As I do demonstrations, seminars, and clinics, around the country, folks, who for the first time see bread baked in a DO are surprised by how few briquets it actually takes to bake with a DO. It seems as though an equal number of folks also will tell me they've tried baking biscuits and the biscuits always end up burned. Almost invariably, they burn on the bottom, the result of too much heat underneath. When baking in a DO, heat needs to be applied both top and bottom much the same as a conventional oven that has top and bottom elements.
I use my Dutch ovens as both baking vessels, and as ovens themselves. In the first case, the bread or biscuits set directly in the DO. In the second case, I place the dough in a loaf pan or other baking vessel, that I then place in another DO. As a general rule, when baking bread directly in the Dutch, I use approximately 25% of the briquets on the bottom, and the remainder on top. When putting a loaf pan inside a DO, and using another DO as an oven, per se, I increase the number of bottom briquets by approximately two thirds. That is, instead of nine briquets underneath a 14-inch DO full of biscuits, I'll use about fifteen briquets under the same oven when baking French bread in my cast loaf pans inside another Dutch.
I've included this special section on baking and baking tips in an effort to take some of the guess work out for folks who are new to DO cooking and are ready to graduate from stews and casseroles, to baking bread and desserts in their Dutch oven.
French bread baked in a 14-inch DO
Sourdough bread baked in a cast iron loaf pan inside a 12-inch deep DO
Sourdough rolls in a muffin tin inside a 14-inch DO
Bread sticks in a 14-inch DO
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