The Fresh Loaf

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Roasting lids for full sized sheet pans?

Christopher Hoffman's picture
Christopher Hoffman

Roasting lids for full sized sheet pans?

I've got Fibrament D baking stones en route that fit into full sized sheet pans.

The bakery only has a convection oven and I have been limping along using a combination of 5 Quart Lodge double dutch ovens and heavy stainless mixing bowls on top of my present baking stone.  There is quite a difference in the browning and crust between the cast iron and the upside down bowl/stone combo. (Cast Iron far superior) i don;t think the bowls are heavy enough and perhaps don't seal up nearly as well as the Lodge cast iron. 

Is anyone aware of roasting lids that are the size of full sized sheet pans (18"-26", I think). If I can't find anything I think am going to have some made out of 1/8 inch stainless.

If my custom lids get a good seal on the stone/sheet is there any reason not to expect a good result?

Do you think 1/8 inch stainless would radiate enough heat to the inside? Is that a factor?

Comments or suggestions? 


AlanG's picture

as it conducts heat better than stainless steel.  One of the reasons that the cast iron dutch ovens work so well is that they are preheated and store up the heat very well, plus you have an effective seal between the lid and the pot that keeps heat in.  I've used the light aluminum turkey roaster pans on a simple thin aluminum baking sheet when I was testing various steaming methods.  It worked pretty good but I could only do a single loaf at a time because of the size constraint of roasting pan.  I now use a baking steel and the towel in a baking pan method for generating steam and the results are consistently good.

I think the ideal thing for your situation is a fabricated 1/4 inch aluminum baking pan lid combination.  I suspect that this might be a costly solution but if there are any fabricators in your area you might want to see what they could do.  Depending on your oven capacity you might not need too many of these.

gerhard's picture

With the cast iron you are getting radiant heat from the reservoir of heat stored in the thick heavy cast iron.  The problem with convection ovens is that they have faster heat transfer between air and product which results in the operator reducing the oven temperature which in turn affects the development and  browning of the crust.  By putting the loaf in the cast iron you eliminating the convection affect and introducing radiant heat to the top of the loaf.

You can tell how much of a heat sink the cast iron is compared to your other items just by checking how long things stay hot once taken out of the oven, a stainless bowl is almost immediately cool.


vlubarsky's picture

I use my Fibrament with a steam maker bread baker.  It is a huge roasting pan lid with a small hole to pump in steam you make with their steamer.  Have had mine for a few years and love it.  So much less hassle than other steaming methods



Christopher Hoffman's picture
Christopher Hoffman

Ah, thanks. Looks like a repurposed hotel pan with a steaming mechanism. Also not quite sheet-pan sized. I'm sure it works great. 

Christopher Hoffman's picture
Christopher Hoffman

I appreciate the replies. I'm surprised not to find something on the market already. Upon reflection and a little research, 1/4 inch aluminum indeed sounds like a superior material for this purpose. 

I wonder if there would be a demand for a sheet pan sized roasting lid that would seal onto a sheetpan sized baking stone. Aren't there quite a few restaurants and small bakeries that have only convection ovens, but who might like to do artisanal bread without committing all the resources necessary for a steam injected deck oven?

If there is a market for it, I could find the resources to produce these.  There are other features I have in mind that I won't discuss yet, in case I actually follow this trail. Any suggestions are much appreciated. 

Christopher Hoffman's picture
Christopher Hoffman

I'm making a thick aluminum roasting lid to seal onto the stone.  I'm skipping the 1/4 inch and going straight to 5/16" (about 8mm thick) and about 7 inches tall (about 76 mm) for the largest loaf I can imagine making.  My hope is the additional mass will hold and radiate more heat. 

I will test and report in a few weeks. If it works I'll start getting fancy with some additional features.


suave's picture

I think that would be a mistake - you need a vapor barrier not a heat sink.

Christopher Hoffman's picture
Christopher Hoffman

 . . .and that is mostly the point. I am designing the lip of the lid to seal onto both the stone and the sheet pan creating a double vapor lock. Will it be totally airtight? No, but neither is the Dutch oven.  The cast iron that we all know bakes exemplary bread is an incredible heat sink which radiates that heat into the chamber. I am hoping the extra thick aluminum will take things sufficiently in that direction. Aluminum won't hold that heat as long as cast iron but it won't take as long to heat up, either. Also the Aluminum will heat more evenly than stainless, 

I appreciate the input very much. Wish me luck!


rfayepowers's picture

How did this go?

rgsapolich's picture

Must have been a debacle,

Richard (near The Burgh)

Christopher Hoffman's picture
Christopher Hoffman

I did look into it a bit more, but the prototyping and casting mold was going to be hideously expensive.  Then I got very busy working at a French bakery after moving to Pittsburgh. Not much time for inventing, lol!