6 Best Dutch Ovens For Sourdough Bread (A Pro Chef’s Advice)

For those who would like to make your own, making sourdough bread is quite the experience. It’s different from making other breads. You also need a certain kind of pot to make it correctly.

The best dutch oven for sourdough bread has the following characteristics: 

  1. 5 to 6 quarts to accommodate a loaf of sourdough bread.
  2. Oven-safe up to 450℉.
  3. Have a cast iron lid that fits well.
  4. The correct shape: round, oval, or square pot, depending on personal preference.
  5. A flat bottom to ensure even heat distribution when baking.

This dutch oven found on Amazon is just about as good as it gets for making sourdough bread. It fits all of the criteria above and then some.

Now that we know the characteristics of the perfect pot for baking sourdough bread, let’s take a look at some of your best options. I included Amazon links, for your convenience.

1. Lodge 5-Quart Cast Iron Double Dutch

This Lodge 5-Quart Cast Iron Double Dutch is the perfect size for baking sourdough bread. The lid provides extra height, and this particular lid will stay seated during the baking process to circulate moisture within the pot to cook the bread perfectly. The lid also converts to a cast iron skillet that has a separate lid made from tempered glass. Do not use that lid for baking sourdough bread. Only the cast iron pot and lid should be used. 

This pot is made by one of the leading manufacturers of cast iron cookware and has been pre-seasoned so that it is ready to use from day one, and this Dutch oven has a flat bottom to ensure even heat distribution for high-heat cooking. Plus, it has loop handles for safely moving the pot.

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2. 5-Quart Dutch Oven From Le Creuset

If you would prefer to make an oval-shaped loaf of sourdough bread, then this 5-quart Dutch oven from Le Creuset would be perfect.

This pot is the ideal size, has a cast iron lid that will remain in place while baking, and it has a flat bottom. The pot and lid are both made from coated cast iron that is easy to clean and is even dishwasher safe. This Dutch oven will cook evenly at high temperatures and is safe to use on any cooking surface.

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3. Enameled Cast Iron Bread Oven by Le Creuset

For the ultimate cast iron pot for bread making, here is an enameled cast iron bread oven made by Le Creuset that is perfect for baking sourdough bread.

Even though it isn’t a Dutch oven, it is made from coated cast iron with a domed lid that is tight-fitting to allow the needed steam circulation, and the domed shape is perfect for giving the bread plenty of room to rise. Plus, the oven-proof handles and knob are made for easy lifting, and the base is made to promote even browning of the loaf.

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4. 5-Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Here is a more reasonably priced Dutch oven made by Crockpot that is perfect for baking sourdough bread.

It has a tight-fitting lid that will hold in moisture, and its cast iron construction will distribute heat evenly throughout the entire cooking surface. This Dutch oven is durable, easy to clean, and will cook on any surface.

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5. 5-Quart Square Dutch Oven Made By Imarku

For those bakers who prefer a square loaf of bread, this is a 5-quart square Dutch oven made by Imarku that is made of enameled cast iron and features a widened base designed to bake the perfect loaf of sourdough bread.

The lid fits tightly, and the Dutch oven is designed to cook on any surface at temperatures up to 550℉ safely.

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6. Bayou Classic’s 6-Quart Cast Iron Oval Fryer With Griddle Lid

And last but not least, this list would not be complete without mentioning Bayou Classic’s 6-quart cast iron oval fryer with a griddle lid that makes a perfect pot for baking sourdough bread.

The fryer comes pre-seasoned so that it is ready to use without having to be seasoned once you get it home, and this pan will safely cook on any surface at high temperatures, even on an outdoor cooker. 

But, for baking sourdough, the lid fits snugly for moisture distribution, and the pot has a flat bottom for excellent heat distribution. Plus, this cooker will produce a beautiful oval-shaped loaf of sourdough bread.

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Using a Dutch Oven for Sourdough Bread

Woman standing behind homemade sourdough wheat bread in a cast iron dutch oven

Sourdough bread is just amazing and different from other types of bread.

One of those basic differences is that it is not made with yeast or baking powder. It is made by mixing flour and water and leaving it at room temperature to ferment, creating a naturally fermented culture that gives sourdough bread its tangy and unique flavor. Sourdough also differs from other breads because it requires just the right pot to bake it.

Is It Best To Bake Sourdough Bread In A Dutch Oven?

It is best to bake sourdough bread in a Dutch oven because the Dutch oven traps the moisture in the pot and circulates it during the baking process which is one of the most important elements in making good sourdough bread. But, any 5- or 6- quart pot that has a tight-fitting lid and is oven safe up to 450℉ will work.

Can You Bake Bread In A Non-Enameled Cast Iron Pot?

Whether the cast iron is coated or uncoated does not matter in the baking process. The key point is that a cast iron Dutch oven will seal in the moisture to give sourdough bread the proper texture and keep the outer layer from becoming too hard.

Is A 7-Quart Dutch Oven Too Big To Bake Sourdough Bread?

Yes, a 7-quart Dutch oven is too big for baking a regular loaf of sourdough bread, but a 5-quart, a 5½-quart, or a 6-quart pot will work perfectly. However, if you are making a larger batch of bread, the 7-quart size would work just fine to bake a larger loaf.

Should You Preheat The Dutch Oven And Its Lid Before Baking The Bread?

A Dutch oven and its lid should be preheated to 500 degrees before adding the bread. A sheet of parchment paper can be used to lower the dough into the hot pot.

However, the King Arthur Bread Company suggests trying a cold-oven method. They recommend putting the dough into a cold Dutch oven to rise the second time.

After it has doubled in size, place the dough into a cold oven and set the oven to the proper temperature. Then, start timing the cooking process once the oven has reached the right temperature. Their article includes all the details.

I don’t know about you, but I intend to try this method.

Is It Necessary To Use Parchment Paper When Baking Bread?

It isn’t absolutely necessary to use parchment paper when baking bread because the bread will not stick to the Dutch oven. The parchment paper is used only to lower the dough into the hot pot after the pot has been preheated. This method serves a dual purpose: (1) to prevent burning your fingers when putting the dough into the pot, and (2) to avoid ruining the rise of the bread as you lower it into the hot pot.

Final Thoughts

Now that we know the best type of Dutch Oven to use when baking sourdough bread, the next order of business is to get a batch of sourdough starter in the works. This recipe from The King Arthur Bread Company for sourdough starter made by combining one cup of a mixture of pumpernickel flour and wheat flour and mixing it with ½ cup of water sounds like a good recipe to get your sourdough starter going.

Thanks for stoppin’ by!

Jelly Grandma

For more, don’t miss 10 Best Substitutes for a Dutch Oven (And How to Use Them).

Anne James

Anne James has a wealth of experience in a wide array of interests and is an expert in quilting, cooking, gardening, camping, mixing drinks (bartending), and making jelly. Anne has a professional canning business, has been featured in the local newspaper as well as on the Hershey website, and has been her family canner for decades. Anyone growing up in the South knows that there is always a person in the family who has knowledge of the “old ways,” and this is exactly what Anne is. With over 55 years of experience in these endeavors, she brings a level of hands-on knowledge that is hard to surpass. Amazingly, she doesn’t need to reference many resources due to her vast wealth of experience. She IS the source. Anne wants nothing more than to pass on her extensive knowledge to the next generations, whether that be family or anyone visiting her website, her YouTube channel, or survivalfreedom.com.

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