Baking in a Cloche

Emile Henry Cloche 09

There are many ways to get a crusty loaf of bread, but one of our favorites is to use the tried and true method of baking in a clay cloche, here, the Emile Henry brand cloche. It is very similar to using a Dutch Oven, but the cloche was designed to bake bread, so it is an even more intuitive method. In other words, you aren’t lowering the bread into the piping hot vessel, you just lift the lid and slide the loaf onto what is essentially a baking stone. The cloche traps the steam from the dough to create a perfectly crisp and beautifully shiny crust, without having to add steam to the oven.

This loaf was made with the Master Recipe from The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day:1 pound of Master Recipe from TheNewABin5

Baking in Cloche | Breadin5

Shape the loaf into a ball and let it rest for 40 to 90 minutes on a piece of parchment or a Pizza Peel covered in cornmeal.

Emile Henry Cloche 02

The dough will rise, but may not double in size, this is perfectly normal for this method.

Emile Henry Cloche 05

About 40 minutes before baking, preheat your cloche to 450°F.

Emile Henry Cloche 06

Slide the loaf onto the bottom part of the cloche. Put the cover on and bake for about 30 minutes. Remove the cover and continue baking for 5 to 10 minutes,

Emile Henry Cloche 07

or until the loaf is a deep caramel color.

Emile Henry Cloche 08

Remove the loaf from the cloche and parchment to allow it to cool completely on a wire rack. If you leave it on the parchment, the bottom crust will not be as crisp.

Emile Henry Cloche 10

This loaf was rested for about 90 minutes, and you can see that it has a nice open crumb. If you are in a hurry you can reduce it to 40 minutes.

Emile Henry Cloche 03

Note: Red Star Yeast (Lesaffre Corp) sponsored this post, and supplied yeast for recipe testing. Emile Henry also sponsored, and provided the cloche for testing. is reader supported–when you buy through links on the site, BreadIn5 LLC earns commissions.

561 thoughts to “Baking in a Cloche”

  1. Hello.

    I’m thinking to buy your book. Could you explain me please what is the difference between “Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day” 336 pages 2009 and “The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” 400 pages 2013? “Healthy Bread” is included in the “The New Artisan Bread”?

    1. They’re very different. NewArtisan’s doughs are mostly made from white flours, whereas HealthyBread is mostly whole grain flours. Its recipes are not contained in NewArtisan. In order to make store-able whole grain dough, we found that most of our tasters and testers preferred it with additional gluten, so the dough recipes in HealthyBread call for vital wheat gluten, an ingredient that doesn’t appear in NewArtisan.

      That said, NewArtisan does contain some whole grain recipes, including one that is 100% whole grain (it tends to be denser than anything in HealthyBread, because it doesn’t include vital wheat gluten). Most most of the book keeps the whole grains at less than about 15% of the total. You can improvise though.

      1. Jeff, many thanks for the clarification.

        And what about technology? Is it the same technology?

        I definitely prefer the whole flour but definitely will not add artificially gluten. So which of these two books will you advise me: HealthyBread for whole wheat or NewArtisan gluten-free? 🙂 Sorry for the difficult question.

      2. I’m not sure what you mean by technology, but both books depend on the same kind of home ovens, and we strongly recommend people use some kind of simple thermometer to be sure their oven is running true to temperature, something like

        Given that you don’t want to add extra gluten, I’d stay away from Healthy Bread, you should try The New Artisan Bread ( on Amazon). If you really want lots of whole grains though, you’ll need to do some improvising. We do have one recipe variation in there with 50% whole grain, in addition to the 100% whole grain loaf I told you about.

  2. I am very tempted to try the covered method.
    Which do you feel makes the *best* bread/crumb- a clay baker or a coved cast iron pot?

    Thank you!

  3. Can a tagine be used in lieu of a cloche? I’ve got a tagine & I’m guessing that they’re interchangeable, but wanted to check with you guys.

    Thanks so much!

    1. Doesn’t a tagine have an opening at the top? If so, I would seal the opening with a tightly-crimped piece of foil to keep the moisture inside.

    2. Hi Samina,

      As long as they are made with a material that can be preheated without anything in it. It would seem to work as well as a cloche. I have a tagine and will give it a try.

      Thanks for the idea! Zoë

  4. My first loaf turned out perfectly crunchy crust, but subsequent loaves have had a tough chewy crust. Still delicious, just wondering why?

  5. Im on my third batch of dough. I use a large pre-heated cast iron skillet, and a preheated pan for the cup of water. The loaf looks beautiful, and is delicious, just not crunchy like the first.

      1. You were right. My oven temperature was way off. That was the problem. turned it to 475 and Ive got crunchy crust again. THANKS.

  6. am looking forward to using my emile henry cloche–any additional hints other than what’s in your blog post are welcome!

    1. Hi Pamela,

      I think you’ll really like the results. I think it’s all covered in the post, but let me know if you have any questions.

      Thanks, Zoë

  7. I am working out of the healthy artisan bread in 5 book on my kindle so I don’t know page number but I recently tried the flax bread and I did something wrong. The first loaf dough seemed very dry when I took it out of the fridge but would not cook through. I did cut the recipe in half – there’s only two of us so didn’t want the dough to go to waste. I ended up with it in the oven for at least 50 mins. (I do need to double check oven temp but I have made master recipe several times with great success). After I baked the second flax loaf, I left it out to cool and when I went to slice it the next morning it was hard as a rock. I couldn’t even get the knife through enough to break it up to put in the composter! Please help. While I love the master recipe I really want to be able to make other variations but for now will stick with what I know works.

    1. Hi Sandy,

      The 100% whole grain breads will be denser than those made with some all-purpose flour, but it sounds like your loaf is beyond just the normal density. It sounds like your dough may be a bit dry, so you could just add more water. Did the dough feel tighter than normal when you mixed it up or did it tighten after it was refrigerated?

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. It did feel somewhat tighter during mixing but I had attributed that to the flax. I’ll try more water next time.


      2. Hi Sandy,

        The flax really absorbs a ton of water, so for some reason yours did so even more than normal.

        Hope that helps! Zoë

  8. Hello! Can I use my sourdough starter for this recipe! If so, how much and could it get too sour after days in the fridge? Thanks!

    1. Sure, see the FAQs tab above, and click on “ourdough starter: can I use it with this method?”

      Yes, long-term storage might make it too strong for some (not for me!). Could freeze after X days.

  9. I do not regret spending the money on the emile henry cloche–love it! thanks jeff and zoe for all your hints and tips!

  10. I have a Lodge cast iron Combo Cooker, which I think I can use like a cloche (I actually bought it to bake bread in). The shallow frying pan on the bottom, and the deep fryer inverted over that. Excited to try the 5 minute bread in it!

  11. This recipe is so resilient! I made my first batch, but lost count of how many cups of flour while I was measuring. I went ahead with it anyway. Got very wet dough, hard to handle, flat breads with soft crusts, but still delicious (my daughter ate half a loaf — she’s 3!

    Next batch, I used a scale instead of measuring cups — so much easier! I’m never measuring flour by cup again!

    Anyway, today I baked my first proper loaf with the recipe as written (not missing one cup of flour like last time). It came out perfect! My husband took pictures of it, and he never takes pictures of my food. It was just that beautiful. And it tasted perfect! I don’t think I’ve ever baked a loaf with such a great crackle to the crust.

    20 minutes in the combo cooker, fifteen with the lid off… it really works!

  12. I just used the Emile Henry cloche for baking my 5 Min. Bread, and I really preferred the outcome vs. not using it. We felt the crust was perfectly thin and crusty, and the bread was very moist. Thank you! 🙂

  13. I ordered a rectangular kitchencraft breadbaking cloche from Amazon.
    Do I need to put parchmentpaper under the bread? It has a deeper kind of bottom than the round cloche.
    Thank You

    1. Hi Liesbeth,

      The advantage of the parchment is that you can lift it up like a sling and place the dough into the hot cloche more easily. But, it is not necessary, so you can try it both ways and see which one you prefer.

      Thanks, Zoë

  14. this is a technical comment: I just watched your video on baking in a cloche after getting your new book. But the music was so loud, I could hardly hear you guys talking. It was really annoying. (I have my first batch in the refrigerator now. Can’t wait to bake it.)

  15. The ‘Cloche’ is an ancient way of cooking bread. The Roman army carried these and soldiers were organised for food purposes in groups of five. One of the things each carried was a closh (English spelling of Cloche) to bake their bread. They called them Testum, or Clibabus. The word Testum comes from Koptic Greek. So it is likely that the idea was much older than the Romans. Were doing back at least 3000 years here.

    They bake superb bread!

    I don’t like the Emile Henry. I have their baguette baking ceramics which work on the same principal. They finish their ‘Refractory ceramic’ with a glaze. Glazes are less good at coping with repeated heating to high temperatures and eventually they craze. Secondly they have micro- pores which tend to grip the dough making them less non stick.

    The Sasafras dome is made of Stoneware. Here the ceramic is kilned to such high temperatures that the clay fuses and becomes like stone. There are no pores to speak of to make the bread stick. Also, stoneware is capable of taking a lot more thermal shock and heating to higher temperatures such as in a Wood fired oven.

    Stoneware with its exceptionally high kilning temperatures is expensive to make. Hence the high price.

    I hope this is of interest or use to someone.

    Happy baking.

  16. I got the NABi5 book for christmas and have been having fun, and great results! All my bread making so far has been just on heavy baking sheets, and I’m thinking about upgrading my equipment. I was wondering what you might think of the Challenger bread pan as a cloche alternative/replacement? I’m getting to the point where I bake multiple times a week and wonder if it is worth the cost.

    I really appreciate your time!

    1. Hi Alex,

      So thrilled you are baking so much! I have the Challenger bread pan and love it. I think it is a great product.

      Enjoy! Zoë

      1. Hi Zoë,

        Thanks so much! Do you find the challenger pan works for longer loaves or multiple boules, or is it just a good tool for a single boule/bâtard?

        Much appreciated!

      2. Hi Alex,

        It’s really only useful for one loaf at a time. You can do a large boule (ball) or batard (oval).

        If you intend to do multiple loaves, I would look into a stone or steel.

        Thanks, Zoe

  17. Hi Zoe,

    I hope you’ve been well! Just had one more question about the Challenger pan. Does it work well with your recipes? I’m sure it will work with most, but I use your recipes 99 times out of 100, so I wanted to check with you.

    Thanks once again, you’re a fantastic help!

    1. Hi Shelley,

      We preheat the entire cloche. Some people put it in cold, but we prefer the results when it is hot.

      Thanks, Zoë

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.