Bread Baking with Emile Henry

Bread Baking with Emile Henry

I don’t know about you but the Covid years for me were all a bit of a blur, as though two or three years just blended into one long year. In that long year, bread making, especially sourdough, became very popular. All of a sudden it seemed every one had a little jar of starter on the counter. The word ‘banneton’ became common, and we all enjoyed the results of our mixing, and kneading, and baking. And we were amazed at how very easy and satisfying it is to make your own bread.

Making good bread can become a passion. The tools are simple; mixing bowl, spoon or dough whisk, banneton (for artisan breads), measuring cups and spoons, and then something to bake in or on. Baking the bread properly is one of the most crucial steps in making good bread. Getting a proper crust without drying out the dough, or burning it, is a matter of timing, temperature and bakeware. This is where baking in a bread cloche can come in very handy. A bread cloche is two pieces, a base and a lid, and is a small version of a traditional clay oven for baking bread. Perfectly sized for baking in your oven, a bread cloche traps the moisture released from the baking dough and creates a lovely light crust. The finished bread is softer and has a more tender ‘crumb’ or texture than bread baked in an open pan.

Emile Henry is a French manufacturer of refractory ceramics for food. (I had to look up what ‘refractory’ means. It’s basically ceramic material designed to withstand incredibly high heat.) A bread cloche goes in very hot ovens and for 175 years Emile Henry has been making this type of ceramic for cooking and baking. It’s still a family owned and operated business for six generations and counting. Located in the Burgundy region of France, the cookware and bakeware is made from local clay, and each piece is considered an ‘ode’ to cooking. 

Bread is very important to the French, and it makes sense that Emile Henry would offer a variety of bread cloches or bakers. There is a baguette baker, a bread loaf baker and an artisan version of the loaf baker which is bigger and more rounded, along with a large, modern cloche. All have a base and a lid to trap the steam and keep it in the baker. It’s this steam that gives the bread a light, delicate crust. The refractory ceramic material maintains very even heat, another important bread baking requirement.

If baking bread is your passion, it might be time to elevate your skill set with Emile Henry. It could be like taking a trip to France without leaving your kitchen.

Did you know? A cloche is a bell or dome shaped cover that goes over food to protect it while cooking or while serving. 


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