"The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight.” – M.F.K. Fischer
In all of our recorded history, the one thing that links every tribe and nation of humanity is bread.
According to archeologists, we’ve been making, shaping, and baking bread for more than thirty thousand years. The men and women who built the pyramids and fashioned the Sphinx, the druids who designed and constructed Stonehenge, and the Vikings who first sailed to the far off shores of America, were fortified by bread.
We are a species of bakers and in the thousands of years since we first discovered how to turn yeast and flour into bread, we’ve become rather good at it.
All of those millennia of practice have taught us how to perfect multiple methods of baking bread and during that time we’ve also learned how to make hundreds of different types of our longest-lasting dietary staple.
In fact, we’ve become so good at it, that we started arguing amongst ourselves about which is the best way to bake bread. And right at the top of that list, is baking with a Dutch Oven.
While they’re not the first pot that you’d typically associate with baking, as they’re traditionally used to make casseroles and stews, they do provide an incredibly potent platform to make bread.
Given the astonishing rise in popularity of home and amateur baking, we’d thought it was about time that we took a closer look at five of the best Dutch Ovens that can be used for bread baking so that you can expand your culinary lexicon and incorporate the Dutch oven into your baking arsenal.
Are you ready to start baking? Good, then let’s begin…
Top 5 Best Dutch Ovens for Bread Baking
OUR TOP PICK
Bruntmor might not be a name on the tip of your tongue, but trust us when it comes to making innovative kitchenware they know exactly what they’re doing.
This monstrous five-quart, a heavy iron Dutch oven can also serve double duty as a skillet and for such a humble booking piece of kitchenware, it’s actually incredibly versatile and adaptable.
Thanks to its chemical-free no-stick surface, which is all due to the Bruntmor pre-seasoning, this Dutch oven is the perfect vessel to bake bread in. You can pop your dough into it, slide it into your oven, and Bruntmor’s pot will do the rest. Then when you’re finished baking, your bread will slide straight out of the Dutch oven.
And the more you do it, according to Bruntmor, the better your bread will get. We would put it down to the pre-seasoning, but it’s a combination of that, the heavy-duty iron that the Dutch oven is made from, and Bruntmor’s know-how that contributes to this heavy-weight pot’s place at the top of the bread baking mountain.
And you’re not just limited to baking bread as the sheer volume and size of this Dutch oven makes it almost perfect for cooking all of those tried and trusted family recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation.
Grandma’s casserole? Your mom’s stew? This Dutch oven is an ideal way to cook them. It bakes, it cooks and it looks good too. What more do you need?
- It’s pre-seasoned, so it’s oven-ready straight out of the box. As soon as you’ve unpacked it, you can start baking.
- Made from heavy cast iron, it’ll get hotter than the surface of the sun and hold on to every degree of heat until you’re done baking.
- Its enamel finish means that it doesn’t just bake and cook, it also looks good on any kitchen table-top or counter.
- Best of all? This Bruntmor Dutch oven is compatible with any, and all, types of stove, including induction cookers.
- Some reviews aren’t exactly kind about the manufacturing quality of this Dutch oven and given some of the experiences that said reviews have reported, we can’t say that we blame them. Granted, the bad reviews are few and far between, but given that this Dutch oven wears the Bruntmor name, we didn’t expect to find a single bad review. But we did, so if you’re smitten by this oven, it might be worth taking a slightly closer look at those reviews before making a final decision.
Don't worry you’re not the only ones who feel like they’ve disappeared down a Dutch oven shaped rabbit hole, as we weren’t familiar with Tramontina either.
However we are now, and the more we learned about this little Brazilian company who, one hundred and ten years after being founded, has become a global brand with a presence in over one hundred and twenty different countries, the more impressed by them we were.
They’ve been an American institution for the last three and a half decades and, given how good this Dutch oven is, it’s easy to see why.
The Tramontina can easily cope with temperatures of up to four hundred and fifty degrees Fahrenheit and can be used with any and all cooker types, including the often devilishly difficult induction cooker.
If you’ve been limited in your choice of Dutch ovens because you prefer to use an induction cooker, don’t worry, Tramontina has got you covered.
A jack of all trades, the Tramontina will help you to master all manner of culinary arts and while it’s an ideal vessel to bake bread in, it’s also able to create as many incredible dishes as your imagination can conjure up.
There’s no need to season the Tramontina either, as it’s easy to clean porcelain surface means it’s a non-stick Dutch oven that your bread will slip right out of as soon as you’ve finished baking it.
- The six and a half quart capacity means that you’ll be hard pushed to eat all of the bread that the Tramontina can bake in a single session. You’ll be baking for your entire neighborhood with this Dutch oven and you’ll still have bread left over after everybody has been fed.
- It’s safe to bake, cook, stew, and more all the way up to four hundred and fifty degrees. You want heat? The Tramontina can deal with all the heat that you can handle
- Tramontina is so sure that you’re going to love this Dutch oven and that it will perform exactly as it should, that they guarantee it for life. That’s right, it comes with a lifetime warranty. If it breaks, you get your money back or you get a new Dutch oven.
- The Tramontina’s porcelain surface that makes it ideal for baking? It also makes it completely unsuitable for dishwashers, so you’re going to have to wash it by hand no matter how easy it gets.
- Like the Bruntmor before it, the Tramontina has caused a few reviewers to boil with ire, and the causes of their rage are quality and manufacturing issues, that seem to revolve around the porcelain chipping and the iron cracking at low temperatures, that their ovens have been beset by.
Lodge has been making quality, heirloom cast iron kitchenware for more than a century.
Based in Tennessee, every single item of kitchenware that comes out of their South Pittsburgh foundries is crafted to conform to the same high standards of durability and versatility that they’ve been governed by for one hundred and twenty-five years.
This five-quart, pre-seasoned Dutch oven effortlessly and easily conducts and retains heat as any good cast iron product should. Thanks to Lodge’s pre-seasoning, their Double Dutch oven is ideal for baking, and its sheer size means that’s it’s capable of making more than enough bread for the modern, demanding, hungry family.
A near-flawless cast iron pot that’s cast and made the American way, the Lodge Dutch oven has been designed to work with just about every cooker known to mankind, If it can make heat, the Lodge can use it to cook. Just as home on an open campfire as it is on an induction hob, the only thing that limits what the Lodge can cook is the imagination of the chef.
- Versatile, strong, and durable the Lodge Dutch oven was designed to keep America fed and that’s what it’s been doing for more than a hundred years. The Lodge way is the American way.
- While other Dutch ovens can often make your pocketbook reach for the sky, the Lodge is ridiculously affordable and makes sure that American families have the option to bake bread the American way at a price they’ll be comfortable with and happy to pay.
- It may sound crazy, but the seasoning that Lodge uses for its Dutch oven means that as long as you maintain a diligent schedule and re-season it properly, the older it gets, the better it gets.
- There’s no getting around the fact that this Dutch oven is heavy. And when we say it’s heavy, we mean it’s heavy with a capital H. It weighs in just under thirteen pounds, so when it’s fully loaded, it’s going to give you a proper workout. You won’t need a gym membership if you’re baking with a Lodge Dutch oven, so you’ll be able to cancel your membership and focus on baking instead.
- And due to it weighing more than a small family sedan, it’s not dishwasher safe either. You’re going to have to wash the Lodge by hand, so whatever you bake, cook or prepare in the Lodge you’re going to have to clean. There are no shortcuts, it’s hand wash only. While we’re fans of tradition and convention, it does have the odd drawback, and handwashing a pot this size is one of them.
- You’re also going to have to re-season your Lodge every now and then, but it's a small price to pay for the years of loyal service this Dutch oven will happily give generation after generation of your family.
Le Creuset was founded by two Belgian industrialists who, between them, managed to do what no one had. They cracked the code to successfully enameling cast iron and created a brand that, nearly a century later, has set a kitchenware benchmark that few other companies have been able to challenge.
The innovation they’re responsible for implementing and the fact that they’re beloved in restaurant kitchens and by chefs the world over means that Le Creuset has a reputation to uphold, and this Dutch oven continues their legacy in regal fashion.
Able to deal with, and easily handle, temperatures of up to five hundred degrees Fahrenheit, the Le Creuset Signature Dutch oven is in a league of its own, both in terms of the quality of its manufacture and its overall appearance.
And the quality of the bread that it’ll help you to bake? It would make Le Creuset’s Belgian founder’s hearts glow with pride.
Made in France, this Dutch oven has a sand-colored enamel interior that’s chip and wear-resistant, lid stabilizers which ensure a snug fit and better heat retention, and best of all?
It’s dishwasher friendly and comes in an extensive range of color options that means you can mix and match it with your kitchen. As individual, as it is ingenious, the Le Creuset Signature model Dutch oven is the only tool you’ll need to learn how to become a master baker.
- The Le Creuset Signature is designed to make your life as easy as possible and has an over-sized pair of handles and easy-grip stainless steel knob on its lid to make handling, and carrying it from oven to countertop and back again, simple.
- The Le Creuset Signature comes with a lifetime guarantee and a warranty that backs that guarantee up. If your Le Creuset Dutch oven ever fails, you’ll get a refund or a replacement.
- The temperatures that it will happily handle and cook at are nothing to be scoffed at. That five hundred degrees Fahrenheit limit is a hold grail number in professional baking and cooking circles and that’s one of the reasons why Le Creuset has garnered and earned the reputation that they have.
- That reputation, innovation, and quality that Le Creuset pride themselves on? It all comes at a price and it's a pretty hefty one. By far the most expensive Dutch oven on our list, the Le Creuset is content in the knowledge that if you want the best, then you’re going to have to pay for it.
If you want a good Dutch oven, the best place to look at buying one from is Holland, and if you want to invest in the best Dutch ovens that Holland has to offer, you buy a Combekk Dutch oven.
Made from one hundred percent recycled, railway grade cast iron, this Combekk Dutch oven has its former identity, just like all Combekk products do, stamped on its underside.
The only Dutch company still casting cast iron Dutch ovens the original Dutch way, Combekk believes wholeheartedly in sustainability and that nothing that can be reused should ever be thrown away.
That is why this Dutch oven has been given a new lease of life as a perfect vessel to bake bread in and thanks to its six-millimeter base and a thick single layer of chip-proof enamel, conducts heat evenly and perfectly.
This six-quart Dutch oven also has an inbuilt thermometer that shows you just how hot it’s getting in both Fahrenheit and Celsius so you can control the temperature of your bake and it comes with the standard Combekk forty-year warranty.
If you want to help to save the planet and bake great bread, the Combekk is the way to do it.
- Combekk, as well as being the only Dutch manufacturer of traditional Dutch ovens, are the only company using recycled materials to make them with. They’re doing what they can to make the world better, and that alone makes them a brand that you can believe in.
- Then there’s that thermometer, which, quite frankly, completely sold us on this Dutch oven. Perfect temperature control of whatever you’re baking or cooking at a glance? That’s another reason to believe in Combekk.
- And just in case you needed a third reason to start lining up to get this Dutch oven, there’s the forty-year warranty. It may not a lifetime warranty, but it might as well be. A lot can happen, and you can bake an incredible amount of bread, in forty years.
- It’s a solid cast iron monster from the Netherlands which means that it’s hand wash only - cast iron and dishwashers don’t really mix all that well. It’s a rust thing, which means that as far as the Combekk is concerned, you need to wash and go the old fashioned way.
- And then there’s the price tag. It’s almost, but not quite, as hard on your pocketbook as the Le Creuset Dutch Oven is. Saving the world isn’t cheap, but it’s a price worth paying.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Baking?
Baking is a way of cooking or preparing food, by using dry heat in an oven, or via the ashes from a fire or hot stones.
Traditionally used to make bread, baking can also be used to produce a vast array of other foods including cakes and cookies and works by evenly transferring heat from the outside of the dough being baked to its center, which guarantees a firm and even “bake”.
While the history of baking can be traced back to before the beginning of recorded history (thanks to cave murals), the first evidence of commercial, or mass, baking was discovered in Croatia when archeologists unearthed a six and a half thousand-year-old baking oven, which was the earliest example ever found.
However, the populist idea, and model, of early commercial baking that most historians use and acquiesce to, was the one pioneered by the Roman Empire which is thought to have begun in earnest around three hundred and fifty years BC.
Even though baking has always been a popular form of home cooking, thanks to the global popularity of reality-based television shows like ‘Master Chef’ and ‘The Great British Baking Show’, in more recent years, amateur and home baking has seen an unprecedented surge in popularity with thousands of people becoming increasingly keen to try their hand at making bread.
What Is A Dutch Oven?
A Dutch oven is a sturdy, durable cooking pot that uses a tightly fitting lid to seal its heat inside and stop it from escaping. Usually made from seasoned cast iron, recent technological advances have meant that Dutch ovens can now also be made from aluminum and ceramic composites.
The use of porcelain and ceramic inserts and inside coatings in unseasoned cast-iron Dutch ovens has also become increasingly popular, and even though they tend to be frowned on by traditionalists, the use of those construction materials tends to make modern Dutch ovens dishwasher friendly, which is a technological relationship that their solid cast iron forebears, due to their tendency to rust if they’re exposed to water for too long, don’t share.
Used as a means of cooking and preparing food for centuries, the versatility of the Dutch oven’s design means that it can be used to cook a nearly endless variety of different dishes and meals.
Which Dutch Oven Should I Use For Baking Bread?
All of the Dutch ovens on our list will help you to become a better baker and enable you to turn out loaf after loaf of fantastic bread. However, if you’re looking to stretch your dollar as far as it will possibly go, then you should chase the best value Dutch oven on our list, which comes straight out of Lodge’s Tennessee based foundries and will put a mile wide baking smile on your face.
But if you want to stretch your budget and combine innovation, good looks, tradition, and help to save the planet at the same time, then you’ll never go far wrong with, or be let down, by the Combekk.
At the end of the day though, the choice is entirely yours. So get your dough ready and welcome to the world of baking the Dutch oven way.