You’re a skilled bread baker who can take a few simple ingredients and combine them to make mouth-watering loaves. But try as you might, they never come out quite as tasty as the samples from your favorite bakery, and now you want to take things to the next level. That’s where a bread cloche comes in.
Traditionally made from ceramic, clay or cast iron, bread cloches act as mini bread ovens that envelop dough, trapping moisture as it bakes. This moisture evaporates and turns into steam which keeps the crumb moist before dissipating and helping to form crisp, golden crusts. It’s enough to make this lengthy process all worthwhile.
But with so many models on the market, it can be difficult to know which bread cloche truly rises to the occasion. Here, we’ve selected our top four picks available on Amazon so your next boule can be your best yet.
1. Emile Henry Ceramic Bread Cloche
Made using the company’s proprietary methods, Emile Henry’s bread cloche is a classic made from ceramic with a glazed finish. Its circular base comes complete with a snuggly fitting dome lid and two handles to make transferring your handiwork in and out of the oven safe and easy. In development for two years, this model is best suited to round loaves made using about three cups of flour.
Pros: The ceramic coating is beautiful enough to place directly on any table setting.
Cons: Its hearty construction might make it a bit heavy for some bakers.
2. Sassafras Stoneware Bread Cloche
This premium bread cloche is made from a professional-quality unglazed stone to help enhance heat retention and emulate the results you’d expect from a brick oven. The material naturally captures and absorbs moisture to create the kind of chewy crumb and shattering crust.
Pros: This cloche can also be used to cook poultry, fish, and roasts.
Cons: Its unique shape might not be the right fit for every kind of loaf.
3. Superstone Glazed Stoneware Cloche
You probably don’t have a brick oven in your house, but Superstone’s glazed cloche allows you to get pretty close. The exterior has an elegant, presentation-ready glaze while the stoneware construction is exposed across the interior to aid browning. Its tall domed silhouette makes it a great choice for voluminous loaves that require a tall rise.
Pros: The stoneware helps create crusts like those from a brick oven.
Cons: The unglazed interior could make the removal of certain breads a bit tricky.
4. LoafNest Cast Iron Bread Cloche
LoafNest’s bread cloche uses the same kind of enameled cast iron construction you might find in your favorite Dutch oven. Its material means it is a great choice for preheating in the oven so your dough begins to rise rapidly for a superior crumb. An added silicone liner means that even sticky breads lift out effortlessly without tearing.
Pros: The snug lid means the heat and moisture are securely trapped within.
Cons: Some bakers may not want to fuss with the added liner.