The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Clay pot and soaking

bread10's picture

Clay pot and soaking


I often use a clay pot to bake my sourdough loaves and as per the instruction I soak the clay pot and lid and put into a cold oven and preheat to 240 C degrees. By the time the oven has come up to temperature I'm sure the soaked clay pot has well and truly evaporated. I then dangerously move my proofed loaf into the hot pot and bake.

So am I wasting my time soaking the pot... or is there still some benefit, or even necessity for soaking the clay pot? 

For those that use clay pots what do you do? 

I would also like to minimise the risk of collapsing loaf when transferring into the clay pot as it is necessary to preheat the clay pot and not put it straight into a hot oven.


Thanks for your help.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Try this:  Soak the pot.   Transfer the almost ready to bake dough (I'm wondering if you're not over-proofing if you're worried about collapse) into the cold pot and cover.  Park the pot into your smallish oven (not big enough for a large turkey) and turn on the pre-heat.  Once preheated wait about 20 minutes before turning the heat down and/or removing the top.  Finish baking until done.  

Soaking the pot distributes heat evenly inside the baking cavity, especially helpful with gas ovens.  Moisture is still in the clay pot even after pre-heating and baking so before storing the clay pot, let it air dry on a rack.  

wayne on FLUKE's picture
wayne on FLUKE

I follow the directions in the "One Perfect Loaf" on when making Teresa's Basic White Sourdough using 100% Hydration starter.

I also have Tartine Basic Country dough in development right now that I am going to try in my Romertopf Clay Baker #111. Around 1000 grams of dough works good for me.

Works great and no danger of burns or collapsing loaf. Make sure shaping is tight for best slashing/spring. I usually shape as a boule with just an extra fold/roll after a tight ball is formed to elongate slightly.

Soak clay cooker, last rise in cooker, into cold oven.