The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bread pans, thwack!

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Bella's picture
Bella

Bread pans, thwack!

Hi there, I have finished making my way through Local Breads (which has been great, and yes, I finally got a digital scale) and am now on Brother Juniper's Bread Book in my quest to learn how to be a home bread baker. I have noticed that he does a lot of his breads in loaf pans. Do you have a suggestion as to what type of pan I should be using? I was thinking maybe Chicago Metallic. Also, is the pan prepped in any way for the loaves? (Not quick breads) My third question is about the "Thwack" sound that I am supposed to hear when I tap the bottom of the loaf to know if it is done. Am I to tip the loaf out of the pan to thump it? I know that some of these must sound silly to seasoned bakers but I though I should be sure before I start aking some of his breads.

Any help or advice you could give me would be appreciated.

ps, do you think that I should keep the stone in the oven even for loaf pan breads? Perhaps it would give even heating?

All the best and thanks in advance,

 B.

Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

Bread pans are the subject of lots of debate.  Some people like glass, some like black metal, some people like silvery metal.

 

You can make good bread in any of them.  You do need to adjust the oven temperature a bit, so I wouldn't mix glass, light metal and black metal in the same bake.  (Glass and black metal need lower temperatures than light metal.)

 

I also like stapped bread pans for the days when I am baking a number of (hopefully) identical loaves.

 

My own feeling is that while Chicago Metallic pans are nice, they are a bit too pricey.  Shop around . For my baking classes I use pans I found at area garage sales.

 

As to telling if the bread is done, well, I've never been a fan of tapping the bottom of the bread.  I know many people do.  If you want to twack the bread, pop it out of the pan and tap the bottom, it should sound hollow.  However, I've never had luck with that approach.  I prefer to use a chef's thermometer to check the temperature of the bread.  Start by shooting for a 205F internal temperature.  Adjust depending on what you think of the bread.  With practice, you'll be able to feel the bread, look at it's color and have a good idea of whether or not  the bread is done.  But the thermometer will help give you the experience you need to not use it.

 

Oh, the watermelon?  Many people think you can thump a watermelon to tell if it's ripe.  I've never had any luck with that.  And I  put thumping bread in the same category.

 

Mike

 

MaryinHammondsport's picture
MaryinHammondsport

I have a bunch of bread pans of various types; as Mike says, glass, metal, and coated ones are available. Gearing up to bake from the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes book, I purchased new non-stick ones. I am now kicking myself for the price I paid for them, because I recently found some lovely ones manufactured and sold by Wilton (the cake decorating people) for about half the price. These Wilton pans are now my go-to pans, without question. A little oil and the bread pops right out. I got mine at the supermarket; they come in several sizes.

As far as thwacking (or thumping) I have found that a satisfactory thump means not much -- to me it sounds the same at 190 degrees or at 205. I use a thermometer, instead, and heat to 205.

Mary in Hammondsport

sphealey's picture
sphealey

Farberware has some nice light-grey non-stick baking pans that have recently moved from higher-end stores to the Linens-N-Things type discount stores. I have seen them on sale as low as $7.99 (in the US). They work quite nicely; I do put some olive oil+letchin spray on them but I am not sure it is really necessary. And most of the time I can clean them with a dry cloth rather than having to wash them.

sPh

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

Have you ever tapped a wall to find out if it's solid?  Your bread should be tipped out of its pan and should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom with your knuckles.  Dark-coloured bread pans are better than shiny ones for baking bread, but you can experiment with all sorts of pans, including empty coffee or soup tins, cake pans, etc.

sphealey's picture
sphealey

Took a demonstration class with Peter Reinhart. He talked about determing doneness by tapping and demonstrated it. Then he pulled a thermometer out of a handy pocket in his chef's jacket and checked the internal temperature before making his decision...

sPh

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

...if the bread doesn't sound quite hollow, leave it out of the pans, directly on the oven rack, for about 5 minutes.  This will give you a lovely crisp crust, and it will definitely sound hollow.

Bella's picture
Bella

Thank you so much for responding to my queries. I like the idea of being able to finish a pan loaf naked for a few minutes to crisp it up if necessary. I do have an instant read thermometer in my ever growing baking arsenal and will likely use it as fumbling with a hot loaf in a hot oven to listen for a sound could get precarious for me. (plus, I'd be worried about deflating/crushing if not quite ready yet)

Do any of you keep the stone in the oven when you are doing pan loaves? MaryinHammondsport mentioned using oil in her pans, is that the general consensus?

You guys are great and I am so happy that I found you.

All the best,

B.

oriole's picture
oriole

You can find some magnificent bread pans at Goodwill--give it a look. People get enthusiastic about eating healthy and all Martha Stewarty about baking your own, spend a couple hundred bucks at Williams-Sonoma, try it a couple of times and then everything goes either to the back of the cabinet or to the Goodwill or Salvation Army. Check it out.

A spritz with Pam should be plenty to oil your pan for baking.

jorio's picture
jorio

I have  recently  returned  to  baking  after a  thirty year  hiatus.   years ago  I  made  some  60 loaves of  whole  grain   a night at a  restaurant  on 42nd  st  in NY.I remember  that  we  used to  oil the  new  pans  and   bake  in the   oven  to  form a  baked on  glaze.  After   the   bread  was  done, I  waited  til it  cooled  a  bit   and   the  sides   had  time  to separate from the   pans  ,  with  a   slight   shrinking  and   condensation  with  cooling.  A  light   tap of  the  pan  on the  cutting  board  with   bread   angled   downward,  and   out  it  popped.  Afterwards  it  was   strictly  prohibited  to   wash  the   pans.   If  there   was  any   buildup of   crust  in the   pans   it  can  be  removed   with a  water  soak.   Soap is a  no no .   have  fun

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

Since I use them more than once a week, I don't wash them unless there's something stuck on the inside.  I use Crisco for greasing, not oil, because I think it gives a better crust and is less likely to pool in the pans.  That's the only use I have for Crisco, by the way, since we learned about transfats.  James Beard encouraged putting panned loaves directly on the oven rack for the last 15 minutes of baking for a good crust.

MaryinHammondsport's picture
MaryinHammondsport

To answer the unanswered question re the baking stone, here is how I do it. Note that this is only me. Other people's mileage may differ!

I leave the stone on the bottom rack, period. When I first got it we had much discussion as to where we would store it when not in use, and could come up with only one good place -- the oven. So there it sits. I bake either directly on it, or, with pan loaves or casseroles, on the second rack, placed directly above it. This also has the advantage of my not having to roust out my husband to move it -- mine is a little heavy for me.

Consensus on how what to use inside the pan? You won't find that here! Heck, you won't even find it at my house. I have been known to use oil, Crisco, butter, margarine, Pam-type spray, or Baker's Joy, which is a spray with flour. Whatever comes to hand, really, in most cases.

By the way, check the Crisco can. It now comes as non-trans fat.

Time for me to go check my first attempt at rye bread, the Deli Rye from Artisan in 5. It's smelling pretty good!

Mary

scott lynch's picture
scott lynch

I generally leave the stone in—with that much extra thermal mass in the oven you will get back up to temp that much more quickly after opening the door to load the breads in.

 

Regarding greasing of pans, my experience has been that there is nothing that can equal crisco/vegetable shortening when it comes to release. 

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

this little recipe for a homemade concoction for greasing bread pans (or cookie sheets) was posted here on TFL quite awhile back. It works marvelously. Nothing ever sticks. Only thing I use now. 

 

1/2 cup of solid fat (such as Crisco or lard) - room temperature

1/2 cup of white flour

1/2 cup of water

 

Beat fat with mixer until fluffy (like creaming butter for cookies); add flour and water and mix in well. Refrigerate 

Bella's picture
Bella

Thank you, subfuscpersona, for your recipe.

It looks to make quite a bit, do you have an idea of how long it will stay good in the fridge? How thick do you apply it? Also, what are your thoughts on washing - it was recommended earlier to avoid soap.

I have been faithfully making my own breads for months now, 2-3 times per week. I can successfully brag that it has been since well before Christmas that I bought my last loaf. I am still mostly doing freeform loaves on the stone from "Local Breads" and have been having fun experimenting with them. Every time I do an Auvergne Crown I flavour it a different way to complement my meal. (Last night it was Thai seasonings to go with my Thai noodle salad)

I was thinking that I would have to invest in some metal loaf pans to work on Brother Juniper loaf recipes but I have noticed that Floyd shows his in pyrex. That I do have!

I did his french loaves a little while ago and they grew like crazy, I had to go back into the oven and push them back onto the bread form as their noses were drooping like elephants. But they were tasty and big enough to do paninis on the next day.

Thanks again,

B.

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

The recipe makes about 1-1/2 cups. I keep it in a glass jar (covered with a lid) in the door of my refrigerator. As long as it is refrigerated, it should last a long time - I use it up in 4 - 6 months.

To apply, just put some on a paper towel and rub it on the inside of your loaf pan in a thin film - make sure to get some in those pesky corners.

Its also great for greasing cookie sheets.

Re washing loaf pans for bread - I wash mine. 

PS - Sorry for taking so long to reply. 

 

KosherBaker's picture
KosherBaker

Hmmm Interesting. I never grease my metal baking pans. I have the mini loaves size from Chicago Metallic, and they do have a non stick coating in them. However, to get a release I turn my oven temperature up around 50F for the last 4 to 5 minutes of the bake time. This way the crust forms a bit firmer and does it's own release for the most part. Additionally when heated up this way the bread will contract a little after being taken out of the oven, so it should just slide out.

Rudy