Pros: best bread ever, golden loaf, crispy crust is tender, bakes through, excellent flavor
My little family has ground our own flour and baked our own bread for many years. In that amount of time we have used just about any kind of bread pan you can imagine, and then some!
I did not like using glass, as the loaves tended to get a bit yeasty and stuck to the pan.
I did not like using tin, as the flavor was not very good, and the crust was dry.
I did not like using stainless steel as the loaves were not very well done in the middle.
We found a bread pan at a local store that was rather unusual. It was made of red ceramic material- like that kind you see clay pots made from.
The woman that sold them used them for baking bread in her store and swore by them.
I liked them pretty well, but only would eat the bread from them, when they first came out of the oven. The middles were done fine and the flavor was nice, but I just was not crazy about the bread after it had cooled off.
HOW DID WE END UP WITH THIS PAN?
One day, we were taking a trip to another state to visit my grandfather. It had been a horrible week. My husband never got paid like he was supposed to the day before we left, and his boss went away on vacation (nice guy).
We were left with almost nothing to take a trip with. In fact, the little bit left on a credit card was all we had to work with, and that was not much.
Each gas station we stopped at , we would watch anxiously to see if it would accept our credit card.
THAT was the kind of vacation we were having.
On the way there, we had to stop at a place we only had seen a few times. It was a huge outlet mall that was the first of its kind many years ago.
We wandered around, and I was hoarding my tiny packet of saved cash, passing up bargain after bargain.
Then we saw it.
A LODGE CAST IRON BREAD PAN!
How often my husband had moaned about how he wished they made cast iron bread pans. Now here it was and we had almost no way to buy it.
The price was excellent too. $12.50. We counted every stray cent we could find. Finally we came up with enough to purchase a bread pan and a flat grill (for $5). We needed something to cook on at the house we were staying at so that had to do us.
HOW DOES IT BAKE?
After seasoning this pan, we baked our first loaf of bread in it. The aroma was fantastic. The bread rose well. The crust was golden.
Then came the taste test. WOW! I could not eat the bread cool as there was none left after 15 minutes.
We baked in both of our bread pans, the clay and the iron. The iron pan loaf was always gone and the clay was left to use for sandwiches the next day.
We wished desperately that we could have gotten another loaf pan back then, but we did not know. After looking everywhere we gave up looking for another.
No one anywhere even heard of it, let alone carried it.
Once we had internet, we looked all over for the bread pan and finally found it at Gray & Holt.
We were thrilled to finally locate another bread pan.
Since then I was able to taste the bread in a cool state. I can say with absolute assurance that this is the only bread I can stomach the day after it is made. There is no yeasty flavor, and the bread is perfectly moist yet completely baked.
It is truly a sensational loaf of bread, with flavors enhanced beautifully.
SEASONING THIS BREAD PAN
Contrary to what this site has listed and what others have said who have reviewed LODGE CAST IRON COOKWARE, none of the bakeware or cookware that LODGE makes is steel. It is all CAST IRON!!!
1. Wash with hot soapy water to remove the manufacturing wax coating.
2. Oil the cookware with solid vegetable shortening (the ONLY thing I EVER recommend Crisco for- it is not for eating).
3. Put in oven. Some people suggest upside down, but I have done it successfully both ways. Upside down keeps pools of oil from gathering inside.
4. Make sure you provide a pan or something to catch the extra oil that will run off.
5. Bake for an hour or two at 350 degrees F.
6. Let cool in the oven after turned off.
7. Make sure to store in a DRY place when cool.
8. Keep a light coating of oil over the pan after using it. Eventually the coating of oil will make the pan stick free.
Do NOT wash in dishwasher.
Make sure to DRY IMMEDIATELY after washing (rinsing with warm water is usually sufficient to clean it- no need to scrub- it removes the stick free coating), and coat lightly with oil before storing.
If rust spots develop, scour with steel wool, rinse and re-season.
When you have seasoned this bread pan, here is the method you use for baking a loaf of bread in the oven.
First of all, preheat the oven to 350 or whatever your recipe recommends.
Put the pan in the oven while preheating.
After about 10 minutes or so, bring out the pan.
Brush melted butter or oil inside the pan.
Put the dough inside to rise (pan should be very warm, not searing hot).
Once dough has risen just over the top of the pan, then bake it, setting the timer about 5 minutes less than usual.
After baking, remove to cool slightly for 5 minutes or so.
Loosen edges of bread if necessary (might have to first few uses) and then remove loaf.
Cut and enjoy!
This is the only pan that makes me love home made bread. It bakes the dough to perfection, accentuating the flavors beautifully.
The loaf is a perfect golden brown and the pan will last you for many years if you simply make sure it is oiled and does not rust.
The pan is not overly heavy, just weighs a little over 4lbs.
I highly recommend this pan to anyone that loves a beautifully baked loaf of bread. It works with white flours as well ( I have someone I know that uses it for that)
A WORD ABOUT LODGE COMPANY
I plan on doing a review of the Lodge company, but wanted to mention a few words here.
Lodge is a very family oriented business with a true interest in their customers.
I was very concerned when I saw that their bakeware was being listed on Epinions as steel and another reviewer maintained that they were steel as well.
In response, not only did I get immediate email with information, but I also was sent a huge packet of information and materials about Lodge products, their origins, and how they are still making the same product that they have made since 1896.
I was sent a little video on use, and lots of information on all of the different kinds of bakeware and cookware that Lodge is responsible for.
I also received a warm personal (not form) letter from the CEO/ Chairman of the company expressing sincere thanks at my concern for the products and my interest in correcting this mistake.
Lodge is a company you can trust- an old fashioned USA company. Their type of down home business is not easy to find anymore in this world.