Bittman bread without a dutch oven?
I don't have a LeCruset or other type of dutch oven.. I have lots of bowls, pots, pans etc.... Is there something I can use instead of a heavy dutch oven??? I've been wanting to try this recipie for over a year now..... and I really have no use fo a big dutch oven. We don't eat much stew or meat.
( I do have a crockpot that collects lots of dust in the basement. Would that work???)
Well, there are some things that will work if you have oven proof pans with some depth.
1. Dropping the dough onto a preheated baking stone or baking plan and popping a large oven proof bowl or pan over the top as a cover (the edges of the inverted pan should contact the flat surface of the stone or baking pan)
2. Building a foil "tent" that provides a pretty good fit over a cast iron fry pan, then preheating the pan and covering it with the "tent" after depositing the dough into it works too.
Neither will seal as well as a dutch oven but the alternative techniques described will do a pretty good job.
Before I had my dutch oven I used a stainless stockpot with lid. Just preheated as directed in oven.
The bread is better in the dutch oven but I was very happy with the stock pot method as well.
For a more crackly crust, you can pre-heat a cast iron skillet or roasting pan on the floor of the oven, and add ice when you put in the bread. A baking stone would help too. My wife really likes the dutch oven technique, and does find that it slightly improves the results in some cases. But baking a lot -- getting the experience with working with the dough, shaping loaves, cooking times, etc. will help much more than having some specific equipment.
If it's just the cost consideration, there are some enameled dutch ovens that are in the $35-45 range (ours is a Lodge). I think you'd be surprised how useful they are - we have one and actually use it quite frequently, though before having one, I would have been hard-pressed to find anything that I'd use it for.