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Have you ever tried baking bread? How about in a terracotta dish? You’ll be pleasantly surprised at just how beautiful your baked bread will turn out. Baking bread in a terracotta dish (Römertopf clay) is a great way to achieve a crusty, golden-brown exterior and a soft, chewy interior. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is too!
You can bake any type of bread you like but here I choose to make a simple white bread. It’s a great place to start when learning to bake with terracotta. As you get better and understand your vessel you can try as many bread flavours as you like.
- Active dry yeast
- Warm water
- Granulated sugar
- White bread flour or all-purpose flour
WHY BAKE BREAD IN TERRACOTTA?
Terracotta means “baked earth,” in Italian and as one of the oldest materials used for cooking food is actually very ideal for baking bread! It distributes heat evenly, helping baked goods turn out perfect every time. The clay has pores or better called porous material which draws moisture from the dough producing a perfect crust. You soak the unglazed lid in water first for at least 10-15 minutes and when ready place the lid on top of the dish to be baked. This seals that moisture in the pores and slowly burns off as the heat rises in the oven, creating steam for perfect bread.
TIPS FOR BAKING WITH TERRACOTTA
- When you first get your terracotta dish (Römertopf clay) clean it with warm water only.
- Do not use soaps as they can block pores and affect the taste of the food that is cooked in the dish.
- Soak unglazed lids in water for at least 10-15 minutes before baking in the oven.
- Always place terracotta cookware in a cold oven (filled with your prepared dough), then set your desired temperature. This is to avoid cracks and breakage in your dish.
- You can cook any recipe in your terracotta dish but terracotta requires a high oven temperature. You can usually convert the recipe by raising the cooking temperature by 100˚F and adding a half hour to regular cooking time (this is because the dish is placed into a cold oven and the clay does not get hot as fast as other cookware does).
- Baking bread in terracotta only requires one rise, the second rise happens in the cold oven! See below for more.
The interesting part about baking in terracotta is not having a second rise. This makes things go a little faster and cuts out a step or two from the regular bread making process. When the terracotta dish goes into a cold oven is when the second rise will happen. You place your prepared dough in the dish and then into the cold oven, turn on the heat and that’s when all the magic starts to happen! The steam gets sealed in from the wet lid and gets baked evenly through the terracotta, then for the last 10 minutes of baking you remove the lid to brown up the bread – voila!
How To Make Basic Bread in a Terracotta Dish
Step One: Bloom yeast in warm water and sugar. Make your dough by adding flour and salt to your yeast mixture. Mix the dough until ragged and bring together with your hands. Knead the dough for approx. 8 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Poke the dough with your finger and if it springs back it’s ready to rest. Cover the dough and let rest for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Step Two: Soak the lid of your unglazed terracotta lid in water for 10 minutes. Once dough has doubled in size, punch it down and flatten it into a rectangle. Now, fold the dough like a letter, and pinch closed. Fold in half, use the side of your hand to press it crossed tightly and pinch the seams together. Slash the top with a sharp knife or blade.
Step Three: Brush the top of the bread with egg wash. Place the loaf into the terracotta dish, seam side down and put the wet lid on top. Place the bread in the middle of the cold oven, it’s very important that the oven isn’t preheated! Turn on the oven to 400°F while the dough is in the oven and bake as directed.Print
Basic Bread Making in a Terracotta Dish
Here’s a simple white bread recipe using a terracotta dish. Baking in a terracotta dish will transform your bread into a loaf just like the bakery. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at just how beautiful and crusty your bread will turn out.
- Prep Time: 2 hours
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
- Yield: 1 Loaf 1x
- Category: Bread
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: French
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 300 ml warm water
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 1/2 – 3 cups white bread flour or all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg for glazing
- Combine warm water, yeast and sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Let rest for approx. 5-10 minutes until mixture is frothy and has formed bubbles.
- In a large bowl mix flour and salt together. Make a well in the middle of the flour and add liquid. Mix together until ragged. Turn out onto a prepared work surface and knead for approx. 8 minutes until smooth and elastic (you can also use a stand mixer with the dough hook).
- Grease a large clean bowl, place the dough in the middle, and turn the dough to cover in oil. Cover with plastic wrap and leave the dough to double in size in a warm, draft free place, approx. 1 – 1½ hours.
- Using a terracotta dish, soak the unglazed lid in water for 10 minutes, and leave the bottom of the dish.
- Once dough has doubled in size turn out dough onto a slightly floured work surface. Punch the dough down and flatten it into a rectangle. Fold the dough like a letter and pinch closed. Fold in half, use the side of your hand to press it crossed tightly and pinch the seams together. Slash the top a few times with a sharp knife or a razor blade, this is so it rises evenly in the oven. Brush the top of the bread with egg wash. Place the loaf into the terracotta dish, seam side down and put the wet lid on top.
- Now, place the bread in the middle of the cold oven.
- Turn the oven on to 400°F while the dough is in the oven. This step is very important so you don’t crack the dish and your bread gets its second rise in the oven.
- Bake for 35 minutes. Take the lid off and continue to bake for another 10-15 minutes until the bread is browned and when tapped, sounds hollow.
Baking time varies due to size of bread, oven temperature and baking dish. Be careful not to open the oven door or lid too often as it will affect the rise and the crust.
- Serving Size: 1 slice
- Calories: 103
- Sugar: 0.4g
- Sodium: 104mg
- Fat: 0.7g
- Saturated Fat: 0.2g
- Unsaturated Fat: 0
- Trans Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 20.5g
- Cholesterol: 14mg
Keywords: White Bread, Bread, Terracotta Baking, Breakfast
Yes, baking bread in terracotta dishes leads to a crusty, even baked bread. Terracotta distributes heat evenly, helping your baked goods turn out perfect every time. The clay has pores or better known as porous material which draws moisture from the dough producing a perfect crust. Make sure to soak the unglazed lid in water first for at least 10-15 minutes and when ready place the lid on top of the dish to be baked.
No, there is no need to soak glazed terracotta. You want to soak unglazed terracotta before baking or cooking for at least 10-15 minutes in cold water.
Yes, if you are making bread you can substitute bread flour for all-purpose flour. The ratio is as simple as 1:1. The bread will have a higher gluten content, will be chewier and the texture will be slightly better.
You soak an unglazed terracotta lid in water for at least 10-15 minutes and when ready place the lid on top of the dish to be baked. This seals the moisture in the pores and slowly burns off as the heat rises in the oven, creating steam in the vessel for perfectly baked bread.
Römertopf bakers come in glazed and unglazed pots. Make sure to soak unglazed terracotta for at least 10-15 minutes before baking with them. Glazed pots do not need to be soaked as the water will not seep into the pores (creating that steam inside the vessel).
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