Pot Baking

Pab's picture

Following on from the New York Times article, I made up a 1 kilo miche sourdough (pretty much to one of Jeremy's recipes) and baked it in an old and battered le Creuset pot. Lid on for 30 mins, lid off for 30mins at 250°C.


It came out well, the restriction of the pot forcing the loaf up and the moisture seeming to stop the crust from becoming too hard.

As I said, I used a very old pot, but would just as happily use a new one - the loaf popped out as cleanly as one could imagine. You do need a good pair of oven gloves though!

I was still considering how best to slash as I started to slash, otherwise I think the top would have been a bit tidier. I did spray the loaf once. About the only difficult bit is getting a reasonably well proved loaf into a very hot pot - I was pretty unsubtle about it but it seems to have worked.

Best wishes


313 users have voted.


TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2006 November 13

I'm getting more and more interested in this method (for the crust) with every post you make, Pab.

That's it. I'm going to use this method to make Dan's latest recipe in the Guardian....the deli bread...but convert it into fully sourdough with a high hydration. And, I'll probably use pyrex or arcopal with lid. My heavy saucepans are too big for the oven. Besides...I like to watch bread baking.

Pab's picture
Pab 2006 November 13

Crumb pics as requested, Jeremy. I do think, as TeckPoh writes, that it is the crust that is crisper and less tough using this baking technique.


I have to say that the bread is absolutely delicious. (Is this immodest?)

I question whether pyrex-type pots would reach a high enough temperature to have the same effect but, as ever, there is only one way of finding out!

TP, I will find and post my wholemeal bread asap.

I will bake a baguette, I [i]will[/i] bake a baguette...


Jeremy's picture
Jeremy 2006 November 13

Hi Pab,
I am tempted too...only because my latest bakes since my JH class were less than successful, bad planning more than anything else!
I have a Miche working now, dunno I think my creuset is a bit bigger than the dough? Maybe this method could be the cloche of the futur?


Pab's picture
Pab 2006 November 13


Use the pot - I do not think too big a pot will be a problem for the loaf, in fact quite the opposite.

Which is the JH book I should buy? I need a new bread book!


carla's picture
carla 2006 November 14

So just clarify things a little:

You have heated the pot red-hot in the oven and then "threw" the proofed loaf into it Pab?
Now how did you do that? Just inverted the banneton over it or how?
I have visions of deflating balloons here...

And I wouldn't dare to pre-heat the glass bowls and then throw a cool lump into them... might crack?

There is a nice picture on northwest sourdough of a bread proved and baked directly in a Pyrex bowl!

Actually quite funny how you guys come around to the idea to bake in "tins" again, hehe

Pab's picture
Pab 2006 November 14

Carla, this is what I did - heated pot (red pot, not red hot pot) as hot as possible (30 mins at 250C), upturned reasonably well proved loaf onto semolina dusted peel, slashed roughly, sprayed loaf, slid and tucked loaf into pot with more than a little care not to burn myself again, put lid on and returned pot to hot oven.

I used no pyrex and this is absolutely my last description of the process involved.

I hope this clarifies things for you.

Best wishes


matthew 2006 November 14


My understanding is not that the pot is used as a tin (though I take your point - and appreciate the humour), but that it forms an oven within the oven. This "pot oven" is not vented and has a very small volume so the atmosphere quickly becomes much more humid and steamy than the main oven. Thus it becomes a way of simulating "steaming" the oven in a professional bakery. Some would also point to the cast iron sides and top acting somewhat as baking stones surrounding the bread and heating the bread evenly with convected heat with little to no radiant heat?

After a period of time the lid is removed to move the bread into the atmosphere of the main oven cavity which dries the crust out more than it would with the lid on.

It's a technique that is also mentioned very briefly in "Bread Builders" as a home kitchen technique of trying to simulate a brick oven.

Hope the "sunny north" is treating you better today than "windy Wellington" is treating me.


carla's picture
carla 2006 November 14

Thanks Pab!
The red hot was a joke - or at least I tried

I realise that you did not use Pyrex, that was directed at TP who wants to use it to bake her bread.
Check this out TP: [url=http://northwestsourdough.wordpress.com/][b]sourdough made with Pineapple, Orange Juice and Coconut proved and baked in bowls[/b][/url]

Matthew - we have wonderful weather up here. The odd windy day or shower, but getting dry already and have to water now.
But watch it yourself:
[url=http://metservice.com/default/index.php?alias=weatherwarnings][b]NZ weather warnings[/b][/url]
Every day the same picture south of Hamilton!!

And thanks for clarifying the "pot oven" for me. So it is more than just a "tin" to bake in (as I innocently thought) - sorry Pab!

TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2006 November 14

Oh Carla!! Thank you so much for the link to Teresa's Blog. All the breads look so beautiful, they make me weep.

This minimal-knead bread in pot article has generated much discussion and interest in all bread circles, mounting to a furore even. Many good words have been said about the crust it produces but the crumb may be questionable...so, chembake, your comment may not be entirely misplaced, though in your usual style, it's rather 'direct'. I wouldn't use the word 'lazy' though. In this day and age, time-saving techniques are always appreciated...but, of course, it shouldn't compromise with the end quality.

I'm rather busy this week...will try the method next week. I'll still do some kneading, as I'm more interested in the method for the crisp crust effect...I want to hear my bread sing!

TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2006 November 14

weather warnings

Hubby and bunch were freezing on the first day but experienced just the opposite on the last day. He's home with 2kg of chocolate and a ton of manuka honey. Bought them at Park and Save...he had to buy a Santa Bag to keep the stuff. Wonder why he bought mud mask?? Ho! Ho! Ho! Christmas has come early for this girl who has been good the whole year through


TP, with a chocolate smeared mouth

SourDom 2006 November 14

not to be outdone...

one of my current sourdough formulas baked in a casserole this evening

pain au levain au pot!


the crunch wasn't quite as earth shattering as I had been led to believe, (but my assistant did remove the loaf from the oven a little early while I was bathing small children). will try again


Pab's picture
Pab 2006 November 15

Nice looking bread, Dom. In some ways I think mine was over baked to give the crust a serious try. Possibly the worst problem was the bottom of the loaf which was close to burnt. I think that the difference to the crust is not so huge anyway.

TP, I certainly didn't think the crumb any the worse for the pot against how I usually bake this recipe.

Carla, your humour is appreciated - in future, I would upturn the dough slash, spray and then very loosely shape another ball and drop it into the pot. The sides of my loaf above are a bit messy. Fantastic looking stuff on that sourdough link of yours.

Chembake, a lousy baker may well use a pot (as may a great one for a specific result) but I can't see what is lazy about it.

Best wishes


Jeremy's picture
Jeremy 2006 November 15

Alway's diplomatic, that is why I love Pab! I still haven't given in, rather feel the whole process and use my hands, slow food for slow and delicious baking!


carla's picture
carla 2006 November 26

Sourdough pot bread

northwestsourdough's picture
northwestsourdough 2006 November 30

Pot Baking...?

Lazy or Lousy baker stuff

Hi Chembake, I've done some recipes with the glass baking dishes especially for newbies who find it intimidating to flip dough onto a hot stone. I am hoping to encourage them to get some good loaves the easy way, in the hopes that they will catch on and try harder stuff. So hopefully, potential is the word we want here, not lazy or lousy!
Thanks Carla for linking my recipe and TP for your kind remarks. Did you see my excuse for burnt bread on my blog? Diablo loaves! It was funny,

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