The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


wayne on FLUKE's picture
wayne on FLUKE

I just made the Tartine Country Bread for a second time. I do not have a combo cooker and thought I would share my results with alternatives.

Both times I followed Chad's recipe and process carefully, but was afraid to add all the additional water the first attempt so used about half. The first attempt I did final proof in a colander lined with floured towel, pre-heated oven with Fibrament stone and baked in 8" cake pan with stainless "magic" bowl to hold in moisture. This worked OK, and had good oven spring and slashes (square pattern) opened nicely. Crumb was not as open as I hoped based on the oven spring.

For the second attempt, I decided to try my Romertopf #111 Clay Baker. I did add all the extra water and I proofed the first loaf in the clay baker and baked starting in cold oven. Since the dough is pretty slack it spread to take the shape of the clay baker in spite of my attempt to shape with good surface tension, but had nice spring and I removed the cover after 30 min (450) and baked another 25 min which gave pretty nice color.

The second loaf was retarded in floured towel in oval wicker basket (in refer inside plastic bag) for about 6 hours to fit my schedule. I let sit on the counter for about an hour before transfering to the clay baker and baking starting in cold oven. The transfer was not as smooth as I hoped as it landed a bit sideways, but I left it alone and slashed it, one long slash which again was not perfect, but I resisted the temptation to mess with it.

Again uncovered after 30 minutes. This loaf had great oven spring and since it didn't have time to settle down into the baker it was a much more attractive shape and the slash opened and created a fantastic ear. Almost as nice as some of David's (dmsnyder) :-). Really! Both loaves had nice blistered crust.

This loaf was taken to a neighbor's for dinner and served with seasoned olive oil dipping sauce. It was a big hit! Proudest moment for a home baker is to have others compliment the results.

To summarize, best results were from proofing in basket and baking in clay baker (cold oven). I will now try this technique with Teresa's Basic White Sourdough using 100%Hydration Starter


olaugeb's picture

Help with design of earthenware baker ( römertopf, la cloche, dutch oven etc. )

February 3, 2011 - 6:05am -- olaugeb

Hey there,

I'm a ceramic student who have chosen one of his favorite hobbies to make a project out of. Baking.

I've had enormous success with an old Römertopf I bought used, both for doing stews but especially baking.
The old Römertopf had some shortcomings though, it was really big, necessitating a rather large bread, or a half used space which is an energy waste I rarely tolerate.
I accidentally broke the lid by putting it on a wet tablecloth, thermal shock of the right kind will make it crack :s

wayne on FLUKE's picture
wayne on FLUKE

This has been a day of firsts.

  • Actually started last night by making the sponge for my "Wayne Thomas's English Muffins" and leaving it in the fridge overnight for first time.
  • Finished and cooked the muffins this morning, they look great.
  • Decided to try the #111 Romertopf clay baker (that my wife scored at a local thrift shop a couple of days ago for $6 !!) for the first time so I made a simple white bread from a recipe on called One Perfect Loaf.
  • This resulted in the first real "ear" I have managed to get (at least from one of the two slashes). I have started to slash with the double-edged razor on kabob stick thanks to this site. Some work still required.
  • I decided all these firsts were worth my first blog post.

I hope this tastes as good as it looks. It was far and away the most oven spring I have had. As soon as the bread cools I'll get a crumb shot and then post the pics. I imagine some would say this should be a little darker. I agree, but the wife likes it this way for sandwiches. Also, I am baking this in an anemic gas oven on our boat. I followed the recipe as far as soak bottom, proof in bottom, soak top, place in COLD oven. After removing the top for the last 5 mins, I realized it was never going to brown (always a problem in this oven) so I stuck it in the microwave/convection on broil for a few minutes. I think next time I'll remove the top sooner, as it was still moist inside after 45 mins (at an attempted 450+).

Comments and suggestions always welcome. Love this site.






kolobezka's picture

La cloche - Romertopf / Terra cotta pot instructions?

January 3, 2010 - 10:23pm -- kolobezka


I am just thinking of buying a "la cloche" or a similar clay bakeware to bake our bread. I have read many of the comments here on TFL and elsewhere, but now I am a little confused about how to use clay bakeware...

- some people  recommend to preheat the la Cloche in 500°F oven (for how long?) and some prefer to put it directly with the dough inside in the cold oven. Does it make a difference? Is there a method that is better for different kinds of bread - for example lower/ higher hydratation, no knead, sourdough, yeasted, sweet...?

alina's picture

No-knead bread in Romertopf: how to prevent sticking?

December 27, 2009 - 6:48am -- alina

I tried making a no-knead loaf in a Romertopf clay baking pan today for the first time.  I sprinkled some cornmeal on the bottom of the pan and around the sides of the dough where I thought it might stick.

I plopped the dough into the pan, wet the inside of the cover, and put it all into a cold oven.  Baked for a while, then removed the lid to finish it.

The crust was nice and crisp, everything worked fine, BUT the loaf stuck to the bottom and sides, and I ruined it by prying to get it out.

knit1bake1's picture

Clay pot cooking

February 13, 2008 - 7:03am -- knit1bake1

Hi. I'm a new member. I've read previous posts on using clay pots, but thought I'd ask for the most recent advice. I've been making hearth breads using a thick pizza stone, and introducing steam via a preheated cast iron skillet and ice (Rose Levy Beranbaum's method). I keep reading that a cloche makes superior bread, and I already have a large Romertopf that was previously unused. Per instructions regarding the clay pot, I made my last batch letting the dough rise in the bottom half of the pot, then soaked the top half prior to putting it in a cold oven.

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