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I'm contemplating buying a dutch oven to make tartine bread. It would be a strict unitasker for my purposes. It's bulky and if I get a bare one, I might not bake often and it could rust. An enameled one can't handle high heat and shouldn't be heated empty.

I do already have some heavy carbon steel De Buyer pans. What would be the disadvantage of using an upside down mixing bowl as a dome lid to raise humidity?

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    I've been baking with the Tartine master recipe for a few years, and my Le Creuset and Lodge enameled dutch ovens have worked beautifully with no problems at 500F. If you're still worried you can get a plain one and just take care of it (keep it dry, mostly). I don't think it's a big deal unless you're really worried about the unitasker aspect. – janeylicious Nov 22 '14 at 7:06
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Overall, you should be fine.
The purpose of the dutch oven is trapping moisture and, to some extent, coralling the dough.

Keep the following in mind:

  • Make sure your bowl can handle the heat - high heat might cause it to warp. To some extent, this is fine, but if the gaps at the bottom get too big, you won't trap the steam the way you want. But some loss is fine, the bread needs to "dry" a bit.
  • Your dough should not be too runny, otherwise it might stick to the bowl and make removal somewhat messy (unlike in a dutch oven, it would be difficult to use parchment paper to keep the sides from sticking). So make sure, the bowl is big enough and the loaf well shaped.
  • Unlike the dutch oven lid, the inverted bowl has no handle and is likely to slip when you try to lift it, please be extra careful not to burn yourself!
  • If you put a cool bowl over the bread, you might get some condensation you wouldn't get from a pre-heated dutch oven lid. Drops of moisture may leave traces on the crust, but that won't affect the quality of the bread. With a nice dome-shaped bowl, this effect should be minimal.

----Edit----
There are a couple of ways how to bake tartine bread w/o a dutch oven. For one example from our seasoned advice, see here.

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    I'll second the advice in the linked question here: you can bake the bread in just about anything that's oven-safe, the right size, and enclosed. I've personally used large stainless pots for crusty bread over the years when I don't have a dutch oven or similar thing available. It may not be quite as effective in creating a crust, and the bread might brown a little differently, but (as Stephie says) the most important characteristic is something to trap the moisture. – Athanasius Nov 25 '14 at 18:59

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