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Bought a pair of generic non-stick bread pans (Ecko or Good-Chef or some such). After 100 to 150 loaves, and gentle care, they're now more prone to sticking bread than the non-coated pans they were meant to replace, even when liberally oiled. Is the problem a bad coating technology, or does this short lifespan apply to all non-stick breadpan coatings? Are uncoated bread pans fundamentally better for long term use?

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2 Answers

If they have a Teflon coating, they may be building up a patina of partially polymerized oil. Oils that sit in contact with Teflon while being heated will gum up and form a layer on top of the coating that is a bit sticky, and prevents the Teflon from working properly. Interestingly the polymerization process is similar to what occurs on a seasoned cast-iron pan, but in its incomplete state, it is sticky rather than slippery!

All-Clad recommends scrubbing their non-stick pans periodically with baking soda to remove the polymer layer, which would be good advice for any non-stick pans.

That said, I'm not sure that it will entirely fix your problem, but it is worth trying before you replace the pans. Micro-scratches and other things will make non-stick surfaces more sticky over time as well.

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+1 - your wording is a bit odd though, gummy oil isn't helpful on cast iron either though ;) –  rfusca Feb 29 '12 at 21:27
    
Tweaked the wording a bit. ;) –  Sam Ley Feb 29 '12 at 23:27
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All non-stick eventually gives way to surface scratches, polymerization that just won't come off, and other issues. As @SamLey points out, there are some restoration methods that will help some. Some pans last longer than other, but ultimately, they're not pans built for life. If you liberally coat them in oil, you're probably accelerating it by building up that polymerization.

You've got a few options.

  • Use cheap ones, knowing that they're somewhat disposable.
  • Buy nicer non-stick and it should last longer, but not forever.
  • Liberally grease a normal aluminum pan.
  • Try a silicon loaf pan, these require very little lubrication.
  • Try a cast iron loaf pan, these will build up the 'non-stick' over time.
  • Freeform batards, boules, and baguettes.

@TFD below brings up what to do with the cheap ones. I used to literally recycle them (big blue recycle container in my garage..), but I suppose you could give up the non-stick game all together and treat them as normal aluminum pans. You could also use some cloth/oil and line them as proofing 'baskets'...

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+1 except: how do you re-cycle the cheap ones? –  TFD Feb 29 '12 at 21:09
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