them.
Sourdough bread may look easy to prepare and taste great, but it requires a lot of attention to detail and skill. If you don’t use the appropriate oven, all your hard work will be in vain.
So, which Dutch ovens are ideal for sourdough baking? For optimal results when baking sourdough, use a Dutch oven with a flat bottom, a cover that seals snugly, and a capacity of 4-7 quarts (at least 4 times the size of the ball of bread dough) to allow for a good-sized loaf and oven spring. It’s also preferable to use a Dutch oven that has already been seasoned, as this will protect it from rust.
Your sourdough baking skills will reach new heights with one of the seven Dutch ovens we recommend below.
In this post, you’ll learn all about Dutch ovens, from their history to the several kinds available and the requirements for producing excellent sourdough loaves.
What Is A Dutch Oven?
The materials utilized, the form they take, the purposes for which they are put to use, and even their names might vary from region to region.
A typical Dutch oven is a cooking pot with thick cast-iron walls and a heavy, well-fitting top, but modern versions of the Dutch oven come in a wide variety of materials and shapes.
Depending on the intended purpose, the bottom of these containers might be either flat or feature three peg legs.
These pots and pans were used to simmer meats and vegetables for several hours over an open fire and were expected to be of the greatest quality.
The traditional Dutch oven has been upgraded to include more cutting-edge features in today’s kitchens. It is more commonly referred to as a casserole dish in English-speaking countries.
These are employed mostly within convection ovens, and their ceramic covering serves more as a decorative accent than as a protective layer.
Using these vessels, people all around the world create their own distinct regional cuisine, from soups and stews to loaves of bread and sweet pastries.
There are two distinct varieties of Dutch ovens used for sourdough baking.
As we’ve already established, the classic Dutch oven and the newer, more advanced counterpart share some capabilities but are otherwise significantly different.
Outdoor Dutch Ovens (Campfire Dutch Ovens)
In case you missed it, the Dutch oven we were referring to before is this one. Some of them (the ones with the flat bottoms) can still be utilized in the same ways as the inside ones.
They are often made of solid black cast iron and have very basic shapes. You do receive a wide variety of pots, each with its own special function.
If you want to create a stew or something similar, you should use one of those huge, deep pots on peg legs. Round, deep containers with a flat bottom are ideal for baking bread.
There aren’t any hard and fast laws about what can and can’t be used in sourdough; nevertheless, we will get into which ingredients work best in a little.
For some Dutch ovens, rust prevention requires seasoning (coating with oil or fat) (which can happen within days).
When baking sourdough, this is especially crucial because the rust will color the bottom of the loaf and may alter the flavor.
Indoor Dutch Ovens (Enamel/Modern Dutch Ovens)
Many varieties of Dutch ovens designed for use in a convection oven are now available for use in the home. The common name for these vessels is “casserole pots.”
They won’t be able to withstand the extreme direct heat of flames like outdoor ovens that can be used indoors.
They can be created in a variety of colors and come with a protective enamel coating on both the interior and outside. When it comes to Dutch ovens, several manufacturers take great delight in offering a rainbow of hues to choose from.
These Dutch ovens may be used in a convection oven and come in a larger range of sizes and forms than their predecessors.
These new enameled pots are not only non-stick on the inside, but also do not require any seasoning.
Why Use A Dutch Oven For Sourdough?
Naturally occurring yeast in sourdough is not as potent as commercial yeast, thus the dough won’t rise as much (oven spring).
If you’re familiar with sourdough, you know that you can’t just throw the loaf into the oven and let it bake on its own.
Using a Dutch oven to make your sourdough will:
- Favourable spring of ovens (the dough will rise beautifully during baking).
- A light and flaky crust will result (not a thick and chewy one as some convection ovens give bread).
- A lovely crumb is the result (open and airy texture on the inside).
Sourdough Must Be Baked In A Dutch Oven.
Following a discussion of the two distinct Dutch ovens used for sourdough, we will examine the features essential to successful sourdough baking:
The bottom of the Dutch oven, whether used indoors or outdoors, must be flat. The dough will rise and bake more uniformly if the temperature is maintained at a constant level.
It should be able to contain between four and seven quarts (for an average, good-sized loaf). Therefore, the dough won’t be able to touch the cover while it rises. As a corollary, the container must have sufficient depth to keep the dough from rising to the surface.
In order to get the desired shape for your loaf, you must use a container of the same form. To achieve the desired oval shape for your bread, use a pot of the same shape. Any other form is equivalent.
In order to keep the steam inside, the container’s base and lid must form a snug fit. Oven spring is enhanced by steam, and this is especially true for sourdoughs.
10 Best Dutch Ovens
Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven (5 Quart)
We love making sourdough in our classic Lodge cast-iron outdoor Dutch oven.
It can hold up to 5 quarts of ingredients, making it ideal for a substantial loaf. This Dutch oven is already seasoned, saving you a ton of time and effort.
Lodge asserts that all of its products are made with 100 percent vegetable oil and are free of synthetic coatings and chemicals. Any dish prepared in this pot or pan will benefit greatly from a generous helping of seasoning.
It features a flat bottom (no legs), is deep enough to provide adequate rising space for your dough, and has two solid handles, making it ideal for preparing sourdoughs.
The lid fits securely, and it includes a convenient carry handle.
Using this outdoor-friendly Dutch oven on a smokey open fire can impart a distinctive flavor to your baked goods. If you’re concerned about whether or not it will work in a home oven, though, you needn’t.
It’s a highly adaptable cooking utensil with excellent heat dispersion, a sturdy construction, and a long lifespan.
Perhaps greatest of all is how simple it is to keep clean. To avoid chipping or wearing away the enamel coating, always use a soft sponge while cleaning a Dutch oven.
A steel or copper pot scourer may quickly and effectively remove any crust from these pots and pans.
This Dutch oven is a great investment because it will last a lifetime. This Lodge Dutch oven will never let you down, unlike more contemporary and sleek-looking alternatives.
Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Here we have another fantastic Dutch oven from Lodge, but this time it’s enameled.
On Amazon, this blue 6-quart Dutch oven ranks among the most popular and highly rated Dutch ovens.
It’s the ideal shape and size for a sourdough loaf that’s neither too tiny nor too large, and it comes with all the necessary features, such as a level bottom, solid handles, and a pot lid.
You won’t be let down by this Dutch oven, as it is an exceptionally well-pierced model with excellent heat dispersion properties and a sleek, contemporary design suitable for any kitchen.
Le Creuset Signature Round Dutch Oven
You have likely already looked at Le Creuset’s extensive selection if you are researching modern Dutch ovens.
In addition to the standard black, grey, and white, they also have more unique hues and patterns, such as “Bluebell purple” and “Caribbean blue,” for their enameled cast-iron Dutch ovens.
All of these hues are stunning when properly applied, and they complement any kitchen design.
Le Creuset’s Dutch ovens are often regarded as the finest available, but the company’s reputation rests on the quality of its other cookware as well.
This particular spherical container is 5.5 quarts in size, features a flat base, extra-large handles, and a similarly sized lid handle for convenience.
These pots and pans are high-quality and convenient because of their many benefits, such as even heat distribution and adaptability.
This pot will last a lifetime, but like every enamel-coated Dutch oven, the enamel may chip or fade with time.
If you want to keep the coating on your Dutch oven for as long as possible, you should only use the softest sponges when cleaning it. To protect such high-quality kitchen tools, however, you will be happy to do so.
Uno Casa Camping Dutch Oven
If you want an outdoor Dutch oven that will last a lifetime without breaking the bank, this is a fantastic choice.
If you’re looking for a traditional Dutch oven, go no further than this 6-quart model from Uno Casa, which is the ideal size for baking sourdough and is ideal for usage in the great outdoors.
The vessel’s flat bottom and three peg legs promote uniform heat dispersion in the base. It’s a ship that has been used before, so you won’t have to worry about breaking anything.
The top features a handy carry handle and is perfectly flat so that extra coals (heat) may be placed there to distribute it evenly.
A cast-iron lid lifter and a complimentary e-book of delicious recipes are included with this purchase.
AmazonBasics Enameled Dutch Oven
A 4.3-quart enameled cast-iron Dutch oven from Amazon Basics caught us by surprise.
Before trying this product (from this brand), we had our doubts about how good anything like this might be.
This Dutch oven from AmazonBasics is ideal for a smaller sourdough because of its size and shape. The layout was carefully thought out to make it as easy as possible to use.
The affordability is the most appealing feature of this product, but the heat distribution and versatility of use are also noteworthy.
If you need a large pot for sourdough baking or any number of other cooking tasks, this is a no-brainer purchase.
Texsport Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Traditional cast-iron Dutch ovens are new to our review lineup. It’s created by Texsport, and it can hold up to 4 quarts of your favorite sourdough’s smaller loaves.
Its flat bottom and three peg legs make it easy to control how much heat is generated by the embers beneath the vessel and dough.
There is a convenient lifting handle attached to the base’s side handles.
The lid serves a dual purpose: it fits snugly to prevent any accidental buildup of heat or steam within, and its flat profile allows the user to set coals on top for more precise temperature regulation and uniform cooking.
You’ll need to season the product before using it on your own accord, as it hasn’t been done before. Fortunately, this isn’t a particularly difficult or time-consuming process.
These Dutch ovens are designed to last a lifetime with minimal effort on your part. This Texsport Dutch oven is reasonably priced, making it a smart purchase for outdoor excursions.
Crock-Pot Artisan Oval Dutch Oven
To complete the set, an oval Dutch oven was required.
We prefer our sourdough this way since the slices are uniform in size and the larger surface area is perfect for decorative scoring.
Crock-stunning Pot’s Ombré Teal Dutch oven is the ideal choice.
It can hold 7 quarts of liquid and is designed with a depth that is just right for producing sourdough breads with larger loaves.
This Dutch oven is aesthetically pleasing because to its flat bottom, ombré teal enamel coating (crisp clean white enamel coating inside), two extremely sturdy handles, and the convenience of its top silver pot handle for carrying.
Even though you can only use this Dutch oven inside (on any kind of burner and in convection ovens), it does it all.
However, you should only use it for larger portions of food and be extremely careful when washing this container. Even so, we believe you will agree that the wait is well worth it for your fresh-baked, wonderful sourdough.
Lodge Combo Cooker Cast Iron
For some amateur cooks, the high sidewalls of a traditional Dutch oven might be a bit of an obstacle when it comes to baking. Therefore, we must exercise extreme caution when transferring the dough into a prepared pot with high sides that are extremely hot.
A bread cloche would be ideal for this purpose because of its low baking base and high dome that generates steam and retains heat.
You could also just buy a cloche, which would cost twice as much as this Lodge Combo Cooker Cast Iron.
Following the advice given in Robertson Chad Tartine Bread, we can bake the sourdough in a small skillet and cover it with the large pot. Wow, that’s amazing.
Emile Henry Bread Pot/Potato Pot
In comparison to the two Lodge Dutch ovens we just discussed, this Emile Henry Bread Pot/Potato Pot is somewhat pricey.
In addition, as its name implies, you can only use it to produce sourdough and artisan breads. It’s also great for slow cooking a wide range of vegetables.
Well, that settles it. There are no roasts being prepared, no soups being simmered, no stews being fried, and no sweets being baked. It can’t replace your trusty Dutch oven in as many situations.
In light of all that, you might be wondering why I think it’s the best Dutch oven for sourdough.
Because it is tailored to produce the finest breads you can make in a standard oven at home.
Those who have tried making sourdough with it have raved about the outcome. There will be a strong resemblance between these loaves and those made by master bakers. Exactly what we need to get the job done.
Staub Cast Iron Round Cocotte, 4 quart
In this article, I compare Dutch ovens ranging in size from 2 to 8 quarts, making sourdough bread in each. These pots come in such a wide range of sizes and are manufactured from such a wide range of materials. We stock both traditional clay and modern materials, including cast iron and enameled cast iron, Dutch ovens.
Staub’s 4 quart round cocotte fills a gap in our collection of suitable cookware.
Beyond the 4 quart, Staub naturally provides a vast array of sizes. If we have the money, we can even obtain a Staub Cocotte that holds 9 quarts.
Again, we have a cast-iron saucepan that has been enameled. Let us, however, examine its distinguishing features.
Similar to the popularity of Le Creuset, Staub has become a household name. The price tag is comparable.
Why You Should Get a Dutch Oven for Sourdough
- A Dutch oven is a need for every serious baker.
- A Dutch oven is a cooking device that simulates the high humidity and high temperature conditions of a commercial baking oven. This is the function of covered pots.
- A bread cloche serves the similar purpose.
- The oven spring (dough rise), crispiness of the crust, and chewiness of the crumb are all maximized.
- Tartine Bread, by Robertson Chad, is a fantastic resource for learning how to bake sourdough bread like a master.
- Surprisingly, one of my go-to combinations for making bread and other foods is one of the ones used by the author of that cookbook. A cast-iron combination cooker is used for the baking process.
- Cast-iron combination cooking equipment, please explain. It consists of two separate pieces: the pot (which is deep like traditional Dutch ovens) and a lid that is essentially a smaller frying pan.
- Because of this, rather of a non-functional lid, we have a frying pan made out of cast iron that serves as a cover. So many delicious dishes, suitable for the stovetop, oven, or grill, may be prepared with the pan and its lid.
- Additionally, the author of Tartine Bread uses the shallower of the two pans to bake the bread. And he covers it with the deep pot.
- In this way, it produces an object that looks like a cloche made out of a cast-iron combination cooker. What a fantastic concept!
- You may bake your sourdough in the deep pan and cover it with the frying pan, just like you would in a traditional Dutch oven.
- Finding the ideal Dutch oven for sourdough, as you can see, is an exciting adventure.
- What to look for when purchasing a Dutch oven for sourdough
- There are three primary considerations when selecting a Dutch oven for sourdough.
To begin, I highly recommend the Lodge Combo Cooker Cast Iron and the Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven, 5 quart if you have a budget of less than $100.
Both of them are cast iron models. Either of these Dutch ovens will last forever if you commit to seasoning them properly. Wow, that’s incredible.
If you have a big family and need to bake and cook for a lot of people, get the Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven, 5 quart.
My personal favorite is the Lodge Combo Cooker Cast Iron since the large pot serves as a dome while the smaller skillet does the actual baking. That’s fantastic, and since the skillet has such a shallow depth, transferring the dough is a breeze. It looks and functions much like a cloche, except it’s built of inexpensive cast iron and only costs $50 to $70.
You can choose from Le Creuset or Staub Dutch ovens if you’re looking for an 8- or 9-quart capacity for your sourdough. Prices for them typically range from $300 to $400.
The single clay option, the Emile Henry Bread Pot/Potato Pot sells for just over a hundred dollars and can only be used for making bread or boiling potatoes. It’s a pot that can hold about 3 to 4 cups of liquid. For one person or a small family, it’s ideal.
The composition of the sourdough Dutch oven is another factor to consider.
The materials at our disposal include both clay and enameled cast iron, in addition to the more traditional cast iron and clay.
Those manufactured of uncoated cast iron can be preheated to 500 degrees Fahrenheit with no damage to the material. They don’t need to be handled with the care usually given to an egg, so you may take them camping and utilize them anywhere.
If you drop a clay pot, it will most likely break into shards. As soon as you bend them, they’ll break. The clay Emile Henry Bread Pot/Potato Pot may be preheated without food in it, even with the dome on. However, it can only be preheated to and used in temperatures up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
a cast-iron surface coated in enamel You shouldn’t preheat an empty Dutch oven. The dough should be placed in the cold pot before being placed in the preheated oven with the lid on.
Every model of enameled cast iron has its own maximum temperature, so be mindful of that. The tops of each will have a unique maximum temperature. Those are the specifics that need investigating before you put it to use.
If you have a big family, I recommend getting a Dutch oven that’s 8 or 9 quarts in size, as I said earlier when discussing costs. More than 8 cups of flour can be used in a baking recipe.
The cooking capacity of an 8-quart pot is sufficient for 6–8 servings. That should give you a good indication of whether or not this particular size will work for you.
The 5-quart capacity of the Dutch oven is perfect for a family of four. Nonetheless, a loaf made with 5 cups (600g) of flour may be baked in the Lodge Combo Cooker Cast Iron, which is more than enough for a family of 4.
As the smallest of these fantastic Dutch ovens for sourdough, the Emile Henry Bread Pot/Potato Pot is ideal for feeding no more than two or three people.