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Baking In Covered Earthenware

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Bakenstein's picture
Bakenstein

Baking In Covered Earthenware

I would like to know if anyone has any experience baking bread in round "La Cloche" or Covered "Romertopf" type bakeware?
I became intrigued by the idea of duplicating a brick oven result as mentioned in the King Arthur's Baking Catalog-(They carry the "La Cloche).

Here is a link to a recipe and article explaining the health benefits of going back to the much longer ferments and rises of pre-WW11 baking.

http://www.westonaprice.org/foodfeatures/ourdailybread.html

qahtan's picture
qahtan

Here is a picture of my home made cloche, which I have now changed to La Cloche by King Arthur.
Also is pictured of the loaf I baked in the home made cloche.

I was not impressed with the results from baking bread in covered "Romertopf, as one is limited a bit more for space even in the large Romertopf plus the shape was "unusual" I M H O.... qahtan

Bakenstein's picture
Bakenstein

Thanks for sharing your experiences with covered bakeware. Did you think that the finished product was an improvement over uncovered baking on stone?
Also could you tell me the dimensions of your clay pot?
I like how the drainage hole was cleverly modified to double as a lid handle.

qahtan's picture
qahtan

The crust is fabulous when the bread is baked this way, crispy crunchy, yum.:-)
My home made cloche is about 11 inches across and about 5 inches
deep. I used a baking stone for the base. qahtan

Bakenstein's picture
Bakenstein

That crust is what I am after.
I think I need to "Put A Lid On It".
It will hold in all that beautiful moisture in the slack dough.
Have you been using the recipe you mentioned in your original post on this subject?

qahtan's picture
qahtan

Don't have your dough too slack or it will spead and stick like
the dickens, Yuck.
Just try first with about 1 pound dough see how that fits, and bakes and then go from there.

You will get a good crust from most bread baked under the cloche providing you bake it long enough, as you can see my crust is quite dark.

edit | reply

Bakenstein's picture
Bakenstein

Directions for using a Sassafras "La Cloche" are found on pages 27 and 103 of Crust & Crumb. Peter Reinhart states that using a cloche comes about the closest to a wood-fired brick baking because of the compact space and trapped steam. Also states best success when he proofed the loaf directly on the cloche bottom,(avoids unnecessary handling), spritzed & slid whole unit into a very hot oven.
He also mentions using two pizza/baking stones placed above and below to more accurately duplicate a pro deck oven.

As per finances right now I will pick up a flour pot and pizza stone and give it a whirl.

qahtan's picture
qahtan

I also proof on the stone that I am going to bake the loaf on, buuuuut, if you want a bit of help here, as I said before, don't have your dough too slack and don't put too much dough to start with.
start small, you can increase the amount of dough after you see how that first loaf turns out.
:-))) qahtan

tori's picture
tori

that homemade cloche is brilliant.

ARCity's picture
ARCity

This isn't the best idea. A lot of terra cotta pots (glazed and unglazed) contain lead, especially if it's from Mexico. Unless you're 100% sure your pot is lead-free, I'd spring for one that is specifically made for baking.

Schorken's picture
Schorken

Please may I have your recipe? Your bread looks fabulous! What temp. did you bake it at?

Schorken's picture
Schorken

Hello Qahtan,

I bought the pot just like yours and put it together. I have the pizza stone bottom. Now may I please have your recipe for the bread you have pictured? It looks awesome! Please include instuctions re. oiling the pot or stone, oven temp, etc. thank you!

Schorken

Anakritis's picture
Anakritis

I used this homemade design for the first time today, and I must say that the homemade clay pot works brilliantly.

I made a nice white bread to try out in this device consisting of,

.5kg unbleached bread flour

.5 cup cold water

.75 cup cold milk

10 grams fine salt

5 grams instant yeast

1 Tablespoon of olive oil

 

Hand mixed all of the above, except olive oil into to a ragged dough. Autolyse 20 minutes.

Machine kneaded on medium low speed. Added olive oil and kneaded till smooth with a classic window pane formation (about 10 to 15 minutes).

Allowed to rise till doubled, twice. The first rise took more than an hour with dough temp around 70F (did I mention using cold water and milk).

Formed loaves with two resting periods of 5 minutes and proofed for 1 hour (form batard, rest 5 minutes, tri-fold longways and rest 5 minutes, form loaves and tuck in ends then proof).

Baked at 500F, for 10 minutes, then down to 350F or 10 more minutes, under my new toy...

This is the very first time I have ever gotten proper "ears" from my slashes! The color is phenomenal, the aroma is impeccable, the crumb is light, chewy, airy with a cotton candy like texture. 

I could not be more pleased, and all for $6.96 from my local builders supply garden section.

martin's picture
martin

I have used a pyrex type glass bowl with lid to bake bread. I have baked several boule type loaves using this method. The loaves retain softness from the steam created by the water poured into the bowl just before inserting into the oven. I ususally remove the lid for the last 15 minutes or so to brown/crispen the top.

Incidentally here in Asia it is more common to steam bread than toasting. It brings back that just baked taste they love. Either put some slices or part of a loaf on a plate in a steamer and steam till warmed through.

Bakenstein's picture
Bakenstein

I thought of using the pyrex bowl/lid combo but what scared me off was watching the lid break into a thousand little peices on the floor of my oven as I used it to make steam.

I am glad to know what the outcome would be to use a glass bowl and thanks for the tip of taking the lid off at the end - something that could be forgotten in the excitement.

qahtan's picture
qahtan

Don't have your dough too slack or it will spead and stick like
the dickens, Yuck.
Just try first with about 1 pound dough see how that fits, and bakes and then go from there.

You will get a good crust from most bread baked under the cloche providing you bake it long enough, as you can see my crust is quite dark.

sarock's picture
sarock

Instructions with the Romertopf indicate it must be started in a cold oven. Has anyone started baking in a non-preheated oven using a covered Romertopf? Or has the Romertopf survived baking in a pre-heated hot oven as suggested with LaCloche? Have successfully mastered the NYT no-knead loaf using a cast iron Dutch oven.....would like to expand the repertoire.

jp's picture
jp

I do it every week and it's working beautifully,  better than in a glass cocotte, I guess steam coming from clay is the secret + I don't have to preheat the oven for an hour like it is recommended for baking bread on a bread stone. So what I do : I bake in my Romerstoft my first bread starting in cold oven and the second one on my bread stone since the oven is  at the right temperature when the first one is baked ... still hoping (probably in vaine) to succeed to get the right bread appearance from the stone oven baking ... I've got a picture of the same sourdough cooked in the Romerstoft and on a bread stone : day and night. Don't know how to add my pic to my message ... if interested ask me for it.


good luck,


jp

gloria mielke's picture
gloria mielke

Don't forget to oil the sides

I used the Sassafras covered pan (the long model) today for the first time.  They said to oil the botton of the stoneware but didn't mention the sides.  I like to follow directions the first time I use things and then do my own thing.  I didn't oil the sides of the pan only the bottom.  What a job geting the beautiful golden loaf out.  I have never seen such a beautiful loaf however but will certainly oil and put parchment paper in it next time to get it out.  It would save a lot of trouble.

KNEADLESS's picture
KNEADLESS

I posted this last week on the rustic bread change, but in light of your question, it might bear repeating here. 

 

I received the large, bell shaped Le Clouch for Xmas, and I decided to use this recipe (Floyd's rustic bread) for a comparitive test. I used the quantities listed above, but mixed all at one time to use the Kneadless method. The only change that I made was to use 1/2 tsp yeast. After mixing, the dough sat at RT for 18 hours. At that time, I roughly divided it into two halves.

 

The first half, I envelope folded, let sit for 30 minutes, and formed it into a ball.

 

The instructions that come with the clouch say to put the ball into the bottom of the clouch, cover with the cold bell, and let rise till doubled. Then put it in a 450 oven for 15 min., then reduce to 400 for another 15 min., remove the cover and bake for another 10 min. or so. I followed these instructions exactly, except after 1 hr. rising, it was only about 1 1/2 original size, but because it was spreading out, I put it in the oven at this point.

 

The results seemed excellent. I got a golden loaf more than 2 times the size of the original ball. Coming out of the oven, it had a thin, crispy crust, but unfortunately, after it cooled, all of the crust became soft, except for the bottom, which had been on the stone bottom. The crumb was very nice, with some medium sized (1/4-3/8") large holes, and the taste was excellent.

 

The second batch had to be refrigerated for 5 hours or so, and after a 1 hour warmup, was prepared like the first one, but it was risen in a linen lined basket. My normal, flat stone and the top of the clouch were put in the 500 oven for 1 hour.

 

Once again, I didn't get a lot of rise in the basket. I removed the hot bell, spread some corn meal on the stone, plopped the ball on it, and covered with the bell. After 20 minutes the temp was reduced to 450, and 10 minutes later I removed the bell. 10 minutes later, the inside was 205 and I pulled it from the oven.

 

The loaf was 3-4 times its original size, had a hard, crispy crust, and many more of the 1/4-3/8" holes. After 10 hours, the crust is still crispy. The taste of the two loaves seem equivalent to my 69 year old palate.

 

Using this bell is much easier than using a pot and lid, IMHO.

 

George

 

After slicing and freezing, I found that the "cold Clouch" bread, made much better toast!

 

 

tony's picture
tony

Today I baked two loaves in a La Cloche. I was going to use my wife's Rommertopf earthenware casserole as well as the cloche, following the procedure for the slack-dough no-knead bread discussed extensively in another thread. The two containers would fit on the oven rack and handle the quantity of dough i had. However, I abandoned the Rommertopf when after preheating for 45 min. at 500F the bottom of the unit was thickly coated in chicken grease (and the kitchen was pretty smoky). Hence it was two loaves one after the other in the cloche.

 

I don't know how the bread is, since one loaf is on it's way to my stepdaughter and the other is still cooling, but the crust looks good. The relevant point here is that preheating the whole cloche and loading the proofed loaf onto the hot bottom, covering with the hot top, and baking 30 min covered at 450F and 25 min uncovered at the same temperature seemed to do the job. That and if too many chickens have been baked in your Rommertopf it may not be a good mini-oven for a loaf of bread.

 

There was plenty of oven spring in both loaves, though the crumb surface exposed by the crust openings appeared to have fairly undeveloped gluten. I'll see how the bread actually is at suppertime tonight.

titus's picture
titus

Tony:

I don't have a Rommertopf, but I am thinking of getting one.

In doing some research about it, I came across a couple of tips for cleaning it:

One suggested "After the pot has been used for about 100 times, it should be cooked in boiling water for about 30 minutes to clean the pores." And also "The pot may be soaked overnight in water mixed with baking soda (use 3 tablespoons of baking soda for every 1 litre of hot water)."
http://www.dlc.fi/~marianna/gourmet/romertpf.htm

You might try this and then try to do the bread again and see what happens. I would be interested in knowing your experience before I commit to buying one myself.

tony's picture
tony

Thanks for the info.  We clean the bottom after cooking a chicken using baking soda sort of as if it was Bon Ami.  However, the boiling and/or soaking sounds like a fine idea.  I'll follow your link.

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

I use salt to scour my La Cloche and it works well but I tried the baking soda today and it worked just as well. I've made lots of loaves in the La Cloche and have been very happy with the results. I posted a picture of one of my breads and the La Cloche I used in the gallery of Fresh Loaf. Since the post I got a new La Cloche for Christmas and I'll use it only for bread and save the old one for chicken. No matter how much I scoured I could smell roast chicken. The bread didn't taste like roast chicken but a couple of times I wrapped a loaf hot from the oven in a towel to take as a gift to friends and while driving my husband asked if I was bringing roast chicken. I hope my new La Cloche doesn't stick. I'm going to put parchment under the dough. Any suggestions about seasoning these new pots? (but not with chicken:) weavershouse

sarock's picture
sarock

Thanks for the referral to the "food features" article. Will be baking later today and plan to bake per their instruction re soaking & pre-heating the vessel and adding the proofed loaf to the hot vessel. Hope to be able to report on my successful experiment. 

qahtan's picture
qahtan

 I am very interested in how your bread turns out, can you post picture. as I final rise my loaf on the base of the cloche, and when ready to bake I spray the loaf  with water and place the lid on and into the hot oven.

This way I don't burn myself and my bread comes comes out as I want it. As you can see at the top of this page.  qahtan

sarock's picture
sarock

Thanks for your interest. Have new digital camera, downloaded photos, have no idea how to get them entered here. Sorry as the bread turned out very well. Soaked clay baker, put in cold oven on baking stone, pre-heated to 450°, carefully removed, sprinkled with cornmeal, plopped proofed loaf into hot baker, docked, then sprayed with water, covered and back into hot oven. Baked 25 minutes, removed top, reduced oven temp to 400°, baked an additional 12 minutes. This recipe (traditional, starter, kneaded, proofed, formed & let rise 24 hrs in refrigerator) combined with baking method produced a rather even crumb, moist, great crust with trememdous chew. Prefer a more open crumb and will use a different recipe next time. Loved your photos and will try to include if I can figure out how to accomplish the task!

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

You might want to think about spraying a hot clay baker with cold water. The stone can crack. Also, I've read that it is not necessary to soak a clay baker before putting it in the oven. The bread has enough moisture to create the steam needed. I've never soaked my La Cloche before preheating it. I'd like to hear other opinions. thanks. weavershouse

sewwhatsports's picture
sewwhatsports

Many years ago I bought a round stoneware  piece like a 9" cake pan along with the top to be able to do chickens from Pampered Chef.  This is a small set and an oven stuffer roaster will NOT fit into it.  So suffice to say, this has sat in my cupboard unused.  Now looking at the information about the La Cloche, I am wondering if this is almost a mini version of it.  And if so, could it be used to do a small loaf of the no knead bread.  Has anyone used the Pampered Chef stoneware in this way?  I use their baking rectangle for my sourdough and rye breads with good results.  Any thoughts/suggestions?

Rena in Delaware

Teresa_in_nc's picture
Teresa_in_nc

At some point I baked a loaf of bread in my Romertopf clay pot. It was probably a simple loaf with maybe some wheat germ added to it. It was not naturally leavened with sourdough. It turned out fine, tasty, but a little differently shaped.

I'm pretty sure that I soaked the two pieces 15 minutes in cold water as I always do when using this pot. And I am sure that I put the bread in a cold oven and did not spray water in the oven or on the pot.

Rena, I would think you could bake bread in your chicken cooker just fine.

I have a photo to post, but this format won't let me copy and paste the URL. Can someone tell me how to post a photo on the forum, not the gallery. I can do it just fine on other sites.

Teresa

 

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Click the little tree button above the text box and paste the URL into the image location. Submit that and your image should show up.

Teresa_in_nc's picture
Teresa_in_nc

Ohhhhh, got you. Thanks!


 

LaVidaMD's picture
LaVidaMD

Thanks for this photo! I recently purchased that exact Romertopf for my father and I am worried that it looks a bit small for baking bread (specifically, NYT no-knead). I was relieved to see that you baked bread in it successfully.

The patina on your baker is particularly nice. Did it really just happen that way, or did you rub the hieroglyphics with something before baking?

Thanks in advance for your advice!

sewwhatsports's picture
sewwhatsports

 As I have never baked with a La Cloche, could someone please give me some basics to follow?  I am going to get out the mini baker and lid today and season it in the oven.  It should be ready later today or tomorrow.  I am doing a single loaf of Pain au levain that I am going to retard tonight in a brotform.  I am hoping that this might be my first attempt with this latest experiment.  Your help is needed with this one please.  Thanks

Rena in Delaware

JERSK's picture
JERSK

  I have a la cloche I picked up cheap at a yard sale. Originally I proofed my loaves on the bottom. The bread came out fine. However, I broke the bottom. Now I proof my loaves in a banneton and slide them onto a Pre-heated pizza stone and top with the heated cloche. It works way better and I find it easier as the loaves proofed on the bottom thing had a tendency to spread to the edge and covering them with the bell was tricky. I have pictures of bread cooked on pizza stone with la cloche in a thread I posted called homemade bannetons. You're supposed to put all clay things into a cold oven as they could crack otherwise.

mamabear's picture
mamabear

A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety.
–I got a used baker at a garage sale for about nothing...came home and looked on line as I knew nothing about it , but I knew enough to know that it was pretty cool! SO....I cleaned it with soda.....soaked it and baked it empty just to "sanatize" it. Then It sat around for a month or two and I finally made this....

Well, my daughter says, "This is the best bread you've ever made, mom!" I've been baking many years and she has said that on several other occasions...but it did turn out pretty much perfect. I used the basic recipe of 3 cups AP flour, 1/4 t. yeast, 1 1/2 t. salt, and 1 1/2 water. It sat about 15 hours in a cool house, around 65-68F. I then scraped it over onto it's self in the bowl with a bit of flour to keep it from sticking to my scraper. I warmed the oven a bit, turned it off, and let the dough set, covered with wrap, in it for about an hour or hour and a half. I soaked the lid and bottom to my Romertopf baker in cold water about 15-20 minutes, dried them, and sprayed the bottom well with cooking spray. I scraped the risen dough into the baker, put on the lid and set it in the non heated oven. Not on the bottom rack but the next one up. I turned the oven to 450. I didn't look for about 35 minutes. I then lifted the top for a peek. It had risen nicely, cracked a bit on top and smell great, but was still pale. I left the lid on and turned the heat down to 425 for another 15 minutes, then took the lid off for about 10 minutes. I checked the temp. It was 204 and it looked just right so I turn it out on the rack. Beautiful!!! Crispy, crackly, shiny crust. Made Daughter wait about 40 minutes before cutting it. The crumb was glossy and open, not soggy, but not to dry! If I would have let it raise a bit in the baker it may have risen a bit more...but it did pretty good for going into a cold oven. Next time I will try some whole wheat in it. When I was making this bread before it was turning out pretty good and surely was getting eaten, but I like starting from a cold oven and not having to worry about steaming. No Knead bread baked in Romertopf baker

Onexpresso's picture
Onexpresso

Hi Mamabear, That is some yummy looking bread! I hope to purchase a Romertopf soon and try it. So thanks for the recipe and tips. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Between you and Romertopf and Susan,  I managed this:


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/15185/gr%C3%BCne-erde-green-earth-clay-bread-baker


using a Grüne Erde two piece clay baking bread form.  Very Similar...


Mini

Onexpresso's picture
Onexpresso

Hi Gahtan,

Well I got tired of waiting for my husband to find the right pot to make my homemade cloche so I finaly managed to purchase one. Another idea though would be to use the cast iron dutch oven, or enameled one. I saw this youtube video for "NoKneadBread" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13Ah9ES2yTU No-Knead Bread Dough/NYTimes

I would like to try each way and see how they work out. Also have seen somewhere around here? a flower pot bread, think it was Italian? I bought some pots, but ended up using for my herbs Heh. I need to check the library also, think there was a recipe I had, but I'am not on my main computer right now.  Let you know when I find it again or you let me know. Thanks.

Onexpresso's picture
Onexpresso

Right now I am trying to get my boys to scrub my cast iron dutch oven out with steel wool, from sitting under a leaky sink (got rusty spots). So I am wondering if the baking soda idea works for the cast iron?? to use after the steel wool, then reseason and bake. Any help would be appreciated.
Also added to wish list the Romertopf, two rectangle baking stones, and the flower pot. I just had a pizza stone until now, since never got the to make the cloche like Gahtan did yet to try.

mamabear's picture
mamabear

A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety.
Aesop

I've revived some old miss used cast iron pans by putting them in the oven on clean cycle...I think maybe 500 for awhile would work also...then scrubbing in water with salt or steel wool, after throughly cool, to take the "rusty" powdery coating off. Then rubbing down well with vegetable shortening and baking it on, adding coats and wiping down....reseasoning. I also did this with some  sticky, ugly coated old steel bread pans. They were from a bakery and then had sat around for a long time. I ran them through the oven cleaning cycle and scrubbed the rusty powder off and seasoned them. There are 3 pans fixed together in a row and I can fit 2 sets at a time in my oven...making 6 loaves! Plenty to share! I use them all the time for my sandwich type bread.

joolz's picture
joolz

hope someone here can help me. i invested in a 5kg römertopf last week and my loaves are just not working :( they're flat with no rise. i was wondering if it was because the pot is so big, maybe too big? i don't want to have this huge pot sitting redundant on the shelf. looking forward to hearing from someone soon :)

carefreebaker's picture
carefreebaker

I bake both Jim Lahey's No Knead Bread and Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day in my Romertopf claybakers. Both are thrift shop buys and are unglazed. I prefer my claybakers to my cast iron enamel dutch oven. I get great rise and beautiful color, great crust and crumb. I don't soak the claybakers, I preheat them when I preheat the oven to 450.


 

darciecurley's picture
darciecurley

From many many failed loaves as I was mastering sourdough, I can tell you it's not the clay baker, it's something else. If no rise then maybe your yeast was bad, or you made the liquid too hot and killed it. You can bake in any size pan and if it's going to rise, i.e. the dough is correct, then it will rise.  Yeast has a shelf life and doesn't work well after it.

Rosetti's picture
Rosetti

I am having excellent results baking bread in covered pots and casseroles. They steam themselves and come out brown and crunchy. I place two on my stone and then turn both pots around half-way through cooking to get an even colour. It works great!!

midwest baker's picture
midwest baker

I love my Romertopf. I got the bigger one from breadtopia.com. It makes fantastic crust. I put it in the cold oven and then preheat. Then I drop the loaf (on parchment) into the hot bottom and cover for the first 15 minutes. The loaves look and taste so professional. I  wish I had two so I could make both loaves at the same time.


Mary


midwestbaker@blogspot.com