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Mar 11, 2009 02:24 PM

Coffee Can Bread -- Safe?

Hi all,

I've read a lot about the old Free Bakery movement in California. Turns out they actually had some really good bread recipes, but they all involve cooking the bread in a big, old Coffee Can for size, shape, and texture reasons.

Now, being a purist, I want to try this (and I happen to have a nice big coffee can sitting around, actually it is a huge can of Gluten) but I'm worried about safety.

Is there anything in a coffee / gluten can that would release dangerous chemicals in the baking process? What about the color on the outside of the can, should I scrape that off? Barring that, is there anything in these cans that would yield toxic or carcinogenic results when heated to bread baking temperature?

I really want to try this method, but I'm concerned about potential health related issues.

I KNOW I could just bake this in a normal bread pan, but I sort of want to go the can route if it seems safe.

Any thoughts?

Here's the link to one of the many Can Bread sites:

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  1. An old coffee can is perfectly safe--the steel cans were coated with tin inside and they were favorites for steaming Boston Brown Bread. Some of the newer cans may not be. A lot of the aluminum cans, for example, have a thin coating inside of some kind of polymer. You don't want to heat that up. But there are plenty of good substitutes for cans. For example, a Pyrex beaker works nicely--or the glass part of a French press coffee maker. (Put a round of parchment in the bottom to help with the release of the loaf.) Probably the best substitute is a terra cotta flower pot. Get an unglazed Italian terra cotta pot. Smear the business surfaces with somethng like Crisco, put it in a cold oven and heat to 450 (by increments if you like--some directions give it that way and others don't), and after about 30 minutes, turn the oven off and let it cool in the oven, then rinse with water (not soap). Seasoning the pot in this way helps with the release of the loaf. Alternatively, line it with foil. Some potters sell glazed stoneware pots for flower pot bread, and they work fine, too. But I would avoid ordinary glazed pots as the glaze may be lead based which could leach into food.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Father Kitchen

      Where could I pick up a "safe" can, do you think?

      1. re: fr1p

        Walmart sells GV coffee (great value). I hear they are BPA free.
        Here is a great list of BPA free canned items

        1. re: BlkPumpkin

          Unfortunately, the absence of BPA does not preclude the presence of other substances - e.g. the plastic coatings used in nearly all cans today.

    2. An old can would be untreated steel. Not a problem.

      I doubt a new can would be safe. Most are coated with various plastic or other coatings that leach over time nasty stuff like BPA.

      1 Reply