The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Loaf Pans

angeliaw's picture

Loaf Pans

I was talking with someone regarding the dimpled loaf pans and they don't like them because of the aluminum.  They only used stainless steel.

What are your thoughts about the metal for bread pans and what pans do you think are best?

Thanks for any input.


flournwater's picture

I don't use aluminum cookware because, while it does heat quickly, it tends to develop "hot spots" and doesn't bake as evenly as glass, steel or silicone.

I don't use stainless steel because it is a relatively poor conductor, when compared to other steel cookware, of heat.

pmccool's picture

Aluminum baking pans are not necessarily evil.  I have aluminum loaf pans that I have been using for about 30 years, now.  Two are rather lightweight with non-stick coating, two are lightweight w/o non-stick coating, and two are heavy gauge w/o non-stick coating.  The last two are my favorites.  They are sturdy and the bread bakes evenly in them, developing a nice crust.  Actually, the bread turns out well in the lighter weight pans, too; I just like the heft of the two heavier ones.  I've never had a problem with uneven baking in any of them.

I recently received some lightweight tinned-steel pans that I'm already not thrilled with.  There are apparently a lot of microscopic "holidays" in the tinning.  I have to be scrupulous about drying them after washing because the least little drop of moisture tends to trigger a rust spot.

I also have a Chicago Metallic steel pan that is very sturdy and will probably still be in good shape when my granddaughter has a kitchen of her own.

My observation is that the quality of both the material and the manufacturing is much more important than the type of material, at least when one is choosing whether to use aluminum, steel, or other materials for baking pans.


althetrainer's picture

I have those and I love them.  I used to have aluminum pans but I hadn't used them for so long that I don't know what happened to them.

suave's picture

I don't care, I select pans based on their shape, not material they are made of.  My favorite pan is old cheap, beat up, thin uncoated aluminum.  Dimpled pans, those I dislike because of dimples, not aluminum.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Well, if Flournwater likes silicone...maybe I can rethink my attitude.   I have a silicone loaf pan here, staring at me and I don't know why I hang on to it other than to use it as a drawer divider and it's not even good at that. 

A few years back I was given an assortment of cheap silicon bake ware.  I say cheap because not one of the forms can hold it's form when something is in it.  I know, place on a stable cookie sheet or the like, yes, well, a big bother prone to accidents!  The bunt pan (baked a lousy bunt cake)  gets used for funky ice cube blocks but only outside in the winter and the rest are just catching dust in a corner somewhere.  One form might be with the plaster equipment while it cleans so easily.  Almost forgot, the inverted bunt pan makes a wild hat.  Just add a feather duster and make-up and go celebrate carnival!

The flat round, where did I put it? ...found it ...10" ... hey! ... fits just inside my SS bowl cloche for a steam trapping fit.  Interesting.  Can it be preheated and work like my heavy pizza pan?  Silicone just doesn't strike me as a heat transferring material (neither does transparent aluminum for that matter).  Worth a try before I send it sailing into the toy box.  (If only it would look "cool" to throw a round cake pan instead of a frisbee?  It certainly is softer to catch!)  I might cut it up and use the rim as a gasket for my cloche.

That loaf pan... Every loaf ends up wider than taller.  Something tells me I can trim off the outside side supports and plop a round of rye dough in the middle and forget the corners of the pan as it bows out anyway.   (Actually baking in a silicone bowl would make more sense.)   Why not use that, over exaggerate it?   That pan just might hold up a small but heavy WW or rye loaf until oven spring takes the flat out.

I'm up to two experiments with silicone pans.  Is it worth it?  I have other pans that work.  The loaves will test the theories.  

What if the bunt pan  (inverted and pinched to trap steam)  makes a cloche for the round pan?  A silicone steam capsule!  ....Got to go find that thing....



flournwater's picture

I tried those silicone pans of yesteryear too.  Flimsy, awkward, no fun at all.  The newer variety (gifts from my daughter-in-law) are heavier and much easier to use.  They still slop, a little, but nothing I can't handle.  LOML made a beautiful lemon chiffon cake in the silicone bundt pan yesterday.  Result was spectacular.

belfiore's picture
belfiore every time I see the silly-cone pans in my cupboard I'm going to laugh!



sojourner's picture

My rectangular loaf pans are old tin ones inherited from my mother when she died.  I don't know how old they are but she was certainly using them at the end of WWII, so they've lasted a good long time.  I use a square oven tray for baking pavé or free-form round loaves.

I've experimented briefly with covering the dough with a domed Pyrex-type glass bowl when cooking round loaves. There was nothing about the result that I disliked but nevertheless went back to baking loaves uncovered simply because of my presonal preferences.

Top of my 'wish list' is a baking stone for the oven, but this will have to wait until I've enough information to make a more informed decision than it would be at the moment.



ehanner's picture


When I want to make a large batch of bread, I break out the pans. I can easily bake 4 loaves in my small size wall oven in pans. I started by buying 2 inexpensive silver or gray non stick pans at the grocery store and they work great. Very little pre greasing needed and I like the way they have a nice size tab to handle during rotating. When I got a larger mixer, I started thinking about getting 2 more pans to improve my efficiency. By chance a friend gave me 2 glass pans that she swears by and I started using them.

There is a big difference in the way glass works in the baking process compared to steel. I find that the dough raises faster in glass due to it holding heat better but the crust is far softer after baking. Eventually I bought 2 more non stick steel pans to make sure each pan was done at the same time. The glass pans I have looked at are slightly smaller also but the main consideration for me was wanting a crust that isn't soft when the top is nice and brown. Hope this helps.


joem6112's picture

I have used aluminum loaf pans with good success.  Care must be taken with using glass or Pyrex pans. There is a limit on temperature for these. Too high a temp can cause them to shatter. I "believe" the limit is 350 but not sure.

xaipete's picture

There is no problem using Pyrex at temperatures that exceed 350º. The potential problem with Pyrex is called "down-shock". It can occur when the container cools.

Read about it here:


mlgriego's picture

I have the commercial line loaf pans and bagette pans by Chicago Metallic as well as the large baking sheets and I love them.  I like the weight but mostly they bake everything very nicely and are easy to clean plus they have a 25 yr warranty.  I bought my daughter a set of their commercial bakeware for Christmas at her request and she is very happy with them.  My favorite bread pans tend to be the ones I bought several years ago from Sassafras called the Superstone, one of which I managed to break last night!  I am out to replace it today because I use these so much.  I think they are now sold by Pampered Chef.   I have multigrain English muffins with sunflower seeds proofing on the baking sheets as I write! Melody in Santa Fe

pjaj's picture

Over the years I've had tinned steel , anodised heavy aluminium and silicon pans.

I could never get the tinned steel to release cleanly, the loaves always stuck. Some cheap steel ovenware warps when it gets hot due to differential expansion.

The silicon was a good insulator, not exactly what you want for a loaf pan! Alongside the aluminimun ones took 10 minutes longer with identical quantities of the same dough in the same oven.

The anodised aluminium pans release cleanly every time even without oiling and give an even bake, because aluminium is a good conductor of heat.

As for the cast iron pans suggested below, the only ones I could find on the web here in the UK cost £65 each or $106.40 at today's exchange rate. Sorry, I don't think so.

Janetcook's picture

I am a cast iron convert.

I have stainless steel, silicone and glass but my cast iron bread pans out bake them all.  They weigh a lot but are a snap to clean and produce wonderful sandwich loaves.  Heat evenly all the way through and the bottom and side crusts always come out beautifully.

If not using a sandwich loaf pan - my other favorite baking 'container' is my Romertopf clay baker.....keeps my loaves nice and moist without steaming....very handy and also very easy to clean.

hanseata's picture

They just published a loaf pan test in "Fine Cooking", April/May 2011. The best rated pans (for sandwich loaves and pound cakes) were:

Best ceramic: Emile Henry loaf pan ($35.95)

Best metal: Williams-Sonoma Traditional-Finish loaf pan ($16)

Best nonstick: Williams-Sonoma Goldtouch Nonstick loaf pan ($21)

Best glass: Pyrex Easy Grab loaf dish ($5.99)


wmtimm627's picture

Has anyone ever had any luck (or experience, for that matter) with the Pampered Chef Stoneware loaf pans?


mlgriego's picture

I have several sizes and shapes of the stoneware now sold by Pampered Chef and LOVE them for baking breads.  I have had excellent rise for a variety of formulas including wild cultures and whole grain breads.  I made the 100% semolina in these and they were way over the top.  That said I also have Chicago Metallic baking pans and love them just as much.  I probably use my stoneware the most as the loaves release cleanly from these but then I do not wash them with soap and water, just a brush and hot water.

Melody in Santa Fe

mredwood's picture

I have many pampered chef stoneware pans. Some will hold a loaf or two, or a bunch of rolls. I love them.  My stone ware acts as a baking stone and heats up much quicker than my baking stone. My nonstick coated metal pans work well and I use them often. I like my sasafrass 2 baguette and the one loaf  covered.  They all heat evenly and bake evenly and loaves and rolls pop out. Water and a brush, or sometimes just a brush and they are ready for the next baking. Silicone, now thats another story. Bought a heart shaped muffin pan. Never baked a thing in it. I make pesto or some other strong flavored something and freeze it in the silicone. When frozen, they pop out, into a plastic bag and in the freezer for a meal sized portion. The silicone washes in the dishwasher like a charm. The bunt pan would make a lovely giant ice cube for a punch bowl. Now I will keep my eye out for different pans and untraditional uses. 

wmtimm627's picture

I like to vacuum seal stock and other liquids after freezing with my Foodsaver. It sounds like these silicone shapes would be perfect for this, as I'm getting tired of extracting from ice cube trays.