How To Baking Bread With a Dutch Oven

A Dutch oven is excellent for multiple cooking methods, such as frying, braising, simmering, and stewing; it is also an excellent option for baking. This heavy-duty pan has many advantages you can make use of to have delicious bread; keep reading to explore more!

How to bake bread in a Dutch oven 

A Dutch oven is a popular way to have a loaf of crusty and artisan-style bread. You can do this method with or without parchment paper. The difference between these practices is the step when you transfer the dough into the Dutch oven. Below is an overview guideline for both methods:

  • Preheat the Dutch oven to around 450°F (230°C) for 30 to 45 minutes in the oven.
  • Prepare the required ingredients for your bread dough; mix to form a sticky dough, and let it rise for the specified time according to your recipe.
  • Use parchment paper to put the shaped dough on and cover it with a clean kitchen towel. Without using the parchment paper method, just put the dough on a lightly floured surface. It requires about 30 minutes to 1 hour to rest. 
  • Use a sharp knife to expand the surface of the dough. 
  • Take the preheated Dutch oven from the heat. Carefully lower the parchment paper with the dough into the hot Dutch oven. For not using the parchment paper method, place the dough directly into the Dutch oven.
  • You can choose to bake with the lid on or off. Bake for the specified time (typically 20- 30 minutes) until the bread has golden brown or sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
  • Once finished, remove the Dutch oven from the oven, and use a cooling rack to put the bread to rest before slicing. 

Parchment paper generally helps for a smoother, more effortless transfer; the dough will not stick to the pot. While without parchment paper, it requires careful dough handling to prevent sticking and successful transfer.

Dutch oven vs baking sheet 

Both Dutch oven and banking sheet offer benefits when it comes to baking bread. However, some points make them distinct; look at the table below for more information.

CriteriaDutch ovenBaking sheet
Heat retentionHas excellent heat retention properties. Its heavy, thick walls trap heat and moisture, creating a steamy environment that helps the bread rise and gives a crisp crust. Retain heat less effectively than a Dutch oven; thus, it does not create as much steam during baking.
Crust textureGives a thicker and crustier exterior for the final bread dough. The trapped moisture helps rise better and has a golden, crispy crust. Baking bread on a sheet without steam results in a slightly different outcome. The crust is thinner and lighter, with a softer texture.
Shape and sizeHas an oval or round shape and is typically smaller than a baking sheet. You can utilize it when baking artisan-style round loaves or boules. Has a larger surface area and can fit with various bread shapes, including batards, baguettes, or free-form loaves.
ConvenienceNeeds more effort to clean. Require seasoning before and after use.Easier to handle, clean, and store. It can accommodate various other baking purposes.

A Dutch oven is an excellent option for crusty, artisan-style bread. It creates a steamy environment to promote a thick crust and a good rise. While a baking sheet is a better choice for a lighter crust and more bread shape and size flexibility. When deciding between the two, consider your preferences and desired bread outcome.

FAQ relate to Baking Bread With a Dutch Oven

What is the best size Dutch oven for baking bread?

5 to 7-quart is the best size Dutch oven for baking bread. It provides enough space for most bread recipes. It accommodates dough with a standard-sized loaf without overflowing during baking. Moreover, a Dutch oven with a larger capacity allows for better heat distribution to ensure the bread bakes evenly and has a consistent crust and crumb texture.

Can you use a cast iron Dutch oven for bread?

Cast iron is among the most commonly recommended Dutch ovens for baking bread. It has many advantages, including heat retention, steam generation, and versatility for various cooking purposes, making it an excellent option for many bread bakers.

Can I use aluminum foil instead of parchment paper for Dutch oven bread?

Aluminum foil instead of parchment paper when baking bread in a Dutch oven. Like parchment paper, aluminum foil serves as a barrier between the dough and the cast iron, creating a non-stick surface, which can reduce the risk of sticking or burning.

Why did my bread stick to the Dutch oven?

There are several reasons why your bread sticks to the Dutch oven, including: 

  • Preheat a Dutch oven in insufficient time before putting the dough inside. 
  • Do not have a proper greasing or lining of the Dutch oven before placing the dough. 
  • The dough has a high moisture content or is overly wet.

How do you keep the bottom of the bread from burning in a Dutch oven?

Consider applying these tips to prevent the bottom of your bread from burning in a Dutch oven:

  • Preheat your Dutch for at least 30 minutes before placing the dough inside.
  • Adjust the oven rack to a higher position to avoid the bottom of the bread getting close to the heat source. 
  • Consider using parchment paper or aluminum foil before placing the dough. 
  • Decrease oven temperature by about 10-15 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent excessive browning on the bottom while the bread still bakes thoroughly.

Creating a steamy environment, promoting oven spring, and giving a crusty exterior is among the great abilities to use a Dutch oven for bread baking.  Remember to follow the guidelines and recommendations above when using a Dutch oven baking to have the best result.