The Fugue Counterpoint by Hans Fugal


Sourdough in Bread Pans

A lot of people will tell you you shouldn't put sourdough in metal. Some even go so far as to say you shouldn't use a metal spoon to stir it. That's all nonsense. It's not hydrochloric acid, it's food.

However, when you leave sourdough in a vessel for an extended period of time, and that vessel is not non-reactive, it will react. (The same as tomato sauce will.) It turns out, aluminized steel is one of those substances, and my precious Chicago Metallic pan is ruined from a few very long and sour proofs (10+ hours). Also a lot of scratches from metal knives trying to release stubborn loaves, have taken their toll. As it turns out aluminized steel is steel coated with an aluminum-silicone coating, so you should probably treat it as you would non-stick, even if it claims to be "uncoated" (meaning it doesn't have a non-stick coating). Use plastic utensils to wage war with your stubborn bread.

I'm not sure whether regular non-stick coatings are non-reactive or not, but I'm not a fan of tiptoeing around my cookware so I avoid non-stick.

So I'm buying a Stainless Steel Loaf Pan. I considered silicon too, but I hear horror stories of bad smells at high heat and not keeping their shape with a heavy loaf. And I'm not sure if they'll brown well (stainless is supposed to be less-good for browning that aluminum or aluminized steel, but oh well).

If you already have aluminized steel pans I'm sure you can bake sourdough in them, just watch out for long sour proofs, and use plastic.

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  1. I use stainless, bread pans (mine were actually called bread molds on the package) with no problems. I don’t proof that long though, about 45min. My primary ferment is quite long (12 to 18 hours) to make up for this. To keep the bread from sticking, use butter or lard. Not shortening or vegtable oil (shortening is poison and vegtable oil will become poison at high heat… except maybe olive oil) which will stick. If you must use vegoil… mix some flour with it before “greasing the pan”.

  2. Oops It submitted on me before I was finished… must have hit enter. Anyway, I have found that my loaves do not stick. I give the pan a sharp tap on something hard and make a throwing motion and the loaf flipps out on the cooling rack. I do use quite a wet mix 83% hydration to the more normal 60-65%. (means 83oz of water for every 100oz of flour) Whole wheat, whole grain flour, water salt and wild yeast/bacteria. I mix in a stainless bowl, but ferment in a plastic tub…. the bowl is not big enough contain the rissen dough for 6 35oz loaves. (I find a full oven makes a better (moister) environment for baking… I also block the oven vent to keep the steam in.

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