One day last week Tom surprised me with an Emile Henry bread/potato pot. I had mentioned it to him a few days before (Costco had a great price) extolling the virtues of a pot that both baked bread AND roasted potatoes, but had no idea that in a very short period of time I would walk into my kitchen and behold the bright, shiny red pot right in front of me. So, I decided that I would take this opportunity to share my experiences with my new toy.
The pot did not come with paperwork so I went to the Emile Henry website and after a little digging, found the key information to get this pot up and running properly. Emile Henry is a French company that has been producing cookware and bakeware since 1850. The pot is from the Flame Ceramic product line and comes with a 10 year warranty on workmanship. It is safe for use up to 930 degrees F. It can go into the oven, into the microwave, on the stove top and into the freezer. It is also dishwasher safe. Specific to the Flame products are instructions for seasoning. After looking over reviews on several websites, I concluded that a lot of people have difficulty with this step and really burn and make a mess of the pot, so I made sure to approach this step with care. The instructions are to place about 1 inch of milk into the bottom of the dish and let it simmer for 5 minutes. I think the key is to start with the burner on low and slowly turn the heat up. I was able to do this step without ever getting to the medium setting on the stove top and cleaning was a breeze. So far, so good.
As to the next part of my journey, it was not quite as straightforward. I decided to try the no-knead bread recipe on the Emile Henry website and watched the accompanying video. That turned out to be a mistake. I am not sure if it was me or the recipe, but something wasn’t right! The dough was wet, and I don’t mean a bit wet as most no-knead dough is. I think it is possible that the 2 glasses of wine I’d consumed that evening might have clouded my judgement, but I just shrugged off the wetness of the dough and soldiered on. There was just no coming back from that mistake! The following day, when I realized just how wet this dough was, I attempted to add flour, let it rest, and plow on, but there was no saving this bread. The baked result was a stodgy loaf ribboned with unincorporated flour. What now? I decided to pick myself up, dust myself off (literally) and go back to my tried and true no-knead bread recipe and it worked! The new loaf was very nicely baked with a crust that I am proud of. I still have a few things left to master such as how to most efficiently transfer the dough into the hot pot and how to best approach scoring the loaf or not worrying with scoring at all, but for now, I feel confident in my ability to produce a lovely crusty loaf with my new pot! On to potatoes!