No-Knead Bread: Alternative to Dutch Ovens

This No-Knead Bread recipe has become an enduring internet food phenomenon; our theory is that it's shown people just easy bread can be. Fit it to your schedule, make bread in no time and bypass the professional bread oven with an everyday pot.

That pot, though, trips up a lot of first-time No-Kneaders. They want the perfect crackly crust of the No-Knead Bread, but this is dependent on its unusual baking instructions. The recipe says to bake the bread in a covered Dutch oven.

What's a Dutch oven, and what if you don't have one? Do you really need one?

A Dutch oven is simply a heavy metal pot with a lid. Most popular Dutch ovens also have a bright, shiny layer of enamel that covers the cast iron underneath. This makes them beautiful as well as durable - the ultimate stove to table cookware.

We tell you all about Dutch ovens here and we also did a roundup of some of the most popular Dutch ovens.

While you can spend hundreds of dollars on a Le Creuset or Staub Dutch oven, these really don't have to be expensive; Target and other retailers carry good models for only $40 or so. IKEA has a Dutch oven for $60.

But that doesn't help if you want to bake bread tonight! Are there alternatives to Dutch ovens for baking No-Knead Bread? You bet!

Here are a few basic ideas - tell us if you've baked No-Knead Bread in something else.

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Covered metal pot - The most necessary thing for a No-Knead Bread Dutch oven alternative is an ability to stand up to 450°F heat. Most heavy cookware, like the 6-quart Cuisinart pot above are fine at that heat.

This pot is a little big, though; we frequently bake No-Knead Bread in a 4-quart Calphalon soup pot, and this is a good size. If you do any cooking at all then you almost certainly have a pot the right size and shape for No-Knead Bread. You just need a lid - that's all.

If your lids have rubber or plastic handles, cover with a bit of aluminum foil, or skip the lid entirely and use...

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Pot covered with foil - Let's say you don't even have lids for your pots, or you're afraid to trust your lids to the high heat. Cut a square of heavy-duty aluminum foil and press it down to seal the pot after dropping in the bread dough. This has been used to great success by many No-Knead bakers.

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Oven-safe casserole dish - Really, any oven-safe casserole dish will do. Just check the documentation and make sure it's safe up to temperatures of 500°F, just to be on the safe side. Dishes like the Corningware Ruby Casserole and Anchor Hocking basic casserole should work.

Now that you have something to bake it in, go bake some bread! Links to recipes below...

The Original No-Knead Bread
No-Knead Bread in a Hurry
No-Time Bread

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