Shape of You… – Bread moulds and tins

In almost all the baking workshops that I conduct, one of the most frequently asked questions – What is the right type of baking tin/pan one should use? Well, there are different factors that one needs to consider when choosing a baking pan. Through this blog, I will explain these factors as well as the different types of baking pans and containers available to us. While there are numerous pans used for baking, this article will cover the ones that a primarily used for baking variety of breads.

The primary function of the mould or the tin is to hold the batter or the dough while baking. The type of pan to be used is determined based

  1. on the type of the item to be baked
  2. shape of the baked product desired
  3. texture desired in the baked product
    These are the main factors. Further, the material of the mould is either aluminium, silicon, steel, non-stick or anodised, oven proof glass or ceramic and cast iron depending on the application.

Depending on the type of bread to be baked there are a variety of moulds. Here you go :

  1. Banneton baskets
    Banneton baskets are also known as proofing baskets and are used to give structure to bread during proofing or fermentation. They are especially used for wetter doughs where it is difficult for the boule to hold shape. They are traditionally made of wicker but now the ones made from cane or terracotta are also available. So it is more of a proofing mould than baking one.
  2. Brioche mould
    Traditional brioche mould is a pan or container with fluted sides and slightly conical shape. They can be steel, non-stick coated or aluminium and come as a single large or multiple small on a single tray.
  3. Dutch Oven
    Dutch oven is thick-walled cooking pot usually made of seasoned cast iron. Now a days instead of seasoned sometimes you get an enamel coated one. They were typically used for cooking food. But now the dutch ovens have found place in bread baking as well. The role of steam in baking bread is crucial for the crispy and shiny crust of the bread. However in a home oven introducing the steam is a bit of a challenge. If you bake the boule in a sealed pot, the steam released from the dough while baking itself can be trapped inside and acts on the dough to give the desired result.
  4. French breads or baguette trayTo bake the long French loaves or baguettes, there are perforated trays available that let the loaf take a perfect shape and also allows steam to pass through for a great crackling crust. 
  5. Loaf Pan
    Loaf pan is rectangular with slightly flared up sides and is typically used for baking loaves of bread especially the quick breads and also loaf cakes. 
  6. Pullman pan
    Pullman pan is a special loaf pan used to bake slice sandwich bread. It has straight sides and a lid so as to bake a loaf of bread with perfect sides that are at right angles. 
  7. Pizza stone
    Pizza stone is a kind of baking stone used in ovens to bake pizza. Baking stone cooking relies on old age stone cooking. Stone is a poor conductor of heat as compared to metal and hence the chances of the food, in this case pizza, burning is a little less. Also due to the porous nature of the material moisture absorption is better and the pizza crust is crispier. Pizza stones are often used to mimic the cooking of pizza in a masonry oven or on the hearth. You can get the stone as per the size of your oven. It is necessary to preheat the pizza stone for a good amount of time say about 45 minutes to get the desired effect. Now a days one can use unglazed ceramic or clay tiles to emulate the pizza stone.
  8. Pizza screen
    The pizza screen is just what the name suggests, flat mesh disks made of aluminium. The idea is to expose the crust directly to the heat through the openings in the mesh to get a crisp crust. The ventilation also helps the crust crispy after baking as the openings do not allow the condensation underneath. Also they are lighter and much easier to handle as compared to stones.
  9. Pizza Pans
    Pizza pans are mostly round in shape and can be plain or perforated. They come come either in flat with slight side or deep dish especially for the Chicago style deep dish pizza.
  10. Baking Tray
    This is the versatile baking mould as you can almost bake any kind of free standing bread to pizzas to sheet cakes to cookies and pastry items. It is mostly rectangular or square in shape.

I have collected most my baking pans and moulds over years. Having said that, some pans like the ubiquitous baking tray can play multiple roles. So if you are a frequent bread baker you could slowly start building up your pantry with these tools of the trade!

Credits: Photos courtesy internet