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I just took a challah out of the oven, the first I've ever made using bread flour. All these years, I've had the notion that bread flour would produce a heartier, heavier bread than I like, and I've

Best loaf yet!

Close your eyes and think of Tuscany. 

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Is it possible you have an aged relative with a Dutch oven languishing in a forgotten cupboard?    i am still using my mother's which is probably close to 100 years old now.    Unlined, with a lovely built up interior finish,.  

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Lodge is very good quality.  We love our regular cast iron pans from them, and I'd feel comfortable about using their enameled Dutch ovens.  (That being said, our workhorse is a Le Creuset we got on sale.)

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My experience with enameled cast iron from China is that it chips more easily than the stuff from France, Belgium, et al.

At the price of the enameled pieces from China, I have to think there’s some skimping going on.

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FWIW, my simplified way of proofing makes transfer to smoking hot pot pretty easy.   

Cover a rimless cookie sheet with a tea towel,  heavily dust half closest to you with rice flour.    Boule placed on rice flour base; end of towel furthest from you brought up and over the boule, then those corners tucked under the boule, creating a support.   End of towel closest to you flipped up and over to cover the exposed boule.    

When time to put boule in pot, pot removed from oven to board on adjacent table.   Pot floor sprayed with canola oil.   Top of tea towel moved off boule, cookie sheet quickly tilted and boule dropped upsidedown into pot.     No hands getting near hot pot.    With hot mitts, shake pot by the "ear" handles to redistribute and even dough.    Lid replaced, back into oven.

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2 hours ago, beccaboo said:

This Lodge pan is specially designed to be easier to do your bread in—you use the shallow part for the bottom and are less likely to burn your hand putting the raw loaf into the hot pan. 

The 3-quart one is only 3" deep, though. Won't the bread get squished against the lid?

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59 minutes ago, voyager said:

FWIW, my simplified way of proofing makes transfer to smoking hot pot pretty easy. 

I proof the dough on parchment paper on a steel, and just slide it onto the baking steel. I could probably do the same thing and just drop rather than slide. Tongs to lift the parchment off what is now the top of the bread. Mitts on the whole time.

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