The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Need help with loaf pans

michaelangelo's picture

Need help with loaf pans

Hello everyone! I have been hanging around these forums for while now, mostly reading and enjoying. I did recently get a log in name so I could post some questions from time to time. I am new bread baking. Last year I was given Bernard Claytons complete book of Breads as a gag gift(explanation will follow). I had a family member recently get married. Some out of state cousin couldn't make it to the wedding. They did manage to send a gift in the mail. It was 2 used books on baking. One of them was the "Complete book of breads". My young niece was so appauled to get sent used books as a wedding present. It became the source of much family gossip and joking. Anyway, as part of keeping the joke alive it was decided that the books would pass from family member to family member as a re-gifted item. The goal was that eventually everyone would have gotten them as a gift and the last person to get them would be the out of state cousin. I was first in line to get the books. The day I unwrapped them at a family party, the room errupted with laughter. I laughed too. They sat in my basement for six months. About 2 months ago I bumped into the bread book and glanced through it. I decided to try a recipe to see what happened. I have been hopelessly hooked on bread baking since. Been baking bread at least 2 to 3 times a week since then and just can't get enough of it. Needless to say that the books will not be getting passed on anymore. My family doesn't mind since I have been showing up at the house with fresh baked bread every time. Funny how things happen sometimes. Glad to have found this place and the many others who love baking bread. Sorry for such a long winded intro to my question.

I recently bought some loaf pans in two differnt sizes. At the time, the paper label on the pans had the sizes. They have since been discarded. I cant remember which size it was, 9 X 5 or 4 1/2 x 8 1/2. Some of the recipes in the book call for one size and some call for the other. Some of the loaves I have made have risen so high above the pan and then flopped over the sides. I think I am using the 4 1/2 X 8 1/2 and not the larger size. When I tried to measure, the bottom and top measured between the two ranges. So how can you tell by measuring, what size you are using. Is the measurement based on the top of the loaf pan or the bottom. Of course once I know the info, I can go and buy the next size up or down to accommodate the different recipes. And use them accordingly. Thanks!

JMonkey's picture

I'm pretty sure that you measure the top of the pan, from inside edge to inside edge.

I had some mystery pans as well, and it took me forever to find out how to tell. That was before I met this site though ....

luc's picture

I am sure your question on pan sizes is not really all that uncommon - most are just too embarrassed to ask. :)

I quite regularly use my measuring tape when I'm in doubt. :)

If you have what is considered a standard 1-lb bread pan -
they are usually in the dimensions of 9" X 5" 3"

9 inches long (length)
5 inches wide (width)
3 inches deep (depth)

The convention of measuring the length and then the width then the depth seems to be pretty much a standard way of describing capacity or dimensions of bread pans... at least according to what I found other web sites that had 1-lb bread pans for sale.

Take a look at the follwoing example and you can see what I mean:

take this cake pan as a simple and clear example

Now that's an 8"X8" square cake pan - so the only depth dimension that makes sense would be 2" right?

Now if you check out their bread pans...

You can see that this particular manufacturer actually spells it out.
So with this in mind you can pretty much guess which dimension is which.

I usually find that most formulas take a bit adjusting to get them to work just right with pan capacities... so it helps to make a note everytime you bake on how the dough worked with the pan capacity - that way you can adjust accordingly the next time if need be.

Disclaimer: Of course there is probably a lot of variation in how the manufacturers represent their pans dimensions - so just remember to always have a handy tape measure ready when you bake.

Funny story by the way. :)