The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Clay pot bread question

pjkobulnicky's picture

Clay pot bread question

I often bake bread in a dry clay vessel but I do not let my dough do its final proof in the clay. Rather, like cast iron, I preheat the clay and when hot, turn the final shaped dough into it and then straight back into the oven. 

Here is my question …

If I want to let my dough do it’s final proof in the room temperature clay pot, how much should I increase my oven Temperature and/or baking times to account for the need to also heat up the clay pot?  And, yes, it depends on the thickness of the clay pot and its overall size (mass) but any experiences or observations are welcome. 

greyoldchief's picture

There are some threads re cold vs hot dutch ovens.  Try a search for cold dutch oven.

pjkobulnicky's picture

Thanks. The analogy to hot vs cold dutch ovens was worthwhile. A bit more explanation. 

Since it is Easter I was making some traditional highly enriched Easter bread. Again, traditionally these are risen and baked in either metal milk pails ( or metal coffee cans ) or clay flower pots. I use silicon impregnated paper molds which work perfectly but I am curious to try clay. I bake most of my everyday breads in preheated Römertopfs and that’s why I was wondering about using cold clay pots. I’m not concerned about spectacular oven spring or crust formation so maybe I’ll start by giving the cold clay 5 more minutes ( 25 vs 20) at the preheated high temp (350°F) and the same time at the lowered temp (325°F) and see how they turn out. 

any other thoughts or comments still appreciated. 

Rock's picture

I don't bake in  a vessel, but I noticed some of the bakers at the Breadtopia Forum had trouble with cold start and bread sticking to the clay. Those are usually lean doughs, so yours may differ. The recommendation there was to line the clay baker with parchment paper. Note that the Breadtopia clay bakers are un-glazed inside like a flour pot would be.