Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cloche for ciabatta

I had a request for a BreadPot today from Barry who makes ciabatta. It has me thinking about the BreadBell cloche again. I have one small ($78) and one large ($150) now. The large one is like the one our Vaughan (vt) has been using and blogging about. Maybe Barry will post a comment with his ciabatta recipe...
 BreadBell 8" 1 1/2 lb bread SOLD

Large BreadBell SOLD

Here is the ciabatta recipe from Barry's blog
1/8 tsp active dry yeast
2  tbsp warm water (105-115 deg F)
1/3  cup room-temp water
1  cup bread flour

Step 1.  Stir together warm water and yeast.  Let it stand for 5 minutes.  Transfer yeast mixture to another bowl, add room-temp water and flour.  Stir for at least 4 minutes until fully combined.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let it stand at room temperature for at least 12 hours and up to 1 day,

1/2 tsp active dry yeast
2  tbsp warm milk (105-115 deg F)
2/3  cup room-temp water
1  tbsp olive oil
2  cups bread flour
1 1/2 tsp salt

Step 2.  Mix yeast and milk in small bowl and let stand 5 minutes.  Oil another bowl with olive oil.  In bowl of standing mixer, using dough hook, blend together milk mixture, sponge, oil, and flour on lowest speed until flour is moistened.

Beat for approximately 3 minutes.  Add salt and beat for approximately 3 more minutes.  Scrape dough into oiled bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Let it set until doubled, at least 1.5 hours.

Step 3.  Cut two pieces of parchment paper, approx 12 x 6 inches.  Place on baking sheet and flour well.  Turn dough out onto a well floured surface and cut in half.  Transfer each half to paper and form irregular ovals approx 9 inches long.  Dust with flour.  Cover with dampened kitchen towel and let rise 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until almost doubled.

Step 4.  At least 45 minutes before baking bread, preheat pizza stone on lower oven rack position at 425 F.   Just before baking, score the tops of the loaf with a sharp knife.  Optionally, lightly sprinkle with coarse kosher or sea salt.

Transfer loafs, on the parchment paper, onto the stone and bake for 20 minutes or until pale golden-brown.  Remove to cooling racks.  Let rest for 30 minutes or so to allow the crust to cure.

Note that this recipe sounds a lot more difficult than it is.  There are only four steps and each one is easy.  It is also very forgiving.  You can use all-purpose flour if you don’t have bread flour.  Or you can mix flours.  Results will vary in taste and texture, but it works.  Also, if your personal schedule dictates, after completing Step 2, you can store the dough in the refrigerator and go to work (or whatever).  It will rise more slowly in the fridge, which is fine…just try to let it rise to about twice the size you started out with, probably 6-8 hours.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Some Breads in the Tartine Style

Photo by Matt Korahais.
 I've been playing around a bit with the bread method described in Chad Robertson and Eric Wolfinger's Tartine Bread (the book is beautiful, by the way, check it out). Robertson's method uses a sourdough leaven in a wet dough--but one a little drier than Lahey/Bittman's no-knead.  The dough is turned three or four times during a long bulk fermentation lasting 3-8 hours, depending on temperature. After the initial mix, the dough gets a 20 minute autolyse before salt and a small amount of water are added in to finish it off.
Photo by Matt Korahais.
The recipe is geared toward two loaves, so each time I baked one in the cast-iron dutch oven and one in the BreadPot. I scored the loaves, but somewhat haphazardly, as the depth of the pots made it difficult for me to get my scoring knife in.
Photo by Matt Korahais.
For the second bake, a walnut pecan golden raisin loaf, the garnish was added after about 40 minutes of the bulk rise, during the first turn.
Photo by Matt Korahais.
I turned the dutch oven into a cloche by turning it upside down and using my skillet as the bottom.
Photo by Matt Korahais. Uncropped!
The crumb was light and airy, well-gelatinized and full of large, irregular holes.
Photo by Matt Korahais.
Photo by Matt Korahais.

Monday, November 8, 2010

One Year of BreadPot development

It was just one year ago this month that I started this BreadPot project.
With the help of my bread baking buddies, this blog and hard work in clay, they are much improved.
Those of you who know the experimental nature of my work might imagine that I might lose interest in the simplicity of these. I do love enhancing the value of this simple slow bread in people's lives with clay.
Well, I have been inventing ways to keep it interesting. First, I have used it as a teaching tool with two young potters. Second, I explored different clays, adding a subtle variation of colors. Third, I have decorated some of them with brushwork. Fourth, I actually put a few in saggars with combustibles and got natural markings that people seem to like. I have had my losses, but the experiments in each firing is what keeps me engaged. This picture was taken at the kiln after the last batch showing the clay test colors and other variations. There was even one that had a wedding inscription as a special order.

You may specify decoration or special strap handle for as long as these last. I also have one oversize cloche (mid left in this picture) like the one vt is using. He loves it. Call for price. I will be sending an email about them to my list this month and I expect them to go fast.  Word of mouth is my marketing plan. The BreadPots are at Left Bank Gallery in Wellfleet, as are my flame painted pots. Most of them are here at the studio.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

no-knead, shaped bread, in the cloche

up until a few months ago, i was making bread with an involved 8-step process. good results, but sort of a pain too. i started experimenting with the no-knead, long-retarded bread formulas. below, you see photographic evidence of progress. 2 steps, no kneading, great crumb, great crust. the cloche, you will see below, continues to knock it out of the park.

full details and formulation coming soon. stay tuned.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Version of VT's Sourdough

Couldn't make it in the BreadPot because I melted the brains of my broiler, but I wanted to post the results of my version of vt's 61% hydration sourdough. A finicky formula, but the results are outstanding. Great, great crust. I baked it under a large heavy pot at the bakery, which is how I make the sourdough that we sell there. For flour, I used mostly unbleached A/P flour, but all of the sponge was made with some local 'brown' or 'half-white' flour that I bought from Cayuga Pure Organics. Vt, may I have permission to reproduce your formula and instructions (with credit) on my blog? I'd like to show this loaf off.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

it's alive!

obligatory "crumb shot"

close to good enough, i think. after the last few loaves (especially #7), this one was confirmatory. at 61% hydration, this sourdough loaf had a sticky (but not unmanageably sticky) dough, and was wet enough for a lot of oven spring without collapsing during unsupported proofing. it has great aeration. look at those lobes! marvel at the grigne (even if maybe there was a bit too much oven spring going on)! the only thing i would do now is extend the proofing time by maybe another hour.

more prosaically: the timing of various steps was convenient for work schedules. everything here was done while room temperature hovered in the 65F to 68F range. starting at 8am on monday, i got everything into the fridge by 10pm on monday and baked the bread at 3pm on tuesday.

the cloche-style breadpot continues to perform beautifully. great oven spring, mind-bendingly good crust. i think we have a winner.


  • starter (about 1 tablespoon worth)
  • 450 g flour mix (30g whole wheat pastry flour, 420g white A/P)
  • 275 g water
  • 8 g salt
  • 2.5 qt glass or metal bowl, with a cover.
  • 7 x 7 sheet parchment paper
  • peel or piece of cardboard for transferring dough
  • couple teaspoons of flour for dusting dough

stage 1 starter
  • 80 g warm water (body temperature, not much hotter than that)
  • 1 tb starter
  • 80 g flour mix
a 2.5 qt bowl is plenty, slightly smaller would work too. glass is nice so that you can see how much aeration is happening in the dough as it progresses, but metal is also fine. in this bowl, dissolve the starter in the warm water, then mix in the flour. shaggy or soupy is fine. cover and leave in a warmish place with minimal air circulation for about 8 hours until bubbly.

stage 2 first build
  • stuff from stage 1 
  • 36 g warm water (body temperature as before)
  • 110g flour mix
remove 1 tb of the stuff from stage 1 and keep as your starter. add the 36 g water to the bowl and break up the dough slurry inside with a fork or spoon. add the 110 g flour mix and stir to combine. again, shaggy is fine. the dough should be much firmer and drier compared to stage 1. cover and leave undisturbed for an hour. stir after an hour, then cover and leave undisturbed for another 2 hours. you should see lots of little bubbles where the dough touches the bottom of your glass bowl. if you used a metal bowl, tough luck.

stage 3 second build
  • stuff from stage 2
  • 159 g cold water (from the tap is fine)
  • 260 g flour mix
add the 159 g water to the stuff from stage 2, stir to break up and combine. add the 260 g flour and mix. a large wood or metal spoon is good for this. cover and allow to sit undisturbed at room temperature for an hour.

stage 4 adding salt
  • stuff from stage 3
  • 8 g salt
clean a counter space. sprinkle the 8 g salt over the stuff from stage 3 and mix with the spoon. scrape everything out of the bowl and knead to combine any dry flour scraps (squishing them against the counter with the heel of your hand is a satisfying and effective procedure known to bread nerds as fraisage) and the salt. the dough will initially be disturbingly soft and sticky. your fingers will be covered in dough. it will not be the silky bread dough you are used to. as the salt gets integrated, the dough will firm up and become much more congenial. knead on for a minute or so after everything is combined, then scrape back into the bowl and cover. leave in a draftless spot for about 30-45 minutes.

stage 5 stretching and folding, then retarding the dough
take the dough out of the bowl, do a STRETCH AND FOLD and put the dough back into the bowl. (what is a stretch and fold? this video illustrates.) repeat twice, with 30-45 minutes between stretch-and-folds, for a total of 3 stretches and folds over about 1.5 to 2 hours. after the third stretch-and-fold, replace in the bowl, cover, and put in the refrigerator for 8 hours.

stage 6 more stretching and folding
take the dough out of the bowl. surprise! it feels great, though cold. do a stretch and fold. replace in the bowl, cover, replace in the fridge. repeat twice, with an hour between stretch-and-folds (put the dough back in the fridge in between each turn).

stage 7 shaping, proofing, preheating
prepare a piece of parchment paper about 7 x 7 inches square, and a small dish with about 2 teaspoons of flour on it. shape the dough. this video is instructive. (note that she proofs in a banneton. i don't have a banneton. but, really, i don't think you need a banneton.) after shaping the boule, lay it on the parchment paper and leave to proof, covered by a large bowl. after 40 minutes, fire up the oven to 475F with the breadpot inside. (next loaf will proof for an additional 60 minutes.)

stage 8 slashing, baking
when the oven has been preheating for 20-25 minutes, uncover the dough. slide the dough on the parchment onto a peel (i use a sheet of cardboard). slash with a sharp razor blade. the cutting edge of the blade should be oriented at 45 degrees to the surface of the loaf. open the oven, remove both the breadpot base and top and place on something heatproof. close the oven door. slide the loaf off the peel into the bottom of the breadpot, then cover with the lid remembering that it is searingly hot. open the oven door, and deposit the covered loaf in the oven. close the door and set your timer for 15 minutes. remove the lid after the first 15 minute timer goes, and bake uncovered for another 15 minutes at 450F.

allow to cool completely on a rack before slicing.

[yet another guest post from vt, at the sap also rises]

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Wellfleet Connection

In July, Mark Bittman spoke in Wellfleet for the Truro Center for the Arts. I gave him one of our pots and thanked him for bringing me back to bread baking by writing about Jim Lahey's no knead bread method.
Today he wrote about it in his blog!

Bittman Bakes in the Breadpot

How funny, one free spirit gets another to follow a recipe, albeit his own.
What a lovely photo. How things come around!

Friday, July 2, 2010

sourdough #7

after sourdough #6 ("the loaf that was way overproofed"), this loaf is a nice validation. tasty too; bread nerds, please note the grigne.

dropping the hydration by 5% (to 59%) resulted in a much firmer dough and a crumb with much finer, more uniform aeration (compare to the massive and irregular holes in this 64% hydration loaf). giant holes are nice and craft-y, but not so good for a sandwich heavy on the condiments. #7 made a killer sharp cheddar, mustard, and cold avocado grilled cheese sandwich (why is the avocado cold? for more sandwich theory, see here).

on the other hand, i think i want a few more big holes, so the next loaf will shoot for somewhere between 59% and 64% hydration with the same flours and salt ratio.

this one was
  • 30g starter (70% hydration)
  • 420g AP white flour
  • 30g whole wheat pastry flour
  • 265g water
  • 8g salt 
  • two builds (12h, then 4h) before bulk fermentation (7h), then an overnight retardation (14h) before shaping, proofing (4h, but could probably have gone for a while longer, judging by the cracked crust), and baking (500F covered for 15min, then 425F for 20min) in the beta version of the cloche breadpot judy gave me. 
the cloche has been nothing but great. even when i fail to proof correctly or leave out key ingredients (like salt), i get terrifying oven spring and a crisp, caramelised crust. is this correlation or causation?

so, next up, for sourdough #8, a slightly more hydrated dough, and a side-by-side baking comparison. counterfactuals, after all, are to be embraced, not feared.

[yet another guest post from vt, at the sap also rises]

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

the experiments continue

this crumb's not bad

we're keeping this cloche prototype in business and discovering The Joys of the Scientific Method too!

the last loaf i baked (not the rye sourdough and unfortunately not pictured here) was perplexingly sticky as dough, to the point of being unworkable. i avoided abject loaf failure, always looming on the horizon, only narrowly. after baking it in the cloche and tasting the result, i discovered the reason for the dough's weird consistency: i'd forgotten to add the salt. the always-reliable bread nerds at king arthur tell us that "bread baked without salt will have a flat and insipid taste ... salt tightens the gluten structure. when salt is left out, the resulting dough is slack and sticky in texture, work-up is difficult, and bread volume is poor." don't forget the salt.

this time, i didn't forget the salt. this is a white (93%) and whole wheat (7%) sourdough boule, 1.8% salt. slightly lower hydration ratio (63%) compared to the sourdough rye, but with a longer autolyse (12h), longer bulk fermentation with more folding (14h!), and a much longer proof (5h!). no kneading on this one, just many cycles of stretching and folding. i think the unseasonably low temperatures in massachusetts are messing with things. the crust on this one is great (crunchy, glossy, caramelised), crumb is good and improving (more uniformly aerated through the loaf, fewer dense spots), flavour is excellent (mildly sour, richly flavoured, a marvelous lactic aroma), but the dough is still too wet in the shaping stage and the shaped dough spread too much as it proofed.

the crumb issues are, i think, associated with the hydration ratio on the dough. a slightly drier dough may proof better and (maybe) yield a better crumb. next time around, i'll drop the hydration even more (maybe 61%). flavour is good, so i'll keep the flour types and proportions and the approximate autolyse/bulk/proof times.

a note on the cloche: so far, the cloche seems to be associated with consistently excellent crust and great oven spring (3 for 3) even when i do something boneheaded like forgetting to put in the salt and the dough spreads out into a huge puddle during the proofing. but you know what they say about the relationship between correlation and causation.

[another guest post from the sap also rises]

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

sourdough rye boule

hello, hello. judy mentioned a cloche for experiments and now here, just weeks later, is an actual experiment. up above, for your viewing pleasure, is a 1.6lb 64% hydration sourdough boule. the flours were 80% white wheat, 10% whole wheat, 10% rye. the loaf was retarded in the refrigerator for 14 hours, shaped and proofed for 2 hours, and then baked in judy's cloche-style breadpot for 20 minutes covered at 500F, and another 20 minutes uncovered at 425F. this array of numbers is the hallmark of a bread nerd. if you are also a bread nerd, you may relish these additional details:

starter hydration = 70%
autolyse = 30 minutes
salt = 1.5%

during baking, there was a pronounced and pleasant lactic aroma, and the crust developed a warm brown colouration. waiting for it to cool completely was difficult, owing to the fragrance of warm bread that permeated throughout. the loaf has a crisp, robust, crackly crust rich with flavour, and a completely aerated, gelatinised, mildly sour crumb with irregular bubbles. if you are a bread nerd, you will have noticed the well-defined edges where the loaf was slashed open prior to baking, to allow for expansion of the dough. did you know that these edges have a special name in french that is all their own? i will tantalise you no longer: they are called grigne.

let us not forget the taste of this loaf: it is mighty tasty. in addition to being staggeringly delicious (especially with some sharp cheddar), this bread formula is also easy and accommodating to people whose schedules see them at home only in the evenings. more details and full instructions when i've baked this a few more times.

the breadpot cloche verdict:

  • the loaf: lots more oven spring with this cloche than with my previous duct tape and baling wire attempts to create a high humidity baking environment, often involving exciting times with preheated cast iron skillets and boiling water, ice cubes, spray misters, and pyrex bowls. judging by the rate at which the loaf is being consumed, the quality of crust and crumb far exceed previous attempts. 
  • usability: the cloche shape seems already nearly perfect. handle on the lid is easy to use even with oven mitts on. the slope of the base sides exactly contains a boule of the size i like. 
[vaughn, guest-posting from the sap also rises]

Saturday, May 15, 2010

smoky saggar fired experiment with BreadPots

I will be firing a batch of new brown toast stoneware BreadPots tomorrow to  cone ten 2350F. I am trying an experiment in this kiln load that will make a connection between these pots and my saggar fired work. I have built a container in a bottom section of the kiln and filled it with sawdust and two bakers. I also filled one of the three oversize cloche shaped bakers with sawdust. I made these on a request by Vaughn Tan, who wants to experiment with this  form for his baking. I will let you know how it turns out.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Whole wheat Tofu Challah

This is a very different bread recipe. It is a variation on challah, but I've been using silken tofu instead of butter. As for the flour, almost any kind or any combination of different flours will work. I've been experimenting with this for a long time. The bread is on the cakey side - but great toasted. It turned out great in Judy's BreadPot - so cute!

Tofu Challah – makes 4 loaves
4 pkgs yeast
4 cups warm water
Mix and let bubble (add a little sugar )
1 cup sugar
1 package of silken tofu (put between paper towels to soak up moisture for about ½ hour before using)
4 eggs
4 tsp salt
12 cups of flour (I have been experimenting with all kinds of flour – including whole wheat, buckwheat, spelt, quinoa, oat, etc.)
I also add a little bit of protein powder

I also do this in 2 batches (using 2 big bowls) – which makes it much easier to work with.

Cover the bowls with a damp cloth – put in refrigerator overnight or even up to a few days (doesn’t seem to matter).

Braid the dough into 4 challah loaves. The one for Judy’s BreadPot can just be formed into a circle.

Brush with butter – sprinkle with sesame and/or poppy seeds

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown on top

Check out the bread baking day #29 Bread in Pots theme at

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Great American BreadPot -- phase 3

The BreadPot Experiment is entering a new phase. I have been teaching Brenna, a young potter/intern, how I make these and she is a quick study. She has helped me make a batch last week and we will be firing them next week. We plan to have them available, with bread tastes, at the Cambridge Open Studios/North on April 23-24. We will be in Porter Square at beneath the Star Market. We also will be sending an email offering them to a preferred list of community, family, friends and customer. They are coming out great. A handful have been shipped out to people in the bread blogging world and beyond. There are toasty brown, white stone and brick clay BreadPots. We are also offering a BreadPot gift kit which comes with the dry mixings for my favorite rye, caraway seeds and all. Potter's choice is also available, a select pot with something special about it--that je ne sais quoi. I am starting to find decorating the white ones irresistible...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Toasty brown stone

New  no knead bread pots, a whole kiln load of 'em.
They have tested well over the last few months and I am just now putting them up for sale. They mold the bread into a nice form, letting it bake evenly and slice well. They are strong, simple, unglazed stoneware with integrated handles on pot and lid. They get a lived in patina with use. They are a beautiful bird-like form. The brown stoneware is coming out toasty. The rough brick clay is a nice autumnal orange.
Contact me for info, call for credit card by phone or use paypal.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Freshly baked breadPots.. later this week

Wheel thrown stoneware in a variety of humble brown clays, cloche or casserole style, knob or strap handle, slip decorated, inlaid recipe or proverb inside. These are some of the variations of the BreadPots  I will be firing  this week. There will be a great variety to choose from. They are for advance sale here, in our virtual clay boulangerie, for $78. Please pass this along to any no knead bread bakers you know. You can call, visit the studio, send a check or use paypal button. They will ship after Passover and Tomb Sweeping Day and Nceca.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Irish Soda Bread

For a few weeks now, I've been thinking about Irish soda bread again. Soda bread is a treat I should make more often, as it's comparatively abstemious (at least for me). I like John Thorne's very simple recipe:

3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 and 1/4 - 1 and 1/2 cups buttermilk (as much as it takes)

Mix all the ingredients together quickly, as lightly as possible, like biscuit dough. I roll in some golden raisins. shape into a rough ball and throw into a baker preheated to 425F. Bake covered for about 45 minutes, until golden brown.

I suppose one could slice it, but I tend to tear pieces off it hungry-wolf-fashion, with the excuse that it's never as good as right out of the oven anyway. It has no butter at all and is better than all but the best biscuits.

Friday, March 5, 2010


I haven't posted for awhile, but that doesn't mean that I'm not happily baking in my Breadpot. I think that I've shared the important points of my baking with Judy and am now happily anticipating the first batch of pots for sale. Just want to share that of late I've been mixing in a "bunch" of pistachios and love the taste of the finished loaf. I'm bring a loaf of this bread along with cheeses for a cheese course at a friend's house this weekend.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Eagle Has Landed

 The eagle has landed. The travelling pot of brick clay has finally landed in its permanent home in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. It arrived in perfect condition and is doing just fine, thank you. Here it is with a loaf of wheat/rye bread with flaxseeds and wheatberries. Its flatter, wider shape also makes it a great breadbox. Thank you so, Judy. 
And don't think I'll be ignoring the original glazed pot. It's become one of my best rising vessels, and keeper for all sorts of things, and I still hope to bake beans in it someday soon.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Judy's Rye bread

This is Judy's rye bread. It has been the best fit for the pot so far. I have had too much dough with the other recipes. I think this is due to the warmer weather. I began this loaf on a gray cold day. It was still cold, but sunny on my baking day. This loaf had great texture and crust. The pot is holding up quite well. No pings since the first baking.

My next trial was to make a double batch. I cooked half in the clay pot and half in an enamel pot. This bread was not the best batch. The dough seemed quite dry when mixing, but was extremely wet the next day. I tried adding extra flour and probably kneaded more than I should have.

This is the blob I ended up with after it was supposed to rise. The bread was divided between the two pots. They were each cooked at 450, 30 minutes with the lid on and 15 minutes with the lid off. Both breads were cooked through. There were no doughy centers. Both breads had smaller cells than the previous batch.

As you can see from this photo, the bread in the clay pot has a warmer color to it. I found the bread cooked in the enamel pot was too chewy, almost a rubbery texture to the crust. We all agreed the texture of the bread cooked in the clay pot was far superior. I wonder if the unglazed clay soaks the moisture from the clay at a faster rate than the enamel pot. I could see this as a selling point for the clay versus the enamel.

The bread cooked in the enamel pot is slightly larger, but less tasty. We ate it toasted.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Name that baker

Joan and I held an impromptu focus group about the selling phase of these pots with Ellen, Libby, Robbie, and Zach. We talked about the name? Do you have the perfect name in your mind? What should these be named? Branded as? Any thoughts? Some like Motzpots, some find it silly sounding or unprofessional.
Earth-Hand-Grain? Bread Bearer? Hand Made Bread Baker?
Talk among yourselves. New pots are nearly ready for sale.

At long last bread ( a long post)

Although I baked the NoKnead bread recipe immediately after it appeared in the Times I soon left it behind in favor of kneaded breads and other baking adventures. When Judy offered me this chance though I happily volunteered. I was in the 2nd wave of pots and had various family and work stuff that slowed me down but I finally post.

Even before I received my pot I did some practice rounds. It had been a while. (Did I remember how "shaggy" the dough really was?) My first try was with some French SAS yeast that was still good by date but clearly had lost it's lift. I don't have a photo of that mess.

New yeast . I used an old Copco enameled pot that I thought I had used previously. I got a pretty bread with a perfect crust . Not as "holey" an interior as I would love but yummy.

Richard then delivered this beauty to me. Oh my goodness, just lovely. Seeing pictures in previous posts I was thinking a lot about handles and lids but these looked beautiful and functional. Hooray.My only concern was that it looked small.

I baked a loaf. I followed the original NYT recipe with 1/4 t yeast because I used all white flour in these test bakings. The loaf looked good, but seemed to not be browning well. I took it out after 55 min total and it was just not quite done enough and had not risen as high as I had hoped . The very center was a little mushy but I didn't think I could have baked it longer.
It came out of the pan easily.
I baked a second loaf and it had a beautiful crust. It was also not as round and high as I hoped
and it too had a mushy core, not really raw but different than the crumb surrounding. I don't think it was undertimed and I got to thinking about volume.

The original NYT article says to put the loaf in a 6-8qt casserole/cast iron pot. Other articles said that the size didn't matter too much but when I measured out my beauty it only held 2 qts.

That makes it only 25% or 33% of the ideal. I am thinking that the air space around the covered loaf must have some effect on the outcome.
I spoke with Judy and decided to try a side by side from one double recipe to limit the variables.

I used a big red cast iron that hold 7 quarts and my Judypot. (which I think looks like a bird,maybe Breadbirds for a name.

I switched oven position during both the covered and uncovered bakings.

My bread from the larger pot clearly was bigger . My little pot still had that tiny soft core. I think the energy that is expanded while covered in the space must be turned inward in the little pot. This might not be as useful a characteristic in breads as it is people. I will next try the judypot with a 1/2 or 2/3 recipe to give it more space.
I havn't been part of the comments yet but here are some of my thoughts:
I look at too many school supply catalogs to think Motzpots is a worthy name of these bakers.
Something more elegant. I added the BreadBird thought after I wrote this but I still like it.

I was going to link to the hydration article in the NYT but you have done that for me. All this thinking about volume and hydration is liking taking a class.
As much as bakers buying for themselves I see the pots as a lovely gift. In light of my volume problem I would be looking for some consistency in the volume versus the recipe. Bread baking is an art but there is also chemistry and many people may want to bake without a great deal of experimenting.
My white pot has some beautiful signs of use, it is aging well.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Brick clay baker journey

I brought a baker with me on my recent circle of visiting dear friends. This pot is made from the red sculpture clay that looks like brick. I love the color, though the sandy, groggy clay has worn off my fingernails. The shape of this pot is nice, taller, more volume. The lid fit is a little rocky though serviceable. I decided dear Katya, with her avid baking and thorough posting, deserves something beautiful, with safe handles, instead of the original ugly second class one she got when she visited the cape house. So I brought it with me to Northampton from whence it will go to Brooklyn.

First, however, it traveled to Bristol, Vermont. I arrived at my friend Beth's store, Almost Home Market, with a rye bread dough that had been rising in the car. We put the baker in the commercial Blodgett Oven and cranked it up, set the dough out to rise in the lovely kitchen while Beth and Larry finished up the evening work and soon had a bread out of the oven. Here we are learning how to use Beth's iphone while it is in the oven.
Yummy taste of new york corn rye! Beth took pics on her phone.The next day we did a back country ski on heavenly Bolton Mountain. That Beth is tough, she does this several times a week, for me, once in a lifetime opportunity
Next day off to Northampton where this pot got its third baking in the kitchen of Joan and Stan.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Another rye ...

Yummmmm the smell of fresh bread is filling my house.
i tried putting cornmeal all over the bread this time to help with the difficulty getting the baked loaf out.

i actually made two loaves ... on in the Bread Pot and one in a dutch oven. i do love our little rounded loaves!!

i will post in a little while about:
1) ease of getting it out of the pot
2) cleaning the pot

We KNOW it will taste divine!! LOL

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Going on the radio - will talk about the Bread Pot

Judy - do you want to sell pots yet? On April 25 i am being featured on a public radio station where i am featuring my Grandma Peggy's Chicken Soup AND i am going to bake a seeded rye and bring in the Bread Pot! i'll bet people will be very interested.
Let's figure out the best place to send people. This blog maybe?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sweet Soft Sandwich Bread

One of my favorite commercial sliced breads is a Pepperidge Farm brand called 'Oat-Nut.' Sounds healthy, but it's really a soft squishy sweet bread with bits of nutty things, that I could eat straight from the bag, toppings optional. I've tried a few times to reproduce it in a home version, and I think I've finally gotten pretty close. The following is an adaptation from a recipe for 'Toast Bread' from Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread.
I made one loaf in a loaf pan, and one in the baker, and they were pretty much exactly the same in crumb, crust, and consistancy. The difference in texture on the tops of the two loaves was largely because I dusted the pot loaf with wheat germ to keep it from sticking. I could eat it all day, toppings optional.
2 lbs flour (about 7 and 1/4 cups) - I used mostly All-Purpose with about 1/4 cup of whole wheat)
2 and 5/8 cups water
2 tsp sugar  (I used maple syrup, bet honey would be good)
1 Tblsp soft butter (or hard butter cut in tiny pieces)
Malt powder or syrup (optional) 3/8 tsp
1 Tblsp salt
1.5 tsp Yeast

Nutty things--flaxseeds, wheat berries, nuts, etc...whatever...

Knead all ingredients, ferment for 2 hours, folding once in the middle, shape, proof for 1 - 1.5 hours, bake at 430 degrees, 30-45 minutes (making allowances for large or small loaves).

More beautiful bread

What I like is the beauty of the rounded loaf - no matter what I dump into the hot pot, it comes out reliably adorable. I find the wetter doughs make a higher loaf and I like that better. I am liking the size a lot (compared to my original posts wondering if the pot was too small.) I made yet another bread with the original rye recipe and it was good. I baked it in a pot/oven heated to 500 degrees for 1/2 hour and then, when I took off the lid for 10 -15 minutes, I lowered the heat to 450. I don't think I am going to post any more breads with pictures after this because they are so reliable.
I love my little bread baker.