Natural 11-in. La Cloche Brick Oven by Sassafras
One of the earliest ways to bake bread was underneath a curved cover or cooking pot placed over an open hearth. This is such a cooking bell made from hard-fired clay that nests on a lipped baking sto...; See complete description »
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Good product, poor packaging
I purchased the La Cloche specifically for baking bread. After reading the reviews of this product on Amazon.com, I learned that most who ordered the La Cloche received it broken. My assumption was that Amazon was not doing a good job at packaging the product for shipping. This is what prompted me to order from Cooking.com, my hope being I would receive it not only at a slightly lower price but also not broken.
The La Cloche arrived in a secure box with good packaging but it was broken. I attributed this to the manafacturing packaging and not Cooking.com. I was sent a replacment ASAP which arrived in good condition.
There are literally 20 + reviews on Amazon of people who ordered this and recived it broken, not once, not twice but many going on three times. Let the manufacturer know they need to change their packaging to avoide irritating thier customers.
The top is great, the bottom will break
I still recommend this, but you have know you're buying it for the top only. The bottom pan will break, so get yourself a separate pizza stone to substitute for the bottom (and then use that for pizza and cookies too). I just use my old pizza stone, which I prefer anyway to that stupid pan 'cuz it's easier to slide the loaf onto it with a baker's peel. I think my old stone might be the Bialetti square, but there's no markings on it to be sure of that anymore. That combined with this bell top has been doing great, cooking a loaf of killer spelt sourdough every week now for more than eight months. I have not tried any other products like this to compare, but haven't seen any others like it out there to try.
The upper bell on this oven is thick and sturdy. It has even stood up to a quick air-cooling outside the oven rather than letting it cool slowly inside the oven like you're supposed to do. It makes for great rustic breads in a conventional oven because it holds in the moisture, and you don't have to spritz your loaf every 5 minutes or have a professional oven with steam jets.
My first one arrived with a shattered bottom pan. Cooking.com promptly sent a replacement that had different manufacturer's packaging than the first one, plus they added more padding in the outer box. After three or four uses, however, the bottom pan cracked in the oven anyway. The pan is thinner than the top, and it looks like we've all had this same problem here, so don't count on the bottom lasting for you. If yours arrives with broken bottom but top intact, just save your time and skip asking for a replacement.
La Cloche pans rock!
If you are looking for artisan results in your home oven the La Cloche is the way to go. No fuss, no muss. The more they are used the better they get!12 of 18 users found this helpful. Was it helpful to you? Yes | No Report Violation »
I love the results I get from baking bread in the La Cloche. I bought one several years ago, but when the base broke after a few uses, I regretfully returned it. The vendor was no longer carrying it, so I couldn't get a replacement. When I decided to check it out again, I noticed from the reviews that others had had a similar problem. I finally managed to find Sassafras online and wrote asking them about this problem. They sent me a replacement base! There I was with the base, but no9 of 12 users found this helpful. Was it helpful to you? Yes | No Report Violation »
Great Bread Baker
Based on reviews of others, I fully expected at least one of the two I ordered would be broken (base is fragile). However, both were received in perfect condition. I have used other clay bakers, mainly the elongated versions, with terrific success in bread baking. This round version is no different. It bakes a round loaf with results similar to what you would find in a tradition Italian bakery.
I use the round version for sourdough bread.
I highly recommend this item.