Is there any benefit to adding some boiling water to a preheated dutch oven (under some parchment paper) just before putting the lid back on?


Well I did it. It seems to improve oven spring. Took Some pics.

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And here is the crumb enter image description here

  • 1
    Just to make sure I understand you correctly: you ask about adding some water into the dutch oven before / when adding the dough?
    – Stephie
    Mar 19, 2017 at 16:02
  • @Stephie yup, after I put the dough in the dutch oven pour some water under the parchment paper.
    – Mr. Smee
    Mar 19, 2017 at 16:36
  • 1
    I still don't understand where you are pouring the water, but it is nice that you got results and shared them! Would you be willing to create a more extensive answer to the question? We love this kind of self-experimentation here!
    – rumtscho
    Mar 19, 2017 at 18:04
  • @rumtscho I put the dough on a piece of parchment paper and place the dough with the parchment paper in the dutch oven. I then pour hot water under the parchment paper.
    – Mr. Smee
    Mar 19, 2017 at 20:19
  • 1
    I do exactly this. I pour about an ounce of boiling water from my electric kettle under the parchment paper. I don't know for sure that it does anything, but it doesn't seem to hurt.
    – Rick
    Mar 20, 2017 at 15:49

2 Answers 2


What you are doing essentially allows the bread to rise a little more before the crust toughens. It will leave you with a lighter, fluffier loaf with smaller air pockets and a softer crust. I have never poured water into the dutch oven before, but I often just wet the loaf right before putting it in. You can do that with a spray bottle or basting brush.

I'm not sure how exactly your method will differ in results though, as it will do 2 things: rapidly lower the temperature of the dutch oven (transferring the heat to the water) and start cooking the top of the loaf faster.


Several (okay, five) years ago they made a run at doing a 'Seasoned Advice Blog' to which rfusca entered an excellent article Taking your bread to the next level with steam He explains:

What does steam do for bread? Primarily, it gelatanizes the starches in the crust and keeps them that way longer. This causes the outside of the loaf to form an extended, flexible “skin.”

So, while your technique of adding the water under the parchment is novel the effect that steam can have on bread making is well established.

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