Baking Bread in a Dutch Oven! (see post below for winner of the book giveaway!)

dutch oven bread

Here is yet another way to get a fabulous crust on your bread without using any steam in the oven. I mentioned a very unsophisticated disposable lasagna pan as an option but here’s another idea. Baking bread in a Dutch oven is a very old idea. All the iron-pot methods are based on the old European technique of baking inside a closed clay pot. Most people don’t have one of those, but enameled cast-iron pots are readily available—and they trap all of the internal moisture in the dough and that creates the steam you need to get a crisp and shiny crust. It really is fantastic and it works perfectly with our stored doughs from the book.

As you can imagine, the only drawback to baking bread in a dutch oven is that you are limited to a bread that is the shape of your Dutch oven. Luckily, Le Creuset has several shapes to choose from and I’m determined to try them all! The company even sells a special knob that can withstand the 500°F baking temperature of this method. All of these items (including the metal replacement knob) are available in Minneapolis-St. Paul at Cooks of Crocus Hill or nationally through Amazon (which offers a 7 1/4 quart pot, a 6 3/4 quart oval,  a two-quart, and others.  There are other brands, but I have not tried them!


Using a metal replacement knob is really essential to baking with this method, the hard plastic knobs will smoke at 500°F.  Otherwise you’re limited to the maximum temperature recommended by Le Creuset (usually 450 degrees), and the crust won’t get as crisp.


Preheat the pot with the lid on to 500°F for about 20 minutes.  I used a 7 1/4 quart pot to bake a 1 1/2 pound loaf of bread.

dutch oven bread

Shape your boule from any of the non-enriched doughs from the book and allow to rest on a piece of parchment paper as suggested in the recipe. I used the master recipe for this loaf and let it rise for about 1 hour and 20 minutes, because it was larger than normal. I find it easiest to get the dough into the very hot pot if I can drop it in right on the paper.

dutch oven bread

Slash the dough 1/4″ deep.

dutch oven bread

VERY carefully lift the dough and drop it, with paper and all into the preheated pot.  This can be awkward the first time you do it. I took the pot out of the oven and rested it on a cooling rack so that it was at a comfortable height to get the dough in without fear of touching the hot pot! It is very easy, but just be careful! Replace the lid and slip it back into the oven.

dutch oven bread

After 15 minutes of baking remove the lid. The dough only needs to bake in the steam for that amount of time. now it is time to get a lovely caramel color to the bread. Turn the heat down to 450°F and bake for another 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of the loaf.

dutch oven bread

Once the loaf is nicely browned, carefully remove it from the pot with a spatula.

dutch oven bread

Peel off the parchment and allow to cool on a cooling rack.

dutch oven bread

Once the bread is totally cool, cut and you can see how fantastic the crumb is! Enjoy!!!

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557 thoughts on “Baking Bread in a Dutch Oven! (see post below for winner of the book giveaway!)

  1. I haven’t read all posts or forums and I’m very new to the 5 minute breads(just made my first 2 batches today, 1 WW and one boule) so this may have already been covered: Has anyone tried baking in a crockpot? I have seen other bread recipes for them and we travel in an RV, which makes an oven impossible in the summer.

    1. Hi Jehna,

      Not yet, but you are the second person to ask this week. Must be something I should try out. If you do it first please let me know how it goes. I just wonder if the crockpot can get hot enough?

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. I have previously tried to bake bread in my crockpot. The loaves turned out beautifully, however, they ended up cracking my pot. Apparently this happens to a lot of other people because the crockpot is designed to cook using more liquid than is required for bread. Since then I’ve switched to a dutch oven and it’s been great!

  2. Okay! I tried the crock-pot and took pictures if you’d like me to email them. Here are my findings:

    First, I have an oval 4.5 quart manual(no timer) model slow cooker. I put my oven thermometer in it, put the lid on and turned it on High to preheat. At 1 hour it was up to 320* and at 2 hours it was at 350*. I weighed 1 pound of fresh, unrefrigerated, whole wheat master recipe dough that had risen for about 3 hours, been shaped and then rested for 60 minutes(It was a busy “errand” day for me and I was also experimenting with making soft crusted sandwich bread from the same dough and my timing was off).

    I had no parchment paper so I used cornmeal on a flat cookie sheet and a wooden spatula to put the dough in the pot, directly on the bottom(The manufacturer said the bottom does not get direct heat). I figured it would take at least an hour at 350*, especially since I lost a lot of heat getting it in there. At one hour it looked good, but too light, so I kept it in and checked it every 15 minutes. The brown began to creep up the sides from the bottom at about 1 hour, 15 minutes. The top still looked not done enough so I left it in again. Then again. I figure the right time is probably somewhere between 1.5 and 2 hours, but I was making fajitas and tortillas and let it go until it was at 2 hours and 20 minutes! I could tell when I pulled it out that the bottom was waaay too hard, but I let it cool for a couple of hours and just went in to cut it. The top crust is chewy, the middle is dense and moist-but not bad, and the bottom is a slab. Sigh.

    I feel I should point out that I have yet to get a perfect loaf of any kind, although I’ve gotten some tasty, decent ones. We live on the Central California coast, in an area that is chronically foggy during some of the day regardless of season and I have yet to get a loaf that doesn’t flatten out without a loaf pan. I’m still experimenting with adding more flour. This time I made the recipe as it reads. I will try again with the original artisan boule recipe, when I’m not so distracted, and let you know what happens.


    1. Hi Jehna,

      This is fantastic! We have talked about doing this for so long and it is wonderful to hear that you have forged the way. Thank you for the notes, it will be so helpful when others give it a try.

      As for your regular loaves, what kind of whole wheat flour are you using? Some brands and especially fresh ground and often bulk are courser than commercial brands. For some flours we recommend adding a bit more vital wheat gluten to the batch, which gives the dough more structure. Normally we suggest also adding more water, but since your dough seems too wet already, I would try it without the extra water and see what you think.

      Thanks, Zoë

    2. This time try putting a foil circle on the bottom and also one under the lid . This makes for a better seal and a softer bottom. cook with the lip open or part way off for about five to ten the end

  3. Hello Zoe,

    Thanks! I am very much in the experimental mode. I woke up this morning and my husband was at the table eating a piece of the crock-pot bread and I said “You’re eating that?!” and he said “Well, the bottom crust is hard, but the rest of it is great!” I will re-post with pictures on FB.

    I use King Arthur White WW and Central Mill Company Organic Unbleached APF, if that helps. I am making original artisan dough today and will try adding 1/4 C more flour and see how it does.


  4. Hi again,

    I went to the FB page and “Liked” it, but I can’t figure out how to add a picture…


  5. Hi again,

    No, there’s no link. You may need to start a new album, I noticed on mine(I upload a lot of pictures, especially to the West Wind Surf Club – USA page – I’m the admin.) that it would only allow so many pictures per album. I don’t know why.


  6. Aha!:

    FB: How many photos can I upload?

    You can upload 200 photos per album and create as many albums as you want.

    You can upload 100 photos into the Mobile Uploads album. If you add more than 100, a second album is automatically created.

  7. Hi,

    I’m so excited to try this. I am getting a Lodge 7 qt dutch oven tomorrow. I’ve been using the cup-of-water-in-tray method but think the dutch oven will be safer.

    But how would you modify any of the other recipes? Some of them have different temperatures. Some of the recipes say to bake at 400, instead of 450. In this post it says to preheat to 500, bake for 15 minutes, then turn down to 450. So what’d I do in the case of a different temperature?

    Thanks so much.

    1. Hi Brandon,

      Depends on the loaf, but generally you can raise the temp slightly for the preheat and then lower to the stated temp once the loaf goes in the oven.

      Enjoy all the bread! Zoë

  8. Just made a 12-inch baguette in my new Lodge 7 QT dutch oven. I love it; it came out great!

    It’s hard to believe I’ve made bread three times now with dough I made last Saturday. I’m going to mix some more tomorrow. My fiancé’s family is coming in Thursday and I am hoping to impress. 🙂

  9. Just another question.

    My fiancé’s family was coming in today, so I tried another batch of dough in the dutch oven. I made two baguettes this time, because the dough was too long when I rolled it out as one baguette. Each one was then slightly under a foot long.

    However, my crust came out soft. 🙁 The one mistake I made was forgetting to turn the temperature up to 500 for the first 15 minutes. Does this seem like it could be the sole problem?

    I mean the crust was not crispy *at all*. Kind of disappointing. The bread was still good though.

    The only other difference was that I put foil under the dough. I don’t have baker’s parchment. Last time, I forgot to put anything under it and the bottom got burned a little.

    So I put in two layers of foil. They scaled up the sides of the dutch oven a bit, but I don’t think that’d be a problem.

    So what do you think the problem could be? Thanks so much.

    1. Hi Brandon,

      It is either the temperature of the oven or the length of time it was baked for? Was the color of the crust as dark as the bread on the cover of the book? This caramel brown color is a good indication that the bread is done baking.

      Other factors in a soggy crust can be:

      1. not allowing it to cool completely before cutting into the bread.
      2. humidity

      Hope this helps for the next round, Zoë

  10. Thanks Zoë.

    If there are two baguettes in the dutch oven, would that increase the time for baking both of them?

    Thanks so much for your help.

    1. Hi Brandon,

      It could have an effect on the timing, depends how much space they have. Do you have an oven thermometer? It is a great tool to make sure your oven temp is true!

      Thanks, Zoë

    1. Gerry: Not sure what you mean– our ovens have metal interiors. If I had a choice I’d take a stone-hearthed oven, but those generally aren’t available for kitchen use. Or did you mean something that you put into the oven? See our post on Cloche baking at where we use a ceramic insert for the oven and get a great result with that. Also see for baking inside a cast-iron Dutch oven that you put into the oven. Jeff

  11. Jeff and Zoe,
    I just made my first loaf of your bread. Not only was it super easy, but so delicious!
    The most difficult part was waiting to cut into it once it came out of the oven. 🙂

  12. I want to thank you for the video. I have made two batches from HB5M and both spread and were flat. I suspected they were too wet and this video confirmed that. I just made the third and cut the water by 1/4 cup. I’ve been using white whole wheat flour. The flavor is ok, but a bit bland. This batch is whole wheat. I’m sure hoping it looks likes yours does! Thank for all the support on this site.

  13. Hi!

    I followed the master recipe:boule- using King Aurthur unbleached all purpose flour.

    I followed the directions using the cast -iron dutch oven ( lodge 5 quart with cover) and the hints on using crumbled up tin foil in the bottom (to prevent bottom burning) as well as putting the dough on parchment paper for the final rest.

    I Placed the dough in the parchment in a bowl to keep it’s shape while resting, trimmed the paper off -to the edges of the bowl.

    I Preheated the covered dutch oven with the tinfoil in bottom at 500 deg. for 20 min.
    on center rack.

    I plopped in the parchmented dough on top of the tin foil, put cover back on, cooked 15 min at 500 deg. on center rack.

    I then uncovered and cooked at 450 deg for 20 minutes on center rack–PERFECTO!!!!!

    (I just received the book yesterday!!!)

    I had only made bread once in my life before and that time it turned out like a hockey puck..LOL All that work of kneading…what a waste of time and ingredients. It ended up as bird food!

    Thank You, Thank you, Thank you!!!

    As I type this I have 2 more loaves resting
    and waiting. ( I think I’ll have another piece of heaven with some peach jam while the other ones bake).OMG!

    Your new book has been pre-ordered-I don’t think I can order any pizza for take-out now knowing what is coming in the mail pretty soon!

    Bye, Thanks again

      1. Hi Mike,

        Where in the oven is the Dutch Oven? If it is on the bottom, near the heating element, it will tend to burn. If so, raise it to the middle of the oven and see if that helps.

        Thanks, Zoë

  14. Hi,

    I am on my second batch of boule dough. I thought the first was a fluke, because they came out with nice crust and good oven spring.

    I am used to my bread attempts being flat, being a non-baker (rice is staple in my country).

    My second batch still has the nice crust and tasty crumb, using plain AP flour to boot. Having no pizza stone, I bake on a bed of bricks (3×2 arrangement) in the oven. It works.

    Thanks again.

      1. That would be ABin5, btw. Don’t have the book in front of me at the moment, but its the master boule recipe.

      2. Jeffrey: Thanks. OK, that recipe isn’t particularly sticky. First guess is that you might be using a pastry parchment? We’ve found those stick oftentimes. Are you using any non-siliconized parchment? Just tell us the brand maybe.

        Did you do an extraordinarily long resting time?

        If none of these are the explanation, I’d recommend flouring the surface that contacts with the paper a little heavier. Jeff

  15. Hi,
    First, thank you for teaching me how to easily make delicious bread. The dutch oven method makes it even better. I keep having one re-occuring problem:
    When the bread is done the crust looks great but after it cools the crust gets soft and flimsy.
    I can’t get the crust to stay crispy. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you!!!

    1. Hi Michael,

      Are you letting them cool completely? The crust will soften as the internal moisture escapes, but then it should crisp back up. If you are letting it cool completely and it is still soft, then your loaf is probably not baked through completely. Is the color of the loaf as dark as the loaf on the cover of the book? You may just need to let it bake for a little longer after you take the lid off the Dutch Oven.

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. Thank You, Zoe, for the fast response!
        The crust is very dark; similar to the book’s. I will, however, try cooking it longer. It comes out of the oven with a very hard crust, but after cooling for an hour it is soft. It still tastes delicious, I just love thick crunchy crust.

      2. Hi Michael,

        It sounds like your bread is just not quite done. Are you baking a loaf that is larger than one pound? Do you have an oven thermometer?

        Thanks, Zoë

      3. You were correct. I wasn’t baking it long enough. Thank you for the persistent help! I really appreciate it. The bread is delicious.
        Best, Michael

  16. Hi Zoe and Jeff,

    I’ve been baking the master ABin5 recipe a few times a week for the past month or so and LOVING it, however the crumb of my bread never has the big air holes that the loaf in this post has. Any tips on how to achieve that? I’m in Canada and I’ve heard that Canadian flour has a higher gluten content… does this have anything to do with it?

    Thanks so much for your books and this website – so awesome!! I’m developing a serious bread baking addiction thanks to you 😉


    1. Korena: first thing to try is the water-adjustment for higher-protein flours, see our post on that under our FAQs tab above, then choose the entry under “Flour varieties…” Also, consider a longer resting time, as under the FAQ listed as Q+A Dense Crumb. Jeff

  17. I don’t have a dutch oven yet, so I’m making due with what I do have – A Corningware covered casserole dish. The first time I made ABin5 in it, I think it was underbaked, as the crunchy crust turned soft after sitting on the counter. The second loaf I baked for just 3 minutes more, and it’s deep golden brown with a great crust. I love this method of baking bread! I’ve never made such good bread!

  18. Has anyone ever baked bread in a large GLASS Dutch oven? I have a big, oval-shaped Visions roasting pan with a lid that fits pretty snugly — and really want to try doing this but don’t want to buy a cast-iron Dutch oven just to try. Thoughts?

    1. Hi Vee,

      I have never baked the bread in a glass dutch oven, but I know other readers have. You just want to make sure you are not adding any water to the hot glass vessel. One way to do this would be to let the dough rest in the lidded glass vessel, then put the whole thing in the preheated oven. The glass will heat up quickly, so you don’t have to preheat it like we say to in this post. I think this will be a safer way to bake in the glass.

      Thanks, Zoë

  19. Hi! Neat site! I have a question that I have been trying to find the answer to for a good while and maybe you know the answer. We got a bunch of Le Creuset cookware (dutch ovens, saucepans, roasting pans, etc) for our wedding and they say on them that they require wet heat. See this link: under the topic “Oils and Fats”

    I’ve seen other recipes where people saute onions and garlic with little additional in the dutch oven. Or roasting a chicken. Does this not wreck your dutch ovens?

    1. Chelsea: I’ve used Le Cresuet for baking dry this way. All I can say is that I get a lot of staining of the surface, otherwise no problem. If you’re concerned though, follow the manufacturers directions exactly and use something cheaper that has a cover.

  20. Can I bake your bread in a cast iron loaf pan instead of a non-stick pan? If I can use the cast iron, do I still need a baking stone?

    1. Pat: Should be able to drop the stone if you use a cast-iron baking pan, which should be fine. Prob need to grease it though.

  21. For those who have asked about baking in dishes other than cast iron, I only bake my breads in covered casseroles or Dutch ovens. I have 4 that I’ve dedicated for bread baking, two of them live permanently in my oven so i don’t forget to preheat them. I’ve baked in an old Le Creuset, a glass casserole, in a Corning one and in an enameled covered dish with identical results. TJMaxx is a great place for those. $10-$15. My loaves are around 2 lbs.
    I use no lining, I just drop the dough in the preheated dish.
    I bake covered at 425 in a convection oven for 35 minutes then uncovered for 7 minutes. I’ve been doing it for a year. The advantage of the covered casserole dish is as long as it stays covered the bread won’t burn but will be thoroughly baked, especially good for larger loaves.
    I’ve never obtained good results on a baking stone. I tried again recently and my loaves are quite flat. They’re perfect in the various covered oven dishes.

  22. Hi Jeff an Zoe,

    Does the dutch oven need to be enameled or will a regular cast iron dutch oven work?


  23. Thank you for the tip on replacement knobs! I want to use my Dutch oven because I don’t want to worry about breaking my pizza stone.

    1. I have been baking loaves in my Le Creuset dutch oven and have not had to replace the original knob. I just cover it completely with aluminum foil and have had no problems. Try this if you don’t want to pay for an additional knob!

  24. I’m a newcomer to the Artisan Bread baking club, having recently purchased ABin5. Unfortunately, I haven’t had great results yet, my first attempt at the basic white bread resulting in a too-wet dough that rose beautifully during the first rising, but was too wet to handle when shaping the loaf (dough was dripping thru my fingers, even tho I used the exact measurements specified in the recipe), and I got zero oven rise. Anyway, I’m reading all the FAQ posts & comments with great interest and have some experimenting to do to solve the problem.

    One possibility I’m anxious to try is baking in a dutch oven. I’m a huge cast iron fan and have a nice selection, and since my home gas oven seems to be implicated in a lot of people’s bread failures , is what I want to try next. HOWEVER!! Before I re-do my dough & try it, I have to make a comment on brands of cast iron. Yes Le Creuset is a popular brand, but it’s WAAAY overpriced in my opinion. For much less money, you can get a world class cast iron dutch oven from Lodge for much less money. Either their enameled cast iron ware (Lodge Color) or the pre seasoned line (Lodge Logic) are excellent choices for bread baking. And Lodge products are all made in the USA.

    Target stores carry many Lodge products, Amazon, eBay have a lot, and you can order directly from their website. Why spend money if you don’t have to? And no, I have no financial relationship with Lodge. Just a happy and thrifty customer. 🙂

      1. Thanks for responding! Oh yeah, I’m a scooper/scraper from way back, so I know that wasn’t the problem. But there are still a lot of regular suspects I need to chase down, after reading your FAQ & the comments. I also know the yeast was fine, since the dough rose beautifully on the first rise. And my oven thermometer is showing the correct temp. But everything else is still up for grabs: maybe the flour (used a store-brand bread flour) not have enuff gluten, deficiencies of home gas oven, bread gods hating me… I haven’t given up yet since even my “failures” have been very tasty and my family happily gobbles it down.

        The Le Creuset thing is just a pet peeve of mine, I’ve owned several of their pots/pans in the past and didn’t think they were all that great for the money. And these days, why spend hard-to-come-by cash on a frou-frou brand name if you don’t have to! 🙂

      2. Hi Alice,

        Bread flour actually has more protein than regular All-purpose flour, so that should make a drier dough. If you get a chance to watch the video Jeff did, it may help forming the loaf. We tend to use more flour to shape our loaves than people would anticipate.

        Thanks! Zoë

      3. Zoe, can you tell me where Jeff’s video is that you refer to? I’m having a hard time locating the right one with your search tool.

        I just made my 2nd batch of Boule, carefully checking all my measurements. For good measure, I added 2T of vital gluten. Mixed it all up with my stand mixer and am now waiting for it to rise. It still seems to be VERY wet & sticky though, so I hope I haven’t wasted another batch of ingredients!

        I’m going to try baking this in a cast iron Dutch oven & hope it does the trick!

        BTW, how can I make sure my bread is done? I saw somewhere here that the bread should be between 205F- 210F. When I checked my “failure loaves” they only measured about 190F even tho my oven temp is correct and my loaves were flatter & smaller than the ones you’ve baked.

        Thanks for all the great advice!

      4. Thanks Zoe! Yes, my dough looked a lot like that, but it was even drippier. Even though my hands were loaded with flour it dripped right thru my fingers. And it never achieved that beautiful round shape that Jeff’s did.

        I’ll let you know how the 2nd batch turns out.

      5. Zoe:
        The results of my 2nd batch of dough, where I added 2T vital gluten to the mix and did NOT add extra water to the Spartan Bread Flour turned out much better than the first batch. However, the crumb is still way too dense and the crust is soft, not crunchy. Tasted delicious, but I want it to be perfect!

        I preheated my gas oven to 500 degrees with my cast iron pan & lid inside, let it heat for about 45 mins. The raw dough handled beautifully, made a nice round ball just like in the video – no more drippy dough! It rose a bit before baking. A stupid thing I did was to forget to slash the top…d’oh! But I did’t remember it until after I loaded the loaf into the oven, so I let it bake for 15 mins @ 500F, then dropped the temp to 450F and removed the lid. I let it bake another 15 mins, then removed it.

        It wasn’t as dark as yours and of course there were no slash marks. On the other hand it didn’t crack or explode, so I guess that’s good! While hot the crust was soft, and it never hardened even when it was thoroughly cooled. It tasted good, but to me this isn’t French bread yet.

        Any suggestions on what to try next? I don’t want to throw out the dough since I still have 3 loaves left in it, but don’t know what to do to fix it. I let it rest for 90 minutes this time, but maybe I should have let it bake longer? I’m not sure how to tell when the loaf is “done.”

        Should I have added more vital gluten when I mixed the dough? Maybe 2T isn’t enough.

        My oven thermometer says my oven temp is accurate. The humidity in my house today was about 65%.

        Any ideas? I really appreciate your help!! 🙂

      6. Hi Alice,

        With the vital wheat gluten, the bread flour and no added water, it is amazing that the dough is not too dry? A dough that is too dry will produce a denser interior crumb, so you want to make sure the dough is still quite wet. It sounds like you are doing everything right, but I would let the loaf rest even longer, maybe 2 hours. I take it the loaf is 1 pound? If so, you can try baking it for 20 minutes with the lid on and then take the lid off and put the pot near the top of the oven for the final 15 minutes of baking. Placing the pot towards the top of the oven should improve the crust.

        Hope that works for you! Zoë

      7. Thanks for your suggestions, Zoe, I’ll give them a shot.

        The loaf weighed 1.07 lbs. And I would say that the moisture level even without adding water to the gluten enhanced bread flour mix was just about perfect. Wet & sticky a bit after mixing, but an “easily managed” sticky after it rested/rose for almost 3 hrs. Who knows, maybe my ‘Brand X’ bread dough doesn’t have as much protein as other brands…

        Well, will keep experimenting! At least the bread is delicious even tho its not perfect (yet)! 🙂

      8. Great Alice!

        I am so glad you are enjoying the bread and the process of perfecting your loaf!

        Cheers, Zoë

      9. Well, the bread-making project continues to fail… This time I tried the whole wheat sandwich bread recipe in AB5. I made a 1/2 recipe. Got nice rise after mixing the ingredients, put it in the fridge overnight, put it in the bread loaf pan the next day per the recipe. Heated the oven to 500F, then dropped it to 450F.

        Got no rise. Got no oven rise. Got a burned, dense, unrisen loaf. I wanna cry.

        This is the 4th loaf of bread I’ve tried with your techniques (3 with the boule recipe) and am ready to give up. With those 4 experiments, I’ve tried everything I can think of to fix things, followed you recommendations, tested my oven temp, proofed the yeast, added vital gluten, tried the cast iron pan, and got nothing. Maybe I’ve got some kind of bad bread mojo. But at this point I’m tired of wasting expensive ingredients for lousy results!

        If there’s anything more you can think of that could help I’m willing to listen. But otherwise guess I’m going to go back to traditional bread making (I have a great stand mixer so kneading isn’t a problem!!).

      10. Ooops, sorry made some typos…

        Preheated oven to 400F (not 500F) & dropped down to 350F (not 450F)


      11. Hi Guys,

        I am thinking about buying a Dutch Oven (aka a French Oven) to do many things, but primarily to bake bread in. I was thinking about the 5.5 qt Le Creuset round French Oven,

        but the 6 qt Lodge French Oven


        looks pretty and is 1/4 the price.

        HOWEVER, the Le Creuset says it withstands heat of up to 500 degrees (I would get the stainless steel knob). The lodge says it withstands up to 400 degrees. [The Le Creuset you can machine wash, the Lodge you are told to wash only by hand which also makes me wonder if the le creuset is substantially more hardy]

        If we sometimes bake at 500 degrees wouldn’t that necessitate the use of the Le Creuset? There is also a brand called Staub.

        Please help me choose the best/necessary French Oven for Baking!


      12. Hi Gerry,

        I have the Le Creuset, the Staub and the Emile Henry Dutch Ovens. I love them all and they all work well at 500°F. I have not used the Lodge Dutch Oven, but I know from many of our readers that it works beautifully. I have a Lodge pizza pan, which is the same material and I bake it at 550°F, so I am sure you can bake it at high temperatures. You can’t machine wash them or they will rust, but they are plenty durable.

        Thanks! Zoë

    1. Just bought Lodge 5 qt. enameled Dutch Oven. Care instructions warn aginst preheating empty. So dissappointed since I wanted to bake the no-knead bread. What can I do?

      1. Japro: That really surprises me. I routinely put my non-enameled cast iron into the oven and haven’t had a problem– just like I put my enameled stuff. Best to check with the company and see if they’ll answer specifically. I bet it has to do with the pre-seasoning, maybe they think it’ll flake off?

        Personally, I’d ignore it, but I can’t make any claims to the durability or safety if the company’s telling you not to do it.

    2. You need to be aware that the enameled Lodge line is NOT made in the USA (unfortunately) it’s made in China. I’d stick with the regular Non-enamel Lodge (made in the USA).

  25. I have been a chef for 25 years and never got into baking bread… it was always that taboo, the exact science that was better left to the bread guys…
    You have turned my world around. Since having your website shared with me two weeks ago, I have baked three beautiful black sea salt and rosemary loaves, and today, I went all out with some dutch oven charred onion, bacon, and cheddar loaves! Awesome… I cannot thank you enough!
    Chef Michael
    Richmond VA!

  26. My bread came out beautiful out of the iron cast, very crispy and it was like that until a couple of hours later that I noticed the crusty top was soft, how can I keep a hard crusty top?

  27. I’ve made the master recipe numerous times, and each time while the top gets so brown that it’s nearly burnt, the bread comes out slightly gummy. I put an oven thermometer in, and the temp is accurate. I use a stone with parchment for the first 20 minutes. Last night I made a smaller loaf thinking that it might bake more thoroughly, but had the same outcome. Should I put foil on the top to keep it from getting so dark yet get the bottom crust — and the interior of the loaf — fully baked?

    1. Marj: I think it’s something with your oven, and since you’ve checked the oven temp (not the bread’s temp), I think that foil is the way to go. Short of that, could try:

      1. …leaving it on the stone the whole time, rather than transferring it to a bare shelf like it sounds like youre doing.

      2. …baking lower in the oven– bottom shelf, eg.

  28. I have been using a dutch oven (Emile Henry) for over a year now, most of the time with your recipe and sometimes with the Leahy recipe. Always great results!

    With your recipe I’ve been letting the dough rise by placing it on a waterbed. It is a little higher temperature than the typical rooms, which we keep at about 70 degrees F.

    But we just got a new oven (Kenmore Elite), which is convection and also has a “proof bread” function.

    So now there are lots of options, and I’m not sure what to do! Today we will try using the tried and true method with the dutch oven, but should we try to use the proofing function to raise the temperature a little like we did on the water bed? Will the convection feature make any sense whatsoever with a dutch oven?

    1. Hi Dennis,

      I think you should try the proofing function on the new oven, just so you know if it works. Please report back and let me know what you think. The convection will do nothing to the bread while it is in the Dutch oven and the lid is on, but once you take the lid off it will help the brown the crust nicely. Watch it the first time you try this, so that it doesn’t over brown the top crust.

      Thanks, Zoë

  29. I love this bread recipe, but I am having a problem with the dough consistently sticking to the parchment paper. Unfortunately, I have a limited choice of brands (okay only one is available where I live!). Should I sprinkle a thicker layer of flour and/or corn meal on the parchment paper? Perhaps the dough is too moist? Should I not let it rise on the parchment paper and only move it onto it when I’m ready to bake it? Thanks so much for any suggestions.

    1. Hi Susan,

      You can also sprinkle some cornmeal onto the parchment, under the loaf. This will add a nice flavor and prevent the paper from sticking. It is odd that some parchment sticks, but make sure it isn’t waxed, because the waxed paper sticks like crazy.

      Thanks, Zoë

  30. I just bought a Lodge 7.5 quart porcelain enameled dutch oven (with the steel lid knob) so I could try making no knead bread. However, the instruction pamphlet said not to heat an empty dutch oven. I contacted Lodge customer service and was told that preheating an empty dutch oven can cause the enamel to break away. From all the recipes I’ve read, I probably won’t get very good results if I don’t pre-heat. And from all the interesting posts I’ve read on your site, no one seems to have any enamel problems from pre-heating. Thanks for any suggestions?

    1. Hi Nick,

      I’m afraid it is a bit of a risk, but I’ve never heard of anyone having this outcome with their pots. I have baked this way for years with my Dutch Ovens and have never had any bad results. Having said that, I’ve never used the Lodge product, but pots almost exactly the same.

      Perhaps some of our readers with the Lodge product will weigh in with their experience?

      Thanks, Zoë

    2. I have used this Lodge dutch oven multiple times for bread baking and the results have been great! The enamel is in perfect condition.

      1. I have used both a Lodge enameled and a Lodge pre-seasoned (non-enameled) cast iron Dutch Oven to make this type of bread, and both work really well! I prefer my pre-seasoned pot though, for no particular reason – maybe because it’s a 5qt and my enameled is 7.5 qt, so the weight is more to manage. Either one gives tremendous results though.
        Just looking at my paper that came with the enameled pot – I don’t see anything about not preheating the empty pot, and it says it is safe at “any oven setting.” My pot came with the stainless knob, too, so no worries on melting the plastic one by accident.

  31. I have baked many loaves of bread (and pizza!) over the last several years using all of your books. This winter we decided we are going to have more soup and fresh bread suppers, so I dug a little deeper into your books for more varieties of bread to bake and found a recipe in the first book for Oatmeal Pumpkin Bread. I like to bake the boule-style loaves in cast iron (by far my favorite method), but I noticed this recipe specifies using this dough in a loaf pan. Can I still use the boule / cast iron method with this bread?

    Thanks much – your books have changed the way we think of bread (and pizza!). Can’t wait for book number four!

  32. What size dutch oven should I use to bake bead? I like to try and find things like that in garage sales. Getting my bread to rise is a real issue with me. There is no place warm enough in my house unless the radiators are on. When I was just getting one or two loaf pans to rise I would put them a cooling rack with legs underneath was a warming tray with a pot of water on it . A 6 qt bucket however is another matter

    1. Hi Sue,

      If you are baking a 1-pound loaf then you will want at least a 3-quart Dutch oven, but it will touch the sides. I usually use my 5-quart or 7-quart. Basically, any size will do the trick.

      Thanks, Zoë

  33. Have been reading up on baking bread in cast iron, as you talk about here. Seems to be two main differing methods- first, preheat Dutch oven, lower risen loaf into hot pan, bake. Second, put dough in room temp Dutch oven and allow to do its final rise, then put Dutch oven into preheated oven and bake. Any thoughts on the ‘not preheating the pan’ method? I have a gift for burning myself, so not dealing with a 500 degree heavy cast iron pan is pretty appealing…

    1. Hi Jennifer,

      I have been meaning to test the not-preheating-method with our dough, but haven’t done it yet. I know people have done it and enjoyed the bread, so I would give it a try. If you do it, please let us know what you think.

      Thanks, Zoë

  34. This has probably been asked and answered before but I didn’t see it as I scrolled through so here goes:

    What do you use to get those perfect slashes in the bread? A knife or a razor blade (Exacto knife)?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Patricia,

      We use a sharp, serrated bread knife. You can use a razor blade, but we’ve never discussed it on the site. If you have one, you can try it and see which you prefer.

      Thanks, Zoë

  35. I really love the Dutch Oven Method of baking bread. Finished product ” boule ” reminds me of a French Baguette.
    My Questions Is : I leave the poolish ( starter ) to rest over night. . . .HOW LONG CAN THE STARTER BE LEFT AT ROOM TEMP. BEFORE USING ? At some point I should think that the yeast will expire and leave the starter wanting. This recipe does not call for much yeast – given the 4 cups of flour required.
    Thanks to all for replying.

    Any input is appreciated

    1. Poolish is a very specific method, where pre-ferment is mixed with fresh dough– we don’t do that. How are you using our recipe here?

  36. I’m interested in baking in my 5 Qt. Wagner cast iron DO with a glass lid but curious if it’s oven safe for 500 degrees. So far unable to confirm. Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Bob,

      You can bake this bread at 450°F if the lid is rated for that temperature. I’d hate for you to take any chances with the higher temperature. Some of the older glass was not tempered and can be sensitive to heat.

      Thanks, Zoë

  37. Hi Zoë,
    I just picked up yours and Jeff’s latest book and have made boules successfully in my Lodge before but I’m wondering how can I prevent the bottom from getting too tough? It turns out very well but the base of the loaf is thick and a bit too hard for my liking.

    I am looking forward to trying your methods and recipes, they definitely will save me some time while allowing me to try different loaves plus keep the premade dough on hand for whenever!

      1. Zoë it worked well, thank you! Still a little tough for me but definitely an improvement. Maybe next time I will double the bottom layer of foil?

        Btw, I saw your new kitchen via a link to your blog from David Lebovitz–beautiful, bright and airy! Wonderful!

  38. I’m a little late to the no-knead bread party, but I’ve been having a lot of fun with it.

    I’ve been baking my bread in a preheated Pyrex baking dish with a lid, and it’s working out just fine. But everyone talks about cast-iron. Has anyone tried Pyrex vs Cast Iron?

    Just wondering if it’s worth getting a cast iron dutch oven…. As people have mentioned they can be expensive, but I also have a tiny kitchen, so I don’t have much space!


    1. Honestly, with the closed-container baking method, I don’t think it matters much about the material. The key is trapping the steam, and while you could argue that cast-iron has more heat-mass and transfers energy more quickly, I’m not so sure it matters.

  39. I’ve made bread and pizza dough for many years using the traditional methods. Using a mixer with a dough hook and a proofing board, and a big mess in the kitchen. Wife never happy about that. I tried your methods from your latest book and are amazed of how easy and fool proof the method is. Wife is also happy and what a pleasure to always have dough waiting in the refrigerator. Should I seal the cover or let it stay loose while storing in the refrigerator
    Thank you so much. Ralph

  40. I’ve been into Dutch Oven cooking for some time using the traditional method with charcoal or hardwood coals on the lid and underneath a Dutch Oven with legs. Have you tried to bake with this type of outdoor cooking method? In this scenario, you can’t remove the lid because the majority of heat is coming from the coals on top of the lid.
    I’m not sure if I can get it to brown well enough on top, but I’m going to give it a try. Any advice?

    Thank you!!

    1. Hi Darren,

      I’m not sure how hot you can get the internal temperature of the pot? If you think it can get up to at least 400°, I think it will work, but you may have to add more time to the baking.

      Please let me know how it goes, Zoë

      1. Zoe,
        The bread came out great! It did take about 15 more minutes than in the oven. I believe I can up the amount of coals and it will bake in 40 minutes. Fresh artisan bread at out favorite campsite will be a great addition!!

      2. Thanks Darren.

        That is really exciting. Thanks for sharing the idea and the results of your experiment.

        Cheers, Zoë

  41. Hi

    I have done lots of your recipes and am a huge fan. I am about to try the thanksgiving corn bread with cranberries from first book – and I wonder if I can cover my black cast iron fry pan with a domed lid for steam purposes. My oven really doesn’t hold steam well at all.

    Also – I have bought TWO oven thermometers and both really won’t register higher than about 400 even when I turn oven very far up and it’s clear that it is really hot. I have tried both thermometers in two different ovens. These are the $5 thermometers – does one have to buy a more expensive one to test for high heat?

    thanks so much for answers!!


      1. Thanks – I will try the cast iron cover and report back.

        re thermometers – it’s odd that two ovens both register wrong on two thermometers. Ah well. There’s some test about flour browning at certain temps and I am going to see if I can find that info.

  42. I have tried the master recipe and the whole grains one from the GF book and it is far superior than any GF bread in the market. Thank you! Do I follow the same method here for GF bread when using a dutch oven? I like it because it doesn’t involve a water pan…..

  43. Hi,

    This works great but now the inside of my dutch oven and lid are dark like its burnt. Any suggesting on cleaning?

    1. Hi Lisa,

      I just give it a good scrubbing and you can also try baking soda. My Dutch Oven has quite a patina on it, so it may not be as noticable.

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. Thanks Zoe. I have tried baking soda, lotsa scrubbing and the Le Crueset cleaner with no luck. Its really baked on!

      2. Hi Lisa,

        It may just fade with time as you use it. As long as you have scrubbed it and there isn’t anything coming off, it won’t effect the flavor of any of your recipes. My Dutch oven has quite a bit of “character” and I think it’s more beautiful for it! 🙂

        Thanks, Zoë

  44. Why do you specify to use a non-enriched dough. Will the dutch oven method not work for doughs with oil, egg, honey, etc.? Thanks 🙂

    1. Hi Sandy,

      The DO method is mostly used with breads that typically require steam for the baking. Enriched doughs don’t, so trapping the steam in the pot won’t be of any advantage. You can still bake it in a DO, but you’ll just need to follow the temperature requirements for each recipe.

      Thanks, Zoë

  45. I just bought your Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes and baked a loaf of bread. About 2 pound loaf. iI baked it with ceramic covered baker. I measured everything in metric with digital scale. It was your basic receipe. The dough was in the refrigerator 2 days. The crust was awesome and the interior was perfect. However, the tast was flat. Do you have any suggestions on how to improve the flavor. I am a rookie at bread making.

    1. Hi Jerry,

      You can just let the dough sit longer and allow the fermentation process take a few days. The longer you let the dough sit, the more flavor it will have. If you have access to a sourdough starter you can use that in the dough as well:

      At the end of this dough’s storage (about 2 weeks) you can leave a bit in the bucket and use that “older” dough to jump start the flavor in the next batch. That way you aren’t having to wait so long for a nice flavor in the next batch.

      Hope that helps. Zoë

  46. I bought an enamel cast iron pot just for bread baking but it says do not heat up empty
    I see you did heat up the creuset and it seemed fine…should I go for it?

    1. Hi Margot,

      Is it a Le Creuset? If so, I have used mine for this purpose for years. You will want to switch out the knob for a medal one, but otherwise it is fine to use. The interior may discolor slightly, but that doesn’t effect its baking ability.

      Thanks, Zoë

    2. I called Lodge, the maker of my new dutch oven and was told to fill it about halfway with water, preheat and pour the water out when ready to bake.

      1. Hi Adele,

        I’ve never done this and have never heard of anyone else doing it, but the Lodge folks would know best. I will continue to do it without the water, but if you are scared it may somehow ruin your Dutch Oven, then play it safe for sure.

        Thanks, Zoë

    3. I just purchased one as well. Tramontina 7Qt Enameled Cast Iron Round Dutch Oven. Mine says the same thing. Not to heat up Empty. I purchased this because I wanted to make this bread and now I’m not sure. It also says that 450deg is the limit heat because anything higher could crack it. I’m not sure now what to do ..

      1. Hi Mary,

        I have baked the bread in my Dutch Ovens for decades with no issues, but they tend to be expensive and if it makes you nervous, then I would choose a different method or one of the brands we have used on the site.

        Thanks, Zoë

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