Bread Pan Buying Guide
Bread pans are made from many different materials and they come in many shapes and sizes. The standard bread pan is 9” x 5” x 3” but there are many other sizes as well that are available, depending on what your needs are.
The standard size bread pan is perfect for dessert breads, cake loaves and other baked goods and can even be used for meat loaves. We have outlined the different types of bread pans below so you can learn about the differences available.
Types of Bread Pans
- Aluminum – Aluminum is the most popular material that bread pans are made of. It is extremely affordable and provides consistent results. Aluminum conducts heat better than other materials so the bread browns evenly as well as cooks through evenly as well. Nonstick aluminum allows the bread to release from the pan much faster but it can get scratches on it much easier than the unfinished aluminum pans can. Aluminum pans don’t have a long life span, so you will need to plan on replacing them when they need it.
- Silicone – Silicone bread pans are the latest invention in bread pans. They have gained in popularity due to the fact that they have a very fast cool down time and they don’t scratch, dent or oxidize. From the first loaf to the 100th loaf, your silicone pans will look the same. Silicone bread pans are freezer, microwave and oven safe to 450 degrees. They can be washed in the dishwasher as well.
- Stainless Steel – Stainless steel baking pans have a tendency to not heat evenly which can cause problems with the end result. It is liked for the resistance factor since stainless steel is usually very easy to clean and is scratch resistant too. Stainless steel can be more expensive than other types of pans but they will last a long time as well.
- Glass – glass bread pans are not as popular as the other types of pans. It has a tendency to cook the outside faster than the inside which leaves your bread looking fine on the outside and uncooked in the middle. Glass is harder to handle than other types of pans and it can crack, chip and even shatter if it has a bad reaction to heat.
- Stoneware/Ceramic – This type of bread pan has similar problems to watch for that glass pans do which is cracking and chipping. They are very good at cooking evenly. The bread can cook inside while being browned to the perfect degree outside. The more stoneware and ceramic is used the more nonstick it becomes and the more evenly it cooks. A seasoned ceramic or stoneware loaf pan will last a baker for years.
The Importance of Warranties
Make sure that the bread pan that you look at offers a good warranty. You want to be able to have a replacement taken care of in the event the one you have fails. Warranties will vary from brand to brand. You want to get the longest warranty you can find, but don’t let this be the only factor that you consider when choosing the right bread pan.
What Size is the Right Size?
There are many different sizes of bread pans on the market. How do you know what size you need to get? A lot of that will depend on the size of the recipe you are baking from. Below we have listed out typical bread recipes and the size bread pan you would use for each one. This will give you an idea of the size bread pan to purchase.
- If you are making a yeast recipe that has 3 cups of flour or less you will bake that in an 8 ½” x 4 ½” bread pan.
- If your recipe calls for 3 ½ cups of flour and that flour is bread flour or all purpose flour, use a slightly larger bread pan. If it is whole wheat, it will be fine baking in a standard bread pan. If you like combination breads err on the side of caution and opt for the larger size bread pan.
- If you are making a single loaf of bread that has at least 3 ¾ cups of white, whole-grain or combination flour bake your bread in a 9” x 5” pan.
- Some bread recipes call for 4 cups of flour at least. These recipes will need to be baked in a pan larger than 9” x 5”. If all you have is a 9” x 5” pan, bake half the recipe in the 9” x 5” pan and make rolls with the rest of the dough or use two 9” x 5” pans.
There is a large assortment of bread pans on the market today. Choosing from all the different kinds can be confusing and overwhelming unless you know exactly what you want ahead of time. Most people don’t know exactly what they want and many end up just guessing.
With all of these different choices available, it is wise to make sure that you know what your specific needs are. How often will you be using the bread pan? What types of bread do you want to make? How much bread or other type of baked good will you be making? Do you have a preference for a specific type of material?
The answers to these questions are crucial to the bread pans you purchase for your baking needs. Some bakers just use one pan and others may want a variety of sizes to accommodate different size loaves. Whichever you choose, you have to start off with identifying your needs. Once you do that the next steps are much simpler.
The purpose of this buyer’s guide is to provide the baker with the information so they can choose the right bread pan for their needs. Armed with the right knowledge, you can feel confident in your decision and know that you have chosen a bread pan that you will use frequently to produce delicious and well made breads and other baked goods.