The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Funny Thing On The Way To A Loaf

KAZ's picture

Funny Thing On The Way To A Loaf

So I'm really pumped about trying out my new cloche with dreams of the perfect crust dancing in my head. However my overriding thought is that I don't want to destroy what appears to me like an expensive version of clay flower pots that I have witnessed  becoming shards. First thing is to season with a light coat of oil and I apply what is to me a light coat over bottom and sides and preheat to 500 degrees and have my Sourdough ready to plop(you already know,don't you) into my new cloche which I do including some nice slash. Now, I hear the sizzle of my dough in way to much oil more akin to deep frying than baking. Seasoning/baking should have been a seperate process,but I'm all in so I let it roll. Out comes a beautiful 205 degree loaf that lifts right out leaving a nice seasoned bottom. Two hours later I slice off a nice chunk that has the perfect crust and the unmistakable aroma/taste of Vegetable oil infused  throughout as evenly as can be done. Now my cloche is seasoned/unbroken and in another 20 hours proofing I'll have another go at the perfect crust. Regards

DerekL's picture

I use cheap clay (terra cotta) pots as cloches...  :) shows some work on baking with cloches and coals.

davec's picture

I liked the idea of using cheap flowerpots as a cloche substitute, so I went to my local garden center, and found an appropriate pot--an 8-inch Azalea pot, and a matching, 11-inch tray.  I followed the directions of someone on another site, and brushed both pieces again and again with oil, then seasoned them in a 350-degree oven.  The first time I baked in them, the smell of burning oil filled the house, and it was detectable in the crust.  Also the second time, and the third.  Maybe it will eventually die down, but I saw a 50% off sale on all flowerpots this week at a feed store, and bought a larger pot and tray for a total outlay of $6.50.  This time, I just scrubbed them in warm water, adn dried well.  This version of a fake cloche works well, and without the stench.

campcook's picture

I have heard, cannot verify, that some of the cheap flower pots are made from clays that have a large lead content. With so much attention on china made product problems I wonder how one can tell if the flower pot is safe to cook in.


Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

Most hardware stores have lead test kits.  They are cheap and easy to use.


In general, the clay doesn't contain significant amounts of lead.


The issue comes from older styles of glaze, especially if they were poorly fired.  If a lead containing glaze is fired correctly the lead is inert.  Many third world potters don't fire their glazes completely.


Few people or companies in the US use glazes with lead in them.


To unravel all the intracies, get a lead test kit and test the pots.




KAZ's picture

A really nice loaf with the excellent crust that I was seeking without any lingering seasoning oil taste. The other good thing is that the loaf doesn't stick at all and just lifts right out leaving a clean cloche. I'm encouraged by the fact that some have used the same La Cloche for decades which makes the initial cost acceptable to me.

Derek, I enjoyed your link! Real pros in action and having a lot of fun in the process.

Davec, I to was concerned about the oil after my first experience, but there was no after taste this second time out.

campcook, good point about the possible lead content. Nothing would surprise me anymore,I don't feel good at all about China's food safety program. The La Cloche are made in Taiwan as a food service product,but I believe I'll ask the vendor the question.