The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Ceramic loaf pans (edit: clay loaf pans)

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Porkbutter's picture
Porkbutter

Ceramic loaf pans (edit: clay loaf pans)

What is the proper way to use a ceramic loaf pan? Do you preheat them? Will a loaf have trouble browning if you don't? 


I don't pan a lot of loaves, but I found this at a Good-Will store for $2, and I just can't pass up a deal on a new toy.

Chuck's picture
Chuck

Tell us a little more about this pan please.


Is it really metal but with a ceramic/enamel non-stick coating sort of like a bathtub? (If so, my guess is to use it just like any other metal pan.)


Is it really an opaque glassy substance something like Corningware? (If so, my guess is to use it the same as Pyrex: just as with a metal pan except turn the oven down 25F.)


(When I use a loaf pan, I proof the dough right in the pan, so preheating it would be out of the question:-)

Porkbutter's picture
Porkbutter

It looks like terra cotta. Just like a Romertopf baker. http://www.breadtopia.com/store/romertopf-111-clay-baker.html


Now that I think about the comparison, I would have been more correct to have said clay instead of ceramic. Maybe I can edit that.


With the Romertopf or La Cloche clay bakers, I get them right up to baking temp before dropping a batard into them. 


That's where my confusion comes in. I also always proof right in the pan with loaf pans, but I have never used any other than metal pans. It did not really seem right to do it any differently, except that I have only used clay hot. 

ManOfYeast's picture
ManOfYeast

I'm new to this forum but when i saw this thread I had to join to add my two cents. I realize advice has been given but for future reference to anyone else here's some good knowledge about cooking with clay. When I'm not baking you can find me making and selling ceramic bread pans. For a terra cotta bread pan just lightly oil the pan. Terra cotta is porous because it cant be fired as hot as a stoneware clay body. Therefore, the T-C will absorb the oil and with more use will become seasoned like a cast iron skillet. wash by hand / no soap (Important!) try to only rinse it, its beneficial to keeping your season. Both TC and stoneware pans can go straight into the oven from room temp. if you long rise in the fridge then dont use a ceramic pan. I like to rise in pans on the range so they are near some exhausting heat from the oven, really only to help the dough rise though. For stoneware pans check the surface: is it smooth and shiny? oil and dust with flour or cornmeal. is it smooth and matte? here you can decide to only oil or both oil and dust with flour. is it slightly rough and matte? your choice here, i like to just oil so the bread browns a little more inside the pan. Clean with soap if its glazed, for unglazed stoneware pans clean as you would terra cotta (see above).

The thickness of the pan should not hinder you baking time too much. If it looks production made then it might tell you to bake longer but it should be fine to bake at regular times. If you have any more questions feel free to ask!

Chuck's picture
Chuck

There's a sequence of five comments on another thread (if it's not already obvious, click on those words to go to the other thread:-) which seems relevant to this question. (You may find the very last "comment" on the blog the external link points to to be the most useful part.)

footsore's picture
footsore

We use a clay loaf pan that all the time.  We just line it with parchment and use it like a metal pan, except that we do tend to use higher temperatures with it than with metal.  We've never seasoned it.  We sometimes insert it into a larger Römertopf covered vessel to get a Cloche effect, although the Römertopf does not produce quite as nice a crust as a real La Cloche.


Our pan has a "Superstone" stamp on the bottom.  I'd love to get another one, but they don't seem to be available anymore. I believe that Sassafras used to sell them.


footsore


edit:


I should have added that we proof in the pan and just preheat the Cloche lid when we're using one. It works perfectly.  If we're not using a Cloche lid, we treat it like any other loaf pan.

mdnance's picture
mdnance

I just got one from Breadtopia.com.   I was looking to see how to use it in here.  Any hints other than the above?

Porkbutter's picture
Porkbutter

Thanks for the link, Chuck; that answered my question.


I think that I will try some rice flour in it too. That stuff works great to keep dough from sticking to my brotforms, and I'll bet it works in the pan as well. 


Footsore, I like your idea of putting it into a Romertopf. I have one of those, and will definitely try it.