A Stir The Pots Post

Another loaf out of the pot..creuset that is.

by | Jun 28, 2008 | Recipes

My obstinate nature made me take another stab at the pot baking method  today. I was inspired by my friend Vincent, who told me about an oven used in England that didn’t need steam injected during the bake because the humidity from the loaves themselves created the glossy shine we often find in commercial loaves.

I whipped up my stock levain into a stiff mix, followed Dan Leader’s general measurements from his favorite levain formula on Bread Alone, et voila a crisp and light feeling loaf. Sure it doesn’t have a perfect grigne. The problem was it got stuck in the banneton while I was carefully trying to avoid singing my legs as well as my fingers in the process! Of course New York that day was hot and humid. Luckily the wife was getting her gym workout, giving me about an hour to bake and try to chill the apartment with some air conditioning before she got back. And then I knew all would be okay when my cat, curious as he always is, approached \ the cooling loaf that was making sounds of "snap, crackle and pop!" He seemed to love the smell of the hot bread, no matter how hot the apartment. 

Anyway, after speaking with my friend Mick in Conzieu, I started to feel as between this blog and all the other baking media online, I was sharing my passion with soul mates all over the world. All to say this is for the friends and bakers…Kathy, Vincent, Mick, Brad, Adam, Ben, David, Susan, Dieter…too many others too mention, but happy baking one and all!

Dan Leaders Favorite Levain
170g flour
340 starter


510 water
680 flour
1Tbsp salt

Mix the levain overnite 8-12 hours

Combine water and levain on 1st speed of mixer till broken up.
Add in flour mix until shaggy and autolyse 20-60 minutes, continue mixing on second speed, add salt.
Rise for 2 hours, giving one or two folds, ( I did 2 since the dough felt a bit loose.)
At this point you may want to continue to shape, proof,bake. Since I went to dinner and wouldn’t have time to bake, I decided to retard the dough overnight. In the morning I let the dough warm up a bit for about 2 hours, with one fold. I then shaped and baked in a preheated creuset pan for one hour. As the oven I have is fairly small and the pot is a large one, I lowered my initial temperature from 500 F to 400 as soon as I put in the loaf. You want to cover the loaf with the lid for at least a 40 minutes, then finish the loaf with the top off…be careful this stuff is hot and Vincent says he has left many a mark on a table top forgetting the pan was scorching hot!


  1. Susan/Wild Yeast

    The few times I have tried pot baking I’ve had great results but I’m so accident-prone, heavy hot cast iron pots scare me and I have to make sure I’ve had a really good night’s sleep to be on my toes.
    It’s an honor to be included in your list of friends!

  2. Jeremy

    When I started perusing your blog I knew that I would daily check the invaluable information and fantastic bread porn available on the net, I humbly worship your every bread post!
    Your welcome anytime!

  3. Martin Prior

    Hi Jeremy, I enjoyed watching Vincent in his videos and listenng to what he had to say during your interview with him. We have had quite a lot of success with baking in clay pots. We are fortunate to have a friend who designs and makes them. Just this morning we tested an unglazed clay pizza dish/tray during one of our baking lessons. Supposed to be something to do with the infrared rays produced by the clay pots when heated.
    Did you catch the airline ad featuring my brick oven. I posted it on Dan Lepards site.
    Take care

  4. Jeremy

    Thanks for stopping by, just saw the loaf coming into it’s own, very nice! I wonder if I approach Creuset about creating a hearth style pot for home bakers if they would think me bonkers? Creusets are a bit of danger, but the result is absolutely wonderful, could change my way of baking round loaves, as baguettes would be sort of challenging!

  5. David Aplin

    Hi Jeremy, Back from camping on the west coast. Boy those are GREAT bread pictures of your latest miche. Awesome deep dark crust, just the way I like it! I will resuscitate my leavens and go for it when I return to work in a few days. Glad you are keeping the flame alive during this long hot summer.
    Cheers, David

  6. Jeremy

    Hey David,
    Thought you weren’t coming back? I am baking when and wherever I can, August will be in Istanbul, I have a request for NY bagels!
    I intend to bake some more once the wife leaves for Ecuador!


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