Most bakeries, pizzerias and foodservice operations spend upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars purchasing equipment to make their products. The goal is to have the best equipment that helps an operation improve efficiencies and product quality while decreasing costs.
With this type of investment in ovens, proofers, freezers and makeup equipment, it’s not surprising people focus their efforts on the big-ticket items in their operations, and tend to ignore the importance of pans. Whether baking pans or pizza pans, these essential tools can pay significant dividends through creating better tasting products, minimizing waste and improving productivity.
We see it all the time when we visit potential new customers. Their baking and pizza pans are almost an afterthought, until we explain how investing in pans can pay long-term dividends. To help understand the importance of pans, we put together this guide for any bakery, foodservice operator or pizza maker looking to purchase new pans.
For any commercial operation, you have two choices: steel or aluminum pans. These pans work so well because both metals are conductive to heat, formable for manufacturing and cost effective. When looking at these options, you’ll want to specify either heavy-gauge aluminum or light-gauge steel. Each metal has equivalent baking performance.
So which is better? As you’ll find out in the next section, it’s not really the metal that makes a pan. It’s the coating applied to the metal that truly distinguishes an exceptional pan.
Because aluminum and steel are bare metals, they must be seasoned to prevent dough from sticking to them. As a result, most pan manufacturers sell their pans with some type of coating system. The most common for commercial applications is a fluoropolymer coating or glaze. This type of coating offers good release, but it has a limited shelf life and needs to be sent to a manufacturing facility to be cleaned and re-glazed. This necessitates overstocking on pans to ensure you always have enough pans at hand for production needs.
Here at LloydPans, we saw the waste involved with re-glazing, so we developed a proprietary coating system that would never need to be seasoned or sent away to be re-glazed. Our coating is permanent, and its PTFE-free pre-seasoning means once you get your pans, you can put them to use immediately and not have to worry about additional maintenance costs.
Should it matter where your pans are made? Yes! It’s also essential to know how they’re made. Regardless of how much preparation goes into running a bakery or pizzeria, there are always going to be “emergencies” that require a quick pan order. If your pans are made half-way around the world, it may take a while or cost a fortune to get what you need to keep your operations running smoothly. We manufacture our pans in Spokane Valley, Washington, and specialize in quick-turnarounds.
To truly see significant cost savings in pans, you must look beyond the initial sticker shock. You must factor in maintenance of the pan and its expected lifespan. How much oil is required for seasoning? How often do the pans need to be re-coated or re-glazed? How durable are the pans? All these questions are essential to understanding the true cost of your pans over their lifespan, not just the first time you purchase them.
Sometimes, your production needs don’t mesh with what’s in a catalog. When you need a custom pan, make sure to ask about costs, turnaround times and minimum orders. Learn more about custom baking and pizza pans.
We’ve covered the basics of baking and pizza pans. Now it’s time for your questions. Let us know in the comments or email us.