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The merit of using a Dutch oven

I often bake in my brick oven in the garden and get great results generally. Results I have struggled to match in the domestic oven of my kitchen, and I believe it's about humidity. The wood fired oven is naturally quite moist from the combustion process and mopping down of the oven floor just before baking, where the electric oven reaches 250C but is bone dry. Yes I put a tray in the bottom of the oven and pour water in just as the loaf goes in, but still not great.

Enter the Dutch oven, simply a cast iron casserole pot with a heavy lid. I put this in the oven clean and dry and bring the oven and pot up to temperature, I always start at 250C. Once all is up to temperature in goes the dough. Now that is easier said than done, for the dough to fall plop into the bottom of the pot from the banneton is ok but it can end up half up the side of the pot, then you may wish to score the dough which is tricky when its in the bottom of a 250C pot. To get round this I tip the dough gently onto a sheet of baking parchment, greasy proof paper, whatever you have suitable, score it then pick up the paper, dough and all, then lower into the pot, Lid on and into the oven

Bake for 30min, don't disturb the lid or you will let the precious moisture out. After 30min remove the lid and bake for another 20min, depending on your recipie.

The trapped moisture gives us the humidity we need to allow a good oven spring and some great results, this won't distract me from firing up the oven in the garden given any excuse, but the results are as close as I have ever got in the kitchen and I quite like the where the creases in the paper have influenced the shape of the loaf.

The example here is a 75% hydration sourdough loosely based on the Tartine method easily found online. I cut it when still hot, so the crumb is a bit squashed in the picture.

So this is not really a recipie, more a reminder of an old, tried and tested method of baking.