Basic Bread Pans

(Jaque Clarke) #1

Tried baking a loaf of einkorn in a bread machine, and it didn’t come out as well as I’d hoped - although it was edible.
Decided to go the traditional route, and have been pouring over recipies and U tube tutorials to get the hang of basic baking, but the only bread pan I could find is out in the garage full of greasy car parts, nuts, bolts, and tools. Don’t think so!
Don’t want to pay $99 + shipping for one of those covered stonewear clouches (?) and can’t find a cast iron or ceramic pan in stock anywhere, so went shopping and found pans at 3 places; our local grocery store, the Wal Mart, and a commercial food services distributor.
Not knowing which might be best, I bought 3 of them.
One is a pyrex - like glass one, kind of short and squat.
The one the food service place had is folded up out of sheet stainless steel, and is good and rugged.
The War Mart one is a “non stick” steel one, something like teflon - which I’m not thrilled with but as long as I don’t dig around in it with sharp steel it ought to be OK.

In all the tutorials I have yet to see anyone baking in one of these traditional bread pans “like Grandma used” back in the day - but it’s what I’ve got and that’s what I intend to use.

Do you pre heat these like you do the earthenware rigs, or just plop the dough in 'em and pop 'em in the oven?
Do you bake at 500° or will that burn the bread in one of these sheet metal pans?

My Wife says that her Mother used to proof her bread in the same pan she baked it in - never heard of a “proofing basket”. Why wouldn’t that work?

Since I’m too cheap to order a dough whisk - which I’d never heard of until coming to this site - I took a piece of steel wire from a yard sign stand and wound it around a piece of iron pipe.
Held the ends together with a piece of brass tubing, and if it works better than a wooden spoon I have a busted off black walnut piano leg I can turn a handle out of on my lathe.

Any other suggestions for baking with simple, basic traditional equipment?

(Liz) #2

You can try anything :slight_smile: With open loaf plans you will likely need to drop the baking temp to 375-425 and you will probably not get an artisanal style crisp crust, etc. like the photos if that is what you are aiming for. If you are making a low moisture sandwich loaf, that’s what your type of bread pan is for and also why you do not see that type of pan in the tutorials.

The covered bakers: cast iron or clay trap steam and make for the crisp crust in 500F baking (some bake at 450 or 475 … many variables) for the high moisture low/no knead artisanal breads. I believe commercial bakers of artisanal breads are baking direct on the oven “floor” but in ovens that go to 800-900F. At any rate, except for something like ciabatta, a vessel of batard (oval) or boule (round) shape helps support an artisanal dough as well as adding the steam. A cast iron dutch oven or the Lodge combo cooker are the least expensive and are wonderful also for braising various meats and stews so not a 1 trick pony :).

You can do the bulk proof in any bowl or pan. Many, myself included, preheat a covered baker or a stone if baking on a stone, thus doing the final shaped rise (proof) in something shaped similarly to the baker and transferring the shaped and proofed dough to a hot baker. But, there are some threads where bakers noted they did the final shaped proof in the baker and put everything into the oven at room temp.

As far as the dough whisk, I know that many consider that essential. I’ve never liked it and use a wooden spoon and silicone bowl scraper. Many and maybe most bakers like the whisk.

There are a number of threads on this forum about “equipment”. I would guess we all have favorite “tools”. Mine are wooden spoon, silicone bowl scraper, bench knife, cast iron dutch oven, glass mixing bowl. And I use parchment paper for shaped proof and in the baker.

Just published is a most excellent article on sourdough baking. Even if you are using commercial yeast there is some excellent information about “learning” and the caveat that there is NOT one true way.

(Liz) #3

One other thing … I just looked in the Breadtopia shop: The clay bakers are $49 (plus shipping), but you could easily get another $25 worth of excellent tools and free shipping and be set up with basics. I am NOT affiliated with Breadtopia other than as a forum member and happy shopper. I’ve purchased the oblong baker, oblong banneton, ravioli cutter and more. I’ve had my dutch oven for 15 plus years. Bottom line, my experience with Breadtopia products is that they are excellent and reasonably priced.

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(sysadmin) #4

We don’t sell them, but you can get different sizes of cast iron Dutch Ovens in various places for between $20 and $40.

Bread pans work fine - especially for sandwich loaves (with reduced baking temps as @easummers recommended). But if you ever want to experiment with the more artisan style free-form loaf, you can definitely do it for a lot less than $99.

(Melissa) #5

I’m working on an einkorn recipe at the moment, baking it in a medium one of these. The final proof of the dough in the pan itself. (Recipe will probably go up on this site in a few weeks.)

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(Stuart) #6

Hi, I did a lot of loaves with Einkorn a while back and believe you are on the right track using a pan because after having a lot of disappointing loaves trying to make an artisan style loaf I came to the conclusion that Einhkorn needs some structure to support the loaf during baking due to its lack of gluten structure. My favorite bread pan is the same as Melissa’s, the USA pan but it looks like the folded stainless pan would work well also. Your homemade dough whisk look very much like a purchased one, quite impressive.
Good luck with your Einhorn experiments.

(kmollyone234) #7

Jaque, you can use any one of those pans to make a fine loaf of bread. I just made a fine loaf of deli rye bread today in a smallish non stick metal pan. It came out super crispy crust despite common belief you can’t get nice crispy crust in a pan. If crust isn’t crispy enough to suit you when bread seems done, just take it out of pan and leave crisping up on oven rack til it suits you. I bake pan loafs using recipes like on this website at 400 degrees for 50 to 60mins. If you use a recipe for pan bread more like grandma made, you probably need to bake it at 350-375 because those recipes have less liquid in them than most of the recipes on this website. When people talk about “artisan style” bread on here, they are primarily meaning a bread dough that has quite a bit more water in it and is often baked in a covered pot of some kind or on a ceramic stone or flat cookie sheet type metal pan in the open and a higher temperature and for longer because of the greater water in the dough.

About your pans in photo— the ceramic pan looks like it might be a larger pan in volume so you will need to put more dough in it to get a nice tall loaf. And most glass or ceramic pans bake “hotter” than metal so you need to reduce oven temp about 25 degrees so your bread won’t burn on outside before it’s cooked inside. The other two pans look like either 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches or 9 x 5 x 3 inches. Just measure to find out which they are. Rule of thumb for which one to use: For recipe of 3 cups to 3 1/2 cups flour, use the smaller pan. For recipe of 4-5 cups use the 9 x 5 x 3” pan. Measure the ceramic pan and google how much dough to put in it. If it’s a lot larger the bigger metal pan size it might hold as much as a six or seven cup of flour recipe—most recipes for a single loaf of bread are in 3-4 cup size so if the pan is really big you might need to double all the ingredients of single loaf size recipe to fill it up and also bake it for longer time.

I love your hand crafted dough whisk—it’s a thing of genius. I have a store bought dough whisk which I used to use until I realized I could do just as good a job with no more cleanup by using just my hand to stir the dough which I’m pretty sure is how grandma mixed her dough. Any large wooden or metal cooking type spoon or even a big fork works fine too if you’re not happy using the dough whisk. Just be sure to use only cold water and run it a bit when you’re washing off dough because it will set up like plaster when it’s dry and even clog up your kitchen drain if you wash enough down it without running some cold water down too.

I think you will have best luck with einkorn in a pan. Just let it have its final proof in the same pan you cook it in. In fact I forgot to preheat my oven today so I just stuck my pan of rye bread in the cold oven and turned it on to 400 and the loaf had great “oven spring” and rose up tall and beautiful as ever. So I’m not sure it even really matters all that much. Best of luck and enjoy your breadmaking🤗

ok so picture didn’t work. I’ll have to learn how!

(kmollyone234) #8

Well it worked after all. Who knew?

(Jaque Clarke) #9

Want to start a batch but keep procrastinating - don’t want to mess it up, as I have a habit of doing.
Dentist appt. today in the middle of things - maybe tomorrow.
Should start the dough tonight, but my meds kick in right after supper (kinda hard to cook dinner and bake at the same time) and I’m down for the count. My dough may have to wait for a day or so while I get act together.

Out of curiosity dug out a couple of our old iron Dutch ovens;
The big 10" (HEAVY!)!
is more bread than I need, but the smaller one (8" dia. by 5.5" deep) might make a nice boule’ (or whatever you call a big ball of bread). Do you grease the iron to keep the loaf from sticking or should the seasoning suffice?

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(Liz) #10

Those are gorgeous cast iron pots!!! The 8.5 is close to what I use for a boule (round). Yours looks well seasoned but hard to really tell in a photo. I use parchment paper … After I shape the round, I put it in a mixing bowl or a stretched out foil “bread pan” … many use a banneton but really, you just want something shaped close to the pot. For putting in whatever I’m using for the final proof (shaped rise), I use parchment paper between dough and proofing bowl. Then when I go to bake, I lift the dough via the parchment paper and set the whole thing in the preheated cast iron dutch oven.

The parchment routine makes dough transferring easy but not everyone does that, i.e. personal preference, etc., etc.

If your pot is well seasoned and maybe some cornmeal or ??? you can probably skip the parchment if you’d like.

My further 2 cents … make the “no knead sourdough” or the yeasted version if you are using yeast… on this site … in that 8 inch cast iron pot. White AP flour for the first round. I’m thinking you might be astounded!!

(Liz) #11

*** make your Einkorn in your bread pans with @Fermentada 's recipe when it gets posted. Melissa’s recipes are well tested!

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(Jaque Clarke) #12


Today was as good as any to try baking a loaf of bread, so I set to cleaning up the kitchen, gathering up ingredients, equipment, and recipies.
Decided to try the whole wheat sourdough I’d seen on a Breadtopia tutorial.

Put 2 cups of warm water in a 4 cup pitcher and plopped a gob of my nearly month old sourdough starter and about a tsp. of molasses into it.
Once that was stirred up, poured it into a 13 quart stainless steel bowl and started putting alternating half cups of whole wheat and sprouted whole grain white flour into it, stirring with my home made dough whisk.
It works pretty well, although the rough handle end gets a little hard on the palm of my hand. Will have to turn that old piano leg down to a handle. After the dough gets tough it sticks between the curley cues and it’s time for the wooden spoon or hands to take over.
Had about a half cup of einkorn left over so that went in too…

After doing the “stretch and fold” routine and letting it set for 10 minutes, plopped the dough ball out onto a sheet of floured glass and worked it a little more before forming it into an oblonge and putting it into the red glass loaf pan, which I proofed it in.

We keep our house about 65°, which might be a little cool for proofing, so warmed up the oven with an iron fry pan and bowl of water in it for thermal mass and popped the covered pan in there when it got down around 100°.

Wife said the dough should double in size within an hour or so, then punch it down, let it re rise and bake.

After 2 hours my dough had done absolutely nothing. I turned it out onto the glass and there was no need to punch anything down; it spread out like pudding and had to be scraped back into the pan where it lay totally inert.
It’s been six hours now and no sign of rising.
Sometime tomorrow I’ll bake it rise or no rise - either that or just throw it away. If it comes out like a brick I’ll bust it up with a hammer and feed the fragments to the wild turkeys that hang around here.

If after a couple more attempts I still can’t make bread, I’ll give up and resign myself to getting our bread at the grocery store or do without, and give all my bakery stuff to someone who has a clue what to do with it.

(Jaque Clarke) #13

Proofing attempt in the oven:Proof%20in%20Oven

(Jaque Clarke) #14

After 18 hrs. of “proofing”, my dough has only risen about 1/8".
What am I supposed to do with a dead loaf? Bury it out back?
Turned oven on to 375° and popped it in - set timer for a half hour.
Oh!; It just went off! (Smoke alarms as of yet have not. Good sign…)

(Jaque Clarke) #15

Wonder of wonders - my apparently lifeless loaf actually rose (to some extent anyway).
Seems to have blown out on one side a bit.
Jamming the thermometer into it was like skewering a block of fudge, and it read almost 200, but not quite so turned the oven off and stuck it back in for a while.
After cooling an hour or so, I wonder if I’ll be able to slice it with a knife or if I’ll have to go out to the shed and fetch the chain saw…

(Jaque Clarke) #16

After about another 20 min. pulled the pan and the thermometer read around 220; done!
Had powdered the pan with bran meal before plopping the dough in, but wish I’d greased it; loaf was stuck hard and had to be pried out with a heavy duty steel spatula.

This is one heavy bread-brick! It about crushed the little kitchen scale so had to fetch the people scale out of the bathroom on which it weighed in at a hefty 3 pounds!

It doesn’t have a “crust” so much as a hard 1/2" thick shell; might not be bullet proof but possibly BB resistant at the very least.
Managed to peel back the shell and break a chunk off.

With my plastic dentures, eating it isn’'t happening; gave a few to the resident poodle, who brought them back to his bed under the table and gnawed on them. A Milk Bone dog biscuit is soft by comparison.

Having peeled back some of the shell, I took a serrated knife and sliced off a few slabs. It’s edible; not particularly good, but not all that bad either. Definitely chewy.

Chunks of the shell I’d torn off were tossed out in the yard so I can watch the crows and wild turkeys fight over them.
A big black crow just landed in a tree to check them out; came down, picked up a chunk… put it back down and took off towards the neighbor’s yard. Waiting to see how the turkeys like it…

(Melissa) #17

Love your sense of humor and the sourdough-eating :dog2:

I’m not sure where things went wrong but “month old starter” made me wonder if it had been fed recently.

The long rise time is not unreasonable for sourdough, whereas your wife’s suggestion of doubling in an hour sounds appropriate for commercial yeast, not sourdough starter.

Great photographic documentation of the experience :slight_smile:

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(Jaque Clarke) #18

Our of curiosity, I took a meat cleaver and chopped up a section of crust/shell into dice sized cubes before dumping a can of French onion soup on it, nuking it and letting it set for about 10 minutes. The chunks softened up and were really quite tasty - so I don’t need to feed it to the crows after all.

(SingKevin) #19

Late response, but buy the Lodge 5qt dutch oven on Amazon. $40 and it will last a lifetime for all but very largest boules. Use it upside down it also makes putting dough into a 500°F iron pot easy. I use parchment paper but mostly just because it makes cleanup so easy.

(Jaque Clarke) #20

Have a couple of dutch ovens as well as a couple of iron pots, but I’m going for a conventional loaf configuration for sandwiches etc…
Loaf pan won’t fit inside the D.O, but I’m thinking of putting it inside a turkey roaster pan to see it that keeps the crust a little more managable - perhaps along with a bit of water in a measuring cup or something.
Last loaf of WW made dough in the bread machine; used a packet of yeast along with about .25 tsp of baking powder.
It rose a little but still came out heavy… Tasted great though!
Next attempt I’m going to lob in a big wad of sourdough, packet of yeast, and about a tsp of powder… Either going to get that dang loaf to rise or blow it all to splithers trying!
Have a putty knife all ready to scrape it off of the inside of the oven… or just fire up the self cleaning feature and incinerate it in place.
I’m just about crazy enough to enjoy this whole baking gig!