I recently bought a ceramic slow cooker insert at a thrift store. It has a glass top and is the perfect shape for using as a Dutch oven in baking bread, which I do regularly. When I got home, my husband found a hairline crack going down the side. I’d like to know if this is still usable. Here’s the method I currently use with my cast iron/enamel coated Dutch oven: I preheat the oven to 500F with empty Dutch oven, with the lid on. When it’s reaches temperature, I take my shaped dough from the fridge where it’s been all night in a bowl on parchment paper. I slash it, then lift it by the parchment paper and place it in the Dutch oven. Sometimes I slip some ice cubes under the parchment before putting the lid on, although I could skip this step if it’s not recommended.

Question: would this procedure be ok for the Dutch oven described above, with the hairline crack?

  • 2
    Ceramic inserts for slow cookers are not dutch ovens, I would really hesitate to use them as such.
    – GdD
    Commented Sep 8, 2021 at 17:23
  • 2
    Agree with @GdD, also, (a) I have found the ice/water/additional steam is not necessary when using a Dutch oven and lid, and (b) a dramatic temperature change created by the ice could be problematic given the hairline crack.
    – moscafj
    Commented Sep 8, 2021 at 17:26
  • I'm not sure why the ceramic insert and glass top wouldn't be considered a Dutch oven. As for ice, I find it helps as a rule; I think it depends if there is leakage or not. For your comment b), as I said I'm willing to forego the ice if that's a problem for the crack. My question stands about whether or not to use it as described with the hairline crack (forgetting about the ice).
    – Arlo
    Commented Sep 9, 2021 at 2:29

1 Answer 1


I would not use it for this purpose.

Your main issue with using ceramic bread cloches (the standard ceramic "Dutch oven") with the kind of recipe you have is thermal shock: you're heating the vessel to 500F, then depositing a mass of very wet cold dough inside it. This can often result in a cloche cracking. This is why cloche manufacturers direct the owner to heat the cloche with the dough in it.

In your case, you're taking a vessel that was never meant for temperatures above 220F, which already has a crack in it, and preforming that routine. I'd fully expect it to crack in half as soon as you introduce the dough.

  • I've taken your advice and am getting rid of the cracked ceramic insert. I agree that it's risky. I will say though that I often used an unglazed clay baker, preheated, in which I put a refrigerated dough BUT the parchment it's on is room temperature. The final proof is done in the fridge but not on parchment paper; I flip it onto the parchment once out of the fridge. I've never had a problem with thermal shock. Maybe it's just luck!
    – Arlo
    Commented Sep 11, 2021 at 2:47
  • Arlo: you've been doing it in metal, which is much better than ceramic at tolerating temperature differences.
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented Sep 11, 2021 at 3:54

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.