Choosing The Best Dutch Oven For Bread Making

Dutch ovens are powerful and versatile tools that can be used to prepare a variety of dishes and are well known for being excellent vessels for homemade bread making. When choosing the best dutch oven for bread making, you’ll want to consider the size, cost, and material of your item to make sure you get the best results. Below I’ll share my top 5 choices (including the one that I use at home) as well as some tips and facts to keep in mind when choosing the dutch pot that’s best for you.

*If you’re in a hurry, I’d recommend the Puricon 5.5 Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven as the best one. This is the dutch oven I use at home and I find that the quality is high enough for any of my culinary projects, including bread making. It also is temperature safe up to 540 degrees, making it safe for nearly every bread making recipe. 

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Rachel Dennis

Best Dutch Oven For Bread

Best Dutch Oven For Bread Making

Why Use A Dutch Oven For Bread?

baked bread in dutch oven

Dutch ovens (or dutch pots) help provide the best environment for the wild natural yeasts in your loaf to create the best product possible. The dutch oven will trap and heat and water which is important for consistently successful batches of bread. They are thick and sturdy which allows them to stay in good condition for repeated use. 

Properly cooking your bread in a dutch oven will ensure that your bread has a fluffy airy texture, a thin and crisp crust, and rises well to reach a good height. It will also help your bread to cook evenly for consistent results. 

Most Important Features In A Dutch Oven

bread with seeds on top

The Size and Shape

Since bread expands up to 4 times its volume during the baking process, it’s important to consider this when purchasing a dutch oven to make sure you can make loaves to be the correct size. Not only do you want to make sure your container is wide enough, but you want to make sure it is tall enough, since we want bread to rise upwards rather than making it flat. 

Next, you’ll want to consider the shape of bread that you want. The artisan loaves that you see in the bakeries that are round and dome-like are called boules. Boule is the french word for ball and in France they call bread makers “boulangers”. 

Another option is to create a longer oval-shaped loaf that you would more typically find in a grocery store. These loaves are called batards. This is considered to be a short loaf of french bread, which is traditionally much longer and narrower. 

Deciding which size works best for you depends on what you plan on using your bread for as well as what else you would like to cook in your dutch oven. It’s also important to consider which sizes will fit in your kitchen or in your pantry to make sure there is enough room for the weight and volume of this rather large kitchen accessory. 

Enamel Vs. Cast iron

Enamel dutch ovens are an easy low maintenance solution because they are non-stick. This makes it much easier to remove your bread and clean up when you’re done. It can often withstand a high temperature, but you will want to check the maximum temperature with the manufacturer before purchasing one. You won’t have rust problems with an enamel pot as you would with a cast iron. 

Enamel dutch ovens cannot be preheated and should not be exposed to an open flame prior to adding food or liquid to the pot. They also don’t do well with metal cooking utensils, which may chip or chip your container. Stick to silicone, wood, and nylon-based utensils to keep it safe. 

They may also stain with extended use, so consider using parchment paper or purchasing dutch oven liners to help preserve your item. 

Cast iron dutch ovens are versatile items that can be used indoors or outdoors and are able to handle extremely high amounts of heat. Another benefit of the cast iron dutch oven is that it can be safely preheated without any food or liquid in it. 

They require regular seasoning which will prevent your dutch pot from rusting and cannot be washed with dish soap. You’ll need to use warm water and a scrub brush to clean them, which can take a bit of work, especially if you don’t wash your dutch oven right away. This cast iron soap can also help to make the job easier.

Overall both are great choices and I have both enamel and cast iron items in my kitchen. I like the versatility of being able to bring one on a camping trip and having an easy clean up experience with the other. Cast iron dutch ovens tend to be cheaper than enamel ones, making them an excellent option for those just getting started with bread making.

Quality Of Materials

A cast iron or enamel dutch oven can last you a lifetime if you take care of it properly. It has an iron core which helps absorb and keep heat that can release slowly into your bread. You have better chances of long-term use if you buy a quality pot that has the following features:

  • Secure handles that can take high heat and will retain the moisture and heat inside the unit.
  • Tight fitting lids that don’t allow for heat or moisture to escape, ensuring an even baking experience
  • Has enough depth to be able to handle the rising of the dough
  • Is large enough to work for all of your stovetop and baking projects
  • Has a high heat capacity overall so it can be used with a wide variety of bread making recipes

How To Take Care Of Your Dutch Oven

cleaning your dutch oven
  • Prevent scratching your cast iron while storing it by displaying it on a rack outside of a cabinet. If you’ll be placing it in a cabinet and stacking it with other pots and pans, make sure to place something in between as a buffer, such as a cloth, bubble wrap, or rubber or silicon trivets. 
  •  Try not to wash your cast iron in a dishwasher. While many enameled dutch pots are labeled as dishwasher safe, by handwashing it you will greatly extend its life. 
  • Make sure to use nylon, wooden, or silicon utensils when cooking with your cast iron to prevent scratching it. 
  • Take care when exposing your dutch oven to an open flame. If it’s an enameled dutch oven, make sure to only put it over a direct flame when there is food or liquid in it. If it’s a cast iron dutch pot, 

Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron 5.5 Quart Dutch Oven

The Le Creuset enameled cast iron dutch oven is one of the highest quality dutch ovens available on the market. It’s designed to be extremely user friendly and has handles that are large enough to securely hold, even when wearing oven-mitts. It’s suitable for use both on your stovetop and in your oven and can handle temperatures up to 500 degrees F. 

This dutch oven is ideal for bread making because it has a very tightly sealed lid that will allow the pot to function as a very insulated micro oven which is important for water retention when baking your loaf. 

This dutch pot is 5.5 qts large and the bottom width is 11 inches wide and approximately 7 inches tall, making it the perfect size for a loaf of bread and many other culinary projects.

While this is the most expensive item on the list, many people have said that Le Creuset dutch ovens are produced with the utmost care in France and can last a lifetime, making them best for a long term investment that will save money for you many years down the line. 

Puricon 5.5 Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven

The Puricon 5.5 quart enameled cast iron dutch oven is a perfect alternative to the more expensive Le Creseut with a similar level of quality. In addition to baking bread, this dutch pot can easily be used for braising, broiling, boiling, sauteing, simmering, and roasting several dishes. 

This item does extremely well with high temperatures and is oven safe for up to 540 degrees F. Make sure to hand wash this one to keep it’s baking integrity strong. The strong porcelain enamel coating will not absorb colors or odors from your food, making it great for long periods of cooking time and food storage. 

The dutch pot lid fits tightly, helping the item to serve as its own pressurized oven. There are also ridges underneath the lid that consist of three concentric rings that allow for steam to drip down into the pot from, preventing moisture from escaping. 

Since this dutch oven is able to get extremely hot, make sure that you invest in a pair of high heat resistant oven mitts to make sure that you can safely handle it both in the oven and on the stovetop. 

Lodge 5 Quart Cast Iron Dutch Oven

The Lodge 5 quart cast iron dutch oven is a perfect choice for someone looking for a value purchase that can last a lifetime if properly taken care of. It comes pre-seasoned with vegetable oil so you will be able to use it immediately, but keep in mind that cast iron appliances require regular seasoning to remain in peak condition. 

Even though this is a very economical purchase, you can rest assured knowing that the Lodge brand has proven to be reliable and durable for over 120 years. Their company begin in 1896 in Tennessee and has been a staple name in the cast iron communities. Unlike most other items in this list, Lodge dutch pots are manufactured here in the United States. 

Since this item does not have an enamel finish, make sure to lightly coat it with a high temperature oil before using it for bread baking to make sure your loaf doesn’t stick to the bottom. Clean it with a mild soap or with a bristle brush and no soap at all. Make sure to apply a thin layer of oil to the pan after cleaning and drying it to maintain its seasoned surface.

Another wonderful feature of this dutch pot is that it can withstand campfire and grill heat, making it perfect for traveling with. 

Cuisinel Cast Iron 2 In 1 Dutch Oven & Skillet Lid Set

This 3 quart Cuisinel Cast Iron set is a perfectly versatile item that can be used to make small loaves of bread as well as a variety of other wonderful dishes. The lid can be used to cap the pot for bread making and can also be used as a skillet on it’s own, providing you with two cast iron products in one. 

This product can last a lifetime if well maintained and it is recommended to wash it using minimal amounts of soap that may strip away important oils that season and protect the pan. You may also want to consider using this cast iron soap and oil set if you want to keep your dutch oven in the best condition possible. 

Cuisinel uniquely offers a 1 year warranty for each purchase, so you can rest assured knowing that if there are any manufacturing issues with your product that you will be refunded for your purchase or offered a new item. 

Loaf Nest Artisan Bread Kit Dutch Oven

The Loaf Nest Artisan dutch oven is a perfect choice for those who prefer oval loaves of bread. It additionally comes with a silicone liner that will help prevent sticking and other messes from occuring during the bread baking process. This liner can withstand up to 500 degrees F and is designed to last for 1000-3000 uses, making it a durable long term accessory. 

This dutch oven comes with a starter recipe that provides a “hands off artisan bread making experience” That doesn’t require kneading or shaping your loaf. This can save time, limit messes, and is a great option if you’re making bread in a smaller space. Beginners can benefit from this simple process, and it also makes a wonderful high quality gift for the homesteader. 

Summary

A dutch oven is a great investment as not only a breadmaking tool but a kitchen device that is versatile and can provide even consistent heat for hundreds of homemade dishes. If you take great care of your dutch oven, it may even be something that you can pass down to family members to continue the tradition for even longer. 

Make sure to choose a dutch oven that is an ideal size, material, and cost for your breadmaking goes. And remember to let us know your favorite option in the comments below! 

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