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Oct 9, 2006 07:18 PM

Romertopf questions

What are the reasons for buying a Romertopf clay baker--if any? Do they get glazed with grease and impossible to clean or even soak with water?
*Will I get the same results with an enamelled cast iron oven?*
Also, they seem so fragile...?

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    Check that out. I thought I had to have one many years ago but after a house fire never replaced it. I guess I did not use it that much. I use my Le Creuset all of the time.

    1. Years ago, I used mine for a sort of stew of homegrown potatoes, onions and carrots with chicken. The quality of the ingredients was the key. It did get discolored over time, though not really greasy. As for fragile, mine's been in the backyard for the last ten years with a jade plant growing in it.

      1. I also have a Romertopf that is collecting dust on top of a cupboard. I used it a couple of times, never got the point of it and retired it. Get a good metal pot and it will serve you forever.

        1. I have one and have used it every three months or so over the last 6-7 years.

          It does get a sort of "glaze". I'm not bothered by it except that it cuts back on the porosity and the advantage of having it soak up water and release steam through the closed pot. It doesn't concern me that it's "unclean" because I scrub it well with an abrasive pad and soak it in boiling water once again after it's clean. But I wish it were still porous.

          I've e-mailed Romertopf to ask them how to deal with this and never got a reply.

          They do cook differently from a conventional Dutch oven. I like to use both.

          2 Replies
          1. re: rainey

            (rainey I think you know me from another site as gingerpale) You have used it every 3 months for cooking..what? What is it the best for? (I'm guessing meats.) If it is glazed and not too porous, does it cook like the regular Dutch oven then, more and more?

            1. re: blue room

              Hey, kiddo! I use it most for chicken but also for pork roasts or pork spareribs roasted in sauerkraut and for bread. It does lovely things to bread crusts but when I do that I bake without the top. It actually should be *highly* porous. That means that it soaks up water prior to roasting and then gives it off in the oven cavity.

              My feeling is each of these approaches is just different. You can do the same things in a Dutch oven and you can get great, if different, results either way. But vive la diférence, no?

          2. A Romertopf is nothing more fancy than a terra cotta pot. You could easily replicate it for much cheaper by getting a flowerpot at any gardening store (unglazed, please). Use the saucer as a lid. Alton Brown did this on one of his shows though I learned this trick years ago from a savvy friend. The only issue is the flower pot stands upright, so your oven needs to be tall enough to accomodate whatever poultry you wish to stick in the pot. Otherwise, it's exactly the same.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Pupster

              How did I miss this Alton show? What a good idea! Surely you could somehow prop up a large one to go sideways in the oven.

              1. re: Pupster

                I have shallow terra cotta pots meant for plants but in my kitchen for bread. My favorite has straight, thick sides that are about 2/3 as high as across the diameter. I haven't see this size much in use for plants but I was delighted to find it.

                I never greased it. The first couple of breads stuck in it but subsequent ones pop out beautifully with lovely browned crusts.