New bread pan caramelizes crust
I've been making whole wheat (75%) sourdough loaves for a few years and in the past I used 2 metal meatloaf tins, with one inverted on top of the other to keep the steam in, early in the cooking. Finally it got to where the bread was sticking all the time, so I bought a real bread pan, the ones with the sliding lids. Absolutely love it. Been making some of the best bread of my career with it.
But one thing has changed. I now get these caramelized areas on the bottom of my bread and I don't know why. I don't really care. It doesn't have a bad taste or anything, I'm just kind of curious why this is happening now.
I rub a very light coat of canola on it, put a teaspoon of white flour inside and then shake it around, this way and that, upside down etc so that everything gets coated in flour and then dump out the excess flour, before putting my bread in. This is a little different than before where I'd just spray a lot of canola in. So that may be the cause of it. The addition of the flour was because of the instructions that came with the pan. Probably should have been doing it before.
Otherwise everything else is the same. I heat my oven to 550. As soon as the temperature sensor beeps, I put the pan in straight from the fridge and turn the heat down to 420. I do 15 minutes with the lid on and then 40 minutes with it off.
Why do I do it this way? I don't know. I did a lot of experimenting over the years and just found this technique works best for me. It's kind of a mishmash of various things I've learned from various bread making sources on the web. I'm kinda fast and loose with everything. I don't measure anything. I just kinda guesstimate and I know my flours and stuff well enough to make a pretty consistent loaf, so that works for me.
But I'd love to know why it's caramelizing the bottom.
I "rub", not "run" a light coat of oil.
Could the finish have worn off?
Would a piece of parchment be a good barrier if that is the case?
No it's brand new and in pristine condition. I just bought it. And it's perfectly non-stick. It's a fantastic pan. but parchment paper might keep it from caramelizing. It's got those little vent holes in the bottom. It just occurred to me that that may be a difference as well. My meatloaf pans, obviously, didn't have holes in the bottom.
My pan also has holes but it has never burnt. It lies very close to the coils of the bread baker. I have it propped about 1/2 in away.
Do you like the taste of the "burnt" parts? I think I might!
It doesn't have a strong flavor, but yeah, it's a nice taste. I don't mind it at all. It makes nice little crispy spots that just have a nice mouth feel too.
I can't figure out what it is that's caramelizing, though. It's almost like there is sugar there or something, but I don't use any sugar. It's mostly whole wheat.
I bake a lot of pan loaves and haven’t ever had that happen. I usually grease with butter and even with enriched doughs haven’t had burning. I’ve never baked pan loaves starting at such a high temperature in the pre-heat. Most often I pre-heat and bake at 350°F. You could do a lower temperature pre-heat, perhaps 450°F and then see how that goes.