Edit ModuleShow Tags

A Pan for All Seasonings-;Part 2

Tom “The Dough Doctor” Lehmann discusses the pros and cons of seasoned aluminum pans.


In your previous column, you explained how to take care of seasoned steel pans. What about aluminum pans?


We’ll look at two types of aluminum pans in this month’s column: bright finish and dark anodized finish.

Bright Finish. Bright-finish aluminum pans come in two forms: raw (untreated) aluminum, which I would not recommend using, and anodized finish. Raw aluminum pans will discolor with merely the slightest exposure to soapy (alkaline) water and are also highly prone to corrosion. I’ve seen such bad corrosion on some pans that they looked as if they had been attacked with an ice pick!

On the other hand, anodized-finish aluminum pans will have a bright finish, but they are not prone to the problems described above. Even so, they must be seasoned before use to obtain the best baking results. All things considered, I place bright-finish aluminum pans on par with bright steel pans. Steel pans are a bit more resistant to damage, but they are also prone to rusting, so, in my book, it comes out a draw.

Dark Anodized Finish. Although we normally think of a dark-color, nonstick finish as a Teflon coating, Teflon has not proven to be very durable in this application. Therefore, most of what you see today in this type of finish will actually be a bonded, anodized finish that is much more durable than Teflon. All anodized finishes are not the same, however—some are extremely durable, while others simply aren’t. My advice is to purchase a couple of sample pans from different manufacturers and test them out in your operation, or consult with others who use pans from that manufacturer about their durability.

The biggest benefit of a dark anodized-finish pan is that it has all the color it needs to give a great bake right from the start. It won’t need any messy seasoning and, by nature, will be highly resistant to damage resulting from soaking in hot, soapy water. These pans need only a very light coating of oil, applied occasionally during use, to ensure good release properties. In fact, the finish on some of these pans is so hard and durable that you can dig a deep-dish pizza out of the pan using a metal spatula without damage to the pan.

The biggest drawback to this type of pan can be the upfront purchase cost—it’s not cheap. However, when considering the pan’s overall durability, that expense might start looking like a pretty good investment a few years down the road when you begin noticing problems with other seasoned pans; the dark-color anodized pans will keep doing their job without much, if any, maintenance or serviceability issues.

Finally, on the general subject of seasoning pans, there could be one minor drawback: When you season a pan, it will create a significant amount of smoke, so keep this in mind, particularly if you’ve got smoke detectors in your building or neighbors who may complain or think a fire has broken out. If a fire truck shows up, you may have to explain to the firemen that you were simply seasoning your pans!

Tom Lehmann is the director of bakery assistance for the American Institute of Baking (AIB). Need more dough advice? Visit the Dough Information Center at PMQ.com/dough.

Edit Module

Tell us what you think at or email.

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Eight Ways to Jump-Start Spring Sales

From Easter through Mother’s Day, here are 8 ways to ring in the spring with seasonal flings and give your sales a jump start.

Tips from the Team: Serving Up the Suds

Sean Dempsey explains how to pour on the profits by adding craft beers to your operation.

Preventing the Pita Effect in Par-Baked Pizzas

Par-baked crusts offer some time-saving advantages, but keep these tips in mind to prevent the formation of pockets.

Old-School vs. Online Marketing: Getting the Best Out of Both

From flyers to Google Ads, Think Tankers share tips and tricks for marketing your pizzeria.

2019: Already a Year to Remember

The U.S. Pizza Team shines on ESPN3

Product Spotlight-March 2019

Maintain a Good Relationship With Your Oven to Avoid Later Heartache

Buying an oven is like getting married—weigh the pros and cons carefully before rushing into a long-term commitment.

Milwaukee-Style Pizza Offers Up Great Options for Pizza & Beer Pairing

You can’t go to Milwaukee and not drink beer. Fortunately, Milwaukee-style pizza was designed with beer drinkers in mind.

Paying Your Pizzeria's Employees Well Can Yield Big Dividends

Derrick Tung, owner of Paulie Gee’s Logan Square in Chicago, details his innovative approach to paying and incentivizing employees—and why his opening night was such a stinker.

Adding Deli Sandwiches Can Kick Up Your Pizzeria's Sales

Thinking of adding a deli component to your pizzeria? These two creative operators explain how sandwich success has kept their pizza businesses booming.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags