Have you ever thought about baking sourdough bread in a pyrex or glass dish?
It is possible to bake sourdough bread in pyrex or glass. You will need to take into account the type of sourdough bread you're baking, the oven safe temperature of your pyrex dish, as well as the baking time of the bread.
Safety should always comes first, so considering the maximum baking temperature of your dish is absolutely essential.
Whilst at first it might seem harmless, there are reasons as to why you are meant to use particular items to bake.
Glass is a common material to use in the kitchen, but can you use it to bake sourdough bread?
The answer is yes, you can bake sourdough bread in glass, but it’s not recommended.
This is because the baking process can cause the glass to crack and break.
What Is Pyrex?
Pyrex is the name of a popular brand of bakeware. Up until 1998, Pyrex was manufactured by Corning and was made using borosilicate glass. This tough glass was thermal shock resistant and allowed pyrex to go from fridge to oven and vice versa with no issues.
Pyrex is now manufactured using soda lime glass which does not have these toughened glass properties, so more care needs to be taken with Pyrex bakeware manufactured after 1998.
Safe Oven Temperature for Pyrex Dishes
The safe oven temperature for a pyrex dish is less than 450F (232C). While this may not be as hot as a cast iron Dutch Oven, you can still bake your sourdough bread successfully at this temperature.
In fact, 450F (230C) is the exact temperature that I recommend sourdough be baked in my simple beginner's recipe.
Can You Preheat Pyrex for Sourdough?
Yes you can preheat a pyrex dish for sourdough baking, but you need to make sure that you do not heat the oven past the safe temperature limit of your pyrex dish (450F or 230C).
In fact it is not recommended to put a cold pyrex dish into a hot oven. The glass is not made to withstand these temperature changes and can shatter.
Up until 1998, Pyrex was manufactured using borosilicate glass (which is thermal shock resistant). However in 1998, Pyrex changed hands and since this date, the baking ware has been manufactured with soda lime glass, which is not thermal shock resistant.
It's best to assume your pyrex is not thermal shock resistant, unless you can be certain it was manufactured with borosilicate glass prior to 1998.
There are You Tube videos out there recommending that you cold bake in a Pyrex dish but I would avoid this! You do not want to risk your Pyrex shattering in the oven!
Can I Use Pyrex as a Dutch Oven?
Yes you can use pyrex as a Dutch Oven because it has a lid. You do need to be aware that pyrex is not the same as a cast iron Dutch Oven and will not withstand the same temperature ranges.
A pyrex dish with a lid will trap steam inside, the same as a Dutch Oven, which will ultimately benefit your sourdough bake by giving you better oven spring.
To use your Pyrex dish as a Dutch Oven, you should place it in the oven when you turn it on so that it can preheat with your oven. Use parchment paper to transfer your sourdough bread to the hot Dutch Oven without burning yourself.
Parchment paper will also ensure that the sourdough does not stick to the Pyrex dish while baking.
If you have a Pyrex dish that does not have a lid, you could use aluminium foil to make a lid and trap the steam in for the first part of your bake.
One thing to make sure before you preheat your Pyrex dish is that your dough will actually fit! Before you put the Pyrex dish in the oven, check that the banneton will fit inside the Pyrex dish. If the banneton fits, the dough will fit!
Using Glass Pans For Sourdough
There are other glass dishes and pans on the market which are not manufactured by Pyrex. If you want to use other glass pans and dishes to bake your sourdough you will need to consult the manufacturers instructions.
To be honest, glass is not my first choice for baking sourdough. In fact it would be my last! There are many other safer alternatives for baking sourdough if you do not have a cast iron Dutch Oven.
Some people prefer to use glass baking pans for making loaves of sandwich bread. Again, this would not be my first choice for many reasons, but you can use them, so long as you follow manufacturer's instructions.
Why Did My Pyrex Dish Explode In The Oven?
Pyrex, or indeed any glass dish, can be at risk at shattering in the oven, particularly when making sourdough bread.
Sourdough is baked at the top end of Pyrex's recommended maximum temperature and this can put pressure on the glass.
Vintage pyrex, made well before 1998 has less of a chance of exploding in the oven, but it is still possible, despite the toughened glass.
Things that will cause a risk of Pyrex exploding are:
- Thermal shock or sudden changes in temperature
- Using a higher temperature than recommended as oven safe
- Weakened glass from wear and tear.
Things to avoid when using Pyrex to bake sourdough:
- Do not add ice to your Pyrex Dish ever
- Avoid the cold baking method when using Pyrex
- Do not exceed 450F (230C)
Frequently Asked Questions
So long as your casserole dish is oven safe and can be heat to 450F (230C) then you can use it to bake sourdough bread. Some casserole dishes have glass lids, so you will need to refer to the manufacturers recommendations to see how hot you can heat it to.
You can use a pyrex dish as a bread cloche as long as it can be heated to your desired temperature. Place the inverted pyrex dish over your sourdough bread in the oven to keep the steam trapped and give you better oven spring.
While not ideal, you can bake sourdough sandwich bread in a glass pan. I would recommend metal pans or cast iron pans over glass because bread can easily stick to glass if it's not prepared properly.
While glass can be used, metal is easier when it comes to bread. There's no risk of it shattering in the oven or breaking from dropping it. It tends to be more non stick than glass too.
If you are interested in other ways of baking sourdough bread, these might be of interest: