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Loaf Pans Guide: Sizes, Materials & Tips

Product Reviews, Blog, How To

What kind of loaf pans do you require? What about the size? What factors do you consider while adjusting baking times for different materials with bread baking pans? We’ll break it down for you: metal, glass, silicone, and stoneware.

Pans for loaves! There are so many different styles and sizes to choose from. There are so many options, and all you want to do is bake some banana bread. I get what you’re saying!

The good news is that you can get by just fine with one low-cost loaf pan. Or, if you’re like me, you’ll have so many that you’ll need to put them in a basement plastic container. In any case, this instruction will assist you.

What Recipes Use a Loaf Pan?

Aside from banana bread, loaf pans are useful for meatloaf, pound cake, yeasted breads, and odd little casseroles you throw together with leftovers.

Though you can bake anything in any loaf pan, you should think about the types of dishes you prepare the most when choosing a pan’s size and material.

What If The Recipe Doesn’t Specify Pan Size?

If you’re on the internet, try contacting the recipe’s author. If you’re using a cookbook, look through the introduction to see if the author mentions the pan.

If in doubt, use a normal 8 1/2-inch pan and adhere to the “2/3 full” rule.

When older recipes call for loaf pans, they often don’t specify the dimensions. A “standard loaf pan” was 9 x 5 x 2-1/2 inches sixty years ago. (What is the significance of the change? I’m not sure.) If you’re cooking Aunt Margie’s cranberry bread from a yellowed recipe card and your pan appears to be overflowing, use the 2/3 rule to remove some of the batter.

Another thing to keep in mind is that certain recipes may ask for pans with particular capacities rather than measurements, such as “a 1-quart loaf pan.” What method do you use to figure out how much your loaf pan can hold? Easy! Pour a quart of water into your loaf pan, and if it all fits without overflowing, it’s a 1-quart pan.

8 1/2-Inch Pans vs 9-Inch Pans

In the United States, a “regular loaf pan” measures 8-1/2 x 4-1/2 x 2-1/2 inches. If a retailer only sells one loaf pans size, this is most likely it. This is the size of loaf pan you should have if you only have one.

Larger loaf pans, on the other hand, are not uncommon in supermarkets or for recipes. A loaf pan with dimensions of 9 x 5 x 2-1/2 inches is another popular size.

Isn’t the difference between an 8 1/2-inch and a 9-inch pan not that significant? It is, however.

If you do the math, you’ll find there’s a 15 percent difference in capacity. Here’s what that difference means:

  • If a recipe’s yield under-fills a pan, it’s not too big a deal. It’ll probably bake faster and not rise up as high, but the recipe will work.
  • If the recipe’s yield over-fills the pan, the batter can spill over and burn, or a risen dough can have droopy, unattractive mushroom-cloud blobs.

As a rule of thumb, if the batter fills the pan 2/3 full, the loaf pans is at its limit. If you still have extra batter, don’t over-fill the pan. Instead, bake the excess batter a muffin pan, filling the empty tins with a few tablespoons of water to keep the pan from warping. Disaster averted!

Even if the recipe doesn’t specify it, oil loaf pans well before using them. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. If you’re using foil or paper to line your pan, you should still grease the foil and any exposed parts of the pan. Grease should be used on silicone pans as well.

Many recipes call for butter to be used to grease pans, but baking expert Rose Levy Beranbaum says that butter is a bad choice for greasing pans because the milk particles in butter can create sticking. For me, nonstick baking spray made with vegetable oil works best, although wiping shortening about with a paper towel also works nicely.

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