Has anyone done a side by side comparison of bread in a combo cooker vs bread in a la Cloche. I would be very interested to hear about anyones experience.
I have done the same recipe in both the La Cloche and the Lodge Combo Cooker. It's a close call but the iron CC radiates heat better and give a better spring. On the other hand, the La Cloche is a lot easier to handle, lighter and produces a almost identical bread for all intents and purposes.
I can use the CC for braising or frying things, soups etc. If I was living in the country in a minimalist setting, the cast iron combo cooker would do for most of my needs.
Thank you so much for the post. I am definitely NOT a minimalist. I have had a lifetime love affair with my dishwasher so I use enameled cast iron. But for bread, you wouldn't need to wash. I appreciate the hint about the weight. Much as I try to convince myself that I'm still forty, my arthritic hands belie this. I have lost a lot of strength in my right hand. It would be too embarrassing to break a toe because you dropped the CC on it. That's in the same category as cutting yourself with a lame. Thanks again
I just got my combo cooker and plan to compare them this week by baking identical loaves simultaneously in the same oven.
My anticipated results are that the combo cooker will hold steam a bit better (Cloches can warp a bit and leak a bit more) and therefore give marginally better oven spring. The Cloche will give a better colored bottom (for the cast iron transmits heat too fast). And, as Eric says, the loaves will generally be very similar. I do expect to bake the Cloche loaf an extra three minutes or so to compensate for the slower start due to its "insulating" qualities.
Expect to hear results Friday!
Would love to read your comparison.
My first direct comparison of La Cloche vs. the Combo Cooker is at
My tentative conclsion is that I prefer the Cloche for its slower heat transfer characteristics and less tendency to char the bread on contact. I did feel the Combo Cooker did a very slightly better job of containing steam but...my long experience with Cloches may give me bias. They are very close in overall effect but you do have to be careful with the bottom of loaves on the cast iron.