The Sheer Joy of Baking Bread At Home
Even among those who are entirely against carbs, bread is the ultimate treat that’s as dangerous to a waistline as chocolate. However, what many people don’t know is that the bread they can get at a supermarket is widely different from the kind they can bake at home.
Indeed, apart from saving you a lot of money in the long run, baking bread at home could actually improve your diet and help you stick with your health kick. Furthermore, homemade bread should be more delicious than the store-bought variety. After all, you can easily switch up the recipes as you please and experiment!
Best of all, there’s a lot of joy in baking bread at home and quite literally putting food on the table — food you’ve made with your own two hands. Nevertheless, to ensure your bread is worth all the calories and as delicious as possible, using the right tools should be a priority. Without further ado, let’s see all the pros and cons of top bread pan materials.
Cast Iron Bread Pan
- If you decide to go for a cast iron bread pan, know that it is a wonderful non-stick option — if it’s properly seasoned. Furthermore, cast-iron pans offer a massive advantage in terms of their resistance to high temperatures. As it stands, cast iron is oven-safe up to 500 °F and can both retain and distribute heat evenly. Thus, your bread should be cooked all the way through and have a nice crust on top.
- Another great thing about cast iron pans is that they’re (obviously) rather durable, not to mention inexpensive. Your pan should keep you company for many years to come and allow you to bake loaf after a loaf without looking worse for wear after each use.
- However, just because cast iron is durable and inexpensive doesn’t make it the ideal choice for every baker out there. Unfortunately, cast iron pans are rather heavy, which makes maintaining them a bit tricky in general. Due to the material, they aren’t dishwasher-safe, so you’ll have to scrub each one by hand. Most tedious of all, you’ll have to season them occasionally to bring back their non-stick powers.
Silicone Bread Pan
- Silicone bread pans have become very popular in recent years, mostly because of all the shapes they come in, as well as their top-notch non-stick properties. Indeed, if scrubbing remaining bread out of a pan is your worst nightmare, a silicone bread pan should be your go-to — quick release is practically a guarantee with these. What’s more, silicone pans are freezer-, microwave-, and even oven-safe (up to 450 °F).
- Unfortunately, there are a few disadvantages to using silicone bread pans — they can twist easily and aren’t able to retain and distribute heat evenly. Thus, while baking your bread, you may have to keep readjusting the temperature and the baking time. That may, in the end, leave you with underbaked loaves.
Clay Bread Pan
- An unglazed clay bread pan is one of the best options for both novice and veteran bakers who value an amazing crust above anything else. Furthermore, clay dishware, such as the one you’d use for your daily loaves, can withstand up to 600 °F and distribute heat evenly. Because of that, bakers often use these pans for artisan bread.
- As you might have guessed, clay is not a very forgiving material; if you drop your pan, it’ll likely break immediately. Seasoning is also crucial here; if the pan hasn’t been seasoned properly, it might crack rather quickly.
- There’s also a slight temperature problem here. Though clay pans can distribute heat well, you have to be careful when changing the temperature. Sudden shifts can cause cracks, so you’d have to switch up the temperature gradually.
- Additionally, keep in mind that you cannot use soap and water for clay pans. It’s best to use a stiff brush and hot water, as the detergent can easily soak into the clay.
Glass Bread Pan
- At first glance, glass bread pans might not seem as convenient as, say, metal ones. However, they are used quite often since they are non-reactive and able to heat up relatively fast. On top of that, there’s less cleanup after using a glass pan. Sure, since food can stick to it, you may have to grease it quite well. But you won’t have to wash it by hand since most glass pans are dishwasher-safe!
- Despite those benefits, a huge flaw of glass pans is that they’re fragile and unable to handle sudden temperature changes. Furthermore, though the pan itself is a great conductor of heat and will heat up quickly, it won’t do it evenly. Consequently, that means your bread may easily burn on the outside while remaining gooey and severely underbaked on the inside.
Ceramic Bread Pan
- As a fantastic heat conductor, ceramic is a solid choice since it allows for an even bake each time. There won’t be a need to keep readjusting the temperature at all or worry that the top may come out charred — ceramic pans both heat up and transfer the heat well. What’s more, they often have a rather smooth, non-stick surface, perfect for baking bread, and are usually dishwasher-safe too.
- Unfortunately, though some ceramic pans may be, indeed, dishwasher-safe, you ought to wash them by hand to avoid damaging the non-stick coating. Additionally, you should keep in mind that ceramic cookware is best used on low to medium heat — and will take a while to heat up. High temperatures may damage the coating, too, reducing the overall longevity of your pan.
Aluminum Bread Pan
- Metal cookware is a clear favorite across the board, with aluminum as one of the most popular options. One of its best traits is that it is rather reliable, offering the same, even results each time you use the pan.
- It both heats up and cools down fast, not to mention that it’s overall more durable than, say, ceramic cookware (but still super lightweight), and easy to clean. On top of that, to ensure the user’s safety, aluminum cookware is often anodized. That makes its surface non-reactive, durable, and corrosion-resistant.
- Aluminum is problematic when it’s non-anodized or if an aluminum pan has scratches all over. When it comes into contact with acidic liquids, the metal will react to it and end up in the food.
- Additionally, raw aluminum may warp in high temperatures and scratch rather easily. Therefore, if you’re on the hunt for a durable metal bread pan, always opt for anodized aluminum. Though it may take a bit longer to heat up and is likely more expensive than the raw variety, it’s much more durable and safer to use overall.
Depending on the kind of bread you’re making, your skill level, and, let’s face it, how much patience you have, there is a variety of bread pans to choose from. Fortunately, you now know all their strengths and weaknesses — let the baking begin!