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Sep 6, 2012 09:20 AM

One more quick knead bread burning the pot???

I keep reading posts about people who have made this bread in their dutch ovens and the bottom of the pot has burnt. Does this always occur and is to be expected when making this bread? Or is this the result of too high temps/baking times? I don't want to destroy my LC pots.

Any advice would be great!


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  1. The only time I've ever had NK bread stick in a pot was when I tried it starting in a cold oven - it didn't ruin the pot, but it did stick. If you're concerned, just put a sheet of parchment paper in there - makes it easier to remove anyway because you can just lift it out using the parchment as a sling.

    1. I've never had mine burn, Tina, but as it is well-used the one I use for NK bread already has a darker, tannish color (as compared to the bottom of a pristine new LC). But folks here have suggested putting a liner of parchment in the bottom, so if you're worried, you might do that. I never have. Also, I never bake my NK at over 450F; in my oven, that seems perfect.

      My friend, who didn't want to take any risks with his LC, which look brand new after several years of use, purchased a cheap enamelled cast iron DO for about $30; he uses it exclusively for NK bread. And I saw a great suggestion here from someone who used some combination of a terra cotta flower pot/planter and saucer.

      2 Replies
      1. re: nomadchowwoman

        Thank you for the great ideas!! will not go over 450 and and will try the parchment paper. If I have great success with this, I will get a cheap pot just for the bread.

        1. re: Tina1981

          I bought an inexpensive Lodge cast iron dutch oven from Costco that works perfectly--plus I use it all the time for braises and other stews.

      2. I make a no-knead sourdough that is baked at 500, then 450. I really didn't want to ruin my LC, so I found an old bare cast iron Dutch oven which I don't worry about. THEN I found something even better: one of those old terra cotta covered roaster things. It's perfect and since I only paid a couple of bucks for it at a garage sale, I don't care if it gets wrecked - which probably means it will last forever.

        13 Replies
        1. re: Nyleve

          i have never seen a terra cotta roaster. I'll have to check that out. I'm currently scouting ebay for a cheap Lodge oven. Thanks for all the info!

          1. re: Tina1981

            The Lodge "Combo Cooker" is much easier to use for this purpose, plus then you get two pieces of functional cookware for less than the price of almost anything enameled, and no worries about discoloration.
            It is a skillet shaped lid and a pot that fit together. You load the loaf into the shallow skillet side and cover with the pot. So much easier than trying to load into a deep pot.
            About $35 bucks. Comes in two different sizes.

              1. re: Tina1981

                I have the Combo Cooker and it is VERY cool. Highly recommended for this exact purpose!

            1. re: Tina1981

              I can't remember what they call those things - Romertopf? or some other Europeanesque name. It's an oval covered roaster made of unglazed clay. They were highly touted for roasting chicken but I never found the idea appealing. It does, however, make an awesome bread baker. Much like the French "cloche" type things. Takes up a lot of room in the cupboard, however, which is why I suspect they always turn up at garage sales.

              1. re: Nyleve

                Yep, Romertopf. I use mine for ciabatta. (It had been sitting idle in a storage closet for almost 20 years until I discovered NK bread). But mine is not big enough to accommodate a whole recipe (Jim Lahey) of basic NK dough. I think they come/came in various sizes.
                Funny how they're always at yard sales.

              2. re: Tina1981

                One caveat about the terra cotta roaster (romertopf), -- if it has been used to roast meat, there may be quite a bit of smoke the first time the pot reaches 500 degrees [she writes from experience]. It wasn't a problem but it certainly was a smelly/smokey surprise. Heads up.

              3. re: Nyleve

                How do you use your clay roaster for the bread? Usually they call for soaking in water first and to be started in a cold oven iirc. I have several and had wondered about using them for nkb.

                1. re: meatn3

                  Yes, you have to soak the roaster in water and start it in a cold oven. The bread goes into (or in my case, under, the roaster top--I use the pizza stone that lives in my oven as the base)the hot vessel, just as the CI pot is also hot in the NK technique (at least Lahey's). I use the clay roaster for ciabatta and a larger LC DO for other loaves.

                  1. re: meatn3

                    I do it differently than nomadchowwoman. Put the clay roaster into a cold oven - covered and dry, not soaked - and preheat the oven for about 30 minutes at 500o. Remove (carefully!) from oven, lift the lid and drop in the risen dough. Place the lid back on the roaster and back into the oven it goes. After 30 minutes, I reduce the heat to 450, uncover and bake for another 15 minutes. That's it.

                    I'm not doing the same exact no-knead bread as the Lahey original. Mine is a sourdough bread I make with a starter I got from a friend. Fabulous bread with a wonderful crust. But I imagine the process can't be too different, no matter what the dough is made of.

                    1. re: Nyleve

                      That is good to know. I was under the impression that the clay roaster had to be soaked first, and that is sometimes a pain--esp. when I get the oven really hot and have forgotten to soak the roaster.

                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                        This might be the case for roasting a chicken but if you're going to be preheating the roaster at 500o for 30 minutes, there won't be much moisture left in it anyway by the time you toss the dough in.

                        1. re: Nyleve

                          I've never actually used the clay pot for roasting meat. (It must have been given to me at some point.) I'm not sure where I got this impression, but I always thought the soaking somehow protected against the risk ofthe clay pot cracking. For his ciabatta recipe, Lahey does say to soak the roaster--but if this is an unnecessary step, I'll be happy to dispense with it.

                2. I make this type of bread all the time. My recipe from Family Circle indicates to sling the dough in parchment paper and as well I cook it a little above the middle rack. I have never had a problem with my cast iron enamel burning and have made this bread several times. My recipe does have a temperature lowered after the first 10 or 15 minutes.

                  1. My Lodge enameled cast iron bottom discolored after making AKNB (with parchment lining/sling). C'est la vie ;-)
                    I'd be bummed if I ruined it, but it works like a champ. It's either stored with cover on, or filled with food, so I don't care about it!