How do bakeries always seem to get their sourdough so perfectly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside? It can seem impossible to replicate sourdough’s quality at home, especially without a baker’s oven. While you might think the process would be too complex and involved, there’s a secret home baking essential that will help you make delicious sourdough at home. And while you may not be able to beat a freshly baked loaf from a skilled and experienced baker, you can get close!
All you need is a quality dutch oven to make amazing sourdough bread at home, and we’ve pulled together our favourite options on the market.
Even among professional bakers, dutch ovens are still top of the list for baking sourdough bread. This is because they heat the bread evenly, which leads to more consistent cooking of the loaf. That will help ensure that all parts of the dough get cooked at the same rate.
Dutch ovens also keep the steam from cooking sealed inside the oven. This steam is crucial to making the best quality sourdough bread. It keeps the outer crust of the bread soft as the dough inside rises to meet the exterior of the bread.
This is what gives sourdough bread its soft, puffy nature. Without the steam, the crust becomes hard too soon and doesn’t allow the dough to form beneath it properly.
Unfortunately, not all dutch ovens are perfect for making sourdough, so you need to have a keen eye for which ovens are suitable and which are not. And we are giving you some insider tips!
There are some general characteristics to look for that will help you identify the best dutch ovens for baking sourdough bread.
Now for our favourite dutch ovens for baking sourdough bread. These are our top picks and are highly recommended for baking sourdough.
The Challenger Bread Pan® is the creation of Jim Challenger, a passionate baker turned bakeware producer. Drawing upon his own experiences baking bread, Jim created this dutch oven to appeal to all bread bakers.
The pan is made using cast iron and has been designed to be long-lasting and versatile. It is oval in shape but is big enough to create round and oval-shaped loaves. The handles on the tops and sides have been designed to be big enough to handle whilst wearing oven gloves, so no more risk of burns!
This is easily our favourite dutch oven and the one we recommend to all our customers here at BReD.
The Lodge Cast Iron Combo Cooker comes pre-seasoned and can be used immediately after purchase. This saves you the process of seasoning the cast iron yourself, which can take a while.
It’s also incredibly versatile, as it comes with multiple parts that can be used as a dutch oven, skillet, deep skillet, and lid. It can be used anywhere and on any cooking top, including on grills, gas or induction stove tops, in ovens and even on campfires. Can you tell it’s our favourite yet?
Lodge Cast Iron Combo Cookers are easy to clean, and the pre-seasoned layer doesn’t come off when the cooker is cleaned, provided you follow the proper maintenance recommendations.
At 5.5 quartz, the Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven is a colourful dutch oven option that’s great for making sourdough at home. It comes in many different colours so you can choose your favourite! The body and handles are coated in enamel to control exterior temperature and prevent chipping and cracking.
Its handles are also larger than typical dutch ovens this size, and they are looped to help with grip, so it’s easy to pull your sourdough out of the oven. The lid is tightly fitted and specially designed to help circulate steam, so the moisture stays in the bread.
The STAUB Cast Iron Round Cocotte is specially equipped with a heavy lid with a unique feature. It has a set of spikes underneath the lid that ensures the flavours of your sourdough aren’t lost to the atmosphere when cooking with the dutch oven. The handle also contains a brass-plated knob handle which helps you lift the lid off, even at high temperatures.
The base is flat, which both ensures an even spread of heat and means you can use the STAUB Cast Iron Round Cocotte on any cooking surface.
This dutch oven is quite a high-end product, so it is on the pricier side of other dutch ovens on the list.
Many people prefer their sourdough bread in an oval shape, as opposed to round. If you are one of those people, then a Bayou Classic 7477 6-qt Cast Iron Oval Fryer is perfect for you. Most people buy it specifically for baking bread because the unique shape is harder to find. And it comes at a great price point, so you get good value for money.
The Bayou Classic 7477 6-qt Cast Iron Oval Fryer is versatile and can be used for baking sourdough in your oven or over a campfire. It’s also quite aesthetically pleasing. The dutch oven comes pre-seasoned, saving you a step, and is very easy to clean when you’re done cooking.
The Crock-Pot Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven is the largest on the list, with a capacity of 7 Quartz. It is made of cast iron and finished with porcelain, making it even easier to clean. If you want to make big sourdough loaves, this might be the one for you!
The cast iron enables this enamelled dutch oven to heat food evenly and maintain a slow and steady pace of cooking, which is perfect for baking sourdough bread. It can be used safely and effectively with ovens and to prepare large batches of sourdough bread, saving time and effort.
These are our favourite dutch ovens for baking sourdough, and we are sure whichever one you decide to try out will become your favourite as well. Using one of these cast iron dutch ovens to bake your sourdough bread will allow you to produce quality loaves from home.