In a hurry to bake? My pick for best bread pan is the Le Creuset Enameled Cast-Iron Terrine
France isn’t the only country known for its bread-loving tendencies. In 2019, over 320 million Americans ate bread in some form.
While buying loaves of bread may seem an easy solution, industrial bread just can’t compete with a warm homemade loaf. Besides – baking bread only requires a few pieces of equipment. One of them, however, is critical today — the bread pan.
To give yourself the best chance of delicious success, I’ve listed the features to consider while looking for the best bread pan, and my top six choices.
When strolling down the bread aisle, you’ll notice, well, an infinite number of options. While you can also bake an endless array of loaves at home, it's best to start with some known quantities.
To help you pick the best bread pan, here are the features and characteristics to look into:
All pans come in various forms and proportions. Choosing the right size mainly depends on your preference – and maybe the recipe.
For example, a narrower model allows the batter to rise higher up the sides of the pan, creating a unique look and a taller loaf. (Make sure, however, that it won’t expand over the edges as it’ll burn or overcook!)
If this is your first time baking bread and unsure what size to look for, a bread recipe requiring 3 cups of flour should fit a standard 8.5 x 4.5 inch pan. From 3.5 cups, however, it’s best to choose a 9 x 5 inches model.
Bread pans can be made of several different materials. Here are the most common ones you'll see:
This heavy-duty material is sturdy, heat, and corrosion-resistant. It’s so strong that it's also used to build bridges and other structures.
Cast iron pans – especially for bread – are often coated with enamel. This extra layer prevents iron from reaching your food and makes it more non-stick. Raw cast-iron is often usually coarse and isn't as suited to breadmaking. The enamel makes cleaning easier and adds a unique aesthetic appearance.
Aluminized steel pans are made of steel and coated with several layers of aluminum, containing a small amount of silicone. While this material is sturdy and an excellent heat conductor, it’ll likely scratch and chip over time.
When this happens, corrosion can appear. Removing rust is sometimes required, but is typically a relatively easy process.
Stainless steel is known for its strength, resistance to corrosion, resistance to rust, defense from scratches, and its easy maintenance. Keep in mind, however, that all stainless steels aren’t made equal and come in various grades. 304 grade is a prevalent grade you'll see in bakeware.
Stainless steel takes longer to heat as it’s a low conducting metal. This means that it’ll be more challenging to achieve a crispy bread loaf.
Glass pans are incredibly resistant to most issues — as long as you don’t drop them! But – you shouldn’t ever have to worry about scratches or oxidation.
They’re, however, more substantial and bulkier than aluminum or stainless steel pans. Heating also tends to be more uneven than with other materials. Finally, glass pans aren't as non-stick as they first appear. You’ll want to apply a layer of oil before pouring the batter.
Silicone products are convenient to use – and save on storage space. The flexible material can be folded and stored in a cabinet. Additionally, it’s non-metallic and fully water-resistant, eliminating the risk of corrosion.
A sturdy silicone product should be safe to use in an oven up to 450-degree Fahrenheit. However, always check the manufacturer’s recommendations when it comes to maximum heat allowed.
As silicone isn’t very efficient at conducting heat, you might need a few trials and errors to achieve a browning effect in your loaves.
Dark pans typically absorb heat, and light-colored pans tend to reflect it. If you’re aiming for a browner crust, choose a darker model. When looking for a soft texture, light or shiny color — such as an aluminized coating — is preferable.
If you’d like to obtain a crunchy loaf with a light pan, increase your oven’s temperature by 25-degree Fahrenheit. Lower it by the same amount for a soft bread with a dark pan.
A few more features or aspects should make your baking life easier:
Those are relatively straightforward, but depending on the convenience you're looking for might be right for you.
The Le Creuset Enameled Terrine is made by the French brand renowned for its quality and durable products. The cast iron material, combined with a chip-resistant enamel coating, allows both even heat distribution and retention for a well-baked bread.
The pan is longer and narrower than other models — 4 x 12 ⅔ inches — allowing a unique loaf shape. It’s also multipurpose; besides baking bread, reviewers use it to make meatloaf, terrines, and other dishes.
Users love the style and choice of enamel colors, as well as the included lid. For the elderly, however, keep in mind that this bread pan is hefty and could be challenging to lift in and out of an oven.
This (American-made) USA Pan 1140LF is designed with your health in mind. It’s coated with aluminized steel containing silicone compounds.
Do not fear; the patented Americoat layer doesn’t contain the Bisphenol A (BPA), Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) chemical bogeymen. Also, it’s rust-proof and FDA-approved for food contact.
The pan is meant to fit 1-pound loaves. Many users, however, were able to bake bread of double this size.
You’ll notice the all-around fluted shape. It allows better airflow and, therefore, more efficient heat distribution. I also like the classic and elegant look it gives to the pan.
Reviewers also appreciate the nonstick aspect of the pan and how easy the pan is to clean — especially considering that it should be hand-washed. That makes it an excellent pick for treats that you want coming out perfectly whole, such as banana bread.
If you’re looking for a pan for bread that’s both easy to maintain and durable, the Rachael Ray 54079 might be of interest. It’s made of heavy steel and won’t deform under high heat. This model can even withstand oven temperatures up to 500-degree Fahrenheit.
It’s also nonstick, and users can swiftly slide their cakes and loaves of bread out of the pan. On top of that, it can be placed in a dishwasher for easy cleaning. One less item to hand-wash!
The silicone pads, placed over each handle, make the pan safe and easy to grab. The bright orange cushioning can also brighten up your kitchen and dining table.
Sometimes, one or two-pound fresh loaf isn’t enough for large families or one with a hearty appetite. If you’re having a large gathering of friends, you might want to think bigger – enter the Farberware Nonstick Bakeware Bread Loaf Pan Set.
This product comes with two pans of the same dimensions — 9 x 5 inches. You should be able to make bake with the same consistency and shape. Furthermore, the loaf pan should maintain its original shape up to 450-degree Farengheight.
Additional use of oil shouldn’t be necessary as the pan is nonstick. However, the manufacturer recommends adding some oil when cooking proteins such as meat, eggs, or fish.
Users are thrilled about this other USA Pan model, the USA Pan 1140LF-2-ABC. The built-in handles are easy to grab, making shuttling the pan in and out of the oven a breeze. They’re even large enough to handle it with thick mitts.
What's more, this pan is nonstick and can be safely cleaned in a dishwasher. When it comes to quality, the aluminized steel coating should prevent oxidation, making it a durable product. Furthermore, it doesn’t contain any harmful compounds such as BPA or PFOAs.
To prevent surprises, take note that the inner dimensions of the pan are 8.5 x 4.5 inches. Measurements of 11 x 5.5 x 2.75 inches are calculated from the outside and include the handles.
If you enjoy versatile and safe cooking pans and tools, the Anchor Hocking Loaf Shaped Glass Dish might be worth considering. It’s entirely made out of thick ovenproof glass, and designed to resist temperatures up to 425-degree Fahrenheit without cracking.
Moreover, you won’t have to worry about potential chemicals or metals chipping off and making their way inside your loaf of bread. In fact, the manufacturer only makes products free of BPA, cadmium, lead, and other heavy metals. Anchor Hocking’s products are even compliant with the Cookware Manufacturing Association Engineering Standards (CMA).
Also: this 9 x 5-inch pan also comes with a 5-year limited warranty.
Baking home bread is fun and can be easy. Choosing the right pan should make your loaf tastier and better looking while making the process more convenient.
From my extensive research, my pick for best bread pan is the Le Creuset Enameled Cast-Iron Terrine. I love the traditional and stylish shape, the included lid, the quality of the materials, and its versatile use.
Although it’s available at a higher price-point, this product stands out in all aspects and should be worth the investment.