Clay Breadbaking Without Explosions
Before I blow up my kitchen, I need some SOS: I'm experimenting with baking my no-knead bread in a parchment-lined clay pot with lid, instead of the usual LC. Problem: Romertopf site says to 1.) soak clay pot in water 15 minutes, then 2.) put the dough in and place pot in a cold oven.
1. No-knead dough is pretty wet already; i don't see the need for soaking pot. Will pot blow up if I don't soak first? Or will a dry pot suck out the moisture from dough and leave me with dry bread?
2. Can I pre-heat empty pot in oven, then put the dough in and bake, or will it blow up if preheated empty, then exposed to room-temp dough? (The Romertopf folks warn against temp-shock; I'd hate to shock-crack the pot.)
What say you? Anybody done this before?
Days later ... I did it and nothing exploded: I used the Romertopf to bake bread; it came out beautifully (crust is not as hard as in the LC pots). I pre-heated empty pot and it started smoking after 35 minutes at 450, but quit smoking once I put the no-knead dough in (with parchment paper liner) and replaced lid. I will keep using it only to bake bread, so no oils from other foods can get in pores.
I've been baking the no-knead bread in a cloche for a year. Put it into a cold oven and pre-heat for about one hour.
I did the same with the romertopf (before I owned the cloche) and it worked just fine -- no pre-soaking, just put the dry romertopf in a cold oven and pre-heated for an hour.
HOWEVER ......... I absolutely cannot recommend using the romertopf; or maybe I should say I cannot recommend using MY romertopf. It is at least thirty years old and veteran of many meals. The clay pores (?) are full of oil/fat and it smoked horribly during the pre-heat. I decided to suck it up and continued, finally baking the dough. No surprise that the bread had a distinct chicken flavor ......... not a "do-again".
That's when I went back to using a LC doufeu until I was gifted with a lovely cloche.