How To Bake Bread in a Dutch Oven


Learning the art of baking bread in a Dutch oven is a crucial step for any home baker, including myself, on their culinary journey. The Dutch oven provides a simple and effective way to introduce steam into the baking process, resulting in a beautifully risen loaf with a crispy and shiny crust. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the benefits of baking bread in a Dutch oven, the recommended baking time and temperature, tips for preventing the bottom from burning, and my favorite Dutch ovens for bread baking.

Why Choose a Dutch Oven for Bread Baking?

A Dutch oven replicates the ideal conditions found in a professional bakery, with its sealed chamber and even heat distribution. The thick cast iron walls of the Dutch oven ensure a stable baking temperature and retain moisture, promoting optimal bread rise and enhancing crust color and shine.

A Video Tutorial on Baking Bread in a Dutch Oven

Before we dive into the steps, here’s a quick video demonstration of how I use a Dutch oven to bake sourdough bread in my kitchen.

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Bake Bread in a Dutch Oven

Follow these simple steps to achieve perfectly baked bread using a Dutch oven:

  1. Preheat your home oven to 450°F (230°C) with the Dutch oven inside for 30 to 45 minutes.
  2. Line a pizza peel, inverted baking sheet, or cutting board with parchment paper.
  3. Gently transfer your proofed bread dough onto the parchment paper.
  4. Score the dough to allow for expansion during baking.
  5. Slide the parchment paper with the dough into the preheated Dutch oven and cover with the lid.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes with the lid on to create steam and promote rise.
  7. Remove the lid and continue baking uncovered for an additional 25 to 35 minutes, following your recipe’s instructions.
  8. Check for doneness by ensuring the internal temperature of the loaf reaches around 205°F (96°C).

Note: Adjust the baking time and temperature according to your specific environment and altitude if necessary.

Preventing Burning and Thick Bottom Crust

To prevent the bottom of your bread from burning in a Dutch oven, consider these helpful tips:

  • Do not place the Dutch oven on top of a baking stone, as it may lead to excessive heat and scorching.
  • Reduce the oven temperature during preheating to avoid excessive bottom crust browning.
  • Use an insulating layer, such as a baking sheet or stone, underneath the Dutch oven to regulate heat distribution.
  • Sprinkle coarse cornmeal or wheat bran to create a protective barrier between the bottom crust and the Dutch oven.
  • Bake on two layers of parchment paper to further insulate the dough and prevent burning.
  • If necessary, remove the dough from the Dutch oven after the crust has set and finish baking directly on the oven rack.

Recommended Dutch Ovens and Combo Cookers

While any oven-safe Dutch oven or combo cooker will suffice for bread baking, here are a few of my favorite options:

  1. Lodge 3.2 Quart Combo Cooker: This cast iron combo cooker offers versatility and durability, making it suitable for various cooking tasks in addition to baking bread.
  2. Challenger Bread Pan: Perfect for oval-shaped loaves, this USA-made pan is designed explicitly for bakers, providing excellent results and ease of use.
  3. Staub 5.75 Quart Oval Cocotte: This enameled Dutch oven is ideal for baking larger loaves and offers exceptional heat distribution and longevity.

Remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for preheating and care of your chosen Dutch oven.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Should I preheat the Dutch oven before baking bread?
    Yes, preheating the Dutch oven is essential to achieve optimal oven spring and loaf volume.

  • How do I safely remove the loaf from the Dutch oven?
    Use oven-safe gloves to carefully lift the loaf out of the pot. Alternatively, if you used parchment paper, lift the corners of the paper to remove the baked loaf.

  • How can I prevent the bottom of the bread from burning in a Dutch oven?
    Avoid baking on a baking stone, reduce oven temperature during preheating, insulate the Dutch oven, use cornmeal or wheat bran, bake on two layers of parchment paper, or remove the dough from the Dutch oven towards the end of baking.


Baking bread in a Dutch oven unlocks endless possibilities for achieving professional-quality loaves in your home kitchen. By following the steps outlined in this guide and utilizing the recommended Dutch ovens, you can master the art of Dutch oven bread baking and enjoy delicious, crusty bread with ease. Happy baking!

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