One of the earliest manners of baking foods, such as bread, was done on stone. Clay pots were introduced in the Bronze Age and were placed over the stones to act as small ovens. Although you are more likely to reach for a metal or glass baking dish when you choose to bake something in your oven at home, clay pots can still be used today to effectively bake your foods. Clay pots are inexpensive and when used, provide an interesting look for food service presentations.
Purchase your clay flower pots. Terra cotta flower pots can be found at garden supply stores, home improvement stores or craft stores. Choose pots that have not been glazed, painted or treated. If you plan to use the pot to make individual servings, such as small cakes or small loaves of bread, purchase six oz. pots. These are usually three inches tall and three and a half inches wide at the mouth of the pot. If you want to bake everything in one pot, purchase a medium-sized terra cotta pot. These are usually six inches tall and six and a quarter inches wide at the mouth of the pot.
Wash your flower pot using soap and water. Be sure to thoroughly rinse the soap off the pot. Since clay flower pots are porous, the water and the soap can soak into the pot if not properly cleaned, leaving a residue that could impact your food's flavours. Allow the pot to dry completely before baking.
Cut a round of parchment paper that is the diameter of the inside bottom of your pot. Place this round into the bottom of your pot. This will cover the hole that is in the bottom of most clay flower pots and prevent your food from leaking out the bottom of the pot.
Spray the inside of your pots with cooking spray, if your recipe calls for greasing the cooking vessel. Some recipes do not want the walls of the cooking vessel greased so that the food has a way to grab on and climb up the sides. Place your greased or ungreased flower pot onto a parchment paper lined baking tray.
Prepare your recipe as you normally would and fill the clay flower pot with your recipe. Cook as normal.
Use care when removing your flower pot from the oven. The clay will become incredibly hot. Allow the pot to cool before handling without an oven glove.
Make sure you are using parchment paper and not waxed paper. The wax treatment on waxed paper will catch on fire in a hot oven. If you are serving individual cakes, you can decorate the cakes in the flower pots and serve them that way.