I'm becoming obsessed with baking sourdough bread. I've been avidly reading all the information and tips I can find on the internet. One tip which really appealled to me is baking under a cloche.
You can buy a baking cloche for about $50. I can't find a UK supplier, so if I wanted one I'd have to pay international shipping. I imagine it would work out pretty expensive.
Or you can go to your garden centre, buy a 10" plant pot and base, a big nut, a few bolts and washers, and make your own "poor man's cloche". Mine came to less than £10 all told, especially since I got a 10% discount for showing my allotment membership card. The arrangement with the bolt and washers has two purposes - one is to make a sort of handle, helpful for handling oven-hot earthenware. The other purpose is to close the hole at the bottom (top) of the pot, to create a sealed environment. It becomes an oven-within-an-oven (although it can also be used for baking bread on an open fire or barbecue - can't wait to try that).
I gave my poor man's cloche a bit of a clean and then put it in a low oven. I turned the oven up little by little to gradually drive out any residual moisture from the pot. This process took about 3 hours. Then I let it cool slowly, and it was ready for its first use. I'll bake my sourdough boule in it today. I'll let you know how it turns out.