I’ll prefix this review by saying that I by no means consider myself to be a crafty individual. My homemaking skills don’t extend far beyond washing a load of dirty laundry. That’s not to say that I’m not capable of creating finger-lickingly good meals and über tasty confections… I just don’t want to. (I’m one of those people who believes that perfectly good meals can come already prepared in a neat little frozen package at your local grocer.) I have to admit though that when I received Reco’s Romertopf Bread Baker in the mail to review, I was immediately inspired.
What’s special about the Romertopf brand of clay baker cookware is the particular clay that they use to construct it. It’s very porous, which allows it to absorb a specific amount of water. (Soaking the pot is one of the steps in the process.) Once the clay is heated, the water molecules turn to steam which then cooks the dough producing an amazingly crispy crust with an exceptionally moist inside. Neat right?!
With all of this in mind, I was determined to make some delicious bread, ultimately passing what I believe to be a significant test of stay-at-home mommyhood: bread making. This authentic old school bread baking device was sure to have me on my way. Given that I’d never made bread before, (not even with the use of an electronic bread maker) I was pretty nervous about it. I’ve seen others attempts at bread making fall flat… literally, and as I stated before, this was a test that I needed and wanted to pass – a true mark of a domestic diva.
The bread baker came without any bells or whistles. It was simply a red clay pot in a cardboard box – No fancy brochures or additional equipment.
“What is that a Jesus pot?” my husband asked as he peered over my shoulder.
“A wha-?? No, it’s a bread baker.”
“Well it looks like a pot Jesus would have used. I’m going to call it a Jesus pot.”
“Whatever makes you happy babe.” I could always count on the husband to weigh in with an insightful yet goofy observation.
I can honestly say that I was intimidated. With no fancy buttons to push or a how-to DVD to reference, I was at a loss. I decided to pack the bread baker back up and take it with me to my parent’s house where we were to be vacationing for the week. There I’d have more room to maneuver and a “mom” to reference for help.
My mother was excited about my bread making attempt and was, in my opinion, overly amused at my ignorance on the subject. She decided to sit on the sidelines and watch what I’m sure she believed would be hilarity at its finest.
I dug right in gathering my ingredients. I decided to try my hand at the “One Simple Loaf” recipe which they conveniently included in the box:
One Simple Loaf
|1 cup warm water||1 package active dry yeast|
|1 teaspoon sugar||3/4 teaspoon salt|
|1 tablespoon vegetable oil||3 cups all purpose flour|
Seemed simple enough.
I followed the instructions to the letter – mixing, kneading, and punching accordingly. Now it was time to let the bread rise. This was the point where I’d seen many fail – having bread that was too lazy to “rise” to the occasion. (He he)
I took a peak after the time elapsed. Success! My bread had doubled in size.
Now it was time to pop it in the oven. After about 15 minutes, my sister came poking around to see how I was progressing.
“It smells right, and it looks pretty “bread-like”, she observed”.
Not that I’d asked, but I appreciated her vote of confidence.
The cook time was finally up, and it was time for the true test. I removed it from the oven and gave it a poke. It was as hard as a rock. Was this right?
I grabbed a knife and began to cut. After it cleared the “crispy” crust, it was smooth sailing. Once sliced, a beautiful, soft, fully cooked inside was revealed.
“I’m a domestic genius!” I hollered loudly.
But it wasn’t over yet. Someone had to taste it.
I cut a small piece, slathered on a bit of butter, and took it to my mom.
She took a bite – “It needs a bit more salt, but it’s great. A very good first loaf.”
I was happy with that. I made myself a slice. She was right about the salt. In hindsight, the directions were a little conservative with the flavoring of the loaf, but now I know that for next time.
All in all, for a bread making novice, Reco Romertopf Bread Baker was the perfect tool in helping me obtain a pretty decent first loaf of bread. I highly recommend it. I’m even interested in some of their other cookware. They’ve got bakers and roasters all at very reasonable prices. Before long, the husband will be seeing a whole arsenal of “Jesus pots” in our kitchen ;).