Making delicious, thick-crusted bread at home is often much more enjoyable and satisfying than purchasing store-bought bread. In fact, after using a clay bread baker, it’s likely that you’ll never want to go back to the bland, boring products in your local grocery store.
For those who are passionate about creating their own delicious, homemade bread, finding the best bread cloche is an important piece of the process.
Our guide will look at the top-rated bread cloches currently available, including an overview of how to find and buy the best clay bread baker. With this guide, any home baker will be able to create masterful and tasty creations from the comfort of their very own kitchen.
Best Bread Cloche Reviews of 2017
Now that you’ve decided that you want to start using a bread cloche, how do you choose which product is the best bread cloche for you?
When it comes to finding the best bread cloche, it can be difficult to narrow down your options. Here, we’ll discuss the three best options for a bread cloche, including a detailed review for each top-rated product.
1. Emile Henry Bread Cloche Review
- Bell-shaped cover for direct proofing: As anyone who has tested their hand at baking bread knows, the shape of the oven plays a crucial role. The rounded shape of the Emile Henry Bread Cloche mimics a traditional bread oven, ensuring that humidity is properly dispersed and maintained throughout the cooking process.
- Creates a steam-injected environment: This is an important feature since steam will determine the consistency and thickness of the crust. The bell-shaped lid traps the steam inside, allowing the crust to develop into a delectable and crunchy exterior.
Emile Henry Bread Cloche is sure to provide years of delicious home-made bread
- Made of natural ceramic: Not only is the Emile Henry Breach Cloche made of natural ceramic materials, but every bread cloche is wholly representative of fine craftsmanship and attention to detail. Each bread cloche is handmade in France, from the mold to the clay bread baker itself.
- Includes recipe & instruction booklet: Looking for new ideas, or maybe a little bit of expert advice for your own bread-making? Luckily, the Emile Henry Bread Cloche comes fully equipped with a booklet of cloche bread baker recipes and instructions, helping anyone to learn how to master the art of bread-making at home.
Our first pick in our list of best bread cloches is the Emile Henry Bread Cloche. After taking a look at the details, it’s easy to see why this is one of the best cloche bread bakers in the business. Produced in France with a 10-year guarantee, the Emile Henry Bread Cloche is sure to provide years of delicious home-made bread.
Amazon reviews for the Emile Henry Bread Cloche are overwhelmingly positive, making this covered clay bread baker the absolute best bread cloche to consider purchasing.
2. Sassafrass SuperStone® Covered Baker Review
- Includes a professional-grade bread lame: Ever wonder how your favorite artisanal bread gets that touch of shine? With the Sassafrass SuperStone® Covered Baker, you can easily create that same effect for your own bread.
You’d be hard pressed to find a bread lame that matches this quality, particularly in combination with an equally high-quality clay bread baker
- Natural stoneware & unique design: We love the design and construction of this bread cloche. Its narrow, elongated design provides optimum levels of heat distribution and air circulation. The result is a crispy, delicious finish for each loaf of bread.
- Includes recipe booklet: If you’re stuck on cloche bread baker recipes, have no fear: this cloche bread baker comes with all the inspiration you’ll need to create dynamic, delicious home-made bread.
- Natural, unglazed lid: For those wondering about why unglazed bakeware is better, think about the last meal you had that was cooked in a brick oven. Without a glazed coating, the natural stoneware can better regulate moisture. Even, controlled moisture means a crispier, flakier crust, the signature of homemade bread.
If you’re considering purchasing a bread cloche, you simply cannot go wrong with the Sassafrass SuperStone® Covered Baker. With incredible Amazon reviews from home bakers across a variety of experience levels, this is a great bread cloche for amateurs and seasoned bakers alike.
3. Sassafrass SuperStone® La Cloche Bread Baker Review
- Domed shape: The round, domed shape of the La Cloche Bread Baker creates the perfect environment for steam and heat to cultivate crispy, delicious crust. Preserving all that moisture is important for the insides of the bread, too, since no one wants to bite into dry, dull bread.
- Includes a professional-grade bread lame: There’s a reason why artisanal bread looks fuller, thicker, and tastier than store-bought. It’s partly due to the baking process, but it also comes from using a bread lame.
With the Sassafrass SuperStone® La Cloche Bread Baker, you can easily create that same effect for your own bread. Finding a high-quality bread lame and clay bread baker is challenging enough, so finding them together creates the total homemade bread package.
- Aesthetic design: The overall look of the La Cloche Bread Baker mimics a rustic, classic piece of dinnerware. With its vibrant coloring, convenient size, and attractive design, this bread cloche could easily double as a serving tray for freshly baked bread.
For home bakers who also enjoy dabbling in cooking, the Sassafrass SuperStone® La Cloche baker is a phenomenal — and affordable — option. If you still aren’t convinced, check out all the reasons Amazon customers are praising the La Cloche Bread Baker!
What Is A Cloche Bread Baker?
A cloche bread baker by any other name would still bake just as beautifully — or so we’ve been told. A cloche bread baker can have a few different titles, including a bread cloche, clay bread baker, or a bread baking cloche.
What these all have in common is the method of baking. The word “cloche” is French for “bell,” which accounts for the dome shape that a bread cloche commonly has. To be considered a bread cloche, the product should have a lid to trap steam inside the cloche.
Additionally, cloche bread bakers are typically made from clay or stoneware. This allows for moisture to be simultaneously trapped inside the lid and conducted away from the surface during the baking process. Thus, homemade bread baked inside a cloche bread baker has a flaky, crispy crust that can be impossible to match using other baking methods.
Different Types of Cloche Bread Bakers
While there are many ways to get a perfectly baked, thick crusted bread at home, one of the most effective methods is to use a bread cloche.
A bread cloche can come in several sizes, but bakers can choose between two types of cloche bread bakers:
- Round: This type of bread cloche is wide and circular in shape, and the lid may be a high or low dome. Depending upon the type of bread — and the amount — you are planning to make, the height of your bread cloche is important.
- Oblong: Compared to round cloche bread, an oblong bread cloche will produce a more traditional shape of bread, like a rectangle.
There’s no right or wrong answer as to which type of bread cloche is better since both types are suited for their own styles and shapes of homemade bread. Ultimately, the decision comes down to personal preference when choosing between a round or an oblong clay bread baker.
Why Is A Cloche Bread Baker Important?
If you’re looking to produce delicious homemade bread with an equally delicious crust, having a cloche bread baker is crucial.
It’s a no-brainer that heat is important for baking bread, especially even heat. The construction and design of a bread cloche is suited to keep heat focused on and circulating around the dough, creating an even distribution of heat.
Aside from heat, the importance of a bread cloche lies in its unique ability to trap and distribute steam. The moisture produced in the cooking process can easily escape through other baking methods, producing a dry and tasteless loaf of bread. Anyone who has attempted baking homemade bread without a cloche bread baker can attest to the challenge of providing equal levels of heat and moisture.
Because a bread cloche is a clay bread baker with a lid, all that steam is trapped inside, making it easy for the bread to absorb moisture. The advantage to using clay is that its porous structure also allows for circulation and ventilation, keeping steam close enough to the bread to provide moisture, but not so close as to create a soggy texture.
For those who want to replicate the crispy, crunchy crust of artisan bread, there is simply no better way than to buy a bread cloche. Not only does this ensure the perfect texture, but it also traps in flavor, making for a delicious bread inside and out.
Cloche Bread Baker Buying Guide
When it comes to buying a cloche bread baker, there are a few key points to consider. Taking these into consideration can help you find the best bread cloche to start creating beautiful, delicious bread at home.
La Cloche Bread Baker Type
This goes back to the previous section, where we discussed the two different types of bread cloches. You can also look at this as the shape of the bread cloche. Ultimately, you’ll use your own personal preferences when deciding between a round or oblong cloche bread baker.
Take a moment to consider whether you like circular or rectangular loaves. If you like a more traditional shape, you might want to consider hopping on Amazon to take a second look at the Sassafrass SuperStone® Covered Baker.
Buying a La Cloche bread baker means choosing between two different types, or shapes: round or oblong.
Cloche Bread Baker Recipes
One of the great things about cloche bread baker recipes is that they are commonly included with the purchase of a bread cloche. For example, the Amazon listing for the Emile Henry Bread Cloche comes with a booklet of recipes that are specifically formatted for the domed, circular cloche bread.
Some cloche bread baker recipes create high, fluffy loaves which would be better made in a circular bread cloche with a high dome. Others may be better suited for a narrower, oblong shape, where the cloche bread doesn’t need to rise quite as high.
If you have a favorite recipe or something new you want to try, it’s worth considering what type of La Cloche bread baker will work best.
Cloche Bread Baker Material
Looking for a bread baking cloche often means choosing between a stoneware or a clay bread baker with a lid. Amazon lists the Sassafrass SuperStone® Covered Baker and the La Cloche Bread Baker as both made of stoneware, whereas the Emile Henry Bread Cloche is made of ceramic.
So, what’s the difference, and how can you buy the right kind of cloche bread baker?
Both ceramic and stoneware are in the same family, but with key differences. One way to look at it is that all stoneware dishes are ceramic, but not all ceramic dishes can be considered stoneware.
Confused? Don’t be. Both types of cloche bread bakers are made from clay, but stoneware comes from a particular kind of clay and a specific process. Stoneware may feel denser and coarser than ceramic, though the insides of both should be unglazed for best baking results.
When looking to buy a ceramic or stoneware bread cloche, the biggest difference between the two will be portability and aesthetics. A clay bread baker will be a bit lighter and often glazed with bright, attractive colors. In contrast, a stoneware bread cloche will have earthier colors and is typically a heavier weight.
A bread cloche can be made from ceramic or stoneware, though many bakers prefer ceramic due to its lighter weight and aesthetic appeal.
Features to Look For In The Best Bread Cloche
Not all baking equipment is created equally, and this certainly rings true when looking for the best bread cloche. A few important features to look for include:
- Versatility: A great bread cloche can be used for much more than baking bread. It can easily double as a cast iron skillet, cooking fish and other meats to perfection without drying them out.
- Ability to withstand high heat: Another great feature of a cloche bread baker is that it can stand up to high oven temperatures. Most should be able to withstand 450–500° Fahrenheit with ease.
- Trapping moisture: The addition of a lid helps retain moisture during the baking process, making for a perfect loaf of bread each time.
- Stoneware or ceramic materials: Both are made from firing clay, so they function in nearly identical ways. The key to a successful clay bread baker lies in using porous material — like stoneware and ceramic — to provide air circulation and heat retention.
Are Clay Bread Bakers Safe?
Using a bread cloche is completely safe. Whether made from ceramic or stoneware, a cloche bread baker is treated and formed specifically to withstand high temperatures and heavy use.
Bakers should utilize the same safety precautions with cloche bread bakers as they would with any other kitchen utensil. Always grab the bread cloche with oven mitts, and carry slowly, since a clay bread baker can be heavier than other pots or pans.
FAQs About Cloche Bread Bakers
What is a cloche bread baker?
A cloche bread baker is a closed clay pot, made to trap heat and retain moisture to provide delicious bread with a crispy crust.
Do I need a bread cloche?
You can certainly make homemade bread without one, but there is no doubt that the most efficient methods involve using a bread cloche.
Can I put a bread cloche in the dishwasher?
Absolutely not! You should clean a clay bread baker like you would clean a cast iron pan — rinse with water, layer with oil, and heat.