How to Bake Bread in a Dutch Oven | The perfect bread (2023)

Learning how to bake bread in a Dutch oven is the first task for many when setting out on their home baking journey - myself included. Introducing steam into the home oven - a useful ingredient in bread baking - can be a challenge, and a sealed pan makes the process easy and unobtrusive. In the initial stages of baking, steam is released from the dough into the sealed mold where it is trapped and kept moist. This humid environment allows the bread to rise high and ensures a crispy and shiny crust.

In this comprehensive guide to baking bread in a slow cooker, we'll look at:

  • Why Using a Dutch Oven to Make Bread Is a Good Idea (And What It Does for Your Bread Dough)
  • The necessary baking time and temperature for baking in the Dutch Oven
  • This will prevent the bottom of your bread dough from burning
  • Links to my favorite (and highest quality) Dutch Ovens

Why bake bread in a casserole or combi oven?

A slow cooker mimics the environment that many professional bakers have in a bakery: a moisture-tight chamber with intense and (mostly) even radiant heat. With its thick cast iron walls, the Dutch Oven offers ample thermal mass to ensure a temperature stable baking environment. In addition, the sealed interior retains steam, a useful ingredient in bread baking. Moisture in the oven at the beginning of baking will fully rise your bread, deepen the crust and eventually give the outside a certain sheen.

A video of baking bread in a Dutch oven

Here's a short video showing exactly how I use a dutch oven to bake sourdough bread in my kitchen:

How to bake bread in a Dutch oven

My method of baking bread dough in the Dutch Oven:

  1. Preheat your home oven to 230°C (450°F) with a Dutch oven inside for 30 to 45 minutes
  2. Line a pizza base, inverted baking sheet, or cutting board with parchment paper
  3. Turn the risen bread dough out onto the baking paper (cut the paper to size if necessary)
  4. Cut out your dough
  5. Slide the parchment paper with the batter into your preheated Dutch Oven and place back in the oven
  6. Cover with a lid and bake covered for 20 minutes
  7. After 20 minutes, remove the lid from the oven and continue baking according to the recipe (usually 25-35 minutes).
How to Bake Bread in a Dutch Oven | The perfect bread (2)

When a freeform loaf is done baking, it should have an internal temperature of about 205°F (96°C).

As with most things in baking, you may need to adjust the baking time and oven temperature to suit your environment. see myHow to bake bread at high altitudeif you are a big baker.

Should I preheat the Dutch Oven for bread?

Yes, I always preheat my Dutch Oven before baking bread dough in it.

I've tested it with a cold Dutch oven and I don't get the same oven casserole and final bread volume as when I bake bread dough in a preheated Dutch oven.

How do you get a loaf out of a Dutch oven?

When your bread is done baking, use a pair of ovenproof gloves to gently reach into the pan to remove the bread. At this point, the crust has fully hardened, so there is no risk of it collapsing.

Additionally, if you baked your bread dough in the Dutch oven on a piece of parchment paper, as I recommend here, you can lift the corners of the parchment paper to remove the baked bread.

Benefits of Baking Bread in a Dutch Oven (or Any Sealed Pot)

A dutch oven helps increase bread volume

With no steam in the oven during the first part of the bake (when the oven fires up), the rapidly expanding dough will quickly form a hard crust on the outside. This early crust formation limits optimal oven rise and hinders the overall volume of the bread, resulting in a flat and dense loaf.

On the other hand, applying enough steam keeps the outside of the dough moist and pliable, allowing it to continue expanding and stretching before the starch gels and the crust gets tighter and firmer.

(Video) How to bake bread in a Dutch oven

It doesn't take a lot of steam to bring benefits. With the pan sealed for the first 20 minutes of baking, the moisture escaping from the dough provides the right environment to promote optimal bread volume.

Use a slow cooker for a deeply colored and glossy bread crust

There is hardly anything quite as elegant as a well-colored crust, with a gradient from almost white to deepMahogany- The contrast is striking. There is also a subtle touch of light and shine: even before the intoxicating scent surrounds you, your mouth is watering.

As Jeffrey Hamelman says in his bookBREAKThe reduced temperature on the outside of the bread allows the enzymatic activity to be maintained for longer. This activity, which is the same activity that has taken place throughout the fermentation process, continues to release sugars that add color to the crust as it bakes.

A well-controlled oven also promotes gelatinization1: When heated, the starch molecules on the outside of the dough begin to absorb any moisture present (hello, steam), begin to swell, and eventually burst open to form a thin layer of liquid (starch cones). This layer eventually bakes hard, resulting in a thin and crispy exterior with a subtle sheen.

As previously mentioned, in the closed environment of the slow cooker, the steam settles on the outside of the dough and forms a thin layer that prevents the temperature from getting too high too quickly. This will ensure that the outside of your bread doesn't darken before you've finished baking the inside.

With all of these benefits, baking in a sealed pan is a good idea. However, there are some problems with this method, the main one being a thicker and possibly burnt bottom crust. Let's look at some ways to fix this problem.

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

I'm often asked this question: “When I bake bread in my Dutch oven, the bottom burns and is very thick; How can I fix this?” In my experience, baking in a dutch oven usually results in a slightly darker bottom, even with the suggestions below. However, using one or more of these will help reduce this darkening significantly.

My methods for making sure the bottom of my bread doesn't burn when baking in the slow cooker:

  • Do not bake bread dough in a Dutch oven on a baking stone
  • Reduce the oven temperature when preheating
  • Insulate the bottom of the Dutch oven with a baking sheet, baking stone, or even a single sheet of aluminum foil
  • Add coarse cornmeal or wheat bran to the slow cooker before adding the batter
  • Place two pieces of parchment paper under the dough
  • Remove the dough from the casserole when it is almost done baking

Let's look at each method to prevent bread dough from burning.

Do not bake bread dough in a Dutch oven on a baking stone

The first thing that's important is to make sure you're not baking on a brick with your Dutch Oven.Baking Steel. When the oven has finished preheating, place the stone insideAndThe cast iron skillet gets way too hot, resulting in burnt or burned bread.

To avoid scorching, reduce the oven temperature during preheating

The first approach is to change the baking temperatures. If you find the bottom crust is burning or getting too thick, reduce the preheat temperature. For example, some of my recipes here call for a 45-minute preheat at 450°F (230°C); You can lower the temperature to 425°F (218°C) to preheat.

Insulate the dutch oven with a baking sheet or stone to prevent the crust from burning

Most ovens have a bottom heating element that can put too much heat on the bottom of your dough, especially if you place the rack too close. An insulator, such as a baking sheet or stone, can provide enough thermal mass between the heating element and your dough. This will help insulate your dough when the heating element turns on, which is a common occurrence.

Place a rack on the bottom of your oven, then place another rung or two on top. Place your baking surface on the bottom groove. Then use the rack on top to support your Dutch Oven while baking.

(Video) Homemade Dutch Oven Bread

Additionally, a thin aluminum baking sheet or even a single layer of aluminum foil placed under the casserole will help reflect most of the infrared heat off the bottom of your home oven.

To avoid burning, use coarse cornmeal or wheat bran

Grabenground corn (polenta or corn grits)Works great and provides a thin insulating layer between your dough and the Dutch Oven. This layer prevents the batter from sticking to the cast iron, but also lifts it to prevent burning.

Sprinkle a generous amount of coarse corn on the pan after it has preheated and just before adding the batter to the panToScore. Cover the pot with the deep end and center the pot over your brick insulator as shown above.

If you grind your flour often and have a sieve, save the wheat germ or bran that you sift from your flour. These coarse particles (which you can always add to the dough later) performs a function similar to that of corn.

The photo above shows the large germ/bran particles that I sifted out with my sieve strainer. The fine, high-extraction flour falls through my sieve into a bowl, which I then use in the batter mix. Then I gather these larger pieces to either add to the batter as a mush or use as insulation for the bottom.

Bake on two pieces of parchment paper to avoid burning

As you may have noticed in mineSourdough recipe for beginners, I usually useparchment paper (I love this natural, non-stick variant)to pull the dough into the red-hot casserole dish. As I describe in this recipe post, place parchment paper over your dough basket and trim to fit. Turn the basket onto a pizza peel, slide the parchment paper into the preheated Dutch oven, cut out the dough and bake.

For this approach, you'll follow the same process as before, except that you'll layer two pieces of parchment on top of each other for extra insulation of the dough.

In addition, you can sprinkle coarse corn (as described above) in the panForYou pull the parchment with your dough. This way the corn won't stick to the batter, but it will help provide extra insulation for your batter and prevent burning.

How to Bake Bread in a Dutch Oven | The perfect bread (10)

Remove the dough from the casserole when it's almost done to avoid burning

Another method to prevent your bread dough from burning in a Dutch oven is to remove it about 30 minutes after baking, when the crust has set. That is, the dough is baked for 20 minutes with the lid closed (and with steam), then uncovered and baked for another 10 minutes.

At this point, the crust should be light golden brown and firm enough to carefully remove the crust from the slow cooker and finish baking directly on the oven rack.

At this point, also remove both sides of the Dutch oven and the parchment paper and continue to bake until done.

Recommended Dutch Oven and combi cooker

There are many types of Dutch Ovens (pots with lids) and combi cookers, made from different materials, shapes and sizes in abundance and of all quality levels. Any Dutch oven or combination oven is suitable for baking bread, provided it is ovenproof up to 230°C and has a tight-fitting lid.

Below is a list of my favorite Dutch ovens for baking bread. I have used the following pans for years and they have helped me make countless sourdough breads.

(Video) Don't make this ONE STUPID MISTAKE when Baking Bread

Note that some pans cannot be preheated when empty. If in doubt, ask the manufacturer.

3,2 Quart Lodge Combo Komfur

Maximum dough weight900 g
Materialcast iron

My favorite Dutch oven (or combi oven as Lodge calls it) isLodge 3.2 liter cast iron combi stove. I've been using the same combi cooker since I started baking bread many years ago and it still looks brand new.

This pan is extremely versatile and I use it for countless other tasks in the kitchen besides baking bread. I use it often to make the wonderful Tartine French Toast with a crispy crustSourdough cinnamon rolls, and the deep end makes a medium roast chicken.

I have easily fit bread dough sizes from 500g to 900g in the pan. Just like any other cast iron, keep it durable.

It will likely last a lifetime.

Challenger loaf pan

How to Bake Bread in a Dutch Oven | The perfect bread (12)
Maximum dough weight~1000g
Materialcast iron

If you want to bake longer, oval loaves (e.gBastard), TheChallenger loaf panis a good option. It's made here in the USA, designed specifically for bakers and will definitely give me a lifetime of pleasure. It has handy handles on the sides of the base and on the top of the lid, making it easy to pour in your batter and place the pan in the oven. The pan is pricey compared to the Lodge Combo Cooker, but it is a quality bakeware.

As it is cast iron like the Lodge combi oven, use the tips above to resolve any combustion issues you may have.

5,75 Quart Dust Oval Cocotte

Maximum dough weight1000 g
materialsEnamelled cast iron

The round shape of most Dutch ovens makes baking oval (Bastard) almost impossible to break. HoweverDust 5.75 quart cocotteis an enamel casserole with an oval shape; It also shares the same features as the Lodge: It's essentially heavy cast iron with a tight-fitting lid. This pan is a workhorse in my kitchen and I've made countless breads and meals in it, but it still looks the same as the day I bought it.

This enamelled Dutch Oven is large enough to easily handle dough weighing up to 1000g.

Frequently asked questions about baking bread in a slow cooker

Do you oil a Dutch oven when baking bread?

No, no oil is needed to bake bread in a Dutch oven.

(Video) Hot or Cold Dutch Oven? (Which is best when baking bread?)

What size is best for a Dutch oven for bread?

For baking bread I like to use a 4 or 5 liter Dutch oven or a 3.2 liter combi oven. These sizes are large enough to hold most bread recipes. If you have a larger Dutch Oven, that works well too.

Should I Preheat a Dutch Oven When Baking Bread?

Yes, I always like to preheat the Dutch Oven in my home oven before I bake bread. I find that a preheated Dutch oven helps promote maximum rise (the amount the dough rises in the oven) early in the bake.

Can I reuse the parchment paper I used to bake bread?

Yes absolutely! I usually use the same square of parchment paper two or three times before needing a new one.

Why is my sourdough bread burnt to the bottom?

It probably baked too long at too high a temperature. Reduce the baking time and temperature until it no longer burns. Use the suggestions in this how-to article to reduce burning on the bottom of your bread dough.

Should I Season My Dutch Oven?

Yes, I regularly season the casserole dish I bake my bread in—it's cast iron, after all. I simply apply a thin coat of vegetable oil to the entire pan.

What's next?

I hope this comprehensive guide to baking bread in a dutch oven or combi oven has shown how easy it is to bake delicious bread in your home oven. When you use a pan to bake your bread, all you have to do is fill the batter, cover and bake, and you'll have baker-quality bread with a shiny and crispy crust with minimal effort.

Even though using a Dutch oven to bake bread is straightforward, I'm still a fan of itsteams my home ovenand bake my sourdough bread directly on a baking surface. Baking two of these is super easy with this alternate methodLong bastards. Ultimately, use the method that is most convenient for you and the bread you bake frequently. And if you're like me, you might switch between methods a lot.

And now that you've baked a loaf or two, be sure to read mineInstructions for storing baked bread so that it stays fresh for as long as possible!


How to Bake Bread in a Dutch Oven | The perfect bread? ›

Do you need a Dutch Oven to make great homemade bread? No. But if you bake bread often and can make the investment, it will certainly make the process a little bit easier. Of all the methods we've tried to make crusty bread at home, a Dutch oven is far and away our favorite.

Is a Dutch oven the best way to bake bread? ›

Do you need a Dutch Oven to make great homemade bread? No. But if you bake bread often and can make the investment, it will certainly make the process a little bit easier. Of all the methods we've tried to make crusty bread at home, a Dutch oven is far and away our favorite.

At what temperature do you bake bread in a Dutch oven? ›

Preheat your home oven to 450°F (230°C) with a Dutch oven inside for 30 to 45 minutes. Line a pizza peel, inverted baking sheet, or cutting board with parchment paper. Turn out your proofed bread dough onto the parchment paper (trim the paper to fit, if necessary)

Do you bake bread with lid on or off Dutch oven? ›

Make a few slashes in the top of your loaf (a lame works well for this), and then put the lid on. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes; remove the lid and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, until the loaf browns fully. Remove the loaf from the oven and let it cool completely on a rack before slicing.

Should I use parchment paper when baking bread in a Dutch oven? ›

A classic use of parchment paper while cooking with a Dutch oven is when baking bread. You can shape your dough on a rectangular sheet of parchment paper, then use it to safely lower the dough into your Dutch oven.

Do you grease Dutch oven before baking bread? ›

It's generally not recommend to grease the inside of a Dutch oven for baking, since it can cause your bread to char. Instead, line the Dutch oven with parchment paper before baking.

Why is my Dutch oven bread so dense? ›

Why Is My Bread Dense? Usually bread will be dense when there is too much flour. Keep in mind this dough will be sticky and shaggy, do not add any more flour than specified. Other factors that come into play are humidity and age of flour.

How do you bake bread in a Dutch oven without burning the bottom? ›

Misting the surface of the dough or adding ice to the Dutch Oven before putting it into a hot oven can help to reduce the surface temperature of the Dutch Oven, reducing the risk of the bottom of the loaf burning. It can also have other benefits like better oven spring and a blistered crust.

What is the advantage of baking bread in a Dutch oven? ›

The high heat inside the Dutch oven brings the water inside the dough to evaporate. Because you have the lid on top, the steam is trapped inside and creates a hot and steamy environment. This helps your bread to stay moist and flexible so it can rise and expand easily.

Why is my Dutch oven bread hard on the bottom? ›

My bottom crust was too hard.

Try raising the oven rack so the bottom is not as close to the heat. Your oven may be hotter than you think. Use an oven thermometer to assure your oven is the proper temperature. Try a slightly lower temperature by preheating to 450°F but lowering the temperature to 425°F to bake.

Can you use foil in a Dutch oven for bread? ›

Aluminum Foil: Aluminum foil can be used to line the bottom of the Dutch oven and prevent the dough from sticking. Clay Pot: A pot lined with parchment paper can also be used to bake bread in the Dutch oven.

Do you bake bread on top or middle rack? ›

As a general best practice, the middle oven rack is best for baking most types of bread due to the all-around temperatures. However, if you are baking scones or muffins that need a crispy or browned top layer, moving your dish to the upper-third of the oven, just above the center rack, would serve this purpose.

How do bakeries get their bread so soft? ›

There's something magical about the bread you get at your local bakeries - they're always sooo soft and fluffy. Many of these breads, especially packaged ones, are made with a ton of chemical additives such as calcium propionate, amylase, and chlorine dioxide which help keep them soft, light, and fluffy for days.

What is the trick for hard bread? ›

If your bread is especially hard, brush the outside with water before wrapping it. Then, heat it on the center rack of your oven for about 30 minutes for a whole loaf; or 15 to 20 minutes for a partial loaf, or if you have a long, skinny loaf like a baguette.

What is the secret to moist bread? ›

Fats keep your bread moist. If your loaf was too dry, try adding a tablespoon or two more oil next time you make it. Likewise, water does more than hydrate your dough. It helps yeast do its thing, activates gluten and determines the volume of your loaf—all crucial for the right results.

Should you line Dutch oven with foil? ›

Also, Dutch ovens don't require preheating, so unless a specific recipe lists preheating as part of the instructions, you won't have to worry about doing that. Secret #6: Do line the inside with foil if you need to. Need to = if you're cooking something especially sticky like fruit cobbler.

Why do you spray water on bread before baking? ›

Spraying or brushing loaves with water while they bake will produce a crispy and crunchy crust with a nicer (in my opinion!) colour than the unglazed one. Water keeps the dough skin from forming the crust, enabling the dough to expand. It also smooths out the crust, creating a more refined appearance.

Do you brush bread with butter before or after baking? ›

It's best to brush on melted butter after your bread is baked in the oven, but while it is still warm and cooling on a wire rack.

Is it better to grease bread pan with butter or oil? ›

Vegetable oil and shortening, by contrast, are 100% fat and don't present the same potential for sticking. So, the best way to grease a pan is to use shortening or vegetable oil (either poured into the pan or sprayed) and spread it around into all the corners to ensure that every inch is covered.

How can I make my bread lighter and fluffy? ›

All it takes is a small amount of dough enhancer per loaf to create a much lighter and fluffier result. Using a dough enhancer like Vital Wheat Gluten works to improve the texture and elasticity of the dough and elongate the strands of gluten. Doing so allows more room for the gas in the dough to develop and rise.

Can a Dutch oven be too big for bread? ›

You don't want your Dutch Oven too big - you want the steam inside to be right up close to your crust. But you don't want it too small either or it will restrict the growth of your loaf of sourdough and can also cause your loaf to have indents where the parchment paper is pressed into the loaf.

Does letting bread rise longer make it fluffier? ›

For a fluffy bread texture, the key is to let the bread rise long enough. Now, you may be wondering “how long does it take for bread to rise?” The short answer is that it depends on the temperature of your kitchen. For bread to rise, yeast must be activated, and yeast is very sensitive to temperature.

Why does everything stick to the bottom of my Dutch oven? ›

Using it on very high heat.

Because Dutch ovens do such a great job of retaining heat, using them on medium-high or high heat is actually too hot. The pot can scorch if it's this hot and food can burn and actually stick to the surface. Cooking at medium heat is more than sufficient for the pot.

How do you keep food from sticking to the bottom of a Dutch oven? ›

Add enough oil to the pan before adding food. You'll want to use enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Foods that are prone to sticking, like eggs, may require a bit more oil, while fatty foods, like chicken thighs, don't need quite as much oil to keep from sticking.

Why is European bread so much better? ›

The biggest difference between American breads versus European breads is the quality of the ingredients used in each bread. Standard, store-bought American bread contains many preservatives and fillers that are banned in European countries.

What makes a Dutch oven so great? ›

A Dutch oven is a perfect pot for cooking over or in a campfire, because it's heavy weight insulates food from burning over the heat. Instead of cooking over the direct flames, bank the hot coals around your Dutch oven, and dinner will be ready in a few hours.

Should I let my bread cool in the Dutch oven? ›

This way, it will get a deeper color and crispier. Remove bread from a Dutch oven, wrap it in the kitchen towel and let it cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Trust me on this one. If you cut it when the bread is hot, it will become sticky inside, so better wait for just a bit.

What type of oven is best for baking bread? ›

So, Dutch ovens are great for baking bread, and I think that if you are new to the practice or only bake once in a while, they are the ideal choice, especially since you might already have one on hand. And even if you don't, there are numerous reasonably-priced and well-made options.

What is the best dish to bake bread in? ›

Is it better to bake bread in a glass or metal pan? Most bakers prefer to bake loaves of bread in metal pans. Metal loaf pans conduct heat quickly and easily, which helps bake loaves evenly by allowing the heat to pass through the pan and into your dough.

Why did my bread stick to the Dutch oven? ›

Generally, bread sticking to the pan is caused by one of two things: the coating in the pan or the temperature the bread was baked. Bread baked too hot will turn out gummy and dense, and will not have that perfect spring you are looking for.

Can you use aluminum foil in a Dutch oven for bread? ›

Aluminum Foil: Aluminum foil can be used to line the bottom of the Dutch oven and prevent the dough from sticking. Clay Pot: A pot lined with parchment paper can also be used to bake bread in the Dutch oven.

Is it better to bake bread at a higher or lower temperature? ›

The general rule is that crusty breads should be baked at as high a temperature as possible. Soft shelled breads should be baked at lower temperatures. When you increase the temperature of your oven your bread bakes quicker (duh).

What oven do professional bakers use? ›

Commercial Convection ovens are the most popular in bakeries. The difference between convection ovens and standard ovens is that the former are equipped with fans that circulate hot air into the baking chamber. This creates uniform heat distribution to prevent cold and hot spots that lead to uneven baking.

What oven setting is best for baking? ›

Top/Bottom heating is the most effective setting to use when you are baking or roasting on a single level. The heat is emitted evenly from above and below, making it ideal for baking cakes.

Is it better to bake bread in a glass or metal loaf pan? ›

Aluminum is good for cakes, bars, and pies—but also for breads: focaccia, sandwich loaves, and rolls. Because metal heats up faster than glass, it contributes to a better rise and crisper, browner edges. But whatever you're baking, it's important to remember that not every metal pan is a great metal pan.

Should you oil bread pan before baking? ›

Properly greasing the bread pan is essential to getting the baked loaf of bread out after you pull it from the oven. There are a number of items you can use, including shortening, butter, or cooking oil. To make it even easier, you can coat the pan with a layer of coarse cornmeal.

Why put a bowl of water in the oven when baking bread? ›

Steam is vital during the oven-spring period so that the surface of the loaf remains moist and expands easily. However, once the yeast has died and the loaf is set, moisture is no longer a friend to your bread. Too much moisture throughout the bake can lead to a thick, rubbery crust.

Should I put a bowl of water in oven when baking bread? ›

Water added to the oven will evaporate into steam. When baking bread, we add water just as the bread goes in to bake. This helps the bread rise in the oven which benefits it in several ways. The steam condenses into water vapour which is the white gas that we see coming from a boiling pan of water.


1. Homemade Dutch Oven Bread: BREAD FOR BEGINNERS
(Sandra's Easy Cooking)
2. The Best Dutch Oven Bread Recipe
(Taste of Home)
3. Dutch Oven Sourdough Bread - How to use your Dutch Oven to bake better Bread
(The Bread Code)
4. ARTISAN BREAD | NO KNEAD BREAD | Homemade Dutch Oven Bread | Crusty Bread |4K| Juicing Peaches
(Juicing Peaches)
5. Baking bread with a Le Creuset Dutch Oven
(Cutlery and More)
6. Crusty Artisan Bread in Dutch Oven - No Knead and Easy Recipe
(Hungry Man Kitchen)


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