Sunday, April 28, 2013

Emile Henry Bread Cloche

Look what arrived in UPS this weekend!  My new Emile Henry Cloche...Here are a few pictures of the maiden voyage.

So what is a Cloche?
A Cloche (or bread bell) is typically an earthenware cooking vessel designed to be used in an oven for baking bread. Using the cloche provides different results than traditional open baking i.e., it cooks differently usually resulting in a chewy crust and a moister crumb. It is especially adaptable to baking artisan style breads. The results you get come from the bell, it stays moist and the temperature inside the cloche gets hotter than the oven itself and stays constant.

The TRICK is going to be making this thing work on the Egg...the instructions for baking with a Cloche call for starting with a cold oven.  All you Egger's out there know that isn't going to happen if the cooking temperature calls for 460 degrees....our oven doesn't even get that hot, you need a French oven for that temperature. 
  • 1 Lb. plain flour (500g or 3.5 cups)
  • 2 Tsp. Salt (10 g)
  • 2 Tsp. (10 g) Caster Sugar (we actually had some of this from a previous baking adventure)
  • 3 Tsp. Yeast (fresh or dried) (15 g) (Note: this recipe calls for more yeast than normal because it has less time to work in this recipe.  The results will be a slightly thinner crust)
  • 1 Tbls. Oil
  • 10 1.5 Oz. Warm Water (300 g)
  1. In a food processor or mixing bowl (we chose a kitchen-aid mixer) mix together the flour, salt, sugar and yeast.
  2. Pour in the oil and warm water, and knead the dough for 10 minutes (or in our case mix on dough setting with a dough blade).
  3. Cover with a tea towel and let rise for 90 minutes in a warm area away from drafts, like the kitchen...
  4. Knead the dough again to remove any carbon dioxide.
  5. Sprinkle a little flour on the platter of the EH bread cloche, make a ball with the dough and place it in the middle of the platter.
  6. Make several cuts in the surface using a knife (bakers blade if you own one) then place the cloche over the top and leave to rise for another 90 minutes at room temperature. 
  7. Place in a cold over (that won't be an option here as we are cooking this on the Big Green Egg) but I've got a plan...and cook for 60 minutes.
  8. Leave to cool on the platter, having removed the cloche.
First miss-step; we pulled out the mixer started this journey about 3:45 CST; so if it does turn out it may be dessert or tomorrows breakfast bread...Second change, which shouldn't be a problem is we used a mixer instead of a food processor or hand.   
Letting the dough rise!!!
I think we will go full flame and put the plate setter in with a pizza stone last minute, then place the cloche on that and keep the lid open until the lump gets full t-rex then close the lid and see what happens.
Looks like I could use one of those 'baker knives'...and the dough is probably a little too moist, the ball is going to spread as it sets up under the dome.
 On the Egg; plate setter legs UP and Pizza Stone in place...closing to get up to temperature. Placed the Cloche on the egg just after the fire got going well.  Put the plate setter on cold and set the Cloche on it and allowed the lump to burn until it got a little hotter.  This is as close to a COLD START as I can imagine on the Egg. 
Getting it to stabilize only required me opening the lid twice to allow the lump to flame up a little.  Now we wait...tick tick tick.
The results: Moist center, chewy crust, flavorful but a low rising loaf. 
Lessons learned: Bread can be tricky.  Next time out I will make dough ball larger (mine was too flat) and use a longer set up recipe to allow the yeast to do it's job better.  Also, the slices in the dough ball are clearly critical to allow for the crust to expand while rising.  The dough may have been too moist.  Need to do some homework.
Grade:  First time out, C+ on the cook, rushed.  A+ on the product.  Next weekend we'll try another recipe.