Superstone® La Cloche Domed Clay Baker

Material: Superstone®
Weight: (total) approximately 7 1/4 pounds
Height: (to handle) approximately 8 inches

If you have never cooked or baked using stoneware, you are in for a treat! In my testing and in my own personal kitchen, I reach for my stoneware over and over because of the consistent cooking results and easy clean up. The La Cloche is a wonderful addition to my stoneware and I enjoyed testing it.

The La Cloche, which is round deep dish base and a domed “bell” lid, duplicates the all-around and even heat conduction with it’s domed top made of natural stoneware. With it, breads are crusty on the outside, yet light and tender on the inside, all without spraying water on the bread or placing pans of water under the bread or other efforts.

Other foods can be cooked to perfection using the La Cloche, including meats, especially “pot” roasts, baked chicken, fish and more.

An additional benefit to the La Cloche is using the bottom base separately. I have used the round baker for cornbread, deep-dish pizza, spinach quiche, tostada casserole and peanut butter cookies, all with excellent results!

Once seasoned, the La Cloche is simple to prepare for cooking and for cleanup. To season the La Cloche, I spread a thin coating of extra virgin olive oil on the cooking surface and baked my bread as usual. The next time, I did not use the oil. The more the La Cloche is used, the better the seasoning will be. To clean, I place the cooled La Cloche in warm water and remove any food particles with a clean brush, (but no soap!) and air dry. Simple and fast!

I recommend the La Cloche and I would personally buy this item and use it in my own kitchen. In my opinion, the La Cloche is a great starter piece for those of you desiring to bake and cook with stoneware, or a wonderful complimentary piece for those of you already familiar with the benefits of cooking and baking with stone.

This recipe is an adaptation of one that accompanied the La Cloche.

Crusty Country Loaf

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons SAF yeast
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (100-110 degrees)
  • about 4-5 cups hard white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Place the warm water in a large mixing bowl (I use a Bosch). Add SAF yeast and honey. Mix until yeast is dissolved.

Add salt and stir to mix. Add flour 1/2 cup at a time until a dough forms that holds together and cleans the sides of the bowl. Knead by hand for 10- 15 minutes, adding as little flour as possible to keep from sticking. Knead until dough is soft, but supple. If kneading by machine, knead 6-8 minutes.

Shape dough into a ball. Place the ball of dough in the center of the La Cloche bottom. Cover with the dome lid and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes or more.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. With a sharp knife or blade, make criss cross slashes in the top of the risen round loaf. Place the La Cloche (lid on) in the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes at 450 degrees.

Reduce the heat to 400 degrees and continue to bake another 30 minutes, or until bread is crusty and brown. During the last 10 minutes, the lid should be removed for a crustier crust.

Remove the loaf when done and place on a wire cooling rack.

© 1995-2008 Vickilynn Haycraft and Real Food Living. All Rights Reserved. No portion of this review may be copied, stored or transmitted in any medium, for any reason without prior written permission of the author.

About Vickilynn Haycraft

A student of health and nutrition for 30 years, Vickilynn Haycraft has over 25 years of actual hands-on experience reviewing and personally using different tools of the homemaking vocation, focusing on the areas of health and nutrition. Vickilynn is a magazine columnist, product reviewer, cookbook author and now radio talk show host, as well as being full-time wife and mom to 5 children. Read Vickilynn's Product Reviews and Family Preparedness Articles at Examiner.com. She blogs at the Real Food Living Blog.