Homemade Hokkaido wheat toast bread whole and sliced on white cloth on table. Close up. (Photo by: Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Food - Drink
The Reason You Should Preheat Your Dutch Oven When Baking Bread
To bake a perfect loaf of bread, you need to use high, consistent heat, and depending on your recipe, it’s not just your oven that needs to be piping hot. Using a Dutch oven pot as a baking vessel is incredibly popular and can produce fantastic results, but for the best outcome, you actually need to preheat your pot as well.
Perfect loaves of bread are partially the result of steam, which expands the dough as it tunnels through the loaf, creating air holes in the crumb of the bread. Professional ovens use steam injectors to achieve this, but home cooks can use a Dutch oven to similar effect, so long as they preheat the pot to generate as much steam as possible.
When the intense heat of a hot Dutch oven makes contact with a moist ball of bread dough, the yeast in the bread instantly reacts, creating a great airy interior and shiny browned crust on the final loaf. Baking with a Dutch oven that's still cool won't necessarily produce bad results, but a bit of extra time will give you excellent returns.