Why You Should Bake Your Sourdough In A Dutch Oven

Dutch ovens are great for cooking a ton of different recipes, thanks to their versatility on the stovetop and in the oven. However, they are essential to making incredible homemade sourdough for a few reasons. One, of course, being that Dutch ovens are excellent conductors of even heat (via Life's A Strawberry). But there are a few pitfalls you'll need to be aware of, in order to avoid a dark and thick bread bottom

If not prepared properly, Dutch ovens can actually retain too much heat while preheating and scorch the bottom of your loaf of bread very quickly (via The Perfect Loaf). That's why you should drop the temperature of the oven by 25 degrees for both preheating and baking your sourdough. Other tips for preventing the bread from burning, include dusting the bottom of the Dutch oven with cornmeal or insulating the Dutch oven, is by placing a baking stone in the bottom of the oven rather than under the Dutch oven. The cornmeal creates space in the Dutch oven while the baking stone method draws more of the heat to itself.

The real reason to use a Dutch oven is all about the steam

While these fixes might sound annoying up front, there's a reason why they're worth doing. According to Life's a Strawberry, the cookware is able to trap the steam that the bread releases, as it cooks. The benefit of trapped steam is that it creates a mouthwatering flakey bread. Other bakeware does not tend to trap steam as effectively, therefore, the same great crust isn't able to form.

The way the steam works and why it is so important for creating a great crust, comes down to timing. The steam helps to keep the exterior of the bread from becoming too hard before the inside of the bread can fully rise. Steam also helps keep the crust from baking too quickly and drying out. Finally, steam helps the bread rise more quickly, which keeps the crust thin and crisp while turning a golden brown color. Trust us, you don't want to miss out on those delicious qualities.

So make sure to keep your Dutch oven handy the next time you're baking.