goodeats

Equipment Advice

151 posts in this topic

Dear members - for once, I decided to start a new topic, because, frankly, I need advice on certain kitchen equipment purchases.

In this case, I want to buy a nice loaf pan, with a lid if possible, but have no idea what type to purchase, or which brand. Right now, I have a glass loaf pan, which is not working well with bread loaves. Ideally, I would like to buy something that bakes a hokkaido loaf, but don't know where to go or what brand to purchase.

However, even for regular grain toast bread, I don't know which loaf pan, brand, material or size to get.

Please help!

Thank you,

a very lost goodeats.

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I prefer metal to glass for baking bread, but glass should work fine. Some experts will tell you to lower oven temperature 25 degrees when baking pies in a glass vs. metal plate, so.... No brands of metal in particular, though darker finishes are said to give you a darker crust, so you'll have more control with lighter metals, perhaps.

Surfaces of most loaf pans these days tend to be a little slick--coated w something that is supposed to make getting the loaves out of pan easier--this isn't usually a PITA, but it can invite steam to collect on surface if you're baking something that needs to rest before removal from pan. I always take yeast breads out of the pan during final stage of baking to improve crust anyway, so.... Whatever you do, do not buy silicon.

Regarding thread: I could see the topic being narrowed in scope and/or linked to technique in an established thread. Perhaps, leleboo, we do need a Baking 911 topic.

PS. Why lid? You can get ones specifically for making pain de mie.

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America's Test Kitchen had a recent "equipment corner" episode on bread baking pans. Their verdict was that the copper-colored metal loaf pan from Williams Sonoma did the best job, in terms of a perfect crust. Light-colored pans tend to under-brown the portion of the crust that is inside the pan, and dark-metal ones did a better job, but need to be watched carefully, lest the crust get too dark.

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I would like to add more to Zora's answer. America's Test Kitchen tested with 7 loaf pans in Jan. 2007 as follows:

1. All-Clad Gold Standard Non-stick Loaf Pan ($74.95)

2. Anolon Suregrip Non-stick Loaf Pan ($16.95)

3. Baker’s Secret Basics Non-Stick Large Loaf Pan ($6)

4. Doughmakers Loaf Pan ($14.95)

5. KitchenAid’s Professional Non-stick Loaf Pan ($19.95)

6. Pyrex Glass Loaf Pan ($4.99)

7. Williams-Sonoma Goldtouch Non-stick Loaf Pan ($19)

I am copying their result here:

Bigger pans like 2 and 5 allowed the sandwich bread to bake up a bit fluffier than did smaller pans but yielded dense, square pound cakes. Narrower pans (except 2 and 5) were the only correct choice for pound cake and fine for sandwich bread.

Our other primary concern was browning. Light-colored aluminum finishes (1 and 4) yielded pale, anemic-looking baked goods. On the other hand, the dark nonstick surface on our previous winner (3) actually browned the bread and pound cake a shade too much. Despite its wide availability and low price, it's no longer our top choice. Glass Pyrex browned nicely, but the real star of the show (7) had a gold-colored nonstick surface that yielded baked goods with a perfectly even, honeyed-copper crust.

7 years before the above testing date, they applauded the Baker's Secret Non-stick Loaf Pan but not any more.

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Yep - pain de mie, but I just call it Asian bread - I like the symmetry. :-)

Ahhhh, then if you're not into Amazon.com like the blog's author, then go to a huge, schmanzy-pants kitchen store in NYC or Paris. I'm guessing Sur la Table, here, too. Just ask for p-d-m pans vs. a particular brand hereabouts.

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I have a Chicago Metallic lidded pullman pan, which is an excellent piece of equipment. Unfortunately, I don't remember where I got it, but it looks like Sur la Table carries it (I'm sure I didn't buy it from them).

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Has anyone tried the new titanium nonstick surface skillets? My old teflon (or whatever it is) is no longer nonstick, and I'm looking for something new and, hopefully, improved. If the titanium works well and lasts, I may consider spending more on the pan.

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Has anyone tried the new titanium nonstick surface skillets? My old teflon (or whatever it is) is no longer nonstick, and I'm looking for something new and, hopefully, improved. If the titanium works well and lasts, I may consider spending more on the pan.

I'm very happy with my Calphalon non-stick omelette pans - 10 and 12 inch pans that came as a set. $50 at Macy's. Now $46 and change on Amazon.

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I'm very happy with my Calphalon non-stick omelette pans - 10 and 12 inch pans that came as a set. $50 at Macy's. Now $46 and change on Amazon.

Have you had them long enough to know the coating will last? Most nonstick pans last me about a year, then they turn into stick and burn pans.

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Have you had them long enough to know the coating will last? Most nonstick pans last me about a year, then they turn into stick and burn pans.

I've had them for about 3 months. I'm treating them like cast iron with very little cleaning - trying to avoid dish soap. I just rinse and wipe. so far, omlettes are folding and rolling out like a dream. I do hope it lasts.

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Have you had them long enough to know the coating will last? Most nonstick pans last me about a year, then they turn into stick and burn pans.

I have a griddle from that same series. The non-stick surface began to fail after a year or two despite careful use of plastic or wood utensils. I think generally non-stick items have an extremely low life span and you're better off going cheap and replacing often.

For omelets, though, I'd avoid non-stick altogether and use a classic steel pan specifically for the purpose.

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... I think generally non-stick items have an extremely low life span and you're better off going cheap and replacing often.

I've been using this strategy, and hate to treat something like a pan as disposable. Hope springs eternal for a lasting non-stick pan.

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I've been using this strategy, and hate to treat something like a pan as disposable. Hope springs eternal for a lasting non-stick pan.

Agreed. But I do have an All-Clad NS omelet pan that has served me well (under light use) for several years. Pricey though.

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I just ordered these.

I don't know about that specific pan, but I heart my Circulon pan. It has been great and it's coming up on a year, so can't tell is the nonstick is still doing its thing....

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I, for one, am fed up with non-stick cookware. This business of throwing out pans after a couple of years just sucks. I am on the hunt for replacements to the stuff we have been using all the time. It's fascinating to read the Amazon reviews of enamelled cast iron--particularly the Martha Stewart brand. Seems that the interior enamel chips off and gets in your food. :), unless you open your wallet for Le Creuset. I'm glad I read those reviews before partaking of a particularly excellent sale price on a smaller dutch oven. So, I went to BB&Beyond and found the perfect pan to replace my 4-qt Circulon pot that is losing its nonstick surface. Only problem? It's only sold in the sets. I even emailed Calphalon and was directed to their many outlet stores. So, a much cheaper stainless steel KitchenAid 3.5 qt pan from Overstock is enroute. It was cheap enough that I won't be horribly disappointed if it doesn't quite fit the bill. If it does, it will go in a yard sale and I will shell out for the Analon stainless steel pan which is almost an exact match for the Circulon and will fit in its spot;

There is absolutely no space in my tiny kitchen for superfluous stuff. I remembered that my mother had a horribly warped saute pan with a lid that she used all the time to cook meals for a family of five--this is before Teflon even existed. I (and Dame Edna) only need to cook for two most of the time and our range won't handle a 12" inch pan (unless there is no other in use). Why this should be so difficult, I just don't know.

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Have not tried the titanium, but have gotten over three years of several-times-a-week use with this one. It still looks and performs as good as day one:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00006FX83/ref=oss_product

Important tips for nonstick longevity include avoiding high heat. Don't heat an empty pan, use nonstick spray as protectant. Unless it's low heat with gentle cleansers, consider your dishwasher The Enemy of Coatings. If it's been a long day and you need to blow off dishes until the morning, quickly wipe down and/or put water in the nonstick cookware to further extend life.

Not sure if you are also considering the original nonstick cookware---a well-seasoned cast iron skillet. Doubles as a slapstick comedy prop, always a plus.

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Have not tried the titanium, but have gotten over three years of several-times-a-week use with this one. It still looks and performs as good as day one:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00006FX83/ref=oss_product

Important tips for nonstick longevity include avoiding high heat. Don't heat an empty pan, use nonstick spray as protectant. Unless it's low heat with gentle cleansers, consider your dishwasher The Enemy of Coatings. If it's been a long day and you need to blow off dishes until the morning, quickly wipe down and/or put water in the nonstick cookware to further extend life.

Not sure if you are also considering the original nonstick cookware---a well-seasoned cast iron skillet. Doubles as a slapstick comedy prop, always a plus.

This pan is my workhorse, go-to vessel for so many dishes - especially one pot(s). Mine is 9-10 years old and still performs well. I saute and braise in it, and wouldn't think of making chili in anything else. Mine is the Calphalon 6-quart braiser, and actually has a metal lid, which I guess it was outfitted with at the time.

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Important tips for nonstick longevity include avoiding high heat. Don't heat an empty pan, use nonstick spray as protectant. Unless it's low heat with gentle cleansers, consider your dishwasher The Enemy of Coatings. If it's been a long day and you need to blow off dishes until the morning, quickly wipe down and/or put water in the nonstick cookware to further extend life.

I am pretty good about following the nonstick rules, but the coated pans still wear out. Maybe the ones with the materials embedded in the pot metal are better? What's really interesting to me is that the new nonsticks claim you can use them to sear.

Not sure if you are also considering the original nonstick cookware---a well-seasoned cast iron skillet. Doubles as a slapstick comedy prop, always a plus.

I love my cast iron skillets, but I still use the nonstick for eggs, crepes, risotto cakes... I just like being able to use a lot less oil and butter if I want to.

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I am pretty good about following the nonstick rules, but the coated pans still wear out. Maybe the ones with the materials embedded in the pot metal are better? What's really interesting to me is that the new nonsticks claim you can use them to sear.

I love my cast iron skillets, but I still use the nonstick for eggs, crepes, risotto cakes... I just like being able to use a lot less oil and butter if I want to.

My Calphalons are the slide non-stick, and they also have the sear non-stick.

Chef Michael Symon spokesperson demo here.

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The Circulon pans came today, so I will report back on non-stickyness in the future. In the meantime, I thought some of the recommendations were interesting. There are three specific instructions.

1. "Use low to medium heat only. Excessive use of high heat will cause pan warping and permanent nonstick coating damage. Use of high heat and resulting nonstick damage is not covered under your warranty."

2. "Do not use nonstick cooking sprays on nonstick cookware - an invisible buildup will impair the nonstick release system and food will stick in your pan."

3. "Oil is not needed on nonstick cookware, but if you prefer oil for flavor, olive oil or peanut oil is recommended. Heavy vegetable oils may leave a residue that can affect nonstick performance. Use low heat when heating up oils. Oils can quickly overheat and cause a fire."

The high heat one is pretty standard, but no Pam? No vegetable oil? Who knew?

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The high heat one is pretty standard, but no Pam? No vegetable oil? Who knew?

Every non-stick I have seen claims this, but I call bunk, true you do not need oil to prevent sticking, but the dry cooking is crap, the oil allows for far superior heat transfer from the pan to the food, and will give a more even browning - that all said you need far less oil in a non-stick, but I have yet to find one that actually cooks well with none.

I have never had to throw away an All-Clad non-stick, they can generally be found for a decent price at the William-Sonoma outlet in Leesburg.

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