Best Dutch Oven For Baking Bread 2020

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Uncle Paul’s Choice: Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron Round French (Dutch) Oven

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Baking bread is an art, and like any other art form, you need the right tools to excel at it.

If you are a perfectionist like me when it comes to baking bread, you know that getting that perfect bread is often more challenging than it seems.

I do not own a bakery and do not have all of that complicated (expensive) equipment to help me. But because of my love for it, I keep looking for ways to improve my bread baking experience, and I found a dutch oven to be the best, most affordable tool to add to my kitchen.

Today, I have handpicked four of the best dutch ovens you can find out there. Each of these products will surely make quick work of your bread baking projects.

4 Of The Best Dutch Ovens For Bread

Model
Material
Capacity
Price
 

Le Creuset Signature
Enameled Cast-Iron
7.25 Quart
$$$$

Crock-Pot Edmound
Cast Aluminium
5 Quart
$$

Emile Henry Flame
High Resistance Ceramic
5.5 Quart
$$

Lava Signature
Enameled Cast-Iron
5 Quart
$$

 

Before I get into all the nitty-gritty, I want you to know that I have used each of these recommendations extensively to gain an unbiased understanding of their pros and cons. Being a kitchen equipment enthusiast, I wanted to leave no stone unturned to ensure that I pick the best products for you.

Without further ado, let’s get started.

Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron Round Dutch Oven

best dutch oven for breadThe numero uno spot on this list goes to an exceptional model from the reputed brand of Le Creuset. The Enameled Cast-Iron Dutch Oven is available in over a dozen colors. I liked the Palm color and decided to buy the 7.25-quart size.

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Why Buy This Product?

Straight off the bat, I was impressed by the customer reviews of this dutch oven on Amazon. After all, the fact that it has accumulated nearly 300 reviews speaks volumes about its quality.

I especially liked the larger handles on this unit, as they allow me to hold it with oven mitts conveniently. Also, the larger knob can withstand extreme temperatures, going up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you are looking for a premium option capable of baking different types of bread, this is your best bet. It enhances slow cooking by locking in the ideal moisture level and distributing heat evenly.

What Could’ve Been Better?

Like all other Le Creuset models, it is a premium option that could be a tad bit expensive for some homeowners. Apart from that, I cannot deny that it is heavy and might be cumbersome to use at times. But these downsides are not significant enough to outweigh the many praiseworthy features of this dutch oven.

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Pros

  • 45% larger handles for a secure grip with mitts
  • Superior heat distribution and moisture retention
  • Larger knob withstands up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Perfect for baking all kinds of bread

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Cons

  • A tad bit expensive
  • Weighs nearly 13 pounds which is somewhat cumbersome

Crock-Pot Edmound Round Aluminum Dutch Oven

best dutch oven for baking breadThe Edmound 98260.02 Dutch Oven from the renowned brand of Crock-Pot takes the second spot on my list. This 5-quart beauty is available in eleven color options, of which the blue variant looked best to me. It is much more affordable than the Le Creuset ranked first.

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Why Buy This Product?

For those of you who want a smaller and more affordable dutch oven, this Crock-Pot model fits the bill perfectly. You can use it for cooking several meals, including baking bread. Its 5-quart capacity is perfect for a family of four or five people.

I am a big fan of its lightweight design – it weighs a mere four pounds, which makes it feel like a breeze! And its cast aluminum built makes it suitable for both stovetop and oven cooking.

You need not worry about its longevity as it has a rust-free, non-stick surface that will last for a long time, and you get a little book of recipes and cooking ideas with it.

What Could’ve Been Better?

As good as the Edmound dutch oven is, it is not flawless. The only gripe I have with this otherwise excellent product is that it can get challenging to clean it. I had to spend more time and effort into cleaning it than I would’ve liked. Crock-Pot should look into it and improve it.

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Pros

  • Weighs around four pounds only
  • Affordably-priced
  • Thoughtful inclusion of a little book of ideas and recipes
  • Can be used for various purposes, including baking bread

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Cons

  • Cleaning it tends to be challenging and time-consuming

Emile Henry Flame Round Dutch Oven

best size dutch oven for breadThe next dutch oven I want to recommend comes from yet another top-notch brand. Emile Henry’s Flame Round Dutch Oven is one of the most beautiful options out there, thanks to its pleasing burgundy color. You can get it in four sizes, of which I tried the 5.5-quart variant.

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Why Buy This Product?

If you want to go all-out and buy an authentic dutch oven made in France, this is the perfect option for you. Emile Henry used its proprietary Flame technology to make this excellent product.

I was impressed by its lightweight design, which makes it so easy to use it in the oven, on the stove, or BBQ grills. At less than nine pounds, it is nearly 30% lighter than the majority of cast iron dutch ovens out there.

You need not worry about its durability, as it can withstand extreme temperatures up to 930°F in the oven. And if that wasn’t enough, you get an unmatched 10-year warranty against manufacturing defects.

What Could’ve Been Better?

I have been using it for over three months to bake bread, and I am yet to face any significant hassle. But if I have to mention an aspect that could be improved, it would be its lid. It tends to be a bit finicky at times and feels like it hasn’t closed properly.

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Pros

  • Can withstand up to 930°F in the oven
  • Backed by a 10-year warranty against manufacturing defects
  • Lightweight design
  • Made in France using the proprietary Flame technology

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Cons

  • The lid does not close properly sometimes

Lava Cookware Signature Enameled Cast Iron Oval Dutch Oven

best dutch oven for sourdough breadThe final spot on my list goes to the Signature Enameled Cast Iron Oval Dutch Oven from the reputed brand of Lava Cookware. It is the least expensive recommendation on my list. You can get it in five colors and size options; I chose the 5-quart, cobalt blue variant.

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Why Buy This Product?

After three round dutch ovens, I wanted to include an oval one on this list, and the Signature series from Lava Cookware stood out from the rest.

I mostly used it to bake longer loaves of bread, which is not possible in a round dutch oven. Its three layers of porcelain enamel not only make it beautiful but also improve its durability, and the final coat on the inside has a matte finish, making it chip and stain-resistant.

And did I mention that it comes with a limited lifetime warranty? It doesn’t get much better than this when it comes to dutch ovens.

What Could’ve Been Better?

Lava Cookware got nearly everything right with this dutch oven, and you can’t expect to get a better product in its price range. But the only gripe I have with it is the size of its handles. It is among the heavier options, and I couldn’t get a good grip on the handles with the oven mitts.

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Pros

  • One of the most affordable options out there
  • Backed by a limited lifetime warranty
  • Comes with a temperature rating of 500 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Dishwasher and detergent safe enamel finish

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Cons

  • Handles are a tad bit small
  • One of the heaviest options on this list

Buyers’ Guide

Now that you know four of the best dutch ovens available today, you must be wondering which one is best for your needs. That’s where this guide comes into the picture – it will help you select the best dutch oven.

For the sake of brevity, I have divided it into three sections – factors to consider when buying it, general tips for optimal use, and benefits of using it for baking bread.

Factors to Consider When Buying A Dutch Oven

Type

The first thing you want to consider when looking at a dutch oven is its type. Now, dutch ovens can primarily be divided into two types, based on the finish – bare cast iron and enameled.

If you want to buy a dutch oven that can withstand extreme temperatures and you do not mind putting in additional time and effort for cleaning it, you should go for a bare cast iron model. But if you prioritize convenience over high-temperature rating, you should opt for an enameled unit.

When it comes to baking bread, I found both types to be equally efficient.

Size and Shape

The best size and shape of the dutch oven for bread can be decided based on the number of people you are baking for and the type of bread you are baking.

As a rule of thumb, do not go for anything smaller than 5-quart for baking bread. The two most popular shapes are round and oval. Go for an oval model if you want to bake longer loaves.

Cost

It cannot be denied that dutch ovens are expensive, and it is understandable why most homeowners are a tad bit skeptical about purchasing one. But the higher cost of this exceptional kitchen equipment isn’t unjustified, because it is one of the most versatile and ergonomic tools you can have for baking bread.

If you go for one of the premium brands like Le Creuset or Lodge, you can expect the cost to shoot up significantly.

Other Features

When buying a dutch oven, pay attention to some of the essential features like the handle and the lid. Do not buy a product that does not have handles or one that comes with a glass lid.

The best way to assess the quality of these parts of a dutch oven is to go through customer reviews. If these aspects aren’t up to the mark, it is not worth buying.

Generic Tips For Using A Dutch Oven

There is no denying the fact that a dutch oven makes an excellent addition to your kitchen arsenal. Whether you are a regular homeowner or a professional baker, you could use these tips to ensure that you get the most out of your dutch oven.

  • Hand wash and dry both base and lid thoroughly before storing it.
  • Metal spoons can scratch the enameled bottom or sides of it. Switch to heat-resistant plastic, silicone, or wooden utensils.
  • Coat the bottom with oil or butter to make sure that the food doesn’t stick to it.
  • Avoid preheating it empty on high heat as it may cause the enamel coating to crack.
  • Never cook on high heat because it retains a lot of heat and may burn the food inside.
  • Use a baking sheet in the oven to reduce the chances of the bottom of your bread burning or becoming too dark.
  • When using a cast iron dutch oven on a ceramic or glass surface, lift it instead of sliding it.

Benefits Of Baking Bread With A Dutch Oven

A dutch oven does a splendid job of mimicking the cooking environment you would find in a professional bakery. You get a temperature-stable and sealed environment, which works wonders for baking all kinds of bread. Here are all the benefits of baking bread using a dutch oven:

  • Adequate steam keeps the dough exterior supple and moist, helping it expand optimally before setting and hardening. So, you get optimal loaf volume!
  • The steam eventually settles on the dough exterior to form a thin layer after the interior is baked. This layer becomes a shiny, deeply-colored crust.
  • It ensures that the enzymatic activity continues for longer, which helps unlock more sugars that are added to the crust.
  • A well-steamed dutch oven promotes gelatinization, which makes the crust more crispy and shiny.
Model
Material
Capacity
Price
 

Le Creuset Signature
Enameled Cast-Iron
7.25 Quart
$$$$

Crock-Pot Edmound
Cast Aluminium
5 Quart
$$

Emile Henry Flame
High Resistance Ceramic
5.5 Quart
$$

Lava Signature
Enameled Cast-Iron
5 Quart
$$

Summing It Up

The Dutch Oven is not an outcome of modern technology – it has been around for decades, thanks to its versatile utility and cooking capability. After using it for baking bread, I felt a bit foolish for not having used it earlier, and I see no reason why you should not be investing in one of these beautiful products immediately. It will make your life in the kitchen much simpler!