So I am about to bake some sourdough bread and want a Dutch Oven or alternatively a deep skillet with lid to bake in. The dutch oven still need to be put inside my regular oven, which have the following inner dimensions :
width : 36cm
Why a dutch oven :
A dutch oven is creating a moisture-sealed champer avoiding the steam released from the dough (then heated up and the water therefore steaming out) to escape. The steam keeps the dough moist, which have 5 benefits :
The crust will be more crispy - starch molecules on the exterior of the dough will absorb moisture, starting to swell and eventually pop to form a thin liquid layer (called starch gel), which then finally bakes hard as a thin, shiny and crispy exterior.
The crust will more deep and bigger spectrum of colors - the cooler temperature of the surface allows enzyme fermenting activity for longer time creating sugars which add the the crust coloring.
The crust will be more shiny.
The bread will be bigger or rather fully developed - if there are no steam in the beginning of the baking (which is there the spring occurs), the crust will harden quickly and limit the spring and therefore the overall volume of the finished bread with a denser crumb.
The steam cools down the surface of the bread, which allows the crumb to bake finish before the crust burns.
In addition a cast iron dutch oven ensures a stable & equal temperature from all directions.
Cast Iron dutch ovens typically come as either :
Pre-Seasoned : gives a non-stick and chemical surface, however is somewhat involved with regard to clean & maintainance.
Enameled : easy to clean & maintain, but prone to cracking.
No-coating : these needs to be seasoned before use, which I would like NOT to do.
Cleaning & maintaining pre-seasoned cast iron :
Apply light coating of cooking oil then using
Avoid frozen food directly in the pan
Clean with a chainmail scrubber or bristle nylo9n brush and water, do not use sharp edged brushes as it will destroy the natural coating.
For extra sticky situations simmer water for 1 minute and scrub with chainmail then cooled
Don't use cold water to clean.
Dry promptly and rub with a very light layer of cooking oil while the cookware is still warm.