Baking homemade bread can be a significant milestone, especially for the kitchen novice. There is something powerful and nurturing about making "the staff of life" with your own hands rather than buying it from a store. The bread tin, or bread pan, you use may be made of aluminium, cast iron, terra cotta, glass, or even silicone. A cast iron or terra cotta bread tin will need to be seasoned to keep bread from sticking to it. Seasoning a bread tin is a straightforward business.
Wash the tin. Wash the pan thoroughly with hot water and soap. This will remove any coating that remains from the manufacturing process.
Oil the tin. Brush or wipe the inside of the tin with shortening. You can use a pastry brush, or simply dip a paper towel into a tub of shortening and wipe the inner surfaces of the tin. Be sure to cover the surfaces thoroughly.
Bake in 350-degree F oven. You can simply place the tin in the oven, or you can invert it to keep oil from collecting at the bottom. If you do turn it upside down, be sure to place a baking tray or large piece of foil beneath the tin to collect any oil that may drip from the pan. You can leave the oiled tin in the oven for one to two hours.
Turn off the oven. After an hour or two, turn off the oven, but leave the tin inside, so that it will cool slowly.
Store the pan. Once the pan has cooled to room temperature, you can store it in a cool place.
Oil the tin. Brush or wipe down the interior of the bread pan with a thin layer of shortening.
Bake the tin. Place the tin inside the oven and bake it at 121 degrees Celsius "until the oil is dry," according to PracticallyEdible.com.
Cool the tin. Remove the tin from the oven and allow it to cool to room temperature.
Repeat steps 1 through 3. Follow the above steps three more times. This will allow the terra cotta to be seasoned thoroughly and to be well-prepared for baking bread.
Be sure to preheat your oven to the specified temperature before you place the pan inside for seasoning.
Do not use too much shortening to oil the pan. If you do, once it melts, it may begin to create smoke inside your oven. Simply apply a thin coat of shortening to the surface of the pan.