For Christmas, Nancy gave me something super cool...a ceramic BreadPot. For a couple of months, I had been reading about various breadbaking techniques and ran across a helpful blogpost by Mark Bittman that mentioned a handmade covered baking dish and a fabulous picture. Go check it out when you are done here.
I tracked down Judith Motzkin, her website, her blog and, after more reading, concluded that it would be just the thing. She and I corresponded a bit and she recommended this particular model, with a flatter bottom and deeper lid, because it suited the ciabatta-style bread that I have been making. Here is the first product from my BreadPot, a couple of whole wheat ciabatta loaves:
The BreadPot is an appealing, rustic creation with a cheerfully functional aesthetic. It is simple, beautiful, and artistically made. I liked it as soon as I saw it, even before trying it out. Judith includes a bread recipe, indelibly inscribed in the lid, something she does with all of her pots. I will try it soon. She also has a rye bread recipe that I will find again and try soon, too.
I cooked the bread at 425 degrees for 20 minutes like I normally do on my pizza stone, then I took the lid off, and cooked it for 10 more minutes to firm the crust. It worked perfectly, rendering a good texture, firm crust, and full flavor. It will take a little tweaking of ingredients and cooking time, I think, for it to be perfect, but I am off to a good start.