Making delicious, thick-crusted bread at home is often much more enjoyable and satisfying than purchasing store-bought bread. In fact, after using a bread cloche, it’s likely that you’ll never want to go back to the bland, boring products in your local grocery store. 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 they commonly have. To be considered within the definition, the product should have a lid to trap steam inside. Additionally, they 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 has a flaky, crispy crust that can be impossible to match using other baking methods.
Bread Cloche Review Center 2020
|#1 - Emile Henry Bread Cloche||99%|
|#2 - Sassafrass Superstone Covered Baker||96%|
|#3 - Sassafrass Superstone La Cloche||92%|
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Now that you know a bit more about what a bread cloche is and see our top 3 picks, we’re going to provide you with more detail on each of them. Once you choose the one for you, simply click on the button to get the best price!
#1 – Emile Henry Bread Cloche
- 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 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.
- Made of natural ceramic: Not only is the Emile Henry made of natural ceramic materials, but every inch of it is wholly representative of fine craftsmanship and attention to detail. Each cloche is handmade in France, from the mold to the clay 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 comes fully equipped with a booklet of recipes and instructions, helping anyone to learn how to master the art of bread-making at home.
Our first pick in our list is the Emile Henry Bread Cloche. After taking a look at the details, it’s easy to see why this is one of the top bread cloches available. Produced in France with a 10-year guarantee, the Emile Henry is sure to provide years of delicious home-made bread.
#2 – Sassafrass SuperStone® Covered Baker
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.
- Natural stoneware & unique design: We love the design and construction of the Sassafrass Covered Baker. 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 recipes, have no fear: the Sassafrass Covered 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.
#3 – Sassafrass SuperStone® La Cloche Bread Baker
- Domed shape: The round, domed shape of the Sassafrass La Cloche 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.
- Aesthetic design: The overall look of the Sassafrass La Cloche mimics a rustic, classic piece of dinnerware. With its vibrant coloring, convenient size, and attractive design, it can easily double as a serving tray for freshly baked bread.
With the Sassafrass SuperStone La Cloche, 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.
For home bakers who also enjoy dabbling in cooking, the Sassafrass SuperStone® La Cloche baker is a phenomenal—and affordable—option.
Bread Cloche Buying Guide
If you’re looking to produce delicious homemade bread with an equally delicious crust, having a bread cloche 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 are suited to keep heat focused on and circulating around the dough, creating an even distribution of heat.
Aside from heat, the importance 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 can attest to the challenge of providing equal levels of heat and moisture.
Because they are made of clay and have a lid, all that steam is trapped inside, making it easy for the bread to absorb moisture. The advantage of 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 use 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.
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.
They can come in several sizes, but bakers usually choose between two types:
- Round: This type 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 is important.
- Oblong: Compared to the round version, an oblong cloche will produce a more traditional shape of bread, like a rectangle.
There’s no right or wrong answer as to which type 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 round or oblong.
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.
Looking for a cloche often means choosing between a stoneware or a clay cloche 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 choose the right kind for you?
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 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 either ceramic or stoneware, the biggest difference between the two will be portability and aesthetics. Clay will be a bit lighter and often glazed with bright, attractive colors. In contrast, stoneware will have earthier colors and is typically a heavier weight.
Just an FYI – many bakers prefer ceramic due to its lighter weight and aesthetic appeal.
Features To Look For:
Not all baking equipment is created equally, and this certainly rings true when looking for a bread cloche. A few important features to look for include:
- Versatility: A great cloche can be used for much more than baking bread. It can easily double as a cast iron griddle or skillet, cooking fish and other meats to perfection without drying them out. This is one advantage of using a cloche instead of a bread machine.
- Ability to withstand high heat: Another great feature 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 quality bread cloche lies in using porous material—like stoneware and ceramic—to provide air circulation and heat retention. This is similar to how bread boxes work! Circulation is key!
Are They Safe?
Yup! They are 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 cloche with oven mitts, and carry slowly, since they can be heavier than other pots or pans.