© Denzil Green
Bread Pans are primarily used for baking bread in. They can also be used for breads such as banana breads, or for meatloaf.
They can be made of metal, stoneware, CorningWare, glass, silicone, terra cotta or enamelware. You can also get disposable ones made of foil. Silicone ones will have stiffening supports in them so that they don’t have to be supported by a baking sheet.
In addition to plain-sided ones, you can also get ones that have designs impressed into them, so that they act as decorative moulds for making speciality breads such as Lemon Bread.
Usually rectangular, with plain, flat sides and bottoms, there are two common sizes: 9 inches long by 5 inches wide (23 cm by 13 cm), and 8 1/2 inches long by 4 1/2 inches wide (22 cm by 11 cm.)
Metal Bread Pans
Metal Bread Pans can be shiny or dark. Ones made of darker metal produce a darker crust; ones made of light metal, a lighter crust. The metal can be bare, or treated with a non-stick coating.
Professional-grade metal Bread Pans are made of heavier metal, so that they can stand up to heavy use and banging without denting as easily as home-grade ones would under such intense use.
Metal Bread Pans may stick the first few times you use them, until they get seasoned. Some people swear that the secret to Bread Pans is to season them, and never, ever wash them.
Old-style metal Bread Pans have pleated corners made of tin plate or blued steel. Often the metal was dimpled.
Dry all metal ones well before putting away. Don’t scrub metal ones, and don’t put them in the dishwasher. Just rinse them with warm water and a sponge or cloth. You can use warm water, and soap on non-stick ones.
Terra Cotta Bread Pans
Terra cotta Bread Pans need a few more bakes than metal ones do before they are seasoned. To season them, you are first supposed to soak the pan in water first, then rub it with oil. Then bake in a low oven (250 F / 125 C) until the oil is dry, and let cool completely, You then repeat the process an additional three times.
Bread machines come with their own “built-in”, non-stick Bread Pans. You don’t grease Bread Pans in bread machines; as the Bread Pans are also mixing pans, anything you coat them with will just get caught up in the mixing. Never, ever insert a knife or anything metal into a bread machine’s bread pan. If the bread pan’s non-stick surface gets damaged or scratched, you have to order a new one. Some services will resurface them (and other non-stick pans), but they are very hard to find.
Always use oven mitts to remove them from the bread machine when the baking cycle has finished.
These pans are not dishwasher safe, but rarely need anything more than a rinse.
Non-Stick Bread Pans
The advantage to non-stick Bread Pans may be obvious, but they never seem to last as long as the “stick” ones. The non-stick tends to flake off if the pan is put through a dishwasher: if not on the first run, then on subsequent runs. As well, bread cooked in non-stick loaf pans tends to come out with a paler crust on the sides.
If you are baking in non-stick Bread Pans, you may find that you need to compensate by lowering the oven temperature by 25 F ( 10 to 15 C)
Novelty Corn Bread Pans
Many think that cornbread is best baked in a cast-iron skillet. These Bread Pans, picking up on that, are made of cast iron. They are a tray with seven moulds in them. These moulds are long, and shaped like an ear of corn with kernels indents in them. You put the corn bread dough in here to bake. The corn bread comes out flat on the top, corn-shaped on the bottom. You invert them out of the pan to serve them.
Braided Loaf Pans
Braided Loaf Pans have a moulded shape on the bottom. When the bread is baked, you flip the loaf over to present it “bottom up” so that it looks like a braided loaf of bread. The purpose is to save you all the work of making a braided loaf. Some shake their heads, pointing out that braiding dough is the work of seconds, and nothing compared to the work of making the dough in the first place. One problem with the finished product can be that the top rises as bread is wont to do, in a curved formation, making for an unstable bottom when you flip the loaf — the loaf’s being tippy on the breadboard is going to be the giveaway that all is not as it seems.
When greasing a Bread Pan, use a solid fat such as butter, margarine or shortening. Oil doesn’t work as well, because the dough just absorbs it.
A sign that bread is done is that it should release itself easily from the pan. Always remove bread from a bread pan after it’s finished baking, or it will go soggy.
If you are baking a bread with fruit in it, pieces of which might stick to the pan, some bakers first grease the pans and then line the pans with brown paper or parchment paper.
You can wipe Bread Pans clean with a damp cloth or sponge.
Large juice or coffee cans.
- 8 x 4 x 2½ inches bread loaf pan (20½ x 10 x 6½ cm) will hold a 1 pound (900g) loaf of bread (calling for approximately 3 cups / 15 oz / 425g of flour)
- 9 x 5 x 2 3/4 inches bread loaf pan (23 x 13 x 7 cm) will hold a 2 pound (900g) loaf of bread (a bread recipe calling for approximately 3 3/4 to 4 cups / 20 oz / 550g of flour)
- 9 x 5 x 2 3/4 inches bread loaf pan (23 x 13 x 7 cm) equals two 7 x 3-inch OR three 6 x 3 inch mini pans
Bread used to be round because it was just plopped in the oven, and went round. Baking pans could have been made of iron, but they would have been too expensive. In the 1700s, the tin mines in Cornwall, England, were mined in earnest again, for the first time since the Romans, and the tin was used to make affordable Bread Pans. Bread baked in these Bread Pans could be toasted and sliced more easily — just in time for the rise in popularity of the sandwich.