Hack Your Bread Baking Routine With A Terracotta Flower Pot

If you're looking for an earthy, crafty upgrade to your bread-baking projects, consider reaching for terracotta pots. Clay pots have been used to bake food in fires and tandoor ovens for centuries, as the earthen clay cooks dough evenly and leads to perfectly cooked goods. 

While the porous material of terracotta circulates heat and insulates dough placed into the earthenware containers, the clay itself has been thought to neutralize acidity and add a smoky, earthy flavor profile to recipes. Bread loaves baked in ceramic containers can yield a tempting, crunchy crust that gives way to a delicately soft interior. Plus, flowerpots are relatively cheap when compared to pricier bread pans and classic Dutch ovens. With so many sizes of flower pots to choose from, your favorite bread recipes can be served in the terracotta vessels themselves for a down-to-earth, homey touch or be removed to be sliced and presented alongside the meal you have planned.

Invite an earthen aesthetic to dinner

Whether you have your heart set on fluffy chocolate brioche or herby focaccia rolls, terracotta pots can bring a delightful Instagrammable accent to your meals. For gummier, chewier bread recipes, line pots with oil before placing the dough into the terracotta vessels. When coating the inside of the pot, use neutral oils like sunflower or rapeseed, and paint the container generously using a brush, sponge, or paper towel. You'll notice terracotta soaks up oil quickly, so you may need to use a few coats, or you can use baking paper to line containers, particularly those with drainage holes in the bottom; buttery, oily doughs are best served by a lining of parchment paper. 

While you can reuse a container that once housed herbs or flowers, you can also buy pots strictly for culinary use. Look for unglazed pots at home and garden stores and choose from smaller sizes to serve individual portions or select larger pots to place a bigger-sized loaf onto the dining room table. Soak the pots in warm water and wipe them clean to ready them for baking. The more you use the pots in your kitchen, the more familiar you will become with the characteristics and results of the terracotta containers and the pieces of bread they produce.