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RonSa

Question About a Bread Cloche for Baking

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I know they are unglazed stoneware and they are meant to be somewhat porous since it needs to be occasionally seasoned with oil .

I'll be using Standard 630 ^6 stoneware and something is nagging at me not to fire it that high so its not vitrified.

Anyone ever make one of these or has any recommendations on how to fire this?

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There seem to be two schools of thought here. There are open-bodied, earthenware examples, and there are fully vitrified and glazed stoneware examples.

Some say that the cloche should be slightly porous, so that moisture from the dough is slowly wicked away, allowing the crust to both colour and crisp as the bread bakes. Others have a fully vitrified cloche, and suggest lifting it for the last period of the bake, to achieve the same result.

Many commercial examples are glazed, including the plate, which makes oiling redundant. Of those which aren't glazed, and which suggest oiling, many still claim to be vitrified, so presumably the oil just sort of works its way into the (microscopically) uneven, unglazed surface, to perform the 'seasoning'.

Bear in mind that cloches can be made from cast iron too, which of course won't be porous at all. It may be that the oiling - which must only be about 'seasoning' the piece - isn't that vital in reality. The main point of the cloche, after all, is to retain steam during the first part of the bake.

Having said all of that, the most frequently referenced  (commercially available) cloche is unglazed stoneware.

None of that helps, does it? If I were making one for me, I'd make it out of unglazed earthenware, like the original chicken-bricks, which function in a similar way. But then, I like unglazed earthenware, and I'm not phased/fazed by the supposed hygiene problems of food and porous pots.

EDIT - It's just dribbled into my memory that there was a craze for using terracotta plant pots to bake bread in the 70's. Earthenware is made for cooking (think tagines, for example).

Edited by Sputty
Proselytising earthenware.
Rae Reich and RonSa like this

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@Magnolia Mud Research It seems she uses Micaceous clay, thanks for the reference.

@Sputty  You gave me some insight. The idea of a Cloche is to trap in the steam from the dough to create a crispy crust. Maybe the oil seals in the steam since the glazed versions presumably locks in the steam. 

I think I'm going to fire to ^6 with no glaze (or maybe just on the outside) and see how it works out. If it doesn't I guess I can make a second one and try something different.

 

Thanks

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10 hours ago, RonSa said:

I think I'm going to fire to ^6 with no glaze (or maybe just on the outside) and see how it works out. If it doesn't I guess I can make a second one and try something different.

You've sufficiently enthused me about the idea that I might make a terracotta version, if I can steel myself to go out to the workshop, which is currently about 3 deg C (37 deg F)...

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