Why bake bread in a flowerpot? The baked clay that flowerpots are made of is a perfect mold for bread, ensuring a crust that metal bread pans never quite achieve. But first you must season the pots so that the dough won't stick to them.
Treating the Flowerpots
Use very clean clay flowerpots and generously rub the insides all over with vegetable oil. Place the pots in a 450 degree F. oven and let them bake for 1 hour (do this, if possible, alongside something else that may be baking, so as not to waste fuel).
After this treatment, the pots need simply be washed in warm water after you've baked in them. If you notice any sticking, repeat the treatment.
Doughs to use:
Almost any yeast dough will bake well in a flowerpot, but these are the ones we've found particularly good:
- Sculptured Bread: Sprinkle the tops with sesame or poppy seeds just before baking, or sprinkle powdered sugar over the little breads after baking.
- Cheese Bread: This turns beautifully golden and crusty. Sprinkle the tops with grated Parmesan cheese before baking, if you like.
Forming and Baking
Use the dough after it has had its first rising. Punch it down and form it into shapes roughly half the size of the flowerpots you'll be using.
Most flowerpots have a hole in the bottom, so stuff that with a wad of crumpled aluminum foil. Oil the insides of the pots thoroughly, including the bottoms, and have the pots be slightly warm when you put the dough in.
Fill the pots only half full. Clay makes dough expand more readily, so if they are more than half full, the bread will mushroom over the top so much that it will fall over to one side.
To make topknots, form rounds of dough the size of golf balls. With your finger, poke a hole in the dough in the pot. Pull one side of each ball of dough to a point, then fit it, point side down, into its hole. Very small flowerpots will take only one topknot and in this case the ball should be about half the size of a golf ball; wider pots will take two or three snuggled close together.
Cover the filled pots with a kitchen towel and let the dough rise until it is almost to the top—about 45 minutes.
After the bread has risen for 30 minutes, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Just before baking, paint the tops with a glaze of 1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water.
Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 350 degrees. Small pots will need only an additional 5 to 10 minutes; medium-sized, 10 to 15 minutes; and a large pot, an additional 30 minutes, particularly if you are using whole wheat dough.
Slip the baked breads out of their pots and let them sit a few minutes in the turned-off oven, then cool on racks.
Note: some people making this recipe recommend oiling the pots until each pot has absorbed all it can, putting the pots in a cold oven rather than preheating the oven, and heating to 400 degrees before turning the oven off, allowing the pots to cool on the oven racks.
Knead It, Punch It, Bake It!:
The Ultimate Breadmaking Book for Parents and Kids
By Judith and Evan Jones
Illustrated by Mitra Modarressi
Houghton Mifflin Company
144 pages, Concealed Wire-o binding
Recipe reprinted by permission.
Knead It, Punch It, Bake It!
Back to the main Kids' Cookbooks page.
This page created November 1999
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