But there was some trial and error along the way.
But anyway, back to loaf pans, I am a pretty serious amateur baker; and nothing has eluded me more than the perfect loaf of bread. It's funny because when I made my first loaf of bread I was convinced no loaf of bread could ever be more perfect. And then my ever-critical eye focused in on my new hobby of bread baking. In Martha Stewart Living a few months ago I read the most brilliant formula ever. E=mc2 is fine. This, this is brilliant.
That about sums up my whole life. Especially bread baking. With saturation, humidity, type of flour, type of yeast, temperature, rise time, rise temperature one can easily go insane. And gain a ton of weight!
But anyway, back to loaf pans, there are so many variables with which to contend. Because consistency is the hardest part of bread--I think baking in a loaf pan helps streamline the product. At least for me. I was very frustrated with my loaves of bread baked in glass loaf pans. They would brown quickly but come out gooey in the middle. I determined the glass was not getting hot enough. Switching to a metal pan helped but not that much. I was having a problem with the loaves looking beautifully golden and glossy with buxom rounded tops but falling in on itself while cooling. I decided this was happening because the metal was aluminum and conducting heat inconsistently. As the heat of the surface of the pan would fluctuate with the oven, there was a cycle of the dough inflating too much but then not having the heat to maintain it. This was building steam on the inside that appeared as a lovely, high crust on the outside. Once it came out of the oven, losing the heat, the steam would escape causing the loaf to implode. Not pretty.
So from there I switched to steel loaf pans that are much heavier than aluminum. This made a world of difference. The steel would gradually build heat and lose it gradually as well. The only issue is the crust was thin and not that lacquered texture and look I was attempting.
A few weeks ago I was at a friend's house admiring her new lovely purple (casis) Le Creuset baking dishes. She rolled her eyes and said she thought she meant to order navy. She offered them to me! She said she didn't want to hassle with sending them back. I offered her a trade for a haircut I was happily on my way with a Rolls Royce loaf pan I never would have shelled the money out for myself. I couldn't wrap my head around paying $35 for a loaf pan. I wondered what difference it could really make. A HUGE difference. My first time using it was for the table bread on Thanksgiving.