Why We’re Obsessed With The New Le Creuset Bread Oven For Dutch Oven Bread Baking
Who doesn’t love fresh, home-baked bread? There’s simply nothing as scrumptious as a warm, crusty home-made slice – especially when served with creamery butter or sweet jam. It’s like a hug from the inside. And while eating home-baked bread may evoke lovely memories, baking bread can be just as enjoyable. Whether you’re already a dedicated home baker excited at the prospect of refining your recipes and techniques when it comes to Dutch oven bread baking, or a novice baking for the first time, the whole experience can be elevated with Le Creuset’s new Bread Oven and their easy recipe for Dutch oven bread.
An age-old tradition, re-discovered
During the pandemic, bread baking became quite a popular, even Instagrammable household activity, offering comfort, nourishment and a satisfying (plus generally economical) way to pass the time. Even those who’d never kneaded dough before took on the task, and many learned that with just a few ingredients, some integral steps, and a bit of patience – a fresh loaf of home-baked bread was within their reach.
Even if you’ve never baked before, you can make delicious breads by using quality ingredients, employing the right kitchenware and following a recipe carefully. While it does take a few hours, most of that time is spent rising and baking. But if you’re going to put the time and effort in, it’s best to use the best, whether you’re a passionate amateur or professional baker.
The Evolution of Bakeware
Baking is a science, and not every attempt is a success. A lot can be attributed to the vessel the bread is baked in. Many bakers bake bread in cast iron pans, Pyrex glass or even disposable aluminum pans. But there’s something special about baking bread in a Dutch oven, especially in an often-coveted Le Creuset Dutch Oven which has been a staple in French kitchens since 1925. It’s especially good for baking, since it helps retain the steam produced from bread dough, which aids in forming a desired crust.
And although there are many pans, tools and recipes available, there hasn’t been a specially designed and engineered cast-iron bread pan dedicated to making the perfect loaf. Until now.
Bread-Baking Elevated: The Le Creuset Bread Oven
Le Creuset is a revered and respected cookware brand for good reason; while the price point may be higher than your average pan, think of it this way: it’s an investment in quality that will endure from generation to generation. Their iconic products are remarkably resilient and versatile. And their new Bread Oven is no exception, offering many desirable features.
Crafted from substantial, high-quality enameled cast iron
Legendary for its superior heat distribution and retention, durability and longevity. Plus, it’s heat resistant for up to 500°F. You’ll use this pan forever.
Bread Oven Dimensions
Measuring at a height of 12.8”; base diameter of 9.45” / 24 cm; and base height of 1.9”, it’s the ideal size to make a standard 1.75 quart loaf of bread to feed up to four.
Designed like a traditional bread cloche, the dome fits tightly to trap and circulate steam for bakery-quality results, i.e., maximum rise, perfect texture and a hearty crust. The radiant heat also keeps the temperature consistent inside the Bread Oven.
Matte black enamel interior
Designed for easy cleaning and a smooth release, the black satin enamel also yields a richer crust color and won’t show oil stains over time that can be a natural effect of repeat baking.
Ergonomic knob and two sturdy side handles
The large loop handles are designed for easy lifting and maneuvering, even if you’re wearing bulky oven mitts. And the knob at the top of the dome is generously sized for easy removal.
Display-worthy, in many gorgeous signature colors
Choose from ruby-red Cerise, fiery Flame, cool Marseille blue, stylish Caribbean teal or classic White, to match any kitchen design. It will be a stunning showpiece on or above your countertop.
Better for the earth
The company has worked hard to make its operations environmentally sustainable in recent years, and the quality of this bakeware ensures it won’t end up as landfill.
Start Baking: The Le Creuset Bread Oven Basic Bread Recipe
Here’s a wonderful, fool-proof recipe for rustic, home-baked bread designed and tested by experts that you can try out with your new Le Creuset Bread Oven.
One round loaf; serves up to 4
Approx. 3 1/2 hours
- 4 cups (550g) all-purpose flour or bread flour, plus extra for kneading
- 1 teaspoon (7g) Kosher salt or coarse sea salt
- 1 teaspoon (4g) instant yeast (check expiration date)
- 1 1/2 cups (360g) warm water (between 90°F-100°F)
- Olive oil or other high smoke-point vegetable oil
- Le Creuset Bread Oven (or Dutch Oven)
- Wet & dry measuring cups (or kitchen scale)
- Large bowl (or stand mixer with dough hook)
- Bowl lid or plastic wrap
- Clean kitchen towel
- Clean counter or work surface, for kneading dough
- Brush or paper towel, for spreading oil
- Knife or razor, for scoring bread
- Clock with timer
- Skewer, toothpick or internal instant-read baking thermometer
- Oven mitts
- Cooling rack
Show Us Your Bread
We’d love to see your results (and any variations you may come up with) and invite you to post photos on your Instagram feed. Be sure to tag @zulily!
Whisk together the flour, salt and yeast in a large mixing bowl (or in the bowl of a stand mixer).
STEP 2Add water and stir with a spatula (or combine on low speed using the stand mixer’s dough hook attachment), for about one minute.
STEP 3Knead by hand (or on medium speed) until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes. (If using a stand mixer, stop it every few minutes and scrape dough off the hook and sides of the bowl using a spatula.)
STEP 4When the dough appears smooth, cut off a small piece and stretch it. When it can be stretched to the point of transparency, it’s kneaded enough.
STEP 5Remove the bowl to a safe, stable spot away from heat and drafts and cover it with a lid or plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise until it has doubled in size and does not spring back when you push your finger into it, approximately 1 ½ to 2 hours. (Less if the room is hot and humid, more if it’s cold.)
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead again by hand, about one to two minutes, to release any air bubbles (gas). Shape the dough roughly into a ball, cover with a clean towel, and let rest for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, cup your hands around the dough and shape it into a tight ball by rolling it on the work surface between your palms.
Lightly brush the base of your Le Creuset Bread Oven with oil. Place the dough in the center of the base and cover with the Bread Oven lid.
Allow the dough to rise again about 30-60 minutes until roughly doubled in size (and it slowly springs back when poked with a finger).
During the last 15 minutes of rising time, preheat your kitchen oven to 450°
STEP 10When ready to bake, score the bread with a sharp knife or razor, marking an X or a hash mark, to allow the dough to expand freely.
STEP 11Cover with the Bread Oven lid and place in your pre-heated oven. Bake for 30 minutes.
STEP 12Remove the lid, reduce your oven temperature to 375°F, and continue baking for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and cooked through. (If you tap the loaf, it will sound hollow when done. If a toothpick or skewer comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs, then it has finished baking. The bread should ultimately have an internal temperature of 200°F or so when fully baked.)
Carefully remove the bread from the base and allow it to cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving.
Other Uses for the Le Creuset Bread Oven
Though it is primarily designed for creating the perfect loaf of bread, the Bread Oven is also useful for many other purposes. You’ll find dozens of uses for this beautifully crafted, expertly made tool, but here are a few to start:
- Bake sweet and savory baked goods
- Roast meats and vegetables
- Use for regular frying or cooking
- Repurpose the domed lid to cover other cookware and bakeware as needed, or to keep baked goods fresh.
Caring for Your Bread Oven Pan
While the Bread Oven is dishwasher-safe, hand-washing is preferred. Check out Le Creuset’s guide for how to wash their matte black satin enamel pots and pans.
CompLete your cookware collection
Regarded as a practical staple of the French kitchen since 1925, Le Creuset’s signature product — a candy-colored, heavy-duty cast-iron pot — is useful for cooking all kinds of dishes. With sizes ranging from the one-third-quart mini cocotte all the way up to the massive oval Dutch oven of 15-and-a-half quarts, Le Creuset has cookware for every occasion.
Editor’s Note: The Le Creuset Bread Oven and other Le Creuset products may not be in stock at all times at Zulily. You can favorite Le Creuset or specific items on their product pages in order to be notified in future.