The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hi from SE-England, and a question about a clay pot (Panayoti pot)

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Hi from SE-England, and a question about a clay pot (Panayoti pot)


I am a German expat living in south-east England with a craving for good bread.

After some unpleasant experiments with hi-yeast breads I found Andrew Whitley's book Bread Matters,

which helped to turn things around (I especially like his simple breads based on liquid rye starter).

Through this forum I found out about the books by Peter Reinhardt and Richard Bertinet,

which gave my bread production another kick.

Personally I am most interested in sourdoughs, although my family love their plain white loaf for breakfast.

Now to the clay pot:

In a local pottery I found clay pots called "Panayoti pots".

The little information they could give me was:

"Named after their Greek originator. These charming pots were filled with bread dough and placed in the sun.
When the oyster-like lid opened, the dough was ready"

Has anyone heard of them, or even used them? Are there any recepies?

Looking forward to your replies,


LindyD's picture

I could find no Internet reference to a "Panayoti pot," but I did find a reference to a Panayoti Zantiotis who owned a cafe.

Could be he used clay pots to proof his bread dough in the sunlight.  Presuming the opening is large enough to remove the proofed dough easily.  I wouldn't bake with it without knowing the glazes used (if any) and whether it's oven proof.

Can you post a photo of it?  Perhaps someone will recognize it.

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Thanks for the welcome.

I haven't yet baked with clay pots, usually I use loaf tins or free-standing (proved in bannetons, or baguettes).

Challah, what kind of bread do you bake in clay pots? I'm open to new tastes..

Here are some pictures of the panayoti pot. Its volume is about 750ml, and the shape is like a barrel - clearly not for baking. It is not glazed. The pottery said they could make bigger sizes if I wanted.

I thought it might be useful to keep my sourdough in ( and aesthetically more pleasing than plastic tubs)




Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Although I've never seen one before...

I can imagine puting the sourdough into a floured cloth and loosely tucking it into such a pot.  In hot weather, it could be moistened slightly to keep the dough cool for a slower rise.  The attached lid leads me to wonder if there was difficulty in loosing lids or keeping them clean.  Or when the dough rose high enough the lid didn't fall on the floor to break or get dirty.

They are not very stackable, but I can see them lined up on planks or shelves, even tipped at an angle as stock jars.  I looks like a rod or pole could be run thru the lid handles and support the entire pot.  (Needs to be checked.) To keep out birds until the dough rises enough?   A south wall filled with spikes or rods extending from the wall or lots of shelves could support a lot of pots to warm in the sun.

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Interesting thoughts, Mini Oven.

I'll try it with sourdough tomorrow and keep you posted.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

like... Does the dough stick to the clay?  Does the pot pull moisture from the dough?  Flour or seed the pot?  or the dough?  When the dough outside has crusted enough would it release the dough?   Would rolling or rocking the pot full of risen dough release it from the sides so it can fall out and be baked?  Would the pot be used for bulk rise or final prove or both?  Would if fall completely flat if not enough dough were used?  What would be the right amount?  It holds 750ml   should one include the space in the lid since it must be lifted...  that would be 3/4 full so as to get some oven spring...  hmmmm

I'm a curious person...

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

I managed to try out my pots.
It was late and I approached it as a proof-of-concept session,trying out a few things and not sticking
100% to the recipes.

For a Greek pot, I thought, I'd need a Greek bread recipe.
I'm sure there are loads on this site, but I did a quick internet search for "Greek Sourdough" and found
"Horiatiko Psomi" on - a recipe that seemed flexible enough to cope with my late-night experimenting.

The recipe uses yeast or sourdough, and fairly little water (I was anxious about the dough sticking to my pots too much).

Here the recipe (Baker's ratios in brackets):

62g (1.0) flour
30g fresh yeast
or 250g (4.0) stiff sourdough starter
114g (1.84) water

1000g (1.0) flour
206g (0.2) yeast sponge or 426g (0.42) sourdough sponge
460g (0.46) water
28g (0.028) milk
23g (0.023) olive oil
54g (0.054) honey
20g (0.02) salt

Instructions (my words):
0. Use white strong flower, or any flour you like (the source says whole wheat, white, barley, corn, ... [!] )
1. Let the sponge ferment for 2 hours
2. Mix all ingredients and work the dough until gluten well developed.
3. Form a ball, slightly oil surface and prove in covered bowl for 1.5 to 2 hours
4. Work the dough again, divide and shape for free standing loaves
5. Rest for 1 hour
6. Bake at 220C

So far the original recipe.

I stuck to the measurements given.
I used a stiff wheat sourdough starter.
The flour I used was a mix of 80% strong white flour and 20% gram (chickpea) flour, something I wanted to try out for ages.
Whitley has such a recipe in his book, for a bread from Cyprus.
My sponge was bubbling nicely after 1 hour, so I made the dough at that point.

For the proof I divided the dough into 3parts: 2X500g and the rest.
I dipped one of the 500g balls into flour, and oiled the other 2 balls.

Then I put each of the 500g balls into a panayoti pot, and proved the remaining one in my mixing bowl.
500g is by far not enough for the pots - never mind, I realised it was time to go to bed...

After 5 hours in my fairly cold kitchen the dough had risen enough (not so visible on my pictures).

I tried to turn out the dough onto my worktop.
The floured dough was no problem, the oiled dough stuck.

The proved floured dough looked so beautiful that I decided to bake it right away.
With the oiled dough balls I continued according to the recipe.

Unfortunately, when I baked the oiled dough balls I started too hot, and then panicked. Therefore no picture of the crumb ;-(

Left is the "floured" loaf, right is the "oiled" one.

The oven spring was impressive with all loaves.
The floured ball which I baked immediately had somewhat less oven spring, with an open-textured crumb.
The oiled balls, which I kneaded, shaped and proofed a second time according to the recepie had a really impressive oven spring,
while the crumb is rather dense. This reminded me of Bertinet's Pain Brie (which I haven't tried yet).

The results show that it is possible to use the Panayoti pots for both bulk and final proof.

I'm rather pleased with this experiment, and will use the pots next time I make my family's favourite white...


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Happy Holidays!