Making bread at home is a process, so it makes sense to have a quality bread pan to ensure the final presentation is prefect. A loaf pan is really the only way to yield that iconic tall rectangular shape. We’re going to take you through the best pans so you can bake those delicious homemade recipes — like banana, zucchini. or raisin bread — and with a bit of practice you’ll put regular store-bought breads to shame.
|No||Our Top 7 Picks||Size||Buy|
|1||USA 1140LF by USA Pan||8.5" x 4.5" x 3"|
|2||USA Pullman by USA Pan||13" x 4" x 4"|
|3||Chicago Commercial II by Chicago||5.75" x 3.25" x 2.25"|
|4||OXO Good Grips by OXO||8.5" x 4.5" x 2.75"|
|5||Simply Calphalon by Calphalon||8.5" x 4.5" x 2.5"|
|6||Pyrex Easy Grab by Pyrex||8.4" x 5.3" x 2.9"|
|7||Kitchen Supply by Honey-Can-Do||9" x 2.75" x 2"|
Why Get A Bread Loaf Pan?
It’s tough to get your bread to come out in – ya know, the actual shape of a loaf of bread – without using a loaf pan, if you’re using batter. Many breads made from dough don’t need a pan if you just want them to come out in a round shape (think sourdough). But if you want that classic long bread shape, you’ll need a good pan.
Additionally, using a bread loaf pan can help you get better browning and crust on each loaf than you might get without one. This will depend on the exact material, color and thickness of the pan, however; read our buyer’s guide below to see more.
Bread pans are versatile as they are useful for more than just everyday bread.
It excels at things like pound cake, cheese breads, even dishes like meat loaf, or lasagna (see the recipes).
There are a few things you need to look for when buying a bread pan.
Bread pans come at a standard 9”x5”, but you can find a number of sizes that might fit your own unique needs. Another common size is 8.5” x 4.5”. Both of these size pans are generally 2.5” to 3” tall. After reviewing and testing a few of these out our favorite sized pans were 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inches (when measured from the top edges).
So here’s why size matters:
A slight difference in size can make a huge difference when it comes to the size of your bread loaf, how it bakes, and ultimately how it will present. Lets’s face it — when it comes to bread — texture and taste is important, but there’s nothing like a picture perfect loaf.
When it comes to size, a pan with narrower measurements will yield a taller loaf with more of an iconic dome shape.
Some larger pans will produce wide and bulky loaves, looking almost sloppy. Alternatively, smaller thinner pans can cause bread rise and hang over the edge, in these cases not only does the final shape of the bread look distorted, but the edges that hang over the pan end up getting burnt. Our top top tier pans all had one thing in common: they caused bread to rise straight up and produced nice and round dome tops just like you’d see behind the glass at your local bakery.
It’s important to know exactly the capacity of your pan so you can size your bread batch properly.
Types of Material
Bread loaf pans come in several different materials. When it comes to producing picture perfect loafs, we prefer the metal pans that are creased together at the ends (like you would see on wrapping paper at the corner of a box).
Aluminum. Most pans are made of aluminum; as with all cookware, aluminum provides a smooth, even cooking surface with some pretty reliable results: it is a good conductor of heat and delivers some evenly baked loafs with browned crusts all the way around. It’s also durable and light, as well as very easy to clean (though not as easy as stainless-steel pans).
Aluminum pans come both non-stick coated and uncoated.
Aluminized Steel: Aluminized Steel – steel that has been coated in aluminum – is another popular choice for baking pans; steel is heavy-duty and durable, and likely to last a long time, while the smooth aluminum provides a smooth, non-stick and even-heating surface for baking some nice browned goods. The aluminum coating also helps provide protection against rust and corrosion. Often, aluminized steel pans have a corrugated build that helps the bread bake more evenly while also releasing easily from the pan, without much sticking.
Stainless steel pans don’t heat as evenly as aluminum, as it’s not as good a conductor. As a result, stainless steel pans don’t create the same kind of browned crust. However, stainless steel is also much more durable, scratch-resistant, and easier to clean, than aluminum.
Glass pans are not as popular as stainless steel or aluminum, but they do have their uses. Glass heats up faster than stainless steel or aluminum but doesn’t heat as evenly – and thus doesn’t cook as evenly. The outside of the bread might cook very quickly in a glass pan, while the inside struggles to keep up. This can lead to either a gooey, underdone mess in the middle – or charred and burnt crust. Food tends to stick to glass, as well – so you need to use a lot of oil or cooking spray to get your bread out.
Additionally, glass can be more difficult to handle than aluminum or stainless steel, and mis more prone to chip, crack or even shatter if not cooled down properly after removing from the oven.
Silicone: Silicone pans are pretty new but are quickly gaining popularity – as they don’t dent, scratch, or oxidize, like metal pans often do. They also certainly don’t shatter or crack like glass. Generally, silicone pans are microwave-safe. freezer-safe, and oven safe up to 450F.
The one large drawback to silicone pans, however, is that they just do not bake as reliably as stainless steel or aluminum; they don’t transfer heat as well and can’t create the same kind of browning as a metal pan. You might find yourself adjusting your baking times without much more than a shot-in-the-dark guess.
Ceramic– Ceramic pans are also becoming quite popular for their own reasons. Ceramic is an excellent conductor, heating up and transferring that heat to the bread quite evenly. This results in perfectly cooked, browned breads. They have a smooth surface or non-stick coating that keeps the bread from sticking to the pan, are quite durable, and usually dishwasher safe.
A properly seasoned and cared-for ceramic pan can last for years. Proper care, however, is quite important; like glass pans, ceramic or stoneware pans are prone to chipping and cracking.
Material, Color, and Browning: How This Works
If you like browned, even crispy, exteriors on each bread loaf, opt for a dark colored pan; the darker the pan, the darker the brown will be. Likewise, the lighter the pan, the lighter the browning on the bread.
This is because dark metals absorbs and distribute heat more rapidly and effectively than lighter-colored pans.
The flipside is that a darker pan, if baking at a higher temperature, will also cause the edges to set faster while the middle of the bread still needs to catch up; you may need to cook at a lower temp to prevent burning and sticking.
Ultimately, when it comes to bread and browning you should understand the Maillard Reaction.
What About Handles?
To pull a loaf of bread out of the oven in that pan, you gotta be sure it has some nice handles to grab it with. On larger pans, this might literally just be some overhang on the edges of the pan. On many pans, they may indeed be dedicated – but small – handles to grab onto. The larger, the better; you’ll be wearing some pretty bulky oven mitts when you reach into that oven and pull out that steaming hot loaf pan.
-> Also check: Homemade Bread in your Stand Mixer
This aluminized steel pan – made in the USA – is our top pick for the Best Loaf Pan of 2020. It’s a solidly-built pan that makes for some solid browning and even cooking, and is sure to last many long years of use.
What We Like
- The aluminized steel build is heavy-duty and ultra-durable. You can literally feel the heft of this pan in your hands when you pick it up.
- The non-stick Americoat coating is BPA, PTFE, and PFOA-free; there are no nasty chemicals to leach into your food. Bread doesn’t stick to the surface, and each loaf releases easily.
- Breads bake perfectly. Heat is distributed evenly throughout the whole pan, and breads come out about with just right about of browning; well-done but not burned. The corrugated design doesn’t affect that at all.
- It’s Made in the USA. USA Pan believes in their products so much, they even back them up with a lifetime warranty.
What We Don’t Like
- There are no handles. This makes it hard to pick up and more securely, especially when it’s blazing hot and you’re wearing bulky oven mitts. We’d like to see some place to grip it!
- It’s difficult to clean. Edges and bits of burnt food can get stuck in the corrugated grooves, and there are open seams (due to the folded metal build) that crumbs can get lodged in. You might find yourself scrubbing more than you wish!
If you’re looking for a large, reliable and heavy-duty bread loaf pan – with a cover – you can’t really go wrong with the Pullman Loaf pan from USA Pan. It’s a lot like USA Pan’s alumized steel pan above, but with an additional alumized steel cove – which helps when baking no-knead breads.
What We Like
- The steel cover helps cook sourdough and other breads faster; if you’re making a particularly thick, doughy bread, the covering of the pan provides some additional heat and ensures the bread cooks through faster. It also makes the crust crunchier.
- The alumized steel is durable and helps bake that bread faster and more evenly. Again, it’s BPA, PTFE and PFOA-free.
- The extra-long length (13” x 4”) is perfect for making larger loaves of bread. Perfect for gluten-free and sourdough breads, among others.
What We Don’t
- The lack of handles. Picking it up from the oven can be pretty difficult with those bulky oven mitts on.
- The non-stick coating tends to wear down over time. Some reviewers say it flakes off, while others just find themselves needing to scrape chunks of browned bread off after a few uses. We would like to be more durable.
If you’re looking for a set of smaller pans, on the other hand, Chicago Metallic has you covered. Each measuring 5.75-inch by 3.25-inch by 2.25-inch, these nifty little pans are perfect for baking smaller loaves of bread – and for baking them fast.
What We Like
- The alumized steel build is thick and dependable. People feel quite comfortable using them on the regular and expect them to last quite a long time.
- Breads brown perfectly – and bake all the way through with ease. Edges are done right while the center is firm. The mini size is perfect for single-serve breads or a collection of breads for a party.
- Made in the USA – with the quality to match.
- They are pretty affordable, too – for a set of 4.
What We Don’t Like
- Water gets stuck in the seams. These are folded metal, after all; to dry them thoroughly and prevent premature rusting, many reviewers recommend drying them quickly in the oven after washing.
- The label is very hard to remove; the adhesive is quite strong and can take some scraping to get off.
- Many people find the non-stick coating flakes off in the dishwasher. You may want to handwash them for the best results.
For a heavy-duty and durable but totally non-stick pan, you might want to take a look at this one from OXO Good Grips; it’s made from heavy-gauge alumized steel that is thick and built to last. OXO Good Grips is known for quality, and this loaf pan doesn’t disappoint.
What We Like
- The commercial-grade non-stick coating is high-quality and effective. It’s two layers thick and ceramic reinforced, and makes for smooth, easy-release baking, every time.
- It’s super easy to clean. This is thanks to the ridiculously high-quality non-stick coating, of course; food barely sticks, and when it does, its super easy to wipe off.
- Breads bake perfectly, with just the right amount of browning; the alumized steel heats evenly and cooks each bread thoroughly.
- The “micro-textured,” dotted surface adds surface area for more airflow. This contributes to the browned crust.
What We Don’t Like
- There are no handles for grabbing on. This is very important, but OXO Good Grips didn’t include much to grab onto at all.
- The non-stick coating can be scratched with a fork or knife. Again, many pans are like that, but we hoped the commercial-grade coating OXO used would be better.
- It needs to be handwashed; it’s not dishwasher-safe. This one is kind of disappointing; the non-stick coating just isn’t cut out for the dishwasher. Use care, however, and you should be just fine.
Simply Calphalon’s entry into the Loaf Pan game is a lot like OXO Good Grips: thick, burly, and non-stick. It uses a heavy-gauge steel core with a non-stick coating to create perfectly baked, easily-released loaves, every time.
What We Like
- It heats super evenly. The results are great, with browned edges and perfectly-done interiors, every time.
- The non-stick coating actually works – and it works well. Users can get their loaves out perfectly – without using oil or cooking spray.
- The build quality is apparent. It’s made from solid steel, and should thus last quite a long, long time and can take a pretty hard beating. The non-stick coating is pretty scratch-resistant, and the edges are rolled to prevent warping.
What We Don’t
- Breads don’t brown as much. If this matters to you, you might want to go for a darker-colored pan.
- Food and water get stuck in the seams. This is common with rolled or folded metal pans, however; you’ll need to spend some extra time cleaning it and making sure it’s 100% dry.
- It’s not dishwasher safe. It does advertise itself as such, but some reviewers have seen lots of flaking and chipping in the dishwasher. You should handwash for the best results.
Prefer a glass loaf pan that also doubles as a good storage container? This Pyrex one will do the trick; it’s got a lid that seals tightly when you need to stick it in the fridge, and an oversized size for making extra large loafs.
What We Like
- The glass build is thick, tough and sturdy. You can definitely feel the heft in your hands, and the reinforced glass is oven, microwave, dishwasher and freezer safe. Talk about versatility.
- It has nice big handles to hold onto. This can be a lifesaver when using big oven mitts, and something not a lot of other bread pans have!
- Breads come out very well – browned, even – for a glass pan. As the size if very thick and wide, you might need to bake a little longer than in a smaller, metal pan, but the results aren’t bad.
- The lid is super convenient. It’s also dishwasher safe.
- Made in the USA. Always a plus.
What We Don’t Like
- The inside edges are slanted. This can make for sometimes unevenly baked loaves of bread.
- It’s just not as durable as a steel or aluminum pan. No getting around the fact that glass – even Pyrex – can still shatter if heated or cooled too quickly.
Looking for a quick and simple way to bake some bread…without spending a lot of money or needing to expend much effort on cleanup? Grab these paper loaf pans from Kitchen Supply and get to work; there’s not much to them, and their perfect for giving away individual loaves to friends and family.
What We Like
- They’re super easy to use. Just fill them up with batter and pop them in the oven like any other pan – but without the cleanup afterwards. You may need a baking tray to put them on if your oven rack is large.
- They’re sturdy and reliable! This might seem a bit far-fetched when you’re talking about paper, but these pans really do hold their shape and perfectly shaped breads.
- They’re perfect for giving away! Bake a bunch of breads and give them to friends as Holiday gifts or serve them at a party. They come in a bunch of different sizes (and a pack of 25 is super affordable).
What We Don’t
- They leak. There are holes in the bottom that might serve as vents for even airflow, but fillings and liquids can easily leak out; they can also leak out the sides and corners. Thick bread batters don’t have too much of a problem.
- They stick. They advertise as not needing to be greased, but many reviewers say you should be sure to use some cooking spray or oil before pouring in the batter.
- They’re only safe up to 315F. They are paper, after all; it may take longer to bake loaves than the recipe calls for.
Bread Loaf Pans – Clean, Care and Use Instructions
If you are first time user of a bread loaf pans then this article is for you as we have listed the instructions for using and cleaning the bread loaf pan. Here are more details.
Using Bread Loaf Pan
During every use, clean and dry the bread loaf plan before you even start using. Once the bread dough is ready, you can simply pour in the bread dough but ensure that you do not fill up the bread loaf pan till the top.
Usually, there is no greasing required but if you feel that the bread might stick to the bread loaf pan then you can use fat paper or a little fat in the pan. Ideally, while baking bread, it is advisable to use olive oil or sunflower oil to grease the pan. Ensure that you grease the pan on all sides and you do it evenly.
Cleaning Bread Loaf Pan
Use a damp cloth to wipe off the residue. If there are deposits on the pan then simply soak the pan in hot water for a couple of hours and then remove the deposits with help of a plastic brush. After that, rinse the pan and dry it properly before you store the pan.
Taking Care of Bread Loaf Pan
After every use, it is mandatory for you to wash the pan. If the breadcrumbs are sticking to the pan then you must soak the pan in hot water for some time. However, never use abrasive pads, steel wool or sharp object to remove the deposits from the pan. This will damage the non-stick coating of your bread loaf pan.
Also, while storing the pan, you should never stack the pans one in another. If you really want to stack them together then you must put cloth or paper between the pans.
This was all about using, cleaning and taking care of bread loaf pans. The life of your pan will increase significantly and you will be able to relish amazing home baked bread.