Kind words for challenger

Having the Challenger Bread Pan and our other Challenger products out in the world is exciting. Seeing what you all are baking is absolutely thrilling! And we couldn’t be happier with the feedback we’re receiving. See what people are saying about their experience with Challenger Breadware.
Baking one own’s bread has become more and more of a habit and now I have decided to make time to adopt that habit in my household. Where I once made my own baguettes and my own croissants because there were no great bakeries, now @balthazarbakery and @bakednyc and @petrossiannyc and @biencuit provide us with great product but now I have the urge to do my own again — using my niece @sophieslaterwellness sourdough starter and a fabulous new @challengerbreadware iron pan.

— Martha Stewart, @marthastewart48

The handles are at the right spot, keeping my hands safe when grabbing the pan in and out of the oven. It’s large enough so I can bake 1.2 kg doughs and still get a great oven kick. It really traps the steam and the heat, and it’s pretty easy to bake two loaves one after the other, re-heating the pan just for 15 minutes between bakes. Deep, golden crust, thin and crispy, with light yellowish-brown colors, to black ears, the loaves come out of the oven with a remarkable charisma and rusticity.

— François Thibeault, Bread Magazine, @breadmag

This is a beautifully designed pan! The perfect shape for various sized loaves. No longer will I have to use both a circular and oval shaped Dutch oven. It perfectly baked my 900g boules and batards with room to spare. This pan is built to last. It won’t chip or scratch like my enameled Dutch ovens have and the walls are significantly thicker as well. The added thermal mass makes for more heat retention and a better bake. The heavy domed lid and low profile bottom make a great seal keeping the steam right where you want it. Before I would use parchment paper to lower the bread into the Dutch oven, being careful not to burn my hands on the sides. No longer. Now I place my loaves directly from the baskets onto the base of my pan, without parchment paper. The crust bakes properly/evenly and develops a perfectly crisp, thick crust with the most amazing blisters I’ve ever baked!

— Vanessa Kimbell, Sourdough Baker and Author, @sourdoughschool & @sourdoughclub

The handles are placed intuitively and make for very easy handling of the pan in and out of the oven. I like how the shape conforms to my dough—no wasted space. And the pan has a tight seal around the edges to trap steam. Importantly the pan also has a low profile so you can easily get your dough in the pan with minimal risk of injury.

— Kristen, Baker, @fullproofbaking

I love the texture the cast iron gives fougasse, but I rarely make it this way because I’ve never had a pan that wasn’t pretty awkward to load these into, but this pan is perfect for the job.

— Nicole Muvundamina, Baker, @nmuvu

This is a beautifully designed pan! It won’t chip or scratch like my enameled Dutch ovens have and the walls are significantly thicker as well. The heavy domed lid and low profile bottom make a great seal keeping the steam right where you want it. I am looking forward to baking with these pans for many years to come.

— Mike Hilburn, The Sourdough Podcast, @thesourdoughpodcast

A great design, multiple and strategically positioned handles and size dimensions that make the pan even suitable for 2kg bread loaves.

— Alex Melanidis, Baker and Blogger (, @brotokoll

Well, what more can I say… @jimchall you’ve knocked the ball out of the park! The handles front and back to lift the top off are great, the whole pan is very well crafted from the shape to the casting, and finally the fettling is top notch. Too many times I see things that are good but could be better… this isn’t one of them. Well worth the wait. My advice to anyone serious about baking bread is get one, you won’t be disappointed.

— Campbell MacFarlane, Maker of the Campbell’s Dough Knife, @campbell2664

So awesome! I gotta say, it feels great in the hand and looks damn sexy! And check out all that space! It’s just plain sexy as hell!

— Trevor Jay Wilson, Author, Open Crumb Mastery, @trevorjaywilson

The @challengerbreadware pan is the most effortless way of baking bread at home in my experience. I’ve enjoyed baking bread for probably twenty years and have tried many of the typical methods, with many variations, including the baking stone/steel, tray of water/ice, a dutch oven/casserole pot etc etc… The Challenger Pan blows them all out the water. Sky high! I’ve baked tons of different sourdough in mine now. Let’s take a look at why it’s such an asset for a home baker:
🔥 No more burns. It’s so much easier to handle than any sort of dutch oven that’s really intended for other food. The huge handles mean you can pick it up and move it easily, even with oven gloves. The shallowness of the bottom pan means I’m able to just place the dough straight from the banneton into the pan without any faff at all. And without burns. Even with extreme care, practice and different techniques, there is a high risk of burning your arms/hands when using a dutch oven.
🔥 Steam retention. During the first ten-twenty minutes, your dough typically does the most rising and “springs up” as the moisture evaporates and expands the dough. However, the exterior of your dough “crusts up” too quicky, it won’t be able to expand anymore. Steam the Challenger retains is better than anything I’ve used before.
🔥 Radial heat. Thanks to the THICK cast iron all around the pan, you get an immersive, even heat which really helps with oven spring (combined with the steam retention).
🔥 This is probably just me but I love that @jimchall made this for baking bread. Sure you can do other things with it but it’s whole creation was for baking artisan bread at home. I love simple tech that just works and you can’t really beat excellent design cast in iron. This pan will long out last all of us and it’s purpose will still remain true.

— Richard Harris, Richard Harris Knives, @richardharrisknives

Up to the challenge! They are a dream to load, rotate, and uncover with two sets of handles for easy access. It works perfectly for both batard and boules and is by far the best bread baking vessel I have used.

— Guy Frenkel, Baker, @ceorbread

The pans gave me the crust of my dreams! Flavor was out of this world.

— Steve McConkey, Cottage Baker @antiguaartisan

Sunday sourdough experiments. I baked four loaves from the same batch of dough based on @bakerhands Ploughman loaf recipe; she was an early inspiration for me and so many others, and remains one! • Two loaves I baked in @challengerbreadware pans with a couple of ice cubes. The spring and blisters are ridiculous! In the second to last pic you can see all four loaves including the two I baked on baking stones in a steam drenched oven; not even close to the same look, size, or sounds.

— Baker, @flanneldogfarm

I received my Challenger on the 19th and have made about 10 loaves in it! WOW! It’s the bread pan I’ve been waiting for! I’m still tweaking oven temps, shaping and scoring patterns, but so far I’ve had a beautiful oven spring and ‘ear’ on the loaves. I must admit, I was a little upset when the UK customs/VAT added another £45 on to the price and I questioned my decision to have cast iron shipped from the US (ha ha!) but I am so pleased I now have it. I have been baking sourdough for about 4 years and eventually settled on the Tartine formula using a baking steel and tray of hot water in the oven. My results were good, but somewhat variable. And over the years I’ve contemplated bringing a Lodge brand double dutch oven back to the UK in my luggage, but really wanted to stick to oblong rather than round loaves. The Challenger has put the checks in all the boxes and no cast iron ‘carry on luggage’ required!

— Jackie, Home Baker in the UK

The moment you grab one of these bread pans you know it’s built to last. Just the weight of the iron makes it feel like an old Chevy part. The pan has no drawbacks and is pretty much perfect in every way for the results we’re all looking for in bread: crispy, airy, crunchy, fluffy, delicious bread.

— Michael Fitzick, Owner, Bakeria 1010, @pizza_jew

Is it a boule? Is it a batard? No! It’s a boutard! Amazing oven spring in the #challengerbreadpan by @jimchall. I really think the shape and seal of the #challengerbreadpan is superb!

— Jessica, Home Baker, @saltybakergirl

The long and widened size and the special pair of handles on the lid are rare and very friendly and caring designs, which subtly eliminate the danger of burns that may occur and completely overturn the clunkiness and inconvenience of the heavy cast iron pot. I have been using it since October 1st, exactly one month, and use it to bake my Artisan bread almost every day. I am very satisfied and at ease, and I would like to highly recommend Challenger Breadware to all my friends I know! THE BEST EVER!

— Rainu Young, Baker, @rainuyoung

The bench knife is incredible as well, figured out I could use it as a transfer peel from couche to pan.

— Bryan Ford, Baker, Writer and Recipe Developer, @artisanbryan

The good news is the bread pan does make the bake more organized and easier than using the peel with parchment and the inverted cast iron. And it’s super pretty too! Killer job @jimchall.

— Alex Venguer, Baker, @trufaeats

I’m amazed at the pro quality of the crust!! Challenger Breadware delivers on its promise of great bread!

— Michael Kalanty, Author, How to Bake Bread, @chefmikebreads

I made two loaves today in my Challenger Bread Pan, they are my best loaves yet with the most amazingly chewy crust.

— Baker, @olgeetsaj

Well made substantial cast iron, arrives preseasoned, handles on lid thoughtfully placed to facilitate removal from hot oven with ease. Love this pan.

— Susan Clay Dohrman, Baker, @susan.dohrman

This apron is awesome. It has cross-back straps so there is nothing around my neck, which makes it incredibly comfortable. It has two pockets for my glasses, pen, thermometer and whatever else I need to put in them. It’s made of a sturdy fabric in a dark wash denim colour and it fits beautifully. Go get one if you can.

— Michelle Wigmore, @michelleboatbaker

Can’t Bake Without