La Cloche Baking Dome Review

 

I finally invested in a La Cloche baking dome earlier this year and what an amazing purchase it was. My loaves now brown more beautifully and I’m able to achieve a delicious looking and tasting crust while retaining a moist and chewy crumb. The baking dome arrived well-wrapped in its box and was immediately used to bake this beautiful loaf of sourdough bread. My positive experience has prompted me to write this raving review and mini guide.

Sourdough loaf baked in the La Cloche baking dome
Sourdough loaf baked in the La Cloche baking dome

What is the La Cloche baking dome?

  • Unglazed stoneware baking dish which consists of a clay base and domed lid
  • Measures 27.9 cm x 27.9 cm x 19.7 cm
  • Weighs 4.1 kg and is heavy enough to retain heat for the baking process
  • Ideal for a 1 kg round loaf

How does the baking dome work?

  • The baking dome traps steam from the dough within the dish.
  • The clay pot is porous and moisture is trapped, but also conducted away from the surface as the bread bakes.
  • The only initial treatment you will need to give the bread cloche is to brush the bottom with vegetable oil (sunflower oil for example) to give it a light coating. The inside of the bottom piece (the bell-shaped top part of the dish) doesn’t need it.
  • To use it, turn out your proved loaf into the preheated clay baker and bake the bread in the covered dome.

Tips when using the La Cloche clay baker

  1. Always heat the clay baking dome with the oven, from cold to hot. Don’t put the clay baker in an already hot oven.
  2. Never make the mistake to spray the hot clay surface with cold water.
  3. In general, don’t do anything to cause the clay baker to suffer any sort of thermal shock in order to prevent it from cracking.
  4. Use a thin layer of semolina or corn meal in the interior base before you turn out your bread onto the clay bottom in order to prevent sticking.
  5. Uncover the bread loaf for the last 10 minutes of the bake to strengthen the crust.

Why buy the La Cloche baking dome?

  • Bread aesthetics
    Make better looking loaves of bread in your oven at home as the dome mimics a baker’s oven. If you are baking in a standard home oven, using the stoneware baking dome will almost definitely improve the aesthetics of your loaves.
  • Crust and crumb perfection
    Achieve a sublime golden-brown bread crust and a chewy and moist crumb.
  • It’s easy
    The La Cloche baking dome is easy to use, maintain and clean. You don’t need a baking stone, you don’t need to introduce water into the oven for steam, and you don’t need to dampen the cloche. All the moisture you need comes from the dough and is trapped inside.

 

Best bread cutting boards

 

Investing in a good-quality bread cutting board should be a no-brainer for home bread bakers. It’s one of the most commonly used pieces of equipment in my kitchen, so a good quality board is essential. Having used this beautiful but entirely unpractical chopping board until recently, the breadcrumb mess it left behind finally got to me and I invested in a new bread cutting board – with crumb catcher.

Acacia Handled Wooden Cutting Board
Acacia Handled Wooden Cutting Board

Having now done my research, the best bread cutting board have a few things in common:

  1. The material. It has to be wood. The usual advice for chopping boards is to go for hardwood end grain boards as they are easy on knife edges and least likely to warp. As I’m looking for a crumb catcher type design, my bread board of choice has to be made from sustainably sourced hardwood.
  2. The shape. It has to be big. Some of the loaves I bake are pretty substantial, so a small cutting board is too small for big sourdough loaves and large rye tin breads.
  3. The design. It has to catch crumbs and luckily there are some great boards designed just for that purpose.

Some of  the best bread cutting boards

Skagerak Bread Board

With a design different to most other crumb-catching boards I’ve seen, this bread board is practical and decorative.

Skagerak Brottablett Pantry
Skagerak Brottablett Pantry

Skagerak Pantry Bread Box, material: teak (sustainably sourced), dimensions: 43 x 25 x 3 cm, weight: 1.2 kg

Wüsthof bread cutting board

If you already own a Wüsthof bread knife, you could get this top quality Wüsthof bread cutting board to suit.

Wuesthof Bread Cutting Board
Wüsthof Bread Cutting Board

Wüsthof bread cutting board, material: thermo beech & metal tray, dimensions: 40 x 23 x 3 cm, weight: 3.1 kg

Mitheis Bread Cutting Board

Mitheis Quadrem bread cutting board, material: cherry wood & aluminium, dimensions: 40.8 x 27.6 x 5 cm, weight: 2.1 kg

Bread Matters Scottish Hardwood Bread Boards

Bread Matters sell bread boards which are handcrafted from local, sustainably sourced hardwood (oak and beech) in Lanarkshire. Bread Matters bread boards, material: oak or beech wood, dimensions: 40 x 29 x 2cm

What’s your bread board like, share your tips!