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tim

No-Knead Bread - Batard Shape

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Hi,

I would like to make the no-knead bread in a traditional batard shape. Sassafras makes a "Superstone Clay French Bread Baker" that is covered and has the right size and shape. (14 1/2"L x 5"W x 2 1/2"H.)

Pictue of French Bread Clay Baker

The instructions for the Baker state that it is oven/microwave safe and freeze proof. It also specifies that 'care should be taken fo avoid thermal shock of hot to cold or cold to hot.

I emailed the company, asking if 4 cups of room temp dough would crack a baker heated to 450 degrees. They have not responded.

Does anyone have experience with this type of clay baker? Does anyone have thoughts about no-knead bread in a clay baker without pre-heating?

Thanks for your thoughts.

Tim

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I use my unglazed romertopf clay baker for this bread. I preheat it unsoaked, put it into the cold oven and let the two heat up at the same time. The bread comes out just fine, good crust, good oven spring, no sticking to the bottom of the pot. The romertopf copes with this treatment just fine. Although the instructions read to soak it before heating it, I haven't noticed any problems with the temperature difference when I plunk the dough into the hot pot, no cracking whatsoever.

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Hi,

I would like to make the no-knead bread in a traditional batard shape.  Sassafras makes a "Superstone Clay French Bread Baker" that is covered and  has the right  size and shape.  (14 1/2"L x 5"W x 2 1/2"H.)

Pictue of French Bread Clay Baker

The instructions for the Baker state that it is oven/microwave safe and freeze proof.  It also specifies that 'care should be taken fo avoid thermal shock of hot to cold or cold to hot.

I emailed the company, asking if 4 cups of room temp dough would crack a baker heated to 450 degrees.  They have not responded.

Does anyone have experience with this type of clay baker?  Does anyone have thoughts about no-knead bread in a clay baker without pre-heating?

Thanks for your thoughts.

Tim

Tim,

We are potters in Hutchinson, MN and might be able to help you. We had a customer call about using one of our bowls for the no-knead bread recipe. I looked up the recipe and noted in the recipe that the baking dish needs to be heated to 450 degF. and that ceramic bowls were one of the listed utensils. There is some risk in using ceramic bowls for this as it can cause the glaze to craze after it cools.

To give you the long part of this, normal highfire ceramics can go easily in the oven (not on the stovetop). The reason for this is that most of a clay pot is silica (glass) which expands and contracts on heating and cooling. The glaze on the surface of a pot is also silica, but of a different percent and formula than the clay.

When we fire pots, the goal is to have the shrinkage of the melted glaze to be the same as the shrinkage of the clay after cooling. You can then heat and cool this clay/glaze system any number of times without risk.

The problem is that one of the silica crystals that is formed during firing is cristobalite. This crystal undergoes a very rapid expansion/contraction of about 2.5% at 226 degC (about 425 degF). This expansion can cause the overlying glaze to craze/crackle since glazes typically don't have the cristobalite form of silica and don't do their major expansion until over 1000 degF.

It won't ruin the pot for future use as crazed/crackled glazes are not unusual, but a user will see a change. The solution is to keep the temperature under 425 degF. when using ceramic pots or go with Paula W's method of using unglazed pottery (eg Romertopf) for the baking.

If you'd like any additional information we're at 320-587-2599.


Edited by Coyotepots (log)

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I have an unglazed baker just like the one pictured and used it for the no knead bread without any problem. I put it in the cold oven and then pre-heat.

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It does appear that the baker Tim had is unglazed. If it's lower fired, it will soak up water like a romertopf. PW had good luck soaking and then baking at 425 degF. Tim, if you read this, what is the brand of the baker?

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The sassafras unglazed baker is stoneware. I think it is as resistant as a pizza stone would be in your oven. If so, you can put it in the cold oven, bring it up to 450 and plop in your bread.

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Hi,

I would like to make the no-knead bread in a traditional batard shape.  Sassafras makes a "Superstone Clay French Bread Baker" that is covered and  has the right  size and shape.  (14 1/2"L x 5"W x 2 1/2"H.)

Pictue of French Bread Clay Baker

It also specifies that 'care should be taken fo avoid thermal shock of hot to cold or cold to hot.

Tim

Hi,

I appreciate your thoughts and advice. My only concern was themal shock and having made a really nice loaf of bread, I am no longer concerned. Yes, I placed the baker in the oven before heating to 450 degrees.

Picture of my No-Knead Batard

FYI, the baker is made by Sassafras and is called a Superstone. I assume that it is stoneware, fired at a higher temperature than the Romertopf.

Tim

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