There are so many delicious reasons to dump out the dirt and fill those flowerpots with tasty little bread blossoms instead. A terra cotta clay flowerpot makes an adorable bread mold and creates a delicious crust that metal bread pans never quite achieve. Just about any yeast dough will bake nicely but first the pots must be seasoned.
Start with a clean clay flowerpot and generously rub the insides with vegetable oil. Place the pot/s in a 450 degree oven and let them bake for 1 hour. It is a good idea to bake something else during the treating process so as not to waste fuel.
After the treatment the pots simply need to be washed in warm water. If you notice any sticking repeat the treatment. Use the dough after it has had its first rising. Punch it down and form it into shapes roughly half the size of the flowerpots you'll be using.
Most flowerpots have a hole in the bottom, so stuff that with a wad of crumpled aluminum foil. Oil the insides of the pots thoroughly, including the bottoms, and have the pots be slightly warm when you put the dough in.
Fill the pots only half full. Clay makes dough expand more readily, so if they are more than half full, the bread will mushroom over the top so much that it will fall over to one side.
To make topknots, form rounds of dough the size of golf balls. With your finger, poke a hole in the dough in the pot. Pull one side of each ball of dough to a point, then fit it, point side down, into its hole. Very small flowerpots will take only one topknot and in this case the ball should be about half the size of a golf ball; wider pots will take two or three snuggled close together.
Cover the filled pots with a kitchen towel and let the dough rise until it is almost to the top-about 45 minutes.
After the bread has risen for 30 minutes, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Just before baking, paint the tops with a glaze of 1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water. To make this part fun for the kids you can add different food color to the glaze and let them paint the flower blossoms.
Bake your bread blossoms in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 350 degrees. Small pots will need only an additional 5 to 10 minutes; medium-sized, 10 to 15 minutes; and a large pot, an additional 30 minutes, particularly if you are using whole wheat dough.
Slip the baked breads out of their pots and let them sit a few minutes in the turned-off oven, then cool on racks. Enjoy your baked bouquet!
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