Bread is a staple comfort food—in part because there are so many delicious variations, like banana bread and zucchini bread. Plus, even the novice baker can impress friends with a soft, spongey bread. All you’ll need is the right ingredients—and a good loaf pan.
Banana bread is an old favorite for its moist texture and cake-like sweetness—use soft, ripe bananas in your recipe to achieve this. It’s a recipe that’s been popular in the states since the instructions first appeared in Pillsbury’s Balanced Recipes cookbook in 1933. Zucchini bread, meanwhile, incorporates tiny bits of grated zucchini into the bread, but you likely won’t taste them. They’re there because zucchini is composed largely of water, so it gives the bread moisture, while walnuts and cinnamon give the loaf its flavor.
Both of these breads require a great loaf pan to succeed. They should be made of a material that evenly distributes heat so that the bread is cooked all the way through—bonus points if they’re dishwasher safe. Even better, the best loaf pans can be used to make pound cakes and meatloaf, as well as other foods. Here are four on Amazon that won’t let you down.
1. Circulon Nonstick Baking Loaf Pan
Circulon’s loaf pan isn’t much to look at, but that’s not really the point. It’s made of heavy gauge steel, which promises even heat distribution and makes the pan incredibly durable. It can also endure temperatures of up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Plus, it’s nonstick, which makes it an easy tool for beginners to navigate, as it eliminates the extra step of lining the pan with parchment paper. The handles are also great for newbies, as they make lifting bread into and out of the oven a breeze.
2. Rachael Ray Nonstick Loaf Pan
Obviously, whenever you’re putting food in the oven, you have to be careful. Rachel Ray’s loaf pan is the solution: It’s easy to get a firm grip on, so it minimizes your risk of getting burned. The two handles on either side are equipped with ergonomic, colorful silicon grips, so there’s little risk of dropping the pan. The heavy gauge steel is also quite sturdy, and can withstand temperatures of up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. All that and it’s nonstick and dishwasher safe, which makes for easy cleanup.
3. Sweese Porcelain Loaf Pan
Many loaf pans are made of a heavy-duty metal, which gets the job done, but doesn’t look all that stylish. Sweese’s, however, is made of porcelain, which looks much more tasteful. It’s a material that also makes some sense when it comes to baking, as it will evenly distribute heat throughout the loaf. You won’t have to handle it with kid gloves either, as the ceramic resists staining, chipping, cracking and scratches, and can be thrown in the dishwasher when you’re done. Keep in mind that it is a heavier material than most other pans, and it’s not nonstick, so you’ll have to prep it before baking.
4. USA Pan Aluminized Steel Loaf Pan
USA Pan’s loaf dish is designed with professional bakers in mind. Its corrugated surface facilitates air circulation to keep bread evenly baked, and also helps remove your baked goods from the pan quickly. It’s made of durable aluminized steel, and has a nonstick surface, though it is a bit smaller than some other pans. Its lack of handles make it easier to store and stack than some of its brethren, but it also may not be for beginners for that reason.