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Best Bread Pans?
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21 posts in this topic

I've always used pyrex for baking, and things usually turn out pretty good. But, I've noticed that there seems to be a lot of those metal bread pans on the market, like the non-stick types.

I have experimented a few times with stainless steel, and it just doesn't work right. I've concluded that the metal reflects too much heat away. It tends to leave everything soggy and undercooked, with the worst of it at the bottom. I haven't tried the non-stick stuff, as I don't like the idea of the silicon coating, or whatever it is.

Anyway, I'm wondering if those who have trouble baking gluten-free breads might have better results just by changing the type of pan they use. It doesn't seem to be part of the discussions that I've ever noticed. But a number of people have mentioned that it helps to make smaller loaves. Might the pan be an important factor in all this? One nice feature of the pyrex stuff, is that you can see how the bread is baking inside the pan, not just on the surface. They seem to conduct heat well, for even baking too. Things generally don't stick much either, though perhaps that is due in part to the absence of gluten.

So, I think it might prove very helpful to get feedback from all us gluten-free bakers, as to the type of pan -vs- the results achieved. Do your breads turn out well, and what type of pan do you use? How tricky is it in terms of ingredient measurement, baking time and temperature? I rarely measure now, but started out measuring until I felt comfortable just eyeballing it. I've sorta settled on a lower baking temp than I anticipated, though I suspect the oven is on the hot side anyway.

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I have a couple of Lodge cast iron loaf pans and love them! If you heat them first you can get a great crunchy crust. I also think the bread rises more in the cast iron. I've never been happy with telfon or pyrex. The bread comes out too soggy for my taste. But I'm a crust girl. I've also never had a problem getting the bread to cook all the way through with the cast iron but I do find that I have to bake it 5-10 minutes longer than the stated time. I often let the bread cool in the oven and take it out of the pan as soon as it can stand up on it's own. That helps with the soggy crust too.

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I think the pan absolutely has a lot to do with the baking result being a success or an also- ran. :ph34r:

The other thing I do, is if it's being baked in a loaf pan, I always TEST THE RESULTS before pulling it out permanently. I take a table knife and stick it in to the bottom and pull it out and make sure it's clean- you'd be surprised how often it's not, there's something sticky on the tip, and 5 to 10 more minutes makes a big difference. :)

I like the small 8" round cast iron pan the most for doing quick breads. Heat it up stovetop with the oil, pour in the batter, cook it a bit, and finish by putting it under the broiler. This way it cooks superquickly, I don't have to use xanthan gum, and it comes out consistantly for me, about an inch tall. I then cut the round into 4 wedges and split the wedges for toast or sandwiches. Okay, my sandwiches are now always triangles but at least the bread tastes good and is functional.

The second kind of pan I am using for loaf breads is the mini- loaf size, which unfortunately the only type I can find seems to be non stick coated--- yuck. I noticed the recipes for a full size loaf seemed to be able to be cut in half to make 2 minis easily, which then bakes up much better. The same recipe will bake up more evenly in an 8" x 4", but then there is leftover batter. A full size loaf pan takes forever to bake, and has trouble cooking all the way thru. While I can get a pretty nice little mini loaf out of one of the mini pans, I despise the non stick coating, which seems to be coming off already- I do not want to be eating this stuff, I have enough problems already.

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This is interesting. I don't think I've ever seen a cast iron bread pan before. I also like a good crust, and the pyrex has worked for me in that regard as well. I have to think the type of pan is a determining factor in the amount of liquid to put in the recipe. Many posts suggest that the dough should be very soft, sorta like thick cake batter. I don't know what sort of pan this could work in, because that's always too soft for any bread I've made. However, I only make quick-breads, so that may also be a factor. Additionally, I don't use starches - only whole grain flours, which seems to me would also have to be a factor. But the very soft to batter consistency works fine for cakes. not having to bake up high helps them cook throughout.

Takala: It sounds like your triangle bread is a perfect quick pizza crust.

Isn't an 8x4 bread pan the usual size?

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I tried Pyrex and it didn't work well for me. I had two different sizes so a smaller size made no difference. I had metal pans, but they don't work as well either. The best thing I found was a teflon bread pan made by bakers choice that is 8 1/4"X4 1/4". The cast iron sound like a great way to go though. I'll have to look into getting some-I love that idea. I do use a heartkit and that seems to make a big difference in baking. I saw a cheaper version at Meijers recently, but I don't know how well it would work. It was a square stone that fit the oven rack (rather than the round ones like you find for pizza). It was $15 and at that price it may be worth a try. It seems to keep things from getting "gummy" and undercooked.

The irony of the hearthkit was my dh got it for me as a X-mas present because since I was 15 I had been trying to make a loaf of bread that was really chewy and crusty. Really hard to make or find anywhere. I finally used this plus a biga bread recipe and made the best bread. It was perfect and just what I was trying to make. Made one loaf and right after that I found out I had to go gluten-free. Sometimes, life is just really not fair...

Paulette

Forgot to add I'm not a fan of teflon. It's just what seemed to work best. I won't use it if it gets scratched and my teenager cleaned it the other day w/ a scouring ball and so I had to buy new ones. Found them at Krogers btw.

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I was always a big fan of good quality metal pans (pyrex)

yes the glass pan people did a very expensive metal pan that was a dream to use.

.

Then I discovered Silicone baking moulds and I'm hooked,

I very seldom use metal pans except maybe spring form pans for large cakes,

and even then I base line them with teflon baking paper cut to size

.

Here's 2 reports from about.com.

Article on Silicone Bakeware from About.Com

.

Silicone Bakeware Basics from About.Com

.

Best Regards,

David

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My gluten-free yeast bread baking has been disastrous at best, but I do well with quick breads in the glass pans.

I looked up the silicone stuff online because it seems so weird. The online jury is definitely out. Some people loved them. Others worried about the bright colors leaching out. Still others had the stuff out-gas really noxious fumes so badly as to make them totally unusable.

There really was no consensus so I decided to pass for now and stay with my glass pans.

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I read someplace that there's a difference between the bare metal ones, and the darkly colored metal ones, which are apparently coated with some sort of non-stick stuff. The article mentioned that it's the dark color which is the desirable aspect - supposedly absorbing heat better. There are also stainless steel ones too. I've read a bunch of reviews about cheap ones rusting. Then there are ones which have some sort of carbon something-or-other coating, but they seem to be not very common, and pricey.

Thus far, what has worked best for me (quick-breads), is to put a piece of foil over the top of the pan while it rises (in the oven). The foil keeps it from drying out too early, otherwise it will crack as it tries to rise, thus won't rise well. Once risen, I remove the foil, and bake it the rest of the way. The glass pan makes this process easy, since you can monitor the progress. Oven temp is obviously important, because the hotter it is, the sooner the outside will get done before the inside.

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I always bake in glass. Literally, everything. Well, not Chebe, but those are individual little balls or buns, and when I make buns I use the small Pyrex bowls for them anyway. I use stainless steel pans for stovetop, and I've never had issues with either. I have tried to use various stainless and non-stick baking pans in the oven, my stuff always burned on the edge, I hate that. Glass handles so well for me that even when I screw up and overbake something the edge doesn't go black. I have one big enamel coated cast iron casserole dish, and that's it. I would LOVE to have all enameled bakeware, but I certainly can't afford it.

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I always bake in glass. Literally, everything. Well, not Chebe, but those are individual little balls or buns, and when I make buns I use the small Pyrex bowls for them anyway. I use stainless steel pans for stovetop, and I've never had issues with either. I have tried to use various stainless and non-stick baking pans in the oven, my stuff always burned on the edge, I hate that. Glass handles so well for me that even when I screw up and overbake something the edge doesn't go black. I have one big enamel coated cast iron casserole dish, and that's it. I would LOVE to have all enameled bakeware, but I certainly can't afford it.

Interesting.

I just started experimenting with a small pyrex bowl for making buns, biscuits and such. The results I'm getting are by far the best yet. The diameter is approximately 4 inches, which IMO is just about perfect. It's the two cup size shown here. The only thing I wish they had done is to put handles on it. For anyone having trouble getting breads to come out right, I'd recommend trying something small like that. This is one of the things which prompted me to start this thread.

They also make pyrex ramekins, but those are only 7 ounces. I may eventually get some for muffins/cupcakes.

What I miss is a biscuit with a nice crispy crust.

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That stovetop and then broil technique does do a fast, acceptable pizza crust. :) Okay, it's not like a pizzeria but then I don't have a professional oven and I've screwed up enough yeast crusts already.

I thought a standard loaf bread pan for yeast breads was 9" x 5", that's what some of my really old ones are that I don't use anymore. Then the next size was 8" x 4", (the size that works with a lot of quick breads) and then the mini loafs vary in size but are around 2.5 to 3" x 5.5 to 6", and then there is something even smaller than those that is still being called a "mini" loaf, or "petite loaf pan, that is about 2" x 3" or 2" x 4". At that point somebody really ought to be calling it a cupcake brick maker. They look like multiple cupcake pans with 6 or more rectangle shapes instead of circles.

Speaking of biscuits, I tried making the quick rising version of the infamous NY Times no- knead bread, recipe adapted to be gluten free bread, and ended up with something that looked and tasted exactly like the world's largest gluten free biscuit. I'm like, okay, this thing has a crust and it's round but Good Grief you'd think it was the Pinnacle of Baking Achievement from the reviews and to my mind the thing needs more fat in the recipe.

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Awesome thread. I just got a glass bread pan and can't wait to try it out for my yeast bread. I use some of the scary non-stick stuff for baking right now and I'm less than impressed with my results. One day I'll throw all my old baking gear out and start from scratch.

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If you like glass or cast iron, you might like stoneware. It becomes seasoned after several uses which makes it non-stick. It bakes evenly and creates a really nice crust. I bought a stoneware loaf pan from Pampered Chef, I also have a pizza stone and muffin stoneware of theirs also, they are awesome! I'm sure there are other brands of stoneware out there, check it out if you don't like metal. I also like glass too and have several Pyrex that I use very regularly. I have definitely found that they are better than metal. Really the only metal things I use in the oven are my cookie sheets (usually with parchment paper) and occasionally an airbake cake pan (all aluminum, I hate the nonstick junk).

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HiDee: How would you compare stoneware to pyrex? Can you elaborate on the differences you've found between them? Like baking time, temp, and how the crust differs?

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I haven't made bread in the oven for many years since I bought a bread machine. I've tried gluten-free bread in it a couple of times but it didn't sit well. I'm just starting to think I'm having trouble with xanthum gum. I might give it another try.

But I do love to bake and read cookbooks. For cookies and pumpkin roll I use my very beat up old pans. My family are candy makers and we used to have probably 50 of these pans in our candy store. I'm guessing they are aluminum but I don't know for sure. They are very heavy. I was given a couple of the nonstick thin ones but everything seams to burn on those for me. I don't use them much. I have used everything for pies from disposable for gifts to metal to glass. I have a couple of thin metal pie tins I love but my favorite are my 10" Pyrex. Not because they bake any better but because they make a BIG pie!! I always make pies by placing my pans on top of one of those cookie sheets. I started because my fruit pies would sometimes bubble over. I kept doing it because I noticed everything baked more even and well cooked throughout. I use metal pans lined with nonstick sheets when I bake 3 layer cakes also on cookie sheets.

Last night I was reading a cookbook with heirloom recipes. One story for a cake said the contributor's aunt told her to always put this cake into a cold oven so that there would be a good thick crust. The author's note said when they tested it that this was true. I only preheat my oven for my pizza stone otherwise everything starts out cold. I didn't know that about the crust but I wonder if it works for bread too.

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I always make pies by placing my pans on top of one of those cookie sheets. I started because my fruit pies would sometimes bubble over. I kept doing it because I noticed everything baked more even and well cooked throughout. I use metal pans lined with nonstick sheets when I bake 3 layer cakes also on cookie sheets.

Thanks for the tip! My pies are always bubbling over (I think because I use a patted in pan pie crust and the edges don't seal in the juice very well).

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ang...

You noted using a bread machine. Is there one you would recommend for making gluten-free bread? Or maybe there's a specific brand of machine that is made for people who do gluten-free baking?

I'm going gluten free following my colonoscopy on Thurs., so I'd like to learn how to bake bread. I burn everything and I'm not good in the kitchen so this will be an adventure!

Thanks,

Kim

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HiDee: How would you compare stoneware to pyrex? Can you elaborate on the differences you've found between them? Like baking time, temp, and how the crust differs?

If the stoneware pan is oiled or well seasoned it makes a crispier crust than glass or metal for bread, muffins and pizza, not burned by any means but nicely browned and still moist inside because the stoneware won't absorb any moisture. Baking time is a little bit shorter with stoneware. When I make cookies or rolls on my pizza stone they don't take as long as they would on a cookie sheet (maybe a minute less) and they aren't as brown on the bottom. I've never messed with oven temperature so I don't know too much about that.

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You noted using a bread machine. Is there one you would recommend for making gluten-free bread? Or maybe there's a specific brand of machine that is made for people who do gluten-free baking?

Kim,

I don't really feel qualified to do that as I've baked gluten-free bread only a few times in mine. The bread didn't digest too well for me. Looking back I think I may have a problem with the xanthum gum. I may try a pizza crust again tonight to test that.

I just had my old bread machine. I have made most of my family's bread for many years. We were big bread eaters and at .25 cents a loaf, it was real bargain. plus I really love the smell of baking bread in the house.

I can't even recall the brand mine is but it was one they only sold by mail. I really loved it and have worn 2 of them out. I was lucky to find the same kind at garage sales! Any way, it's no longer made. All I have read others say was that you should try to find one with strong paddles and it should be programable to bake the dough after only one rising.

Maybe some of you folks who have bought machines recently can help advise Kim on what you like about your machines....

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I don't really feel qualified to do that as I've baked gluten-free bread only a few times in mine. The bread didn't digest too well for me. Looking back I think I may have a problem with the xanthum gum. I may try a pizza crust again tonight to test that.

Are you sure you didn't get glutened by the bread machine itself?

But from this and other discussions about bread machines, I'm guessing bread machines have their own pan? Can you use your own pan, or are you stuck with whatever comes with it?

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Bread machines have their own custom pan with a little paddle mixer in the bottom to stir the dough, which is powered by the machine before it bakes. If you are going to do gluten free baking in one, you should start with a brand new, uncontaminated bread machine because the old ones will be nearly impossible to totally clean the gluten out of.

I haven't used a bread machine to make gluten free breads yet because there's just the two of us and I am content with my cast iron pans, quick bread recipes, and the oven, but from reading other threads here and on other boards, on baking, it seems the Zojirushi, aka " the Zoj " is the one that is the best.

http://www.celiac.com/gluten-free/index.php?showtopic=26931

For brand new bakers, if you aren't used to baking or don't have a lot of confidence, I would recommend you find a gluten free cookbook, such as one by Betty Hagman, or baking book, and experiment with a gluten free quick bread first, or purchase a mix that one just adds eggs and liquids to, or just buy a sack of Pamela's baking mix. Yeast breads can be tricky anyway and gluten free yeast breads don't work the same way, the finished dough has a different texture and may need to bake longer at a lower temperature.

The advantage of doing scratch baking with quick breads, is that you can tell pretty fast if you hate an ingredient or if it does not agree with your digestive system.

For those wanting to make a yeast bread, here is Lorka's Most Delicious gluten-free Flax Bread recipe, page 2 where it discusses the bread machine technique:

http://www.celiac.com/gluten-free/index.ph...28633&st=15

Note for any recipe, if you don't have or don't like something, substituting gluten-free flours is okay.

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