Baking your sourdough part 2

Two other flaws of baking bread in a home oven are heat retention and the inability to radiate heat quickly and evenly to your dough especially when it first starts to bake. Baking your bread in the Challenger Bread Pan solves both those problems for you.

The Challenger is made of black cast iron which absorbs heat well and radiates it even better into your loaf of dough as it bakes. It also mitigates the temperature drop when you open the oven door because the heat is well maintained by the cast iron itself even if the temperature of the inside of your oven drops.

It's tempting to use one of the fancy enameled dutch ovens for baking bread because most of us already one. First, they are quite deep making it hard to get your loaf of bread in without degassing the bread and burning your hands. This is especially difficult when you’re a beginning baker. The insides are often lightly colored which inhibits the browning of your bread. Finally, although they are made out of cast iron, they are far too thin to radiate heat as well as the Challenger.

If you’re a pizza baker, it’s also tempting to use a baking stone or baking steel. They make a decent base for baking bread, but generating and controlling steam is difficult. You can invert a pot over your dough to try and trap steam, but it’s hard to get a pot that holds steam in as efficiently as the Challenger. There are myriad techniques all over the internet on how to create steam underneath these pizza bakers. Besides the possibilities of burning or scalding yourself (I’ve done it!), no matter how much steam you generate, it’s quickly leaving your oven as you close the door. You won’t get anywhere near the same amount of steam from one bake to another.

There are also many different shapes and sizes of ceramic pots on the market. These pots break easily, and even if they were designed for baking bread, they don’t bake bread as well as the Challenger. The Challenger will never break, and you can pass it on to friends and family anytime you want. It should last forever.