Baking my own and daily bread means a lot of fun and satisfaction. The smell of fresh yeast and the starter just before it's feeded never bores me. With each bread there are so much choices to make: will it be a sourdough bread, do I use a soaker or flakes and which form does it get? Each bread looks and tastes different. However, the big challenge of achieving the perfect crust is keeps me busy these days.
Having a small combi-magnetron also means a restriction. A baking stone is too thick for my oven and the cloches of King Arthur, so often recommended, aren't available in Holland (as far as I know). Preheating the oven at a high temperature and the sprinkling of water in the hot oven seems to compensate it just a little bit. My ultimate goal: having a big AGA with two ovens and building the kitchen around it, is not very realistic at this moment.
Another option is the use of a clay pot or the Romertopf. In the 70's most of the Dutch households had one but they all finally ended up in the garden with herbs in it or on a flea market. After reading the weblog 'Koekje van eigen deeg' of Gea, I organized a clay pot and tried the recipe of the Greek loaf. It came out wonderfull and the crust was as crispy as it should be. This loaf stayed soft and delicious for a few days. In the meantime, I've baked this loaf a few more times and my son and husband just love it. I'll try this method with other loafs this month.
Reading about the use of a clay pot on different blogs, I.m not sure if the pot will survive this treatment. There is a possibillity that the pot bursts when it's cold and placed in a hot oven. Well, I'll try out and let you know.