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When I bake bread in my dutch oven, to get the bread crust a darker brown and where it should be, the bottom will burn. I've used several recipes and different ovens with the same problem outcome. The dutch oven is as high as I can put it in the oven, which helps but it's still burned slightly.

The recipes always call for a pre-heat of 475F before the bread goes in, 25-30 top on 15-20 top off. I'm trying to adjust the temperature now, but I don't see how this isn't a more common problem. Any suggestions for this?

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My approach for burnt bottoms in various ovens around the world involves aluminum foil to deflect some of the heat on the bottom. You could either set a sheet on the rack, shiny side down, or if that proves inadequate (or fragile) hang a sheet under the rack, crimped onto two of the wires - in either case, set your dutch oven on top of the area protected by foil.

Given the lack of oven thermometer I'd also be inclined to suggest turning down the heat (and extending the time, if needed), but try the foil first, since most practitioners of the sort of baking you are trying seem to like it hot.

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    you can also put a sheet pan on a lower rack instead of just the foil. – NadjaCS Nov 26 '16 at 5:17
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Top on first doesn't make that much sense, you generally get a better rise if you start with bottom heat and only later add top. Doing it the opposite way - starting with bottom and top on, then switching to only top - is what you need, especially if your bottom is burning. I can't tell you when it is best to make the switch, you have to try it with your own oven and find out what works best. The middle of the baking process might be a good starting point.

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    I think "top on" means the lid of the pot on... that's how I interpreted it, anyway... but we can't control the upper and lower heating elements so...? – Catija Nov 25 '16 at 19:37
  • why can't we control the elements? – rumtscho Nov 25 '16 at 19:38
  • I've never had an oven that allows it in the US... the only upper heating element is the broiler and it only has one or two settings - high and low. – Catija Nov 25 '16 at 19:39
  • Any oven I've ever seen had controls of this kind, even the cheapest ones: s3.amazonaws.com/opensymbols/libraries/sclera/…. I can't imagine how I'd bake without that. If US ovens really don't have them, then I really don't know what will help in this case. – rumtscho Nov 25 '16 at 19:40

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