- 1 x 1/4 oz envelope active-dry yeast
- 2 teaspoon sugar
- 3 3/4 cup white bread flour (plus extra for kneading)
- 1 tablespoon salt
Terra-cotta flowerpots have been fired at very high temperatures in a kiln, so they can cope with being baked again to make little breads, and they also help to create a great crust.
You can use pretty much any bread recipe for this - I've given you a basic white bread version, but you can try fruit ones, cheesy ones, or muffins.
If you want a shortcut to making your own bread dough (it does take a little application after all) and you own a breadmaking machine, you should be able to get it to do the whole dough-making process and stop before the baking part.
Then you just transfer the dough really carefully (so that you don't knock the air out of the dough) into the flowerpots and bake.
By the way, it's impossible to tell you how many flowerpot loaves this recipe makes - it all depends on the size of your pots! Make sure that they are unglazed and new, or at least very clean.
Put the yeast and sugar in a cup with a tablespoon of warm water and stir until dissolved.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, and the dissolved yeast and sugar.
Measure 1 1/4 cups warm water into a measuring cup and slowly add it to the flour mixture, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon.
Continue to add the water, a splash at a time, until you have a nice moist dough.
(The exact amount of water required will depend on the type of flour you're using.)
Turn the dough out onto a large floured surface and start kneading it with your hands.
(You'll find it easier if you cover your hands with flour before you start.)
Push down and away at the dough with the heel of your palms, then roll and fold the dough.
You'll need to push, shove, and manhandle the dough for a good 5 minutes, until it's smooth and elastic.
Add more water if the dough feels dry and more flour if it feels too sticky.
Lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough in it, then cover this with plastic wrap and leave it somewhere warm for about an hour to prove and rise.
After an hour, it should have doubled in size.
If your flowerpots have large holes in the bottom, place a piece of foil over them.
Grease the insides of the pots very, very well, using lots of butter, then sprinkle a little flour over the butter.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and punch it down (this reduces the size of it again) by kneading it for another minute.
Divide it up between your flowerpots so that the dough half-fills each one.
Sprinkle a little flour over the dough in each pot.
Cover the pots with a dish towel and leave the dough to rise again for another 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400˚F.
Bake your bread in the oven.
Small pots will need about 15-30 minutes, larger ones 30-45 minutes.
You will have to keep an eye on them, since the cooking time will depend on the size of your pots.
When the loaves are golden brown on top, remove them from the oven and place them on cooling racks to cool for 10 minutes or so before serving-in the flowerpots, of course.