Do you love a freshly-baked loaf of bread? Of course you do! Bread always tastes better when it’s fresh out of the oven. Instead of heading to the supermarket for a loaf, why not bake your own?
I know what you’re thinking. “Who has the time?” Actually, baking bread in a Dutch oven requires very little effort, and the results are amazing.
To make this happen, though, you’ll need a good Dutch oven!
What is a Dutch oven?
If you’ve never used a Dutch oven before, you might not know why having one in the kitchen is so handy. Essentially, a Dutch oven is a thick-walled pot that has a tight-fitting lid. Dutch ovens are typically made of either bare or enameled cast iron. Bare cast iron ovens must be seasoned before use. Learn how to season cast iron here.
Dutch ovens have been used all over the world for hundreds of years. They are ideal for long, slow cooking, such as in making roasts, stews, and casseroles. Basically, if you can cook it in a conventional oven, you can cook it in a Dutch oven. You can also use them for cooking food when you go camping!
These pots are truly versatile, but my favorite food to cook in a Dutch oven is definitely bread.
Easy Dutch oven no-knead bread recipe
Baking bread in a Dutch oven is incredibly easy. All you need are a few cups of flour, a little salt, yeast, and water. One popular recipe from the New York Times calls for:
- 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
- 1-1/4 teaspoons salt
Combine the dry ingredients, add 1-5/8 warm water. The dough should be sticky and shaggy. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 12 hours.
Shape the dough into a ball. Allow to rise another 2 hours. Optionally, you can add cornmeal or wheat bran to the surface. Do this by adding some of the dusting flour and folding over the dough a few times, allowing it to rise for 15 minutes, and then sprinkling the surface with the meal or bran.
Put a 6- to 8-quart Dutch oven into the oven and preheat to 450 degrees F. Carefully remove the pot and add the dough ball. Bake for 30 minutes with the lid, then remove the lid and bake for another 15 to 30 minutes until browned.
Let’s face it, choosing the best Dutch oven for baking bread can be a challenge. It has to be non-stick, durable, and deep enough to let the bread rise to perfection. I’ve put together a list of 5 great Dutch ovens that will have you baking bread in no time.
Lodge Camp Dutch Oven
Whether you’re cooking in your oven or over an open fire, the Lodge Camp Dutch Oven is going to be your best bet. The depth is perfect for cooking a single, delicious, warm loaf of bread. It has the space to bake a few biscuits in it as well.
It comes pre-seasoned, meaning this oven is pretty well equipped to start baking right off the bat. Its lid even doubles as a griddle. And because it’s Lodge, it’s quality U.S. steel and comes backed by a lifetime warranty.
Do you need to re-season your cast iron? See my cast iron seasoning guide here!
This is my top pick because it performs well in a variety of situations and is a perfect fit for your baking arsenal.
Lodge Double Dutch Oven and Casserole (5 Quart)
If the last recommendation was a bit too space-age for you, check out this more conventional option. This casserole skillet is slightly smaller in size, which pretty much guarantees evenly cooked breads. Don’t let its size fool you! This appliance is still very versatile and is suitable for bread, casseroles, and much more.
It’s also pre-seasoned, saving you the start up time of seasoning the pot before you use it. Its quality iron and lifetime warranty guarantee its place in your kitchen for years to come. It even has an interlocking lid to keep the contents from spilling out in transit.
Utopia Kitchen Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Dutch Oven with Dual Handle and Cover Casserole Dish
Utopia Kitchen’s Dutch Oven is similar to the last few models, but is coated in enamel to help ensure that any breads you bake will slide right out.
Made from cast iron that is seasoned with enamel, this pot is perfect for cooking at lower temperatures. It’ll hold true up to 500 degrees without damaging the pot itself. Like the last model, this one comes with an interlocking lid. What’s not to love?
Learn about the differences between enamel and plain cast iron.
Camp Chef Deluxe 12-Quart Dutch Oven
Here we have another Dutch oven that is built for use on a fire, but can be used in a regular oven as well. However, it is much larger than any of the others on the list, allowing for a few large loaves of bread, or several biscuits.
This cast iron Dutch oven is truly seasoned, so no worries about the coating chipping off this one. The feet make it easy to keep it on the fire. Plus, the lid can double as a griddle, making it easy to cook bread and breakfast in one pot. This one comes up a close second to my favorite.
Did you know you can season your cast iron with flax oil?
Lodge Color Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven, 6-Quart
Lodge’s durable pan is one of my favorites for cooking either on the stovetop or the oven. The enamel finish is easy to clean by hand, and your seasoning stays fresh. It’s non-stick and comes in a huge variety of colors, making it a standout amongst your everyday, average, boring old pan.
Its enamel finish is suitable for temperatures less than 500 degrees, which makes this a great choice for the oven, but less so for your campfire. From a brand name known for quality and simple cleanup, this pan will put your mind at ease. You can instead spend your time thinking about eating the warm bread cooking soundly in your new Dutch oven.
Turn your home into a bakery!
The pans on this list are some of my favorites. You really can’t go wrong with any of them! Your bread will turn out perfect every time, and cleanup’s a breeze, especially with these accessories for cast iron.
Here are my recommendations on the best oven mitts to use with your cast iron cookware.