When you think of a Dutch oven, you probably think of hearty stews, rich chili, or a perfectly roasted joint of meat. But they are also perfect for baking.
If you're new to baking bread, this article will walk you through the process. You'll soon realize that Dutch oven bread is easy to make and looks incredibly professional, and we've also included a simple Dutch oven bread recipe for you to try.
Yes. The size and shape of enameled cast iron Dutch ovens makes them perfect for baking bread.
Their tight-fitting lids, which can be left on during the baking process, trap steam within the pot. Trapping the steam will give you the perfect shiny crust every time.
For the best results, you'll want to preheat your Dutch oven before placing your dough inside. This will ensure that as soon as the baking process starts, steam will be created from the moisture in the dough, without needing to wait for the pot to warm up.
You'll find that home-cooked bread cooked in an enameled cast iron Dutch oven will turn out looking like a loaf from the artisan bakery, with a beautifully airy and fluffy interior topped by a golden crust with the crunch and crackle you'd expect from a professional bakery's bread.
With cast iron, bread dough, and the right amount of time you'll be baking the best looking and tasting bread you've ever tried.
If you find that your dough is sticking to the interior surface of your Dutch oven, or it's proving difficult to remove once baked, causing tearing, you can remedy this by preparing the surface before use or you can line your Dutch oven with parchment paper.
Simply coat the inside with a thin layer of vegetable oil using a paper towel or pastry brush, or alternatively use an oil spray to evenly cover the interior. Once you have covered the inside with oil, sprinkle a small amount of cornflour or semolina flour around the sides and bottom of the pot.
You may find that this causes a small amount of smoking as you bring the pan up to temperature - don't worry, that's normal. If there's a significant amount of smoke, you may want to ensure you haven't over oiled the surface, added too much flour, or added it in a way that caused it to form clumps.
Our favorite Dutch oven bread recipe is simple enough for beginners, but will consistently produce beautiful bread that is sure to wow your friends and family.
This is a no knead sourdough bread recipe. If you don't know how to make bread dough already, this is a great introduction, as it doesn't require the extensive kneading which many other types of bread do (and that's the hardest part!)
Makes 10 servings
*The listed amounts are for a 3 or 4-quart pot. If you have a larger Dutch oven, you can increase the amounts proportionally for a larger loaf.
Waiting for bread to rise is a slow time-consuming process, and if you forgot to account for it when planning your cooking time, you can really get caught in a bind. If you have an instant pot, you can significantly lower the amount of time you need to let your bread rise or proof.
The yogurt setting on instant pots can provide a low consistent heat much like the professional proofers that bakeries use.
*The process length may vary between pots, but it took about 24 min for our dough to double.
Once you've mastered the basics of baking bread, there is a whole range of Dutch oven bread recipes out there for you to try. You can get started with kneading your own dough, which is tough at first but satisfying (and a great forearm workout!).
You can experiment with adding toppings to your loaves, such as seeds, grains, or even cheeses.
You can also add ingredients to the dough itself to make a fruit bread or flavored loaves.
There are hundreds of combinations for baking bread to try out with your Dutch oven - the possibilities are there to be explored and enjoyed!