The profile of our tins (narrow and tall) is helpful to real bread bakers using flours chosen as much for their flavour and nutritional value as for mere ‘strength’, i.e. their protein (and therefore gluten) content. UK-grown wheats, heritage varieties and older precursors of common wheat such as spelt, emmer and einkorn often have less stretchy gluten in them. Indeed, this is one of their attractions to people who have trouble digesting modern wheat. But lower – or simply different – protein content can translate into a loaf with a weak internal structure (that’s jargon for ‘ends up as a pile of crumbs when you cut it’).
Home bakers experimenting with interesting flours, perhaps from a local farmer or miller, may be disappointed when their beautiful-tasting loaf has a hole under the crust. Often, the main culprit is not the skill of the baker, nor the quality of the grain but the shape of the tin: fragile doughs may not be able to ‘bridge’ a wide shallow tin, and even when they do, the resulting loaf never looks anything like what you ‘can get from the shops’. [Don’t get too hung up on trying to emulate commercial bakers’ loaves, though: chances are they are full of dubious additives designed to puff dough up to prodigious heights without bothering too much about what they do to your digestive system.] So, with less width to bridge, weaker doughs hold together better – and the loaf produces nicely shaped slices that will fit in any toaster.
As a rough guide, these tins will take the following amounts of various types of dough (bearing in mind that the more refined flour you use, the higher the loaf will rise):
Plain wheat dough – 450-550 grams
Sourdough rye dough – 650 grams
Plain wheat dough – 850-950 grams
Sourdough rye dough – 1100 grams
For notes on how to prepare your tins for baking and how to care for them thereafter, click here.
A technical note on non-stick coatings
Our tins are now coated with PFA, which does not raise the concerns many people had about the use of ‘teflon’ or PTFE. The tins are sprayed all over with a black anti-corrosion primer and a non-stick PFA-235 coating is then applied to the inside surfaces for easy release of even the stickiest doughs. We’ve looked into the question of safety as best we can and it seems that the health problem associated with ‘teflon’-type coatings was the use of a chemical called PFOA in the manufacture of PTFE, the material that was/is used to make many non-stick cooking utensils and pans. PFOA has been phased out of the manufacture of PTFE but was and is never used in the manufacture of PFA. The latter is, of course, covered by all the necessary regulatory approvals for food use. However, we are all too aware of the typical lag between the appearance of safety concerns and decisive regulatory action which may be influenced by corporate lobbying rather than the best science. So, in the matter of the safety of non-stick materials, we should each perhaps apply our own precautionary principle. Unfortunately, the cost of the PFA coating is greater than the silicone glaze that we used to use, hence the rise in price.