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I've just started branching out into the more interesting and challenging breads. I'm not particularly skilled at handling dough and I don't have great coordination in my hands. To avoid using too much flour to keep dough from sticking, I've taken to using Pam. It doesn't take much at all and it works like a charm. It makes me wonder why it's never recommended in recipes or cooking shows. Is there some reason I'm not seeing? Maybe something about the lecithin? For what it's worth, I've made maybe 10 loaves since starting to use Pam instead of flour, and so far it seems to be working fine.

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    I'd turn the question around; what is the benefit of not using flour to keep the dough from sticking? If you are concerned that you are using too much; I would recommend playing around with using as little as possible, and spreading it out as much as you can. – razumny May 11 '14 at 14:36
  • Are you asking why cooking spray is not used, concretely, or why oils in generally are not used? Because if the second, your premisse is wrong. Oil is widely used in kneading breads. Reinhart is a strong proponent of using it from a spraying dispenser, which goes into the direction of your industrially prepared spray, provided you can find a spray bottle which is capable of making spray out of oil. – rumtscho May 11 '14 at 15:00
  • @rumtscho Oil in general (as opposed to Pam in particular) is certainly relevant to my thinking. I don't have one of those oil spray bottles and I've never really considered one, but for this purpose that might make sense for me. Bread Baker's Apprentice is available for the Kindle, that would probably be a good book for me to get. – Jolenealaska May 11 '14 at 15:11
  • @Jolenealaska get it bound instead. It is beautifully made, with thoughtful layout, and will lose a lot when read on Kindle. – rumtscho May 11 '14 at 15:12
  • Also see this answer of mine, cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/43596/…. I didn't consider Pam vs normal oil there, but it is probably relevant for you. As Saj answered, there probably isn't much reason to not use pam instead of oil, beyond taste and potential gumming problems. – rumtscho May 11 '14 at 15:12
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The only potential reasons not to use spray oil to help handle dough are:

  • There is a small amount of lecithin in most spray oils
  • The oil may not be of the highest quality, and thus not have the best taste
  • The propellants may leave an off-taste

You are using it in such tiny quantities, however, that I don't think either of these are a practical concern, except possibly in the face of an extreme soy allergy (if the lecithin is from soy).

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I agree that a spritz of Pam is quite helpful. But, to get around any problems potentially caused by lecithin or propellants, consider buying a reusable oil mister. You can get a very fine spray of oil, and that would help you out just as much.

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