The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

clay bakers

Dot's picture

clay bakers

I have just bought a clay baker on sale.  I don't know much about them as I usually bake my bread

in non-stick metal pans, but thought I might experiment.  However, after reading up on TFL about them

it appears they should be unglazed.  The one I bought is terracotta and made in Portugal (I have great faith

in European products).  However, after getting it home I found that the inside is glazed (but not the lid).

It also states it should never be soaked.  Is this O.K. for baking bread or should I return it?

LindyD's picture

Move your shaped loaf to a sheet of parchment after it's proofed and ready to bake, then slide the parchment and bread on your preheated stone.    Prevents sticking and also keeps your stone clean.

carefreebaker's picture

I use my clay bakers to bake bread.....all the time.

I went to Goodwill and bought oval, willow or wicker baskets, close in size to my clay bakers. I washed them in hot water with a very small amount of bleach. I allowed the baskets to fully dry outside in the sun or you could use your oven.

When it comes time to proof the dough, I line the baskets with parchment paper, which I've crumpled and uncrumpled into a ball first so it takes the shape of the basket easier. The dough proofs in the basket. I place the two pieces of my clay baker on the rack of a cold oven and preheat my oven with the clay baker inside. When it comes time to bake, I just lift the parchment and put the risen dough into the bottom of the clay baker, put the lid on and bake. I take the lid off and bake the last 10 minutes without the lid.

So the bread dough never touches my clay baker. Can't stick.

I'd keep what you bought. You'll be happy with your bread baking results.





dabrownman's picture

clay pot that is glazed on the inside.  It says to soak it for 24 hours before putting in a cold oven so it doesn't crack and bake.  The spring is OK but, you need to get some more steam possibility in there with a little spritz of water on inside of lid, top of the bread ad insides of the clay pot.  The Romertopf, unglazed,  I got a Goodwill came with the instructions and they say to soak in water 10 minutes before using in a cold oven.  I spray the glazed pot with PAM - no sticking.

I also spray the Romertopf too and nothing has stuck so far but I haven't baked bread in it yet.   If you preheat either then you want to lower the bread in there with a parchment sling so you don't horribly burn yourself - like I do all the time when I don't.  I hear new Romertopfs, before they are seasoned, can stick bread to them too so when new you might want to use a parchment liner for the baker and use a sling to lower it and the bread inside.  Just spraying your glazed one with PAM should be fine.

If you are using your pot cold and going into a cold oven, then after spraying it can be used to do the final proof too and then no worries about transferring the dough  to it right before going into the oven - just proof it seam side down.  Works great.  Make sure to adjust your steaming time to allow for the cold start.  I do this by starting my lidded steaming time after my oven rings to tell me it has reached baking temperature of say 450 F.  If I was going to steam for 15 minutes then the 15 minute steam time starts at the oven ring.   The great thing about this method is that no preheat is required for the oven and you save half the energy cost baking this way - and the results are great. 

I use both of the pots of other things so keeping the pot or not keeping it would be fine for me.

Dot's picture

Thank you all for your helpful comments.  I am still worried about the instructions that came with it not to soak it.

Everything I've read about them previously says to soak them to prevent them breaking.  I'm not worried about

the cost if it breaks as it only cost me less than $20 but I don't want it to explode in my oven and spray

dough all over.  

carefreebaker's picture

I have an original Romertopf clay baker, it is white and I have a Romertopf clay baker from the current manufacturer. I have baked at least 45 loaves in each and have never soaked the clay pot in water prior to baking bread. I preheat at 475 and then lower to 450 to bake my bread. I sometimes spritz the top of the loaves with water and sprinkle with sesame seeds prior to baking. Spritzing with water or not doesn't seem to make a difference with oven spring for me. I use either Lahey's No Knead or Artisian Bread in 5 recipe for my loaves. I have only used the bakers for my bread. They do discolor over time but that does bother me.

Dot's picture

I decided to return the clay baker I bought, (see my previous post) realizing that what I really want is something of that shape, not necessarily something to produce steam.  I also thought it very heavy and would be difficult to lift out of a hot oven with having no handles (I have arthritis in my wrists).   I have always baked my bread in 9x5 bread pans but wanted to try another shape.  I have a small slow cooker I never use and wondered if anyone has ever used the ceramic insert of one in the oven.  It is the perfect shape and size for what I want but not sure if it would stand the higher temperature of an oven.  I would never have the oven as hot as what is needed for using steam, usually 350F for bread.


AnnaInMD's picture

of the unglazed Roemertopf bakers and according to the instructions when I received them, ONLY the top was to be soaked for 10 minutes which actually is really nice, it gives the dough extra moisture.  Furthermore, the instructions were to put the bakers into a cold oven.

My breads come out beautifully.  So, since the bottom of yours is glazed, maybe carefully run an oily papertowel around it for a few times.