The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Broken cloche base

Mainelytay's picture
Mainelytay

Broken cloche base

Hi, I am new on here. I have been baking sourdough for about a year, and I am definitely not an expert. But most of my bread comes out tasting pretty good, even if I don’t have the best technique.

Until today, I have been baking my bread in a large cast-iron Dutch oven. It has produced delicious results, but I am sick of dumping my dough into the Dutch oven and having the dough hit the sides when I miss. Then, I get a very odd looking loaf.

 My husband purchased a ceramic cloche from King Arthur Flour for Christmas. I followed all the directions on the paper, and I used the same technique I have been with my cast-iron Dutch oven. And the base cracked. After that, I read the reviews on the KAF site, and it appears I should not have a preheated the base. I’ve spoken with KAF, and they were very accommodating, but now I need to figure out the best bread baker for me that WON’T crack.

 My technique: After bulk ferment, I shape the dough and let it rest in a floured banneton in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, I preheat the oven with my bread baker to 495, and I then dump my refrigerated dough directly into the baker, cover it, and bake for 20 minutes. I uncover for the last 10.

 Can anyone recommend a type of bread baker that would work for this technique? One that won’t crack once cold dough hits a hot surface? Would a pizza stone work? I do still have the bell top… Just no base.

Or if my technique is a mess – is there something else I can do that will not require a lot of extra time or precision? I use the refrigerator to retard proofing because I am not always able to bake at a reliable time, and it’s so disappointing when my dough overproofs. Lots of young children my house… 

Edo Bread's picture
Edo Bread

I have recommended many times on this sight the Emile Henry bread cloche - and for that reason I just posted a picture of it and a loaf yesterday. http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/58404/cloche-oven-spring

The material and method they use make them very durable (althought not as inexpensive as others) I currently have 3 and preheat them to 500F . or put them in to an oven at that heat cold. I have never had any issues, cracks, chips and they are over 5 years old.

Mainelytay's picture
Mainelytay

Thank you! I figured this has been covered here, so thank you for taking the time to repost.

Do you also think this cloche would hold up to the temperature difference of a refrigerated dough going directly into a preheated base?

I’m not to adverse to spending the money on a sturdy cloche. I’d just be terribly upset if it cracked due to my lack of savvy.

Edo Bread's picture
Edo Bread

That link shows a loaf that did exactly that. Straight from the refrigerator onto the base that had been heated to 500F for quite awhile.

Mainelytay's picture
Mainelytay

Wow! That’s fabulous oven spring!! Thank you: I’ll be ordering mine today :)

Edo Bread's picture
Edo Bread

Ceramic Cloche Success!  Good luck! I hope it works out well for you. Will be looking for posts on the results.

joe_n's picture
joe_n

try Costco for a good price

Edo Bread's picture
Edo Bread

Good point!  They have a great deal now.

BethJ's picture
BethJ

I have the Emile Henry cloche, but never use the base.  I always felt the little lip on the base interfered with getting the bread in and out of it.  Instead, I use the top on a pizza stone.  I preheat both the stone and top (usually to 460-470), and bake fairly cold out of the fridge (dough gets 30 minutes counter time before baking).  Works fine.  Might save you the cost of a new cloche.

 

nmygarden's picture
nmygarden

I broke the base of my cloche years ago - it was hot from use and I set it on a cooler surface. But I still use the lid to cover my loaves on a baking/pizza stone. I preheat both together before placing the dough. Works great.

Haha - looks as though I'm not the only one!

 

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Mainleytay,  you have a few options.  One common option is to buy a combo cooker -  it is a cast iron dutch oven that comes in two pieces, both have handles, one is fairly shallow, one is deep, and they are used with one inverted over the other.   For me, the easiest option is to preheat the base of the combo,  invert it onto the banneton, then flip the whole thing over so the dough is on the shallow cast iron combo , then slash, and put the other part on top.  To do this you need a very good hot pad -  I use very strong gloves.  You will never have the problem with a botched loading of the loaf

Many others use the Emile Henry, and like that, though as I understand it,  there is no handle on the bottom, so you can't set it on top of the banneton, and invert.   Since the base is flat, it should be easier to load than a regular DO. Emile does advertise that it can go from cold to hot.

A final option is any base-  like a pizza stone, or steel, and to use a peel to load the loaf, then invert a top over it.  DanAyo has done some studies indicating that a very thin light top-  like a roaster pan,  allows the loaf to come up to heat quicker than a dutch oven.   Some use a stainless mixing bowl, or cloche, or even a Emile Henry or similar top.   To me, having a handle or knob on the top will make it easier to use when you need to take tho top off.