For our full instructions & videos on how to bake your first loaf of sourdough at home, head to our Bread Kit Guide.
The Importance of a Dutch Oven
Learning how to bake bread with enough steam in a domestic oven is the first challenge for a home baker when embarking on their bread journey. A Dutch oven, which is a pot made entirely of cast iron allows for enough heat & steam to replicate a commercial bread oven environment & so is the preferred method when making bread at home.
How it works
During the initial stages of baking, steam is released inside the chamber of a Dutch oven (sealed by a lid), this keeps the dough moist allowing the bread to develop a crispy, shiny crust and attain maximal volume.
What size Dutch oven?
We recommend getting the biggest one you can fit in your oven at home. Most domestic ovens are 60cm in width. If you haven't got one, it's worth the investment - try our Pre-seasoned Cast Iron Bread Pan.
Preheat your oven to its maximum temperature for 30-45 minutes with the Dutch oven inside.
Once your dough is ready resting inside one of our proving baskets, boil the kettle and place a piece of baking paper (wider/longer than your dough) on the bench. Sprinkle with with semolina, then tip the loaf out of the proving basket onto the paper with the seam side down & score - see our video demo here. Scoring allows the loaf to expand & rise with the aid of steam trapped inside the pot.
Carefully transfer the loaf into the hot Dutch oven. Pour about 40ml of boiling water around the bread (please take care as steam & pot can be very hot). Put the lid back on the Dutch oven & place it inside your oven. Bake for 20 minutes (still at highest heat) with the lid on, then take the lid off & bake for a further 10-15 minutes at 220 degrees Celsius or until a golden crust is achieved.