4

I'm a quick bread kind of guy (pumpkin bread is my fave). I love my teflon-coated steel pans, until they start to flake and rust and I have to buy new ones so I don't get schmutz on my crusts. Two just bit the big one on me, so it's time for new ones, and I'd like to buy ones that won't need replacing in two or three years.

(An aside: I'm not worried about health effects here. Aluminum does not cause cancer or Alzheimer's; teflon coatings don't emit dangerous gasses at standard oven temperatures. In general, I trust the FDA and the legions of tort lawyers to protect me.)

Here are the alternatives I'm considering:

  • More teflon-coated steel pans. They're relatively cheap, they release easily without needing to be greased-and-floured, and give me good results. If there were a type that didn't decay over time I'd be very interested.

  • Pyrex pans. They're extremely durable, but they're heavy, and I wonder how they'll do with quick breads. Would need to be greased-and-floured.

  • Silicone pans. They look interesting, although I've never owned one. I'm worried about the floppiness, how they'll bake, and whether the bread will show lines from heat conducted from the supporting oven rack.

  • Anodized aluminum pans. My thirty-year-old Calphalon saucepans have served me well, so I'd hope similar (probably much thinner) loaf pans would also last. I assume that (if greased-and-floured) they'd bake similarly to the teflon-coated steel pans.

  • Uncoated aluminum pans. They would need to be greased-and-floured, and I'd wonder about corrosion in the long term.

  • Ceramic loaf pans. They're heavy, would need to be greased-and-floured, and I'd wonder about their heat-capacity slowing down the baking.

So, which of these would give me good quick-bread loaves, and last a long time?

  • I am also interested in silicone bread pans and would love to hear about any pitfalls, and/or how to choose the best kind. – ElmerCat Dec 19 '15 at 17:19
1

My favorite pans for baking are 100% pure aluminum. You are right in that they need to be treated in order for the bread to not stick- you can grease and flour them, or as I do, line with parchment paper, which is even easier and means you have minimal cleanup. They are very lightweight, inexpensive, won't rust, and I've never had any issues with corrosion and I've had my pans for years and years. In my mind, the only drawback is that they can NOT go in the dishwasher- ever. And if you leave them in the sink with water they'll cloud over and then it's a pain in the @#$ to clean them. They definitely have to be cleaned and dried right after use... well they don't have to be cleaned, but you can't soak them for any length of time, so doing it right away saves you grief.

Aluminum is well known to be a good conductor and provides a lovely, light, crispy crust with a soft interior. It is widely used in commercial bakeries for this reason, as well.

I don't generally like to bake in glass. It's a little too unpredictable and can burn food.

Call me a traditionalist, but I can't bring myself to get on board with silicone. While I'm sure it's great to keep things from sticking, silicone is no conductor. It's actually an insulator.

Ceramic- I do have ceramic bakeware, but I don't generally use it for bread. I use it for casseroles and the like. Maybe brownies every now and again... I have baked in it, but as you say, it's very heavy and has never produced a product as good or better than aluminum pans, so I see no advantage.

I also have non-stick steel pans, and they do produce better results than glass, but for the reasons you've stated previously, and because the aluminum just produces a product light years better, I never reach for it first for baking bread, cookies, cakes, etc.

1

I used to use "bakers secret" ("Grey non-stick silicone based coating" on a steel pan) but my sloth always caught up with me eventually (left too long in the sink they will rust) - once the coating is toast those are still (IME) as good as a regular steel pan of the "use lots of grease or grease and flour" variety.

Quite some time ago I bit on full-silicone pans. I wish I could recall exactly how long ago, as the heavily used ones are just starting to crack now (Just one pan cracked so far, and still usable, but the writing is on the wall), but it's been more years than it took me to ruin the "bakers secret" version, for certain. Likely more than 10 years.

They are (or the ones I have, from however many years ago, are) wicked floppy. Plan on using a cookie sheet under them. You won't get away with putting them right on the oven rack, IME. Properly supported on a sheet, they are fine despite that. Current designs look a bit different (perhaps more solid) than what I have, but they are not a rigid pan...

They work best with a little oil on them - does not take much - manufacturer recommended oiling them if they had been run through the dishwasher, otherwise not bothering. You can get stuck stuff unstuck if you don't do that, but there's the potential of tearing the pan if you get stuff REALLY stuck and are not careful enough removing it. I put a bit on if they don't feel oily.

Cooking-wise, they are fine - I have not seen any odd marks from the "support legs" molded into the sides of my pans and things seem to brown fine in them. Shape can be a bit bulgy between supports, but not distressingly so.

When they finally crack beyond use I'll get new ones. For me that's high praise for something that cracks in use, even if it does take 10 years or more. I prefer stuff that lasts forever, but these have enough advantages that occasional replacement seems worthwhile.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.