The Best Dutch Ovens (and a Foolproof Cast-Iron Bread Recipe)

Dutch oven bread; Round Dutch Oven by Le Creuset
Round Dutch Oven by Le CreusetCourtesy Image

The cast-iron Dutch oven is an essential part of your winter cooking arsenal—the key to better-than-the-bistro braises, game-day chili, and bakery-worthy bread.

Round Dutch Oven by Le Creuset

If money’s no object, grab this French-made, enameled pot: It maintains heat for evenly cooked roasts and crusty breads, and sears without much sticking. We like the massive side handles, which are easy to grab with oven mitts.

[5.5 qt, $350; lecreuset.com]

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5-Quart Cast Iron Dutch Oven by Lodge
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5-Quart Cast Iron Dutch Oven by Lodge

While it might not have the colors the French pots do, the Lodge is bombproof cookware that, unlike enameled pots that can scratch or chip, will go from stovetop to campsite without any fuss.

[$51; lodgemfg.com]

Cast-Iron Round Cocotte by Staub
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Cast-Iron Round Cocotte by Staub

The underside of the French Staub’s lid has spikes that drip condensation back onto the food, keeping it moist. The interior is black, not cream, so it wears better, but the handles are tight.

[5.5 qt, $340; zwilling.com]

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Nearly No-Knead Cast-Iron Bread

Adapted from Jim Lahey’s My Bread.

Servings: Makes 1 large loaf

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1⁄2 tsp salt
  • 1⁄2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 1⁄2 cups room-temperature water
  1. In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt, and yeast, then add water and stir until ingredients form a loose dough.
  2. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 12 to 18 hours. When ready, dough should be topped with small bubbles.
  3. Heat oven to 450°F. Place an empty cast-iron Dutch oven in oven for 30 minutes. After 15 minutes, sprinkle a countertop with flour and turn dough onto it. Fold dough over on itself twice. Let it rise for 15 minutes.
  4. Dust dough round with cornmeal to prevent sticking, then transfer it into the hot Dutch oven. Cover with the lid, place pot in oven, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove lid and bake for 15 minutes longer, or until top of the loaf browns.
  5. Remove bread from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack for an hour before serving.

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