A Potential Downside To Using A Dutch Oven For Baking Bread

Dutch ovens have been a popular way to cook things from soups, roasts, and breads alike for a long time. According to Kana, the first cast iron Dutch oven was invented in England in 1707, and the modern, enamel coating cookware was reimagined in France in 1891.

Bread bakers love Dutch ovens for the moist inside and crispy outside the cookware gives their bread. There are a few reasons why bread baked in the cast iron pot makes it that much better. For one, the steam released during baking gets trapped inside the pot, which in turn helps steam the bread along with baking it, explains Veecoco. Steaming the dough keeps it from drying out, resulting in a basically perfect loaf of bread. Steam also encourages a more even and quicker bake. Dutch ovens also protect the crust from drying out and getting too thick and crispy too fast, instead allowing the inside of the bread to get moist and fluffy, while leaving the crisping to happen towards the end. However, there is one potential downside to baking bread in your Dutch oven.

Limited shapes

Baking bread in a Dutch oven results in a deliciously moist on the inside, crispy on the outside loaf of bread, perfect for eating on its own, for sandwich bread, with a soup, as a bread bowl, and so on. However delicious the result, though, Serious Eats points out that you're limited to round shaped loaves.

Some breads like sourdough are classically round, but if you want to make a simple loaf of rectangular bread or a baguette style loaf, you won't be able to achieve it in a Dutch oven. Due to the steaming and expansion that occurs within the pot, a rectangular shaped loaf inside the pot would just stretch to fit the round shape. That doesn't mean you have to sacrifice the benefits of cast iron when baking rectangular bread, though. There are specific cast iron bread ovens that provide the same result as a Dutch oven, but without the limited shape. The downside here, though, is that these can be pricey, and unlike a Dutch oven which can be used for a multitude of purposes, this tool is limited only to bread.