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Using loaf pans with Artisan Bread in 5

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I asked this question of the authors but didn't really get a helpful answer. I like to bake bread in a loaf pan because we eat a lot of sandwiches, but I haven't been very good at managing the wet dough from ABin5 when it's more than 1 lb. I would LOVE to use a Pullman loaf pan but am afraid I could never manage the 13 inch one because of my difficulty handling the dough. But here's the question: can I just dump the wet dough in a larger pan or is it really necessary to shape the dough into a ball and then stretch it out? What would happen if I just plopped the dough in the pan without a "gluten cloak"?

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  1. I understand that a Gluten Cloak is to keep a free formed loaf in shape. I do not think it is necessary when using a loaf pan.
    If there is no "loaf" formed before you put the dough in the pan I think that you may end up with some textural or thickness variations thru out the loaf. But the last rising seems to even a lot of that out.
    What ever the out come it will be perfectly edible and it is worth a try, I imagine the results will be fine.

    2 Replies
    1. re: chefj

      Thanks for this--had no idea what the "cloak" was for so that's good to know. I'm going to try this out with a regular loaf pan before I invest in the Pullman.

      1. re: Thanks4Food

        It also, makes it easier to handle and adds some resistance to expansion which is why you need to slash your loves for a stronger rise.

    2. I believe some of the recipes in that book are supposed to be baked in a loaf pan. I'm going by memory here, but I believe you cloak the ball of dough, then pat it out into a rectangle and roll it up to shape it for the pan. THat's how loaf breads are supposed to be shaped for the pan for proper rising no matter what recipe you're using. It's a good opportunity to do add-ins to the bread, like raisins with cinnamon or sun-dried tomates.

      1. I'm not positive, but I also think it would work. The thing is, I'd want to cover it for the first part of cooking. A wet dough unshaped won't rise much on the counter, and being covered it will rise better during the first part of cooking. I'd invert a pot over it, or something. I'd also make sure the dough is at least 2 days old. Young dough has a smaller, weaker yeast population and doesn't rise much in the oven.

        1. I make the breads in a loafpan all the time. However I do'nt use the whole batch I divide it into two equal parts and keep the second in the refrigerator until needed. I use 2 plastic containers for storage, The loaf is shaped, put into the loafpan, left to rise, slashed baked 30 minutes in 450 oven, removed from pan and given another 10 minutes in the oven. I use the same methods for White bread as for the 10 grain. Perfect Sandwich bread every day.

          1. All good advice, but why don't you just give it a try any which way and see how you like it? The ingredients are fairly inexpensive and there's not that much time involved in preparation. Even if you're not happy with the results you haven't lost much.

            Oddly enough, I was just thinking about this issue because, although my daughter likes the Master Recipe boule, she prefers sandwiches on supermarket bread and I just can't deal with the prices anymore. I was going to try the book's recipe for sandwich bread first, though.

            4 Replies
            1. re: rockycat

              I"m happy to see this thread...I agree with rockycat that, while my kids prefer a toaster/ziploc -friendly shaped bread for sandwiches, I cannot handle the cost of supermarket bread anymore. I just tried the no-knead trick of baking my bread in a dutch oven and am very very pleased with the crust that forms...is there such a thing as a 'covered' loaf pan? Has anybody tried to cover a loaf pan? Does it work?

              1. re: tonifi

                Are we talking the 5 minute no knead bread? That does not get covered and has a terrific crust in an uncovered loafpan.

                1. re: Nywoman

                  http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/201...

                  The authors sometimes cover and sometimes don't. The OP was interested in baking a large loaf, and said that it is difficult to handle that much dough. I've found that unshaped dough works fine, but it helps to take some steps to maximize ovenspring.

                2. re: tonifi

                  It sounds like you're looking for a Pullman or pan de mie pan.
                  http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/i...

                  I don't doubt you can find a less expensive version, but I'm a big fan of KA in general.

              2. Here are links to covered pans. One is about the same price as the one at King Arthur; the other is considerably less expensive. I truly like Katom for ordering kitchen supplies.

                http://www.katom.com/268-904650.html

                http://www.katom.com/028-602164.html

                1. I really want to convince myself that I need a pullman pan! But I also bake these doughs in ordinary loaf pans every week or two. Using recipes from Artisan or Healthy Bread in 5, I:
                  - Divide the dough in half, for 2 about 2 lb loaves
                  - Cloak & shape roughly oval
                  - To prevent over-browning, I use a foil tent for part of the baking time
                  - Generally, I bake at 450 for about 45 minutes, remove from the pan, return & bake 5 to 15 minutes more
                  - To avoid gummy centers (yuck) bake until the loaf is about 203 degrees in the center--for me, this is the only way I'm sure these larger loaves are fully done
                  I think the authors recently posted about baking in a pullman pan. Please post again about how it works out if you get one.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: RavaIdli

                    Thank you for your steps: 3-5 are very helpful as I've had trouble with wet centers and too brown crusts. It's your second step that has me frustrated. It probably takes me 20 minutes to do it when according to the authors it should take 1. I'm fine with a 1 lb loaf but 2 lbs is just too much for me to manage properly. I'll get one side "cloaked" but then the other side will have become stuck to my fingers or the bowl of flour.

                    It was their post about a pullman pan that had me thinking about it--never heard of them before. But jvanderh's post above has me thinking that perhaps I could first try plopping the dough in a regular loaf pan and then setting a cookie sheet on top to see how that works. (And if it does work, then I have to wonder if I really need a pullman pan...I just bought 3 loaf pans.)

                    The experiment will have to wait as my husband just bought more Pepperidge Farm white bread. He claims he likes my homemade bread, but I think at heart he'd rather buy a perfectly shaped and sliced loaf. Sigh.

                    1. re: Thanks4Food

                      What would be even better, if it's possible, is a heavy covered dish. Plop the dough in a cold loaf pan in a cold covered dish in a cold oven. As the oven preheats, and for a while afterwards, the heat is transferred slowly enough that the bread rises as it solidifies. I can even get good results doing this with unshaped dough straight out of the fridge.

                      1. re: jvanderh

                        Whoa--so you mean say, a brand new 6.75 Le Creuset french oven? Just got one for my birthday and am looking for ways to use it. So put the loaf pan right inside the LC? No pre-rising time beforehand? Just take the dough out of the fridge, plop in the loaf pan, place in the LC and put in the oven? That would be a dream come true for me if that would work. (I'm a hands-off kind of person. ;-)

                        But will the loaf pan scratch the LC? I suppose if I put the LC in the oven first and then carefully place the loaf pan inside I should be okay.

                        1. re: Thanks4Food

                          That's exactly what I would do. I don't bake it in a loaf pan, but I take cold dough, put it in a cold greased LC in a cold oven, turn on the oven, and it rises as it bakes. For half the recipe in a small dutch oven, I don't take off the lid to brown the loaf until about 20 minutes after the oven beeps. I'm not sure of the timing for a loaf, but, because the LC will transfer the heat slowly to the loaf pan, I think it will work. I find that the dough needs to be 2-5 days old for this. If you have a shiny new LC, you may want to line it with foil. Also, some people take out the knob and stuff foil in the hole. I'm just leaving mine in, and, if it cracks, I'll put on a metal knob.

                          1. re: jvanderh

                            What temp do you use for this? I did get a metal knob with the oven, so I could switch them out.
                            BTW, when I was in the LC store, I asked the sales asst. about baking bread in the french ovens. She said it was normally done in the largest one--but I can't imagine what the loaf would look like if you did that: is it a huge flat loaf? Why would you want a loaf like that?

                            1. re: Thanks4Food

                              I usually do 450. Supposedly, the oven gets very hot while preheating and can crack the knob, but so far so good. I like my small one, because I usually do a wet dough, and it needs sides to push against. If you were using dough dry enough to hold its shape, maybe the big one would give you the most flexibility. Or maybe she works on commission. . .

                              1. re: jvanderh

                                :-) Yes, I didn't question her too much about it because while she did dig up a photocopy of a photocopy of a dutch oven bread recipe from under the counter, she didn't give me a copy or let me look at it carefully--just insisted that it called for the largest of the ovens.

                      2. re: Thanks4Food

                        If you want to make a pullman pan by putting a cookie sheet on a normal loaf pan you'll need to also weigh it down with something so that the dough doesn't just rise and push the cookie sheet up. I haven't tried this myself but I've been watching old episodes of 'The French Chef' with Julia Child and she demonstrated it in her bread show.