The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Anyone ever use a Romertopf Clay Pot?

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Nickisafoodie's picture
Nickisafoodie

Anyone ever use a Romertopf Clay Pot?

I just inhereted a 30 year old hardly used clay pot bakeware (unglazed) make by Romertopf, model 110 with inside dimension of 9.5" x 6.5" x 3", with a domed top of the same dimension that would allow 6" in height - looks perfect for a 1.5 lb loaf.  Instructions require 15 minutes of soaking in water to allow the pores to soak up the water.  Place item in cold oven, bring up to heat.


Has anyone made bread in one of these?  I would think the bread would have to rise on parchement placed in a similar shape vessle and then lift and place into the pot, cover, and bring oven up to temp.  Remove cover after 20-25 min (instead of 15 given cold start?) and finish from there?


Any thoughts or experiences would be welcome!!  I've made nice loaves using a cast iron dutch oven removing lid after 15 minutes, and in the long run, that may be easier.  But I have to try it.


Thanks!!

bobbywilson0's picture
bobbywilson0

I have a similar type vessel called a Schlemmertopf. I started using it for the no knead method, and then just used it for a hearth style loaf yesterday. I don't do anything special to prepare it I use it like a pan replacement. I haven't soaked it in water, that is an interesting idea. Probably creates much more steam. The parchment is a good idea, makes it easy to proof going right into the oven afterwards with no handling.

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

NEVER NEVER put in preheated oven.  The German Romertopf site warns, the insert to the Romertopf warns, etc etc.  You are in danger of the topf cracking if a cold pot gets put into the preheated oven. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

at the bottom of the home page listing:  "Recent Forum Posts"  to continue the list and scroll down. 

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

stuck big time. I spoke with one user and she recommended oiling the bottom that it would not impede the "steam" quality of the clay. I later used parchment and had great success.  Cornmeal mixed with some rice flour would probably be equally beneficial.

susieJ's picture
susieJ

I've been using the Romertopf for several years, it does a great job.  For the last rise, set the dough on parchment paper in the Romertopf.  When risen, put the lid on (which has been soaked in water) and into a pre-heated oven (450).  Bake 20-25 minutes, then take off the lid until appropriately browned.  I do this a lot using the no knead method...works great.  BTW, I got my Rometopf at a yard sale for $1.  Check it out!

knit1bake1's picture
knit1bake1

Susie, I tried using the clay pot a few years ago. You say that you put the cold pot into the hot oven. I thought one always had to put the cold pot into the cold oven. Any comments? I think I did it with a cold start, I had ok results but not spectacular. I think I had soaked both top and bottom, but I hear that may one doesn't have to do the soaking. More advice, please. Beth

susieJ's picture
susieJ

I too heard about the cold start oven (after I had been using the pre-heat method).  I read that a hot oven will crack the Romertopf...now that may be true but I've been using the hot oven method for at least 2 years and no problem.  I still soak the top (lid)....bread has been coming out great.  Give it a try and let me know.  Gotta use that parchment paper though. 

belle's picture
belle

I have read this post with great interest...I have one of these pots that I received about 20 years ago and have never used.  I need a couple of clarifications..for those of you that use this with the 'no-knead' method could you provide any specific nuances that I may need to be aware of.  Secondly, do you put the parchment paper into the pot and  cover it with a lid?  Do you need to be concerned that the parchment paper may catch fire?  And lastly, if you use parchment paper, does that mean you do not have to spray PAM at the bottom and sides of the pot?
thanks very much..


Belle

susieJ's picture
susieJ

Romertopf and parchment paper


Can't think of any specific nuances when using the 'no-knead' method.  Just plop the parchment paper containing the dough into the pot, let rise, cover with lid (I still wet the lid) and into the pre-heated oven.  The paper has never caught fire, although if you are concerned, you could trim it to fit completely under the lid (mine sticks out).  No need to spray the pot, the parchment paper keeps it from sticking.  I have also used the pot for the traditional bread making method using parchment paper...works great.  I would think the dough would really stick if not using the parchment paper.

bobbywilson0's picture
bobbywilson0

I have actually used mine without parchment paper, just spraying the bottom with oil. Mine is glazed on the inside, not sure about yours, but I haven't had any problem with it sticking without using parchment. That said, it is much easier to manage with parchment, for ease of getting the hot loaf out etc.

TomD's picture
TomD

I am refusing to oil or grease my multi-use Romertopf model 155 to make bread, it defeats the entire purpose of healthy baking.  I did flour and cornmeal the base and plopped Jim Lahey's famous dough into it and it welded itself totally and everywhere to the insides, bottom and all.  So much for the glaze making it non stick.  The pot went into a cold oven and was done 40 minutes (including warmup) at 450 followed by 15 more lid off--the bread, pried out with an egg lifter, was barely cooked.

I cannot recommend these claybaker things for bread baking when you have a cured cast iron Dutch Oven in the kitchen.  Way better, easier than all this.  I will try once more using parchment paper.  Claybakers have definite limits.

ebergler's picture
ebergler

I have used my Romertopf for a couple of years now the bake breads based on Jim Laheys method. The trick is to pre-heat the pot to 500°F for about 30 minutes with the lid on and it will NEVER stick!  I made some custom improvements that suit me, mostly to make the whole business much cleaner. See my efforts here: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5fYMMM4Lps

I have since played around a bit more, as I freeze my bread and it was a bit too moist inside. Nowadays I bake 38 minutes closed and then 18 minutes at 450°.  The most amazing thing is that I tried for years to do a whole wheat bread but only now can I do it without making a brick!

 

 

TomD's picture
TomD

ebergler, I will give your HotPot method a try right away!  All this chatter about clay bakers going in the oven Cold had me confused.  Your technique is exactly what I have don for years with Lodge Dutch ovens with only success, but since this claybaker is a recent Christmas present I was being careful.  thank you for sharing your experience, your video is very very similar to how I turn out bread.  Regards, TomD

ebergler's picture
ebergler

I just posted a comment, but it was incomplete as I forgot to post Jim Laheys video. It also wants you to pre-heat to 500°F. Have a look at it!  I also use a cast- iron pot I bought recently, so I do 2 loafs at a time, mostly a white and whole wheat one. We eat nothing else! Each loaf weights just around 2 pounds. Here is Jim Laheys contribution:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13Ah9ES2yTU

Above video is published by Mark Bitman of the New York Times, and it show off Jim Laheys methods

Here again my video showing how I customized it to make me happy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5fYMMM4Lps 

 

Additionally, the crunchy crust gets boring after a while and I worry about my crowns splitting, so nowadays I  put the loafs into plastic bags while they are warm and I only slice them after the sat for about 3 to 5 hours. I also played around with the raising time of 12 to 18 hours. At time I forget to prepare my bread early enough, then I put the yeast into the water, microwave it for 15 seconds. I also keep the dough much warmer and I done loafs in 5 hours.  

TomD's picture
TomD

i make 650 gram loaves (400 g flour) with a rise of 12-16 hours followed by a second rise of 2-4 hours, depends on the temperature of the kitchen.  Like your dough, mine is wet 1/2 litre of water.  It fits nicely into a 10" unenamelled Dutch oven, cast iron.  I dust the bottom to guarantee a good release.  It bakes 32 minutes lid on and 17 more lid off @ 450F.  I never cut it for 2 hours, and I do store it in plastic to soften the crust.  I brought it into work every Monday morning for 7 years, it was called "Tombread" and was a huge hit.  I recommend sharing your baking at work, it was a real bonding moment.  Our methods are very similar.

TomD's picture
TomD

Today I made up another ordinary batch of Jim Lahey bread dough, but as suggested, pre-heated the Romertopf 155 to 475F, empty, and *then* I added the dough to the pot and baked it exactly the same as I do in my Lodge cast iron Dutch Ovens.  This is to say 32 minutes lid on and 17 minutes lid off at 450F.

The results were 100%.  Unbelievable after the initial disaster.  So I suggest to everyone that if you add room temperature things to a pre-heated Romertopf you can get away with it.  I would never suggest cold water or refridgerated items however.

I am grateful for your suggestions.  This website is going to be fun!

tomD

blondel's picture
blondel

I use a Mason Cash Clay Cooker regularly using sourdough 1,2,3.  My method it a bit variable - depending on time!  Largely based around the fold and rest technique with overnight proving in a banneton in fridge.  Bring back to room temperature.  Pre heat clay cooker.  Cook for 20 mins covered then about another 30 covered.

This one does not have very big holes but is light and tastes great.  I am very happy with it for an everyday bread.