Flowerpot Bread Recipe With Bell Pepper And Onion (Römertopf Bread Recipe) Egyptian Inspired
Ancient Egyptians used to bake bread in cone-shaped terracotta clay pots. The result is a wonderful soft texture inside and slightly crisp outside. The basil, bell pepper, and onion in this clay pot bread are authentic ingredients that Egyptians typically use. Baking this bread in a flowerpot will give you similar results to the Egyptian cone-shaped terracotta clay pots. You can also use a römertopf clay pot to cook this in. This recipe makes a great römertopf bread.
According to touregypt.net, “Excavation of a bakery dating to the Old Kingdom at Giza evidences that heavy pottery bread molds were set in rows on a bed of embers to bake the dough placed within them.” As well as clay pottery for baking, basil has also been used in Egyptian cuisine since ancient times. The Papyrus Ebers, which is an ancient Egyptian text written in 1500 BC, gives reference to basil.
Römertopf bread is the closest method to baking the way ancient Egyptians baked their bread. A roemer topf also known as römertopf is a red clay cooking pan with a lid. It’s also great for making tagines. But baking bread in terracotta pots is an easy and effective way to get similar results for you bread. This is simply the best clay pot recipe I have tried. The flavor of this clay pot bread is exquisite. The bell peppers and onion come through nicely and the dough is moist and slightly chewy on the inside with a perfect crust that is not too hard. There are many clay pot recipes but this one is definitely a winner. Clay pot cooking is easy and provides great results, so give it a try.
This recipe is courtesy of Paul Hollywood’s book “100 Great Breads”. For this flowerpot bread recipe you will need unglazed, small terracotta pots or a römertopf. Look for unglazed if you are using flower pots since the glazing for flower pots may contain lead. Otherwise you can use a glazed roemer topf because it was designed for baking. If using flower pots, you can use pots that are 4 inches wide and 10 inches high or mini pots that will make each bread the size of a dinner roll. If using the römertopf you will make one large loaf. You will have to adjust the baking time accordingly. The 4 inch wide pot will require at least 30 minutes while smaller pots will require 15-20 minutes. The large loaf may need 35 minutes. You can test the internal temperature, with a food thermometer, which should be 195 degrees F or 100 degrees C.
For the recipe below you will need three 4 inch wide by 10 inch high, unglazed, terracotta clay flower pots. The paint used for glazing may contain lead.
Ingredients you will need for this flowerpot or römertopf bread are: bread flour, salt, butter, yeast, warm water, onions, olive oil, basil, and bell peppers. The exact quantities are below.
Chop and deseed your peppers and chop your basil and onions.
Mix the salt and flour. Add the butter and knead into the flour till it resembles bread crumbs.
Mix 1 additional tsp flour to 1/2 cup of warm water. Add the yeast to the water mixture and allow it foam.
Add the water to the flour and any additional warm water till you have a pliable dough. Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes until it is somewhat elastic.
Place the dough in a oiled bowl and coat the dough with a little oil. Cover and place in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled.
Cook the onions in olive oil till very lightly browned and set aside to cool. Once cool to the touch mix with the peppers and basil. Knead this mixture into the dough.
Divide the dough into three equal balls. Line the inside and bottom of the flowerpots with silicone paper. I placed each flowerpot on the parchment and traced a circle to line the bottom then cut out a rectangle to line the sides. Place one ball of dough into each pot and allow it to rise for 1 hour. I decided to use mini flower pots because that is what I had on hand.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake the flowerpots for 30 minutes. Remove the bread to cool and then return them to the unlined flowerpots for display to your guests if desired.