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Mar 17, 2009 08:40 AM

What kind of loaf pans to buy?

I'm getting into baking bread and need to buy my first loaf pans. I know, this should be a no-brainer since nonstick pans are cheap and easy to find, but I'm trying to get away from nonstick, so if I'm going to go out and buy something new I'd rather look for something else. Anyone have recommendations/warnings about other materials?

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  1. I like heavy, metal pans because they make a nice crust. They're available at restaurant supply stores, King Arthur catalogue, and Bed Bath & Beyond (20% coupon?). Chicago Metallic is one brand that's very good:

    I don't wash them -- just spray with Pam before baking, then wipe out any residue after baking with a paper towel.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Channa

      Thanks Channa, that looks great, and at a decent price too. I'll wait a few days and see if I get a coupon in the mail...

      1. re: pickledginger

        Don't rush to the store too soon! :-D There are sure to be Chowhounds who prefer dark metal, Pyrex, stone, etc.

        I do want to add how wonderful it is that you're baking bread. It's often magical... sometimes frustrating... but always edible.

        1. re: Channa

          "Don't rush to the store too soon! :-D There are sure to be Chowhounds who prefer dark metal, Pyrex, stone, etc."

          Truer words were never spoken.

          1. re: flourgirl

            I agree with the heavy weight Chicago Metallic or Kaiser for loaf bread pans. King Arthur has a fantastic range of specialty baking pans, but you will pay extra for their name.

            I'm not a fan of Teflon lined pans, but that is a personal choice.

      1. First an odd suggestion -- get a 5-qt dutch oven. A plain pre-seasoned one will do just fine. This is the perfect unit for no-knead bread. The beauty of no-knead bread is that you get spectacular results for minimum effort. It is rewarding and will encourage you to keep going. There are a zillion no-knead bread threads, so no need to re-hash.

        For regular bread loaves, the Chicago Metallic pans work just fine -- good quality and not that expensive. Get a few different sizes -- at least two large ones for white bread, a couple smaller ones for quick breads. Pyrex and stoneware do not conduct heat well. This will mostly frustrate at first, since it cuts into your oven spring (amount bread rises after going in the oven) and crust development. They have their place, I suppose. Some breads are prone to scorching -- this is less likely in a glass or cermaic pan.

        6 Replies
        1. re: MikeB3542

          I have a recipe (as yet untried) for an apple pound cake that is baked in a loaf pan....but it's baked on a caramel, much as if I were making a flan. I can't see using a metal pan for this, my metal pans are well used and I'd expect the caramel to pick up a metal taste.
          Is there ANY other use for the glass bread pans, beyond my apple pound cake?

          1. re: shallots

            Consider lining the pan with parchment -- I do a lot of Dutch oven cooking on campouts. Things like pineapple upside down cake and cobbler (where fruit and syrup are poured directly on the cast iron and cooked) turn out just fine -- .

          2. re: MikeB3542

            I've been experimenting with no-knead bread, but I don't have a good dutch oven and am not ready to make the investment quite yet. I'm enjoying doing a bit of kneading and made a recipe I liked a lot but it could really have used the structure of a loaf pan; it kind of fell flat, even though it tasted good. (I probably should've worked in a little more flour too....) I'm also trying not to buy so much expensive sliced sandwich bread and wonder if I could make it myself.

            But I do plan to keep working with the no-knead bread--or not working, as the case may be!

            1. re: pickledginger

              Do you have a kitchen scale? For me, it improved my baking more than anything. It needn't be expensive. Then use reliable recipes that show weights of ingredients. Otherwise, it's difficult at first to assess your dough consistency -- what one person calls a stiff dough, another may call kneadable. And there are vast differences in doughs from ciabattas to bagels. Check your local library for books. And if you haven't looked at The Fresh Loaf website, you'll find much knowledge and experience there to guide you. Good Luck!


              1. re: Channa

                That's a really good idea. I've always figured "real" bakers weighed their ingredients, since baking is so much more precise than cooking, and I think not using a scale is one thing that's kept me from feeling like I really knew what I was doing when baking. And thanks for the well-wishes!

                1. re: pickledginger

                  I guess you're ready to hear about "bakers percentages." I have to run just now, so I can't tell you. Just Google and you'll find out. Once you start doing that, you can make adjustments easily.

          3. I don't have any specific recommendations, but I would suggest metal over stoneware. I have 2 beautiful stoneware loaf pans, but they just don't make great bread, and I find myself reaching for my cheap, scratched, slightly rusty metal pan more often.

            2 Replies
            1. re: cyberroo

              I recently used a Corning Ware "French White" loaf pan to bake bread and the sides of the bread did not brown.
              Is this one of the problems with using ceramic versus metal loaf pans or did I do something wrong?

              1. re: LidaK

                Lida, I have one French White baker that I've used only for lasagne and such, so I don't know about that. But after years of baking in metal and pyrex pans, I now use Emile Henri and LC bakers and loaf pans for goodies and quick breads, and I love the way they turn out. I guess maybe I'm the only one here who likes baking in ceramic. ????? Most savory, rise breads I do are French and Italian type long loaves, baguettes and round rustic breads, so I usually just use a flat pan (half-sheet, etc.) for those.

            2. Both these suggestions may seem a bit odd but...

              1) In the dry-walling section of home depot you can pick up a stainless steel 'loaf tin' that is called a mud buddy. Excellent value - about $10. They need to be lightly greased.

              2) use a large disposable aluminium (I'm a Brit!) serving tray and wrap it round a rolling pin so it is shaped like a double U ... sort of like this..ῳ. Use it to bake a couple of baguettes.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Paulustrious

                I can't decide between Chicago Metallic non-stick ($16.99 Amazon) or non-coated ($10.99- minus 20% coupon Bed, Bath and Beyond), 1 pound loaf pan, 8.5 x 4.5 x 2.5.

                I'll use it for no-kneed bread and I want this smaller size pan - not the regular 9 x 5 x 3.

                These smaller pans are impossible to find in stores. Any other same size brand suggestions.

                Pros/cons for either one would be greatly appreciated.

                1. re: Canthespam

                  I like the smaller size for 1 pound loaves. I have just been given 3 enamel loaf pans that aro about 40 years old in this size. The dark blue with the white flecks same material as the roasting pans.
                  How good is this metal for baking bread? There are a few chips on the rim, can I still use the pans or are there health issues?

                  1. re: LidaK

                    Lately, I have been so crazy about quick bread and I would like to buy my first loaf pan, and I cannot decide to buy either glass or not non-stick loaf pans ( while I am trying to stay away from non-stick pans), any suggestion??

                    Also I thought mini size loaf bread is just so cute, do peoplevmake them mostly for gifts?? Do glass loaf pans come in mini size??

                    1. re: ijeny

                      I make a lot of quickbread, in fact one loaf a week. I have a number of Nordic Ware metal loaf pans with designs on the bottom. They are of excellant quality and my loafs are beautuful looking as well as evenly baked. I just have to grease and the flour the pans very, very well.
                      I also have a 6 cup Nordixc Ware Bundt pan and it is just the right size for my quickbread recipes which also seem to be 6 cup size.

                      I am buying this mini loaf pan for myself as an early Christmas present:

                      Not sure about glass for quickbreads. I have always used metal pans.

                  2. re: Canthespam

                    I have a couple of the smaller loaf pans and think they were from BB&B or the supermarket.

                    I have found that Amazon has a wider selection and better prices than most cooking-specific online and brick&mortar stores.