Do you love baking bread? I love baking bread. I really do. So much so that using and experimenting with the wide array of preparation and baking methods along with the variety of tools and accessories is a huge part of the joy and excitement of baking bread.
If you’re in the market for trying something different – a different way of baking your bread that doesn’t involve the research and expense of a dutch oven then you may want to consider baking your bread in a clay pot.
By the way, I’m not trying to dismiss the awesome functionality, ease of use, and even beauty of using a dutch oven, it’s just fun to try other ways of baking bread (in my opinion). If you are looking into a Dutch oven, however, I suggest you read my article “The Best Cast iron Dutch Oven for Bread Baking” for an in-depth review of my top choices of Dutch ovens on the market now.
Back to the clay pot.
Clay pots are a great alternative to conventional methods, such as the Dutch oven method. Providing a similar bake, the clay pot is also an eye-catching and beautiful addition to your baking and cooking accessories. After extensive research, my personal top choice for a clay pot is the Eurita by Reston Lloyd Clay Cooking Pot/Roaster (see Amazon pricing here). Forged from naturally derived clay material, you’ll feel good knowing this product is free from lead, cadmium, and fillers at a great (affordable) price point for each of the available sizes.
Why I Chose the Eurita by Reston Lloyd Clay Cooking Pot/Roaster, All-Natural Cooking, Terracotta, 4 Quart
If (and when) you decide to dive in and buy a clay pot, the Eurita by Reston Lloyd Clay Cooking Pot/Roaster, All-Natural Cooking, terracotta, 4 quart has numerous features that make it stand out as an ideal choice from beginner bread baker to the expert bread baker. While the 4-quart size is great, it comes in a variety of additional sizes: 1.5QT, 3QT, 4QT (the personal favorite), and 6.25QT to suit all your bread baking and roasting needs.
As mentioned above, it’s cost-effective and pretty and on top of that, it does more than just bake bread. There are a ton of great recipes out there that go beyond baking bread in a clay pot – from stews to roasts, and much more.
Bread is Baked Evenly
Part of the appeal of the Eurita by Reston Lloyd Clay Cooking Pot/Roaster is that you’re required to soak the lid. Doing this creates additional steam during the baking process, subsequently producing an evenly cooked dish that has retained vitamins and minerals, along with preserving the aromas of the ingredients used.
This excess moisture is the most ideal environment you can provide when you’re baking bread – unlike in a dutch oven, where you would have to add ice cubes to create steam during the baking process, steam is pulled from the unglazed lid. Accordingly, if you’re looking for an optimal oven spring for your sourdough bread or other, using a clay pot might just do the trick.
Another noteworthy mention here is that the Eurita by Reston Lloyd Clay Cooking Pot/Roaster is safe to use in an oven up to 500℉ (260℃). This is clearly a bonus if you’re into baking sourdough bread, as most tried and true recipes call for about that temperature for the first half of the bake.
Now, you may be wondering how this works when many sourdough baking instructions call for pre-heating your oven and pot for at least an hour before placing the dough in the oven to bake. Well, if you prefer less fuss and the ease of baking when you’re ready rather than waiting, using the Eurita by Reston Lloyd Clay Cooking Pot/Roaster is more than ideal. Not only that, it’ll save you a penny or two in your electrical bill by avoiding that hour-long pre-heating process. The key here is to make sure that you’ve proofed your dough in the fridge for a few hours before baking, this ensures that it doesn’t spread out, rather than up, during that initial pre-heating of the oven.
This clay pot is made from all-natural clay and features glazed bottom and an unglazed lid. As mentioned above, the lid is soaked in water prior to use thereby producing steam during the baking (or roasting) process. The lid does not fit exactly purposely, in order to allow some steam to escape. The oblong shape is ideal for several types of bread, making it rather versatile. One small drawback is the lack of handles, so it is important to keep in mind that you’ll need a good pair of oven mitts with a decent grip and long arm covers (up to the elbow at least) to avoid any unwanted burns or accidents and for easy transfer in and out of the oven.
Fairly Easy Clean Up
Love to bake bread, but hate the clean-up at the end? Well, the Eurita Clay Cooking Pot has a non-toxic frit glass glaze on the bottom portion allowing for a quick and easy clean-up. The key, however, to cleaning the clay pot is patience.
|A FEW CLEAN-UP TIPSCarefully read and follow the instructions provided for care and cleaning of the clay pot. The clay pot should be completely cooled down. Warm water, a soft cloth, and some baking soda are all you should need.
Weight & Size
While not terribly heavy, weighing in at 8 pounds (about 3.63 kg), it can hold its own and bears up to 11 pounds justifying its weight. When assembled it measures 16.5” L x 12” W x 7.5 H (42 cm L x 30.5 cm W x 19 cm H) or 5” H (12 cm H) if the lid is inverted for easy storage.
While I am specifically using this clay pot for baking bread, it is versatile enough for other forms of cooking and baking. You can roast beef, chicken, lamb, and fish as well as cook soups and veggies in it, along with baking desserts. Not only can it be used in the oven, but it can also be used in the microwave. Bear in mind that it cannot be used on the stovetop or a BBQ grill.
Maintenance and Upkeep of Your Clay Pot
Because the Eurita by Reston Lloyd Clay Cooking Pot/Roaster has an unfinished, porous lid and, a glazed bottom there are some specific maintenance and upkeep aspects to take note of.
You should keep in mind to store your clay pot in a dry spot in your kitchen to avoid any potential mold issues. Storing your clay pot, with the lid inverted inside the bottom of the pot with a couple of sheets of paper towel in between can help create proper airflow and avoid mold growth. It’s important to keep in mind that the Eurita by Reston Lloyd Clay Cooking Pot/Roaster should be completely dry before storing it away in a cupboard or cabinet – if storing on an open shelf, this is likely not as much of a problem.
Additional Notes on Cleaning
IF your Eurita by Reston Lloyd Clay Cooking Pot/Roaster develops any mold during longer periods of storage, you can remove it by applying equal parts of water and baking soda to the affected areas. Then, once it’s dried up a bit, gently remove it with a soft cloth
It’s strongly recommended that you avoid using soap, mainly because parts of the clay pot are porous and will absorb the soap. Warm water and baking soda work best when removing any baked-on bits of food.
The manufacturer recommends placing the clay pot in a cold oven only and set to the desired temperature. The reason for this is simple, wetting the clay pot and placing it in a cold oven to heat up along with the oven, prevents the clay pot from cracking.
- While quite versatile in that it can be placed in an oven or microwave, it cannot be used on a stovetop or grill.
- It cannot be stressed enough, that you really do need a good pair of hot oven mitts that provide lots of arm coverage to use this clay pot.
- The clay pot should never be placed on a cold countertop or surface, best to place it on a wood cutting board, trivet, or towel.
- Be extra careful when removing the lid, as steam can quickly escape.
The upshot? Well, if you’re looking for an alternative to the classic Dutch Oven, this is definitely your best bet. It’s budget-friendly, versatile, and fairly easy to clean, maintain and store – what more can you really ask for in a kitchen tool? The Eurita by Reston Lloyd Clay Cooking Pot/Roaster is the kind of kitchen tool we should all have in our kitchen, in addition to the basic features just mentioned, it’s pretty! You don’t have to store it away in a cupboard or cabinet – you can easily display it on an open shelf, or floating shelf, which adds a lovely aesthetic appeal to any kitchen or dining room.