crusty bread without dutch oven

Hi, I wanted to make crusty bread but I do not have a dutch oven or cast iron skillet. Can I make it any other way? i know I need to cover it with a lid to create the steam and all..can i make it in another pot which has lid or do I really need dutch oven?

Devangi Raval


Devangi R. November 23, 2012
Thanks a lot everyone for the suggestions. The bread came out really the way I wanted it to be. Crusty and a nice chewy interior. And, followed Antonia James method shared above. I am so thankful, I could make this without any extra hassles. I am really enjoying baking breads and learning a lot.

Susan g - your suggestion of placing it on pizza stone and then covering it with a pot is wonderful. it never occurred to me. Next time I am going to try it, if only i do not burn my elbow from the hot oven door. Thanks a lot.
Liz A. November 16, 2012
King Arthur website. Wonderful crusty french bread recipe also made with the the pan of hot water placed on the rack below a cookie sheet t with generous amount of cornmeal and unbaked bread on upper rack. I have been making this recipe for over 20 years. It's a winner.
AntoniaJames November 15, 2012
I use clay pots all the time for bread. but not at that high temperature. The key is to put them in the oven before you start heating the oven. If you soak the pot for a good hour or so before you put it into the oven, that should go far in creating steam once the oven is very hot. I probably would spritz the dough, just to be sure, however. And I'd probably check with Roemertopf to confirm that they could withstand that heat. I can't imagine that they would not, however, if heated with the oven. They are, after all, made of clay. Great idea!! ;o)
susan G. November 16, 2012
If I had checked The Clay-Pot Cookbook (Grover and Georgia MacLeod Sales) on my shelves, I would have known -- "When the rising time is about over, presoak a large clay pot, top and bottom, in water for 15 minutes. Punch the dough down and reshape it into one round loaf. Place a small piece of aluminum foil on the bottom of the presoaked pot to prevent sticking, then place the dough in the pot, cover, and allow to rise... Cover the pot and place it in a cold oven. Set the oven temperature at 480 degrees. Bake for 55 minutes, removing the lid for the last 5 minutes to brown the crust." This was for a rye and white flour bread, total 5 1/2 cups, and they do use a Roemertopf. Time to pull mine out!
AntoniaJames November 16, 2012
That sounds so good! I've used a regular small clay roasting pot, without the lid, for years, but not at the high temperature. It makes the most perfectly gorgeous (slightly chewy) crust on the Pullman-style loaves I make for sandwiches and toast. Now I'm definitely considering trying the method you quoted. Thanks for typing all that text, to share with us!! ;o)
susan G. November 15, 2012
I made Sourdough Mischbrot by koechin, which calls for the Dutch oven technique. I hacked the pot by putting the dough on a heated pizza stone, then put the bottom of a Farberware 5 quart pot which is 4 inches tall over the dough, using it as a dome. I have never made bread with such a beautiful crust before, though it was a little tricky to lift it off midway -- serious oven mitts. She also mentions using a Roemertopf, which I have but was concerned that it might break.
Greenstuff November 15, 2012
What good advice! Magnalite was first made during the Depression, and it does last forever. I inherited an 8-quart Dutch oven. It doesn't get much use anymore, but it sure did crank out a lot of cassoulet and braises that overflowed my Le Creuset. Looks like one just like it just went for $80 on eBay. For a 5 quart, you can "buy it now" for $20.
AntoniaJames November 15, 2012
Here's a hint. If you want to get an excellent heavy Dutch oven for this purpose (and for braises, roasts, etc.) that will cost you far less than a small fortune, look on Craigslist (or eBay if you don't have a local Craigslist) for "Wagner Ware" or "Magnalite". It's functional and will last a lifetime. Think of it as a precursor to All-Clad. The smaller sauce pans, by the way, are designed with small spouts (with lids cut to fit the spouts, of course) for spill-proof pouring. I just looked at our local Craigslist and there are several large roasters and Dutch ovens, all with heavy lids, for about $30 a piece. Years ago, I picked up an enormous Magnalite Dutch oven that I use mostly for bread, but it's also excellent for large briskets and other roasts, and stews to feed a large crowd. It's not pretty, but it's a work horse, and a real treasure. Make sure you buy one in decent condition; it will serve you well, and your children and grandchildren, too. ;o)
Cristenatkins July 21, 2023
Thank you so much for the recommendation… I’ve searched all over the Internet for using my grandmothers, Wagner ware Magnalite for making sourdough. I rarely use it… But I can’t part with it. But now I can use it!!!
Do you have any indications for using it with sourdough? Wondering what size would be best?
HalfPint November 15, 2012
Any oven-safe dish or pot with a lid can be used. I've heard of people using those Corning casserole dish and stainless steel pasta cooker (without the perforated insert). As long as it can handle the high heat and have a lid that can also hand the heat, it should work, though the bread shape might be a little bizarre (especially with those square-ish dishes).

Or you can do something similar to what AJ described above. When I make baguettes, I spritz with water, twice during baking. First time when the dough is loaded into the oven, then 15 minutes later. The injection of steam produces a crackling crust.

Voted the Best Reply!

AntoniaJames November 15, 2012
Get your oven super hot, with a pizza stone or quarry tiles that you put in before you turn it on. Put on the bottom shelf whatever shallow pan you have that can withstand the heat, e.g. an enameled gratin dish. A very small cast iron skillet will do, if you have one. Put a kettle on to boil. After the oven has been at the desired (super hot) temperature for about 20 -30 minutes, quickly open it and slide your bread onto the stone. Then grab your boiling water and pour it into the hot pan or baking dish on the bottom shelf. (Wear long sleeves or long gloves to prevent a steam burn on your arm.) Immediately shut the oven. Leave it shut for at least 20 minutes, then open it for a few seconds to let out some of the steam (or whenever you'd be taking the lid off the Dutch oven). ;o)
Recommended by Food52