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Dutch oven to bake no-knead bread

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I'm looking at a Lodge Color Enamel 6-Qt. Cast Iron Dutch Oven for the usual cooking but especially for no-knead bread. I can't afford Le Creuset. Have any of you had any experience using the Lodge Enameled Dutch oven with the over 400 degree for bread? I plan on replacing the plasic knob if I get this oven.
Thanks

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  1. Yes and no. I am currently using my enameled Dutch Oven at 500oF. Because the knob cannot handle more than 400oF or so, I put a wet towel around the knob and then warp around it around with aluminum foil. I manage to protect the knob, but I think that may have cracked the enameled surface on the lid. It also discolored like hell, but I don't care. I am using it exclusively making bread.

    Right now, it is in the oven making the bread, so I cannot take a photo...

    Someone suggested the Kitchen Aid one because of its handle, but that is more expensive:

    http://www.amazon.com/KitchenAid-2-Qu...

    I think if you are only getting one for no knead bread, then you should just get the cheapest Dutch Oven you can. You are really using the Dutch Oven more like an enclosed stone.

    17 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      Hello, Chemicalkinetics!
      You're always cooking! You know, instead of messing around with the knob you have now, you can take the current knob to Home Depot and they will show you a stainless steel one you can replace it with.
      As for my question, I think I'll get the Lodge 6qt for $49.99 at WalMart or Amazon. I'll probably get it ordered through WalMart, they'll ship it there and I can open it while in the store and look for defects. If I order if from Amazon and it has defects, I'll be stuck shipping it back.
      I'll take your advice and get this one, although I hope it doesn't damage the enamel like on your lid. My guess is if one uses even Le Crueset for baking bread, it, too, would discolor,
      I'm just concerned about crasking real bad.
      Also, I've done the no knead recipe using a cookie sheet and no oven. It worked great for the ciabatta. Watch this video, here's the web site: http://foodwishes.blogspot.com/2009/0...
      check out the web site, you might find this guy's technique a nice variation...it's certainly easy.

      1. re: sylvan

        I know. I was stupid and lazy and thought I could have saved that $3-5 dollar. I did visit HomeDepot a long time ago for that reason and then decided not to buy it. I actually only started to make no knead bread just a week ago.

        Below (a different post) I have attached photo for my latest and my third trial.

        Nice work. That bread you made look very nice.

        1. re: sylvan

          In my case, I used the LC and the color changes while hot, but goes back to its original color after cooling. I have the newer Williams-Sonoma LC so). I also have purchased the metal knob for another cheaper pan that I bought at K-Mart (Martha Stewart cast iron enamel) and it was much less expensive and I see no difference in the bread that comes out of either of these pans. I say buy what you can afford - you will not see a difference. Just make sure you completely dry your Lodge after use or it will rust. I have not used the Lodge for this purpose - only the cheaper cast iron enamel. The major difference I see in the quality is that the Martha pan from K-Mart shows stir marks and wear and tear where my LC does not. If you make the leap to the better quality you will not regret it as you will have it for your lifetime.

        2. re: Chemicalkinetics

          Just finished the bread. Here. This should give some idea about the discoloration. I don't even bother to clean it.

           
           
          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            Hi Ck,

            I've read a few threads on no-knead bread, and I think I may try it. My question for you though, is on the pot. In another thread you mentioned owning both "plain" and enameled dutch ovens, and here you use the enameled, even though you need to take steps to protect the handle and you are getting the discoloration. Any reason not to use the plain DO instead?

            1. re: Cheez62

              :)

              I tried actually -- just today. I more or less validated my earlier suspection. My bare cast iron Dutch Ovens are seasoned, so a layer of polymerized fat and burned charcoal are coated on these bare cast iron cookare. When I took the bare cast iron Dutch Oven up to 500oF, the surface started to degas -- basically the surface was burning off -- visibly smoking. I assume that if I had threw my dough in, it would have smell like burned oil, so I didn't

              However, if I have a truely bare cast iron Dutch Oven with no seasoning surface, just pure cast iron, then I don't see there is any reason why I could not have done it. Now, an unseasoned bare cast iron Dutch Oven will not be good for cooking because it will readily rust, but I guess that won't be a problem if it is only for no knead bread.

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                Ah, now I hadn't thought of the degassing thing. I only own bare cast iron, and it too is well-seasoned. You're probably right, and I probably won't try it. Thanks for the reply!

                1. re: Cheez62

                  I have had ZERO issues with my plain cast iron DO's when making NK bread. 500F is a perfectly nice temp to season. Grease the inside with an oil that can take the heat like peanut or canola oil.

          2. re: Chemicalkinetics

            Chemicalkinetics
            the one from KitchenAid is real nice, but a bit more than I can pay right now...There's a Tremolina 6.5 for $49.99 at WalMart, btw, but I like the Lodge better

            1. re: sylvan

              The Lodge one is good. Get the Blue or Green. :) I like those two colors. I originally had a Blue one and I really like that color. I now have a stupid brown. I don't like brown. I only got it because it was much cheaper at the time I bought it.

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                I've had pretty good luck using a Lodge 5qt. cast iron dutch oven. I have a vfew Le Creuset and Lodge enameled pieces, but feel more comfortable using the regular cast iron. I haven't had any issues with off tastes of burning.

                Partly because it's been a pretty cold winter, I've taken the opportunity to help heat the house by reseasoning some of my iron cookware. Like Chem, I go for a 500 degree seasoning temp with a thin coat of Lard, roasted for 1 hour (not counting the warm up time).

                Chem, good point about the degassing. I haven't noticed anything like that , but really haven't been looking for it either. I

                1. re: redrako

                  Really? My bare cast iron Dutch Oven was smoking. Basically, I could smelled burning oil when the Dutch Oven was preheated in the oven, so I took it out and put it on the stovetop and I saw faint smoke coming off the Dutch Oven surface.

                  Maybe I will try to bring it up to 520oF and see if I can burn off the more volatile components first and then bring it down to a lower temperature for the real baking. Thanks for sharing.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    Chem - I've wondered about kicking up the heat on my reseasoning on the theory that the temperature at which the seasoning bonds with the iron should be higher than the temperature the iron will be cooked with.

                    . When I ratcheded up my CI usage, I spent a lot time going through the voluminous material on the web and found a lot of good info on this board. I think that I ended up following 3gig's advise, high heat, very thin coats of seasoning oil - I use Lard and occasionally Crisco. I know that I've actively read much of your writing on cast iron - so thanks for sharing your informed thoughts.

                    I have a 5qt. Lodge chicken fryer that I do a lot of stir fry's in with lots of ginger, garlic, soy, sesame type seasonings. This is pretty much what I do in that pan, getting it screaming hot on the stove top (more a function of time than BTU's).

                    I've wondered if I used that pan for bread, it it wouldn't pick up some of the stir-fry flavor, but now that I think of it, that may not be a bad thing. Keep us posted on your higher heat burn off.

              2. re: sylvan

                The Tramontina is what I bought because that's what CI recommended in their article on this bread. Use the parchment method in the CI recipe and it won't matter if your Dutch oven is enameled or not.

              3. re: Chemicalkinetics

                That was probably me who recommended the KitchenAid pot, but I'm realizing in the past post that I probably linked to a larger version than the one I use, which is 4.5 qt rather than 6, and really the perfect size for a single loaf up to 1.5 lbs.:

                http://www.amazon.com/KitchenAid-2-Qu...

                1. re: Bada Bing

                  Although the original non knead bread recipe suggests using a 6-7 quart Dutch Oven, I agree with you. I am making the bread and find the 6-quarts Dutch Oven has more than enough room for the bread. I think a 4.5-5 quarts Dutch Oven will be sufficient. Thanks.

                  1. re: Bada Bing

                    a 3.5 qt KA is recommended at this site - I pasted below, too.
                    6.0 qt is too big. The final products will be flat with rougher texture inside.

                    He compared many version of NKB and seems experienced a lot.

                    Also there are many posts on NKB on Homecooking board, too, discussing which size is the best.

                    check this: http://www.nokneadbread.org/3-notouch...

                2. 6qt might be too big for the bread. Bread is going to be flat and short, which makes the texture rough. Recommend to pick up around 3.5 qt.

                  Check this website: http://www.nokneadbread.org/3-notouch...

                  1. For those who want the larger size 7.5 quart Lodge Enameled DO (not available at Wal-Mart) check out KaTom restaurant supply. They sell them for $62.50 + shipping ($18.50 UPS ground), which is $81 delivered, which is cheaper than Amazon which sells them for $99 + Free Shipping. Of course, not sure what happens if it arrives chipped, so best to check before ordering.

                    KaTom seems to have Very good prices. II don't think they do much in the way of coupons unless you spend a ton or buy from a certain line.

                    http://www.katom.com/261-EC7D43.html

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: sawdin

                      Just called KaTom, if the product arrives w/ chips, you contact KaTom (provide photos), they contact Lodge and then Lodge takes over. The very nice woman at KaTom said that I would not be responsible for return shipping. I've read on these forums that Lodge sometimes doesn't follow through on warranty issues, but I had the sense that if the item arrives chipped that Lodge would take care of it because the request came via KaTom.

                      1. re: sawdin

                        Katom has very nice prices. I have bought a few knvies from them. The only problem is that they are slow.

                      2. I just recently started making no-knead bread. I first used my 7.25 qt. Le Creuset dutch oven, after taking the knob off and replacing with aluminum foil. It worked fine. Then I tried a 5 qt. Martha Stewart, same procedure with the knob. I ordered the $10 stainless knobs for Le Creuset for each pot, so I could make two loaves at once. Then I found a 3.5 qt. Kitchenaid dutch oven for $39 on clearance at TJ Maxx, and I much prefer that size since it makes a rounder loaf. The Kitchenaid also has a silicone handle that's safe to 500 degrees. All the enameled dutch ovens seem to darken at the high heat but then resume their normal color as they cool.

                        You can use other vessels as well, like Corningware casserole dishes. This morning I made a loaf in the removable pottery crock with pyrex lid from my slow cooker--worked fine.

                        Other than issues with plastic knobs, I would guess that any brand of enameled cast iron would work fine in a very hot oven.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: luvsummer

                          Yes, 3.5 qt is the best size for the KNB. I saw the KA clearance at TJM, too. It is a good buy for $39. I bake the bread only occasionally so I did not pick up but someone who does it regularly , KA seems the best choice.

                          1. re: hobbybaker

                            When you talk about the TJ Maxx finds, you mean at a bricks-and-mortar store, not online. Is that correct?

                            1. re: sawdin

                              Not online. I saw the same size for the same size at Marshalls. too. It is a good buy if you look for a DO for KNB.

                        2. I wouldn't pay the lecreuset bounty either...lodge should be fine, just be mindful of the knob

                           
                          7 Replies
                          1. re: BiscuitBoy

                            Wow, that looks good. Does it taste good too? I know there is a huge debate about "Is Le Creuset worths its price?". Now, I think it really does not matter which side you are on, if all you want to do is to make no knead bread, then I don't believe a Le Creuset is better than other brands. During the no knead bread process, the Dutch Oven simply acts as a enclosed stone. It really does not matter if it is a beautiful Le Cresuet or a few bricks laying together. They will all work.

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              Damn, Chem you're right...Bricks would have been so, "Me!" Yeah, that bread really surprised me, rivals anything I can buy locally, or from the bronx

                              1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                Thanks. By the way, the comment about Lodge vs Le Creuset vs bricks were really meant for the original poster and readers in general, not directed to you.

                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                  I have been baking bread on a pizza stone with a pan of water underneath, or misting the surface before putting the dough in. :-) I think the concept is more or less the same. (?)

                                  1. re: cutipie721

                                    I'm with you there Cuti.. except I use a baking sheet so I can fit 2-3 baguettes at a time.. I don't mist but still get a nice crust

                                    1. re: cutipie721

                                      :) Thanks. I have much to learn about making bread.

                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                        Peter Rinehart's Artisan Breads Everyday... "Classic French Bread" recipe and using the recipe on baguettes was a clear step up in my evolution of bread baking.. may be available at a library

                                        BTW, spackling trowels from a hardware store paint department are also good to cut and move dough around

                                        No doubt good bread can be made without a DO.

                            2. I notice that the 3.5 Kitchen Aid Enamel Cast iron is safe to 500 degrees and the Lodge Enamel Cast iron is safe to only 400 degrees. Naturally, I would exchange the existing knob on top for a stainless steel. But it would seem to me that the Kitchen Aid would be a better bet for baking No Knead Bread without ruining the interior enamel. The Kitchen Aid is also about $20 more.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: sylvan

                                According to Amazon, KitchenAid enameled 6 quart DO is $130 while the Lodge enameled 6 quart DO is $50-70

                                http://www.amazon.com/KitchenAid-2-Qu...

                                http://www.amazon.com/Lodge-EC6D43-En...

                                http://www.amazon.com/KitchenAid-2-Qu...

                                I think they are both fine choice. If you are able to buy them at about the same price, then the KitchenAid one is a very attractive choice.

                                I should have been more clear when I said the interior enamel surface cracked during my no knead bread session. It was not new and already has hairline fracture on the lid. I think the hotter temperature during the no knead bread session finally cracked it.

                                Best of luck.

                              2. I use my Lodge seasoned cast iron dutch oven exclusively for the Jim Lahey bread recipe, and have never had a problem.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: Jane917

                                  Target- Fifty bucks for their version. Works perfectly. The thing to remember is that if you use these pots for nkb they will discolor and probably lose their handles, Le creuset included. Also, when they do lose their handles it's not a big deal either. I look at it as a steam vent. Works just fine with the little hole in the top.

                                  1. re: bastid

                                    I'm quite happy with my 3.5 qt Tramontina DO from Walmart. $39.86 and free shipping to your local store. I replaced the knob with a $3 metal knob from Lowes. I've baked bread at 500+ degrees (checking out different temp/crust relationships) w/out any problems. 3.5 quarts is the perfect size for the Lahey/CI 15 ounces of flour loaves.
                                    http://www.walmart.com/ip/Tramontina-...

                                    Katom has a 6 qt. Lodge enameled Dutch Oven for $48.75 and a 7.5 qt for $62.50. However, you have to pay shipping which is around $18; if you are ordering other items, the marginal cost to add the DO is only a couple of bucks.
                                    http://restaurant-supplies.katom.com/...

                                    1. re: bastid

                                      I am pretty I only paid $35 for mine from Amazon.

                                      1. re: Jane917

                                        I'm usually pretty good about comparing prices and I know that I checked Amazon.....just looked on Amazon and they don't even have the Tramontina 3.5 qt. DO. However, I know that some products come and go on Amazon, so I am NOT saying that you are mistaken.

                                        Okay, I went back and looked at your earlier post... Lodge pre-seasoned non-enameled DO's are $35 on Amazon and the Lodge enameled 3qt. is $44.

                                  2. Total contrarian here - having set off every smoke alarm in my house usung the CI method with parchment and my 30+ year old stained LC, I now make this bread in 9" cake pans covered with stainless steel bowls. So much less hassle and hoo-hah and the bread comes out just fine. Covered bread baking is nothing new, Elizabeth David discusses it in her great book "English Bread and Yeast Cookery" (1977) and La Cloche baking pans have been sold for a long time.

                                    13 Replies
                                    1. re: buttertart

                                      "having set off every smoke alarm in my house usung the CI method with parchment and my 30+ year old stained LC, I now make this bread in 9" cake pans covered with stainless steel bowls"

                                      Interesting. The dough is the same, I assume. So whatever cause the fire/smoke alarm to go off must be due to the Dutch Oven. Yet, it is surprising that a enameled Le Creuset would degass so much to set off the alarm.

                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                        The parchment burnt and the bottom of the bread burnt black (I followed the preheatng instructions and I have an oven thermometer on each rack in the oven). It was probably the paper/bread burning. Such a hassle with the 5!!! count 'em!!! 5 freaking smoke alarms, they are hardwired, super sensitive, and we have high ceilings.

                                        1. re: buttertart

                                          Oh, the paper. Thanks.

                                      2. re: buttertart

                                        How high are the sides of your cake pans? What temp. do you use?

                                        1. re: sawdin

                                          9 x 1 1/2 in "nonstick" fairly heavy ones I got at a dollar store several years ago, 3 qt stainless bowls, 425- 450 deg F.

                                          1. re: buttertart

                                            How high are the loafs? Do you use a fairly dry dough? The typical No Knead Bread dough is pretty wet and I would think it would not hold its shape and flow over the pan. Obviously, the dough you are mixing up is not flowing over the edge of the pan, is that because it doesn't rise very much, it is a fairly dry dough or some combination of those two. Do you use the CI recipe of 15 ounces of flour and 10 ounces of liquid (7oz water + 3oz beer + 1tbsp vinegar)? I usually have to add 2 - 4 more ounces of water, depending on the type of flour that I'm using.

                                            I made one batch of the Artisan Bread in 5 minutes with my son, but I never got to taste it. He said it was good, and I think I'm going to try a few batches as it seems like less work and much easier in regards to planning ahead. My concern is that it supposedly takes on a 'sourdough' quality the longer it stays in the fridge, and I hate sourdough!

                                            1. re: sawdin

                                              About 4". I used the CI recipe the first time out (all water, no beer) but I found it rather dry and added a bit more water (I've been baking bread for ages, all kinds, firm and wet doughs). Even with the added water it rises up and doesn't overflow.
                                              Doughs do get tarter if they're left a long time in the fridge, but 24 hrs should just make it pleasantky tangy (I did this with an ap flour/rye/whole wheat/flaxseed mix I freehanded this Sunday - baked it 24 hrs after it was put in the pans, about 20 of thise in the fridge - and it isn't noticeably sour.
                                              Typical result:

                                               
                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                PS this one had 1/4 whole wheat flour in it come to think of it and didn't rise as high while baking as the all white ones I've made.

                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                  Like you, I also found the CI recipe too dry. In addition, I just made two loaves of white flour only bread using the CI recipe (w/ additional water); one with the water + beer + vinegar and one with water only (adjusted for leaving out the beer and vinegar), to see if I could taste a difference in regards to 'tanginess'. I prefer bread w/out tang. Regarding the AB5M, I assumed the initial loaf would not be too tangy, but I am worried that if the dough stays in the fridge for 7 days or so that it would be too tangy for my taste.

                                                  Regarding healthy loafs, I've been experimenting w/ white whole wheat flour (don't like regular whole wheat) + bread flour + vital wheat gluten + wheat bran + hi-maize non-resistant starch (for added fiber) and I liked the initial results. I need to grab some oat and rye flour so that I can try some additional combinations. I'm new to baking bread, so I've got all sorts of combo's I want to try out. My goal is to make a high-fiber loaf with some whole grains that doesn't taste bitter or tangy, preferably w/out adding any sweeteners like honey or maple syrup, etc.

                                                  Thanks for the information, and please feel free to offer any tips or suggestions!

                                                  Hi-maize Resistant Starch:
                                                  http://store.honeyvillegrain.com/hi-m...

                                                  1. re: sawdin

                                                    At 7 days there would be a decided tang.
                                                    Interesting starch, I had never heard of it.
                                                    You might look at the King Arthur Flour book "Whole Grain Baking" for suggestions on your quest for that loaf, which does sound a treat.

                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                      Thanks again. I have not noticed a change in taste using the hi-maize, but I'm only putting in 2 - 2.5 ounces per 15oz loaf. I also throw it into my fruit and yogurt smoothies.

                                                      PS..When you bake bread in the round cake pans, how long do you leave the bowls over the cake pans? Do you take the bread out of the cake pans to brown up the sides and bottoms, or is that not needed?

                                                      CI suggests spraying the parchment with non-stick spray, I found that doing that when using non-stick Reynolds Wrap parchment that it actually made the bottom get kind of burnt. I no longer spray the parchment. CI also suggests that you spray the do, and I do not do that either. I might try brushing with some extra light or mild olive oil though. Do you ever brush on additional water or oil?

                                                      1. re: sawdin

                                                        I put them on for the whole baking time (45 - 60 mins). If the tops aren't as brown as I want I pop them back in uncovered. Depends on the wetness of the dough I think.
                                                        I spray the pans with nonstick spray and don't use any parchment.
                                                        If I used a dutch oven and sprayed it the fire department would be at my door for sure.

                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                          LOL...thanks for the info...