The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Clay cooker from Portugal

MontBaybaker's picture
MontBaybaker

Clay cooker from Portugal

Has anyone seen one of these, and is it safe to use?  Stamped Made In Portugal.  My niece found it in a thrift shop in NM for $5, and gave it to me last week when we visited.  Inside it appears unused & enamel coating is unblemished.   The top of the base is 12" x 7-1/2" x 4".   I bookmarked the perfect banneton for proofing.  I love loaves of this size & shape.  Thanks!

gavinc's picture
gavinc

Yes. Great find and gift.  I have one that is not sealed inside so I need to soak it in water before I use it in the oven.  You can cook many things in this. Our favourite is a whole chicken and then use the captured juices for stock. Check the web for recipes and uses.  I've never used it for bread as I'd be wary that the terracotta may not like the higher temperatures.

Cheers,

Gavin

MontBaybaker's picture
MontBaybaker

I have 2 clay bakers used solely for bread, but had never seen one with a glaze (or from Portugal) and wanted to check.  My son-in-law's mom has long used them for many main dishes.  He was so excited to find 2 Romertopfs at a Paris street market for nearly nothing 3 years ago, cooked great chicken and roasts, and made sure they were well-packed in the shipping crate when they moved back to the U.S.  I'll have to try cooking something savory in one.

alibey's picture
alibey

It looks good but be careful with inlay cover.

I wonder how it reacts against high temperature in oven? Think about chemical contamination you might be faced with. 

gavinc's picture
gavinc

It looks like a kiln-fired ceramic coating which shouldn't be a problem. I not sure how they cope with high bread cooking temperatures and in cracking.  I have a terracotta one that does not have the ceramic finish, and I have to careful to not heat shock it. I don't bake bread in it.

 

MontBaybaker's picture
MontBaybaker

I hope to bake this weekend using loaf pans.  I'll heat this one empty and assess for any odor.  I use my other clay pots at 450-475 with no problem.  Hot clay cools on folded bath towels set on heavy racks.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I would be tempted to use the rilled side as the top.  Not sure how the loaf will cling to all those ridges if under the loaf.  In fact, I think the rills are drip points (automatictic basting) in the lid for roasting.  Smear and dust too.

MontBaybaker's picture
MontBaybaker

Thanks for the tip!  "Rilled" is a new term for me.  Hadn't even considered the ridges, was worried about glaze chemicals.  I'll check with the SIL and his mom about the rills/basting since they're long-time Romertopf cooks. 

I'm not an expert at flipping dough into hot pots (a badly aimed collapsed loaf proved that).  I use parchment with clay or cast iron to keep the shape/move safely, and for clean-up (my bakes often have cheese or fruit).  Have a great weekend!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

is stretching the adjective a bit.  Groves made into the mould to form the ridges we see.  Grandma called her hand me down butter paddles "rilled."  (Third generation American, German descent.) Maybe my use comes from her.

 I thread my sewing needles the same way she did.  We both have very long skinny fingers.  I was always loosing my thread off the needle until I did it her way.  That is, push a loop of thread through the eye and make it big enough to run the point of the needle through it and tighten things up at the base of the needle.

Baking parchment is great stuff! 

Have a great weekend too!