Baking bread in a Le Creuset pan


I've head great things about baking in a La Cloche or a Dutch oven, so I thought I'd try it in my Le Creuset. In my first attempt, the bottom scorched so much the loaf was inedible. In my second attempt, I took the loaf out of the pot after about 20 minutes and placed the loaf on aluminum foil in an attempt to slow the browning of the bottom while allowing the top to brown. That worked OK, but any part of the loaf that was in contact with the pan had already browned considerably. In both cases I baked at 425 and had the loaves on parchment in the pot. Does anyone have any advice?

badge posted by: BobCleary on December 27, 2010 at 5:21 pm in Baking, yeast
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reply by: pjh on December 27, 2010 at 8:29 pm

Maybe you could put the pan on a higher oven rack, so it's bottom isn't exposed to such direct heat? You could also set it on a sheet pan (or double sheet pan) to insulate it a bit...

reply by: dachshundlady on January 03, 2011 at 6:38 pm


Adapted from "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" by Hertzberg & Francois
My sister cut this out of a newspaper for me but I do not know which paper. I DO know it is my favorite overall bread recipe. Sooo easy, yet so very good.

• 1 Table instant yeast (recipe was 1 1/2 Table regular yeast*)
• 6 1/2 cups AP flour, using "Scoop & Sweep" method to measure
• 1 1/2 Table KOSHER salt
• 3 cups water

• * They recommend using the same amount of yeast, regardless of whether you have instant or regular, unless you do a long refrigerator rest and a long room temperature rise.

Mix & Ferment

Whisk dry ingredients. Add water and mix with rubber scraper until there are no dry patches. It is a loose dough. Cover, but not with an airtight lid. Let rise for 2 hours (up to 5 if baking today) at room temp. You can bake all or part of it now or refrigerate for up to TWO WEEKS.

Rest & Bake

When ready to bake, sprinkle a little flour on dough and cut off a grapefruit size piece with serrated knife. (I use about half the recipe for a loaf; they use a quarter). Turn dough in floured or wet hands to lightly stretch surface, creating a rounded top and a lumpy bottom. Now you can either put dough on parchment paper on pizza peel and rest for 40 minutes before baking on a preheated stone OR on parchment paper in a round pan about the size of your dutch oven on counter for 40 minutes before baking in a preheated covered dutch oven (what I do, using the paper like a sling to get it into the smoking hot dutchie). If you are using an oblong terra cotta baker, put the dough on parchment paper between rolled up tea towels to help shape the loaf. In either case, the parchment paper goes right in the dutch oven or baker and stays there as the dough bakes. Repeat with remaining dough or refrigerate it. IF YOU ARE WORKING WITH REFRIGERATED DOUGH, IT MUST REST AN ADDITIONAL HOUR!
About 20 minutes before dough is ready, preheat STONE on middle rack to 450 and put broiler pan on bottom of oven. If using COVERED DUTCH OVEN I put it on lower middle shelf and preheat to 500. If your pot is dark inside, you might try it at 450 or 475 instead and leave it at that temp throughout. But don't forget to remove the lid after 15 minutes!
Dust dough with flour and slash with razor, very sharp knife or good kitchen shears several times.
FOR THE PIZZA STONE VERSION, slide dough and paper onto stone and pour 1 cup very hot water into broiler pan (don't drip on oven window!) and shut oven quickly. Bake about 30 minutes until well browned.
FOR THE DUTCH OVEN VERSION, lift out pot with mitts, close door, remove lid, place dough and its "parchment sling" in the dutch oven, replace lid and put back into oven. Don't worry if paper hangs out from under lid. Bake 15 minutes covered; remove lid and decrease temperature to 450. Bake an ADDITIONAL 15-20 minutes until well browned and bottom makes hollow "thunk" sound when tapped. Cool completely.

reply by: bellesaz on January 04, 2011 at 12:27 pm

I agree - maybe your oven racks need to be higher. I think the creuset pans are great for stews and other things, but I don't care for them to bake bread. I use plain ordinary bread pans.. no glass or ceramic. Metal seems to be the best performer and the USA pans are my favorite.

BTW, a dutch oven is usually a cast iron device, often enameled. It will bake and cook entirely different to a casserole dish by Le Creuset.

reply by: dachshundlady on January 04, 2011 at 5:34 pm

Aha! As Rosanna Rosanna Danna used to say "Never mind". :-)

reply by: robinwaban on January 14, 2011 at 12:15 am

I made this bread last week on two different days and gotten different results both times. The first time I made it, using half the dough, I found the bread had stuck to the bottom of the pot (I used a Le Crueset pot)that I had oiled with vegetable oil. I had also placed the pot in a cold oven and set the temp to 450. The second time I made it, two days later using the remaining dough, I sprayed the pot with Pam olive oil. I preheated the oven this time and the bread came out perfect and with a beautiful crust. The only negative is that when I took the bread out of the oven it had risen nicely, but when I took the bread out of the pan, it fell somewhat. Your opinions would be welcomed. By the way, the taste was wonderful.

reply by: dachshundlady on January 14, 2011 at 7:00 am

I use a cast iron dutch oven clad in enamel that I bought from LL Bean back in the 80's. I have never had a problem with any sticking because I always use parchment paper. And the falling loaf puzzles me. Was it cooked enough inside?

reply by: LouiseP on January 14, 2011 at 11:11 pm

I've used my Le Creuset pan to make bread many, many times--always with great success. Perhaps the problem is the recipe you choose. You must use a recipe formulated for this baking method. I use the Mark Bittman No Knead Bread recipe posted in the NY Times. It's essentially failure-proof. It uses 3 cups flour, 1 1/2 cups water, 1 1/2 tsp. salt and a packet of yeast--and requires no kneading. I highly recommend the recipe.

reply by: teena70 on January 16, 2011 at 3:58 pm

I usually bake my breads in my Le Creuset pans and after having the same problems with a burned bottom, re-adjusted my racks and set them higher and the bread turned out fine ever since. The only thing now is that the pans are starting to show some signs of being used in the oven, with the little handle of the lid just breaking of and the outside getting dull.
Check the temperature of your oven as well using an oven thermometer, my oven is off by 45 degrees, so I need to adjust baking temps.

reply by: BobCleary on January 17, 2011 at 6:11 pm

I seem to have solved the problem by spreading a layer of corn meal on the bottom of the pot and putting parchment on top of that.

reply by: omaria on June 20, 2012 at 9:48 pm

Bringing this up.

reply by: dachshundlady on June 21, 2012 at 5:56 am

That's a good idea, Bob.