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Nerdy Science in the Kitchen

The 5 Best Dutch Ovens for Baking Breads



Do you love a freshly-baked loaf of bread? Bread always tastes better when it’s fresh out of the oven. Instead of heading to the supermarket for a loaf of “fresh baked” bread that has probably been sitting out for days, why not bake your own? So what is the best dutch oven for baking bread?

bread in dutch oven
Find out which Dutch oven is best for baking bread!

Make your own fresh baked bread with a handy dutch oven. Find my favorite choice at Amazon.

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. Baking your own bread is truly something to be proud of.

To make this happen, though, you’ll need a good Dutch oven first. These are the perfect appliances for bread because they’re great for low-heat, even cooking.

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.

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.

Find out which bread machine is best for sourdough!

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 let rise for 12 hours.

Shape the dough into a ball. Let it 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, let it rise for 15 minutes, and then sprinkle the surface with the meal or bran.

Put a 6- to 8-quart Dutch oven into the oven and preheat to 450 degrees F. (Don’t skip this step to prepare the baking environment properly: you want that beautiful dutch oven to use its magical heat distribution). 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.

See this post to learn more about using cast iron Dutch ovens.

Best Recommendations

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. Here’s the secret though: they will retain and distribute heat like no other item in your kitchen. I’ve put together a list of 5 great Dutch ovens that will have you baking a beautiful batch of bread in no time.

This post will teach you how to clean aluminum baking sheets.

Lodge Camp Dutch Oven

Lodge Cast Iron Camp Dutch Oven, 6-Quart

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.

View on Amazon

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 for extra cooking options. And because it’s Lodge, it’s quality US steel and comes backed by a lifetime warranty.

This is my top “best” pick because it performs well in a variety of situations and is a perfect fit for your baking (and cooking) arsenal. With a 12 inch diameter and at 3.75 inches deep, this dutch oven is the perfect size for baking a loaf of bread.

Legend Cast Iron Dutch Oven 5 Quart Cast Iron Multi Cooker

If the last recommendation was a bit too space-age looking for you, check out this more conventional option. This casserole skillet is slightly smaller in size, which pretty much guarantees an evenly cooked bread.

Legend Cast Iron Dutch Oven | 5 Quart Cast Iron Multi Cooker Stock Pot For Frying, Cooking, Baking & Broiling on Induction, Electric, Gas & In Oven | Lightly Pre-Seasoned & Gets Better with Each Use

Don’t let its size fool you! This appliance is still very versatile and is suitable for bread, casseroles, and much more. It’s oven safe, so it’s great for all kinds of dishes. The lid also easily converts into a 10-inch skillet as well, just like our Lodge pick above, making this dutch oven an extremely versatile and useful kitchen tool!

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It’s also pre-seasoned, saving you the start up time of seasoning the pot before you use it. Its quality cast 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.

Everyone loves a freshly-baked loaf of bread.
Everyone loves a freshly-baked loaf of bread.

Amazon Basics Cast Iron Dutch Oven with Dual Handle and Cover Casserole Dish

Amazon Basics Dutch Oven is similar to the last few models, but is coated in enamel to help ensure that any bread loaves you bake will slide right out. This is particularly helpful for bread dough, as that can easily stick to any surface.

AmazonBasics Premium Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven, 5-Quart, Deep Blue

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Made from cast iron that is seasoned with enamel, this pot is perfect for cooking at lower temperatures. On top of baking, you can use it for braising meat, brewing soups and stews, or even poaching chicken. Its 5 millimeter layer of pure iron retains heat impeccably well, and it is free of any and all hazardous chemicals. It’ll hold true up to 500 degrees without damaging the pot itself. Like the last model, this one comes with an interlocking lid, but also has handy side grips for easy transport. 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, and will make a few large loaves of bread, or several biscuits.

Camp Chef 12 Qt Seasoned Cast Iron Dutch Oven

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This cast iron Dutch oven is truly seasoned, so no worries about the coating chipping off of this one, and you can be sure that your bread will slip right our of the oven too. The feet make it easy to keep it on the fire, and it has a convenient lid lifter as well as a loop handle for easy maneuvering. You can also check the temperature without removing the lid off of this Dutch oven with its thermometer notch.

Plus, the lid can double as a griddle, making it easy to cook bread and breakfast with one pot. It’s classified as a deep dish lid, which allows for maximum airflow and guaranteed even cooking. The lid even has little feet built in to optimize its griddle capabilities, or lets you use it as a serving platter! This Dutch oven also comes with a starter booklet. It comes in as a close second to my favorite.

Did you know you can season your cast iron with flaxseed oil?

Lodge Color Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven, 6-Quart

Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven With Stainless Steel Knob and Loop Handles, 6 Quart, Red

Lodge’s durable pot is one of my favorites for cooking either on the stovetop or in 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 among your everyday, average, boring old pan, and in your kitchen.

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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. It’s also refrigerator safe to store your delicious leftovers for days. Its cast iron handles ensure easy transportation. From a brand name known for quality and simple clean-up, 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.

Calphalon Classic Nonstick Dutch Oven with Cover

Calphalon Classic Nonstick Dutch Oven with Cover, 7 quart, Grey

The dutch oven from Calphalon is a great pick primarily for its nonstick properties. It has a dual layer of nonstick materials that makes removal stress-free, keeping the bottom of your bread loaf nice and in tact as you take it out. Calphalon’s Classic Nonstick Dutch Oven is also oven safe up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, and has a tempered glass, clear lid so that you can track the progress of your bread as it’s baking.

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It’s also 7 quarts, one of the largest on the list. This lets you make large loaves for big crowds with ease. With its hard-anodized aluminum construction, this dutch oven is also very durable and conducts heat very efficiently, ensuring an evenly browned crust.

Aside from baking bread, this is also a convenient kitchen tool for all other kinds of dishes. It has convenient measuring marks inside the pot, as well as pour spouts on the side of the pot and even a straining lid! This makes it perfect for stews, meats, pastas, and of course, bread.

See the Calphalon’s Classic Nonstick Dutch Oven at Amazon

The only downside to this dutch oven is that due to its nonstick coating, you can only use nylon coated or wooden cooking tools so that you don’t scratch the surface and potentially release harmful chemicals.

Lodge EC7OD43 Enameled Cast Iron Oval Dutch Oven

Another large 7 quart cast iron, and yes, another pick from Lodge. They really seem to have the market cornered when it comes to quality dutch oven cookware. Lodge’s oval dutch oven adds a special touch to your bread baking process, as you can bake a nice, professional looking loaf of bread shaped like an oval in no time.

Lodge 7 Quart Oval Enameled Dutch Oven. Classic Red Enamel Cast Iron Dutch Oven (Red)

While it’s a bit pricier than other options, it’s definitely worth the investment. It’s made out of porcelain enameled cast iron, which eliminates any need to season your dutch oven before using it. The porcelain also efficiently distributes and retains heat, and is very easy to clean. This product is dishwasher safe, but I would recommend just washing it out the old fashioned way with warm water and soap to avoid any damage.

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The Lodge oval dutch oven also comes with a self-basting cover that seals in moisture and heat. It’s perfect for all kinds of dishes, but especially for baking a delicious loaf of bread.

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 clean-up’s a breeze, especially with these accessories for cast iron. Pick up one of these today and get to baking!

Keep that bread fresh with the best bread box. These are my picks.

Oven mitts are very necessary when dealing with heavy and hot cast iron ovens. Here are my recommendations on the best oven mitts to use with your cast iron cookware.

Image credit via Flickr Creative Commons: mikedevlin, timlewisnm