In the middle of June , I saw this post on TheKitchn.com which mentioned that they had seen a glass tube for sale on Etsy that was made to cook tube shaped loaves of bread. I thought it was pretty awesome frankly and showed it to Amber and mentioned “Hey, if you ever see one of these, pick it up for me”. The $27 one ($15 + $12 shipping) on Etsy had already sold. I figured it would be quite awhile before another one came our way. Well, just a couple of weeks later Amber, very excited I might add, told me she had a surprise. It was a Pyrex Bake-a-Round tube, in the box with the instructions. She found it at the thrift store for only a couple of dollars. I’m not sure it has ever been used. I’ve just been waiting for a stay-at-home weekend to try it out.
Apparently Corning made and sold these 20″ long tubes in the 1970′s. The date on my instruction sheet is June 1977. Most of the posts say they were really popular and everyone had one “back in the day”. But, since they only sold them for a few years, I’d guess they weren’t really that popular. It came with a full two year warranty, not that it will do me any good now.
The Bake-a-Round instruction sheet comes with a number of bread recipes (you can download a PDF of the instructions I created below). It seems like the key is to avoid recipes that are sugary because it will carmelize and stick to the glass, and frankly you’ll never be able to get it out of the tube. Instead of using an untried recipe I decided to make the white sandwich bread from Reinhart’s Crust and Crumb, because it is one of our favorites. And it has so much butter in it I figured it would slide right out.
I made a 1lb loaf and used the suggested waxpaper technique to load the dough into the tube. My instructions actually have a typo (2″ of wax paper). I looked at instructions from Neufie.com which made more sense (2′ of wax paper). It worked well, but between the buttered tube and the butter in the bread I probably could have simply slipped it in. I gave it a squish from both ends (again, per the instructions), capped the ends with plastic wrap and let it rise. The small 1lb loaf I used never filled the entire tube and in hindsight I could easily have gone with 1 1/2 lbs of dough.
The finished cooked loaf still in the Bake-a-Round:
Getting it out was a little tricky. You have to maneuver the hot glass tube out of the hot metal holder and then tap the end of the tube with a potholder to get the bread to slide out. I did it though without any help or burned fingers. The bread had a nice even crust all around the loaf.
An unexpected side benefit is the phallic nature of the loaf. I hadn’t noticed, by my mom did!
Gallery with lots of photos including box, tube, bread and instructions.
Download a copy of my instructions as a PDF: Bake-a-Round Instructions (1165)