There is nothing more frustrating than making a loaf, baking it and finding your bread stuck to the tin or baking tray. Been there, done that. There are a number of reasons why it happens. It is good to understand these and try to use tactics to overcome them.
Develop your dough well
If you have stretched and folded or kneaded your dough so that its gluten structure is well developed this will help the loaf maintain a good structure and surface tension when you shape it. This makes it less likely for the baked bread to get stuck to the tin. A weak dough is likely to not hold its shape and sticky bits of dough escaping from a collapsed loaf are more likely to stick to the pan.
Shape your dough well
Shaping your dough so that it has a good surface tension is important, not only for good oven spring and a good crumb structure but also to prevent it from sticking to the pan. A loaf that is loosely shaped and a bit flabby will start to flatten out during the second rise and sticky bits of dough will get stuck to the pan and will become even more stuck during baking. Take a look at my video on how to shape your loaf for tips on good shaping technique.
Use a good quality, heavy based tin or baking tray
My best tins weren’t an expensive buy. I found them at Wilkos. However, they are heavy based. Look out for heavy based tins when you are out and about.
Oil or flour your tin or baking tray
Before each use my loaf tins get a quick spray of oil. It might say non-stick on the label, that doesn’t mean you should trust it to be. You can use olive or vegetable oil, lard or butter to grease your tine and prevent your loaf from sticking. If I am using a baking tray for a free form loaf then I will dust it with flour, rice flour or semolina to prevent any sticky bits of dough cementing themselves to the tray.
Avoid washing your loaf tin
I used to wash my loaf tins between each bake. Now I oil them well before I place the loaf in them. Then I wipe them with a dry piece of kitchen towel when the loaf is turned out and pop them in the cupboard. I only wash them when absolutely necessary. Once washed, I make sure they are completely dry and then I spray them with a bit of oil and wipe it off with a piece of kitchen towel. This method maintains a non-stick surface and decreases the likelihood of your bread sticking.
Use baking parchment
Using baking parchment on your baking tray can help a loaf not to stick. However, I have also experienced the baking parchment welding itself to my loaf. If I use baking parchment I tend to flour it as well to reduce the chances of the loaf sticking. A tip from Jonathan on our Facebook group is to use the ridged baking parchment. It is made with lots of raised squares and this reduces the area of parchment that your loaf is in contact with.
Be careful with glazes
If you are brushing your loaf with milk, water, butter or egg be careful to avoid the glaze dripping between the loaf and the tin. A glaze can increase the potential for a loaf to become welded to the pan.
Avoid using a scratched tin
If you have a scratched tin it will have lost some of its non-stick surface (true for a non-stick tin or one that has been seasoned through use). This increases the likelihood of your loaf sticking.
If your bread is stuck to the tin, what to do about it
It will inevitably happen to you at some point. My tip is to leave the loaf to cool a little before attempting to release it. As the loaf cools it contracts a little and it can just become unwelded from the tray or tin all by itself. If it still needs help I use a plastic scraper to carefully ease it out. Try to avoid using a metal object as this will scratch the surface of then and you will find that loaves will always stick forever more.
If you have any more tips or tricks for dealing with or avoiding a stuck loaf please do let us know in the comments.
Looking for more bread tips?
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