More Questions About Breadmaking

November 1, 2006 @ 11:03 am | Filed under: Food

I knew I could count on you guys! The comments section of yesterday’s post is filling up with wonderful bread recipes, and a few of you have emailed me recipes as well. Thank you!

Now, let’s talk equipment. Not mixers with dough hooks— although, what the heck, go ahead and recommend your favorites while you’re at it, and then I just might know what hints to drop my husband for Christmas. But right now I want to know about loaf pans and kneading surfaces. We have one battered old nonstick loaf pan I use for meatloaf and packaged quickbreads. (It works just fine for that yummy beer bread my friend Lisa mentioned in the comments. I do love that stuff! And no, I don’t make any money off my frequent Tastefully Simple endorsements—I am just a big fan.)

Pan
My friend Joann recommended this pan de mie, which bakes loaves shaped like storebought sandwich bread. Very cool. Sounds like something else to hint for come Christmastime…

But I have learned that I should not invest money in supplies for any hobby or endeavor TOO SOON. I have to try this out for a while to see if we (all right, Jane) are going to stick with it. So will my one old loaf pan serve us all right? For now? And when/if we do decide to invest in more pans (since Becky points out that you never want to make just one loaf at a time), which ones do you like, O wise and experienced bakers of bread?

Also, will a big wooden cutting board work as a kneading surface? My kitchen table is kind of rickety (it is a treasured hand-me-down from my dear Aunt Genia—given to me when I was in college, yikes!) and I can’t imagine it standing up to much pounding and pushing. The countertops in my kitchen here are some kind of tile—beautiful but bumpy. I use a plastic cutting board for chopping veggies, but I found a nice wooden 10×16" one during the unpacking. Would that work? Wow, am I clueless. I told you so. Go ahead, someone ask me a question about Charlotte Mason or, say, the domestic practices of late 18th-century Scotland, quick!


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Comments

17 Responses | | Comments Feed

  1. Pampered Chef has a wonderful 4 mini-loaf in one stone/pan. Great for Christmas gift-bread baking recipes.
    I also use a wooden cutting board for kneading, etc.

  2. If you’re going to use a wooden cutting board to knead on, you’ll have to brace it against something, else it will slide away from you.

    I use glass (Pyrex, I think) bread pans — I’ve had them since I was in my teens (um, for a long time) and have never used anything else.

  3. I used to knead bread dough (when I used to bake bread without using that easy little machine I own now) on the countertop–dust it generously with flour so the dough doesn’t stick. I’m thinking you may need more than one pan because the recipe is likely to make more than one loaf. If so, you can go one of two cheap routes. Either buy another cheapie bread pan like the one you have, or make rolls with the extra dough by making little balls of it, putting them in a cake pan, and letting them rise before you bake them. Rolls are the best!

  4. I second Pampered Chef stoneware. I use the regular-sized loaf pans, and they are fabulous. No aluminum or teflon to leach into my beautiful bread. 🙂

  5. I am going to third the Pampered Chef stoneware — the 4 in one loaf pan only fits a total of one regular loaf — so I’d still go with one or more of the regular size loaf pans — I have two that are nicely seasoned and LOVE them.

    The wooden cutting board would be wonderful for the kneading!

  6. That pan de mie pan is about $50. The loaf pan you have is sufficient for very small recipes. Most bread recipes make 2 or 3 loaves. I have lots of cheap wal-mart non stick loaf pans which are adequate. BUT I really like my clear glass pyrex loaf pans better. Look for straight sides rather than sloped sides. It just makes a nicer looking loaf and it’s easier to cut. Around here, we don’t do mini loaves of bread. We’re lucky to get three loaves to last two days!
    I covet a stone for Italian bread, hard rolls, pizza crust….lol

    Joann

  7. PS

    Yes you can knead on your wooden cutting board. You need to flour it lightly and put a piece of that shelf liner that keeps things from sliding under it. You could also use a flexible plastic mat like people use for rolling out pie dough. Less dough sticking on the plastic/silicone mats.

  8. I recently posted about my bread baking day, in case you’d like to see. Lots of photos. (I bake six or twelve loaves in a day.)

  9. I’ll second the load of bread and then rolls…loads and loads of rolls! My dd 4.5 will eat a roll any day over a slice of bread. Another idea, roll small balls and plop 3 of them per “cup” in a muffin tin. Favorites around here – I think because they’re more fun to break apart that way.

  10. As you well know, I have nothing to add to this conversation (the last time I baked bread, I was pregnant with Agnes), but I would appreciate you mailing me a slice of your first batch!

  11. All right, if Charlotte Mason had lived in late 18th-century Scotland, what kind of loaf pan would she have used?

  12. First..I’ve never known anyone who regretted the stand mixer with dough hook. Get the big one.

    Bread pans. I prefer heavy aluminum ones. If you can find a restraunt supply store you can get them relatively inexpensively. I’m not a fan of non-stick coated bakeware. They don’t hold up and the dark coating tends to make the crust get too dark.

    Of course you don’t need bread pans at all. You can make lovely, rustic shaped loaves on a baking sheet/stone.

  13. I vote for old-fashioned aluminum pans. I’ve got two- one I inherited from my mother-in-law and one from an elderly neighbor- and they are fabulous. They’re shiny, not too heavy, but they bake the most perfect loaves. I’d bet you could find some at any thrift store. Mine say “bake king”, which is just too cute.

    Trader Joe’s is a wonderful resource for ingredients (they carry King Arthur flour). Good luck with your baking!

  14. I use glass bread pans mostly, (I think Pyrex, like a previous poster mentioned) but I also have an old aluminum one I snagged at an estate sale. I think the glass one work just a touch better, but the metal pan is great for nostalgia. The non-stick pan you have should work fine, don’t despair. However, I’m not personally much for nonstick cookware, the thought of cooking Teflon into my food is a deterrent.

    I think your wooden cutting board should do nicely for a kneading area, nothing fancy is needed, just a fairly smooth surface that you can push on and dust with flour.

  15. Hi there! I’m new to your awesome blog, and love making bread, so I’ll introduce my self and cast votes for stoneware pans (pampered chef is what I have, but I’m sure there are others) and the Tassajara Bread Book. It’s all you need to feel the “bread love” if that’s not too goofy! Penny

  16. OK . . . I came home last night from a Holiday Open House where I was feeding people my delicious Tastefully Simple Savory Wheat Bread . . . among other tasty morsels. Funny thing is, I was stationed in the kitchen with my friend,the CRAZY Pampered Chef Lady, Missy Berry. As I read all these posts last night I thought, “OH how her heart would just SING to hear all of the high recommendations for the Loaf Stones she peddles. SO . . . if you need a source . . go to http://www.pamperedchef.biz/missyberry and you’ll be in bread baking heaven . . . especially if you treat yourself to some Tastefully Simple Savory Wheat Beer Bread to go with it! HA!

  17. Your bread is absolutely lovely, one of the nicest loaves we’ve seen! We use glass Pyrex pans too, it’s nice being able to observe how done the bottoms of the loaves are getting. We sometimes have trouble with the bread sticking, so we make sure to grease the pans well, and even dust the inside bottom very lightly with white corn meal. Your cutting board should work well for kneading. One trick we discovered is to place the board over the kitchen sink, with wet cloths or something rubber underneath, to keep the board from slipping. When you are done, just scrape the excess flour from your board into a container, using a spatula, and place in the garbage, so you don’t gum up your drains with dough or flour. You could also put a large open garbage bag under the board, and gather up all the mess when you’re through, especially if you end up with flour in the grout of your tile counter around the sink. The flour can tend to travel quite a distance, especially if you work vigorously or have young helpers! May you have many blessed times baking for your dear family!