Sunday, May 10, 2009

Flower Pot Bread

I thought it would be fun to make Spring Flower Pot Bread using earthenware clay pots as molds. Even though I used an easy and basic yeast bread, once the bread is baked in the flower pots, it makes a whimsical presentation for a Mother's Day brunch or for any special occasion.




Preparing the clay pots for baking:

Before you can use clay pots for baking bread, the pots need to be tempered. The method I used is a little different than the instructions in the recipe, but I found that baking the pots a little longer helped temper them better.

Be sure to use food-grade clay pots:

Brush clean, new pots liberally inside and out with oil and place in a hot oven (about 400°F) for about 30 minutes. For convenience, you can do this while you're cooking something else. Repeat this process several times until the pots are impregnated with oil. They can then be used for baking bread and will need very little greasing. "BREAD: The breads of the world and how to bake them at home" by Christine Ingram and Jennie Shapter.

Flower Pot Bread
Makes: 3 loaves


"Flower Pot Bread on Spring Menu," Amy Vanderbilt, Los Angeles Times, May 29, 1969 (p.F8)

I found the recipe on the Food Timeline http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodbreads.html#flowerpot)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons shortening
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 envelopes dry yeast
  • 6 cups sifted flour
  • Melted shortening (or cooking spray)



Directions:

1) Wash and thoroughly grease three red clay flowerpots 5-inch wide and 5-inch deep. Bake pots at 375 deg. 5 to 10 minutes. Repeat the process. (Or, follow the process listed above)

2) Scald milk in saucepan. Remove from heat and add 3 tablespoons sugar, shortening and salt. Stir until shortening is melted, then cool to lukewarm. Combine lukewarm water, 2 teaspoons sugar and yeast, then stir in 4 cups flour and beat well. Add remaining flour and mix well. This is a sticky dough.

3) Transfer dough to a lightly greased bowl and brush the top with melted shortening (or spray with cooking spray). Cover with waxed paper (or plastic wrap) and towel and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 to 45 minutes. I covered my dough with plastic wrap then a towel and let is rise on the counter.

4) Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead lightly. Divide dough into three equal parts and place in well-greased flower pots.

Even though I tempered the pots really well, I still find it helpful to grease them before placing the dough in them. The bread usually comes out clean this way.

5) Cover the pots with plastic wrap and let the loaves rest in a warm place until doubled in bulk.

6) Bake at 375 degrees F. for 35 to 40 minutes.

I put the pots on a baking sheet to bake.  When the tops started to brown, I tented them with foil to keep them from burning.  I baked the loaves for about 35 minutes then tested them with a skewer to make sure they were done.

7) Let the finished loaves cool in the pot for about 10 – 15 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.  This helps prevent the loaves from tearing when you remove them from the pots.



Serve in pots using real or fake flowers "growing" from them.




I put the loaves back in the pots to serve since they make such a pretty presentation. I gave one to my mother and one to my sister and kept one for myself. The bread is actually very tasty. It tastes great with butter or jam.


Happy Baking!
Cathy


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