I was wrong—well partly wrong! And I’m happy to say so, because it involves sharing some pleasant news.
Until recently, I always told folks that the best pots for baking the new “kneadless” rustic boules were various metal containers in the 3- to 3 ½-quart range. Even though I’d successfully used a vintage white Corningware baker and one hand-crafted stoneware casserole while testing my recipes, I specifically avoided recommending ceramic containers. I was leery about the risks of preheating any empty ceramic pot to 450 degrees F, then dumping in a cool or room temperature yeast dough. It seemed like this step was just inviting the container to crack or shatter from thermal shock.
|Clay Coyote Stoneware Pot & “Kneadkess” Boule|
Aside from the obvious aesthetic appeal of baking homemade bread in a hand-crafted pot, I found it produces a loaf with a really beautiful golden color and pleasing crispy crust. I was surprised to find that it is also a more efficient baker than most of the metal pots I’ve tried. While it’s usually necessary to remove the lid after about 50 minutes and allow the loaf to brown and bake a few minutes more uncovered in a metal pot, when I lifted off the lid the loaf was already well- browned, fully baked, and ready to remove from the oven.
With that incredible smell wafting up I could hardly wait to cut some slices! (They are nice served right in the pot.) The pot is also convenient for storing the bread once both are cooled or for reheating the boule again.
The bread is good warm, cut into large slabs and served along with a soup or stew, or cut in tidy slices and used for toast and sandwiches.
Tip: Measure out the flour either by weighing it or by dipping down into the canister or sack with the appropriate dry measure and overfilling the cup slightly. Then with a metal spatula or straight knife blade sweep across the top, leveling the surface. Don’t stir or fluff up the flour first; don’t try to compact it either.
Interested in whether “kneadless” bread is a passing fancy or here to stay–survey results here reveal some interesting answers