1. They’re easy. Once those tins are seasoned, they come out pretty easily. I’m all for baking and proofing in one vessel, no messing with baskets.
2. They’re convenient. Slice as you go— if you take care, your loaf will last way longer than any rustic boule.
3. Uniformity is nice sometimes, I like my sandwiches to all be the same size, thank you very much. Pans make that easy.
4. They’re so versatile. I know, I know, pan loaves aren’t sexy. — but they can do much more than you think they can. You can play with flours, hydration, additions, and toppings. The sky is the limit.
So here’s a fun little pan loaf formula I made up and tested the other day, it’s pretty basic, but please feel free to take some liberties with it.
- 600 g Artisan Bread Flour (60%)
- 250 g AP Flour (25%)
- 150 g High Gluten Flour (15%)
- 150 g Levain (15%)
- 740 g Water (74%)
- 25 g Salt (2.5%)
- 150 g Assorted seeds- toasted (15%)
- Assorted seed- untoasted (to taste)
- Combine flours, water, and levain until just mixed. Allow mixture to autolyse for 30 mins.
- Add salt and mix for about 3-4 minutes until strong gluten structure is formed. Incorporate toasted seeds in last couple minutes of mix. Mix until incorporated.
- Add more water during this step if needed. Dough should be strong and pliable, but not sticky.
- Allow dough to rest for about 30 minutes prior to dividing.
- Shape dough directly into pre-greased pans. Top with untoasted seeds as desired.
- Allow dough to sit at room temperature (72-74 F is the ideal temp) until fully proofed. Dough will fill the pan and climb up the sides. This process will take anywhere from 6-10 hours, depending on the ambient temperature of your kitchen. Bake bread when it has reached desired size, and/or passes a poke test.
- Bake at 400 F for 30-40 minutes.