Saturday, September 28, 2013

Flower Pot Bread - Blue Monday

Saturday was a beautiful day in the Willamette Valley. We spent the morning at the Junction City Daffodil Festival, but the day was so lovely, that Bob and I couldn't bring ourselves to return home and attend to the chores we should be doing. We headed, instead, to some local nurseries to check out new stock. I also needed clay pots to use as molds for ornamental breads that would be used as centerpieces for a luncheon. I've made flower pot breads before and they are really not hard to do. While a lovely sweet bread or brioche could be used to fill the pots, I planned to use a reasonably plain white bread dough. The loaves were to be used for decoration only and it didn't make much sense to spend a lot of time or money on something that wouldn't be eaten. I hasten to add that the bread is edible, but in its unwrapped state it will stale quickly. The bread I used is simple to make and, as luck would have it, I could pass the finished loaves on to others for final decorating. Actually, the only difficult part of my chore was seasoning the pots to make them fit for baking. It's tedious work but not hard. I set aside 3 hours to season twelve pots and get the bread ready for its first, and only, rise. I'm including instructions for seasoning the flower pots, along with the recipe for the very easy bread I used to make them. Here's how it's done.

Flower Pot Bread

Directions for seasoning Terra Cotta Flower Pots:

1) Take two (6-inch) new terra cotta flower pots. Wash thoroughly, drain dry and grease them inside and outside, with shortening, butter or oil. Make sure to coat the rims as well

2) Heat pots in a pre-heated oven at 375 degrees F. for 25-30 minutes. Remove. Let cool. Repeat process two or three more times to create a non-stick surface on flower pots. Be careful not to burn yourself.

Flower Pot Bread


3-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons sugar, divided use

1-1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

1 cup warm water

Egg wash: 1 egg + 1 teaspoon water or milk

Optional Extras

2 tablespoons poppy seeds

2 tablespoons mixed seeds

2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

2 tablespoons chopped walnuts


1) Grease inside and rim of 2 (6-inch) flower pots with shortening, oil or butter. Set aside.

2) Combine water and 1 teaspoon sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle dry yeast over water. Let sit until frothy, about 10 minutes.

3) Combine flour, salt and reserved 2 teaspoons sugar in a large bowl. Add any extras you want to use. Add yeast mixture and oil. Mix to form a smooth dough. Turn onto floured board and knead until smooth and no longer sticky, about 10 minutes.

4) Cut dough into 6 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball. Place 3 balls in the bottom of each flower pot. Place on a baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

5) Meanwhile preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Brush top of loaves with egg wash. sprinkle with seeds if desired. Bake loaves in middle of oven for 30 minutes, or until bread is a rich golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped. Remove bread from oven. Cool on rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pots and continue cooling on wire racks until bread is at room temperature. Bread can be served in flower pots or decoratively wrapped. Yield: 2 loaves.

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