The revolutionary cast iron bread pan designed by bakers, for bakers. We crafted our pan to help you bake better bread every day! Bake bâtards, boules, demi-baguettes, and other loaves of almost any size. Made in the USA.
Top 5 Reasons You’ll Love Your Challenger:
We made the Challenger out of thick, black cast iron because it is proven to absorb, retain, and radiate heat—just what your dough needs. We shaped the cover like a loaf of bread to bring radiant heat as close as possible to help your dough’s oven spring and bloom. It’s a self-contained oven within your oven so that heat is not lost when you open the oven to take the cover off.
With handles large enough for oven mitts, you’ll easily load your dough, place and remove the cover, and safely remove your perfect loaf.
Small combo cookers yield small boules. Dutch ovens have bakers cutting elaborate parchment slings to lower dough without burning their hands (or degassing the dough!). Baking stones and steels require even more elaborate workarounds to create steam. Clay bakers crack.
No more baking workarounds. The Challenger is designed for you to bake all your favorite breads. It’s easy to load and score your dough. The sealed cover traps the steam you need. Your Challenger won’t crack. In fact, it’s made to last for generations.
The 5-volume tome called Modernist Bread delved deeply into every aspect of making bread. After thorough testing of many vessels for baking bread at home, the authors determined their favorite was a cast iron combination cooker—an upside down Dutch oven. Except for a very small 3.5 quart model, testers found that other combination cookers didn’t seal well enough to bake professional-quality bread in a home oven. The authors declared that black cast iron “does an excellent job of absorbing, retaining, and radiating heat.” So we designed the perfect pan—a perfectly sealed cover and the right heat—for baking a variety of bread shapes in a home oven.
Chad Robertson started the artisan bread revolution for home bread bakers with his first book, Tartine Bread. He knew that professional bakers saturate their ovens with steam to achieve a moist heat environment to produce bread with crackling crust, rich colors, open scores, and full volume. As home ovens are designed to reduce moisture, Robertson tried many methods for creating steam in a home oven, suggesting that the “sealed environment of a dutch oven solves this problem.” The goal is to trap enough moisture for results similar to a professional deck oven. The sealed environment of the Challenger achieves that goal. Perfectly.
Chad Robertson also acknowledged that even with the benefits of steam, the Dutch oven is too deep—it’s difficult to get well-proofed dough into it without degassing or burning your hands. The Challenger is essentially an upside down Dutch oven with, as Baker Alex Melanidis describes, “multiple and strategically positioned handles.” Bread Magazine’s François Thibeault noted, “The handles are at the right spot, keeping my hands safe when grabbing the pan in and out of the oven.”
Our Challenger Bread Pan is the only pan on the market where every single detail was designed with the bread baker in mind. Its thick cast iron and perfectly sealed environment will ensure you bake better bread every time.