So, you’ve reached that point in life where you’re not intimidated anymore by baking bread! Congratulations. That’s probably the main and one of the few benefits (if we can call it that?) of the annoying Covid-19. Everyone learned to bake; out of boredom, out of necessity, does it even matter?
I’m proud to say that I was into making bread long before it was cool, aka before the pandemic. Actually, saying that I was ‘into making bread’ sounds a bit like an understatement – I was actually pretty obsessed with it for a while! I went all in! Bought everything I needed to make bread from scratch (hello, sourdough fans!!) and I was determined to become the best. I did not become the best, but I’m not very far either, hehe.
By the way, if you’re just getting started, you might want to check out my fool-proof recipe of no-knead bread. I promise you, you can do it!
Therefore, if you’ve decided to start making your own bread, you should know beforehand how important using a good loaf pan can be. As someone who’s been obsessed with making bread, I had the opportunity (is it called opportunity if I bought them myself and cried after looking at the bill?) to test a lot of bread pans and also the mighty baguette pans (which let me tell you, are something different! you have to unlock a few levels before dipping your toes into making baguettes, though).
In this buying guide, I will introduce you to the best loaf pans for each type of bread. As you will see, each type of bread needs a specific tray, usually, in order to get the best results. But, if you don’t have time to read the whole article, basically TLDR: buy yourself a Dutch oven and you’ll be pretty much good to go!
The best pan for making baguettes (french bread)
The best way to bake baguettes is to use a ceramic baguette pan. You might ask yourself, why use a baguette pan and what does that even mean. Well, a baguette pan is nothing more or less than a pan shaped like a baguette! And the main reason why you absolutely need a baguette tray and not any usual tray is to not get depressed when you get your bread out of the oven after you’ve worked for 8 hours only to see it looks like… well, not a baguette.
A baguette pan will allow your beautifully shaped baguettes to hold their shape well in the oven, even if you are working with very hydrated dough. And you will work with very hydrated dough. Also, ceramic baguette pans usually come with a ceramic lid, which will help regulate the humidity level during baking. It also offers perfect heat convection and therefore optimal cooking.
And finally, the pan is grooved which will prevent your baguettes from sticking.
- A technical range to get a professional result at home, thanks to our innovative refractory ceramic.
- 39cm x 24cm
- Made from the finest HR Ceramic
- Use in Oven, or Microwave
- Suitable for use in the Dishwasher
And for me, the best baguette pan is the one from Emile Henry. Emile Henry is considered a brand of high quality, with products made in France (the mother of baguettes!) and they come with 10 years warranty. So, it’s safe to assume that if your baguettes look like … not baguettes, it’s not their fault, eh?
The best pan for making sandwich bread
If you are a fan of sandwich bread, and I know you are, you will also need to equip yourself with a pan for this purpose. This is also one of the bread that need a special pan because, in order to have a proper sandwich bread, the form is very important. My recommendation is to choose a non-stick metal pan. Forget the cheap silicone pans you will see A LOT on the market, they’re not very good.
For the sandwich bread pan, I strongly advise you to opt for the one from Gobel. Gobel is a reference brand among bakers / pastry chefs/passionates like myself, so you can be sure you are buying something very high quality. It is a thick, robust pan with excellent non-stick coating. In addition, it also comes with a lid, ideal for storage or fermentation.
- Length: 250/245 mm
- Width: 93/84 mm
- Height: 90 mm
- It is recommended to wash the moulds with a dishwashing detergent without using an abrasive sponge and dry thoroughly
I’ve also used this one from USA Pan Store and I was not disappointed with it, either. I prefer the Gobel because of the brand, to be honest, and also because of the darker color. Something about it just makes it look more.. professional? It also goes well with the rest of my kitchen.
The best pan for making classic Boule Bread
Boule, from French, meaning “ball,” is a traditional shape of French bread resembling a squashed ball. This is the most common type of bread you will probably make when you’re just starting your journey. And this is also the type of bread I posted the recipe on my blog.
This is where the amazing Dutch oven comes into play! My absolute favorite pan for making Boule is a Dutch oven, no questions asked. The Dutch oven will make sure to help you obtain an amazing bread with a crispy crust and a soft and well-honeycombed crumb, thanks to its thermal proprieties.
The Dutch oven will be able to recreate the same conditions as a traditional bread oven that the most popular bakeries use! Isn’t that amazing? The fact that we’re able to achieve the same results it was mind-blowing to me, and it opened up a whole new world. The Dutch oven also comes VERY handy and you will use it in a lot of your recipes, not only bread. I use it for almost anything, from soups to stuffed peppers and stews.
If you’re reading this post, you’re probably familiar with the famous brand Le Creuset when it comes to cast-iron. And while I will agree that it is the best on the market, I will also say that is pretty overpriced. So, I will not recommend them, especially not if you’re just getting started. It’s just too damn expensive.
Instead, I will recommend this one from Emile Henry again which is just as good! By the way, did you notice that all the great brands for these bread pans are French? I wonder why, hehe!
- MADE IN FRANCE. Made of all natural materials and manufactured using Emile Henry's proprietary Flame technology
- SAFE TO USE IN THE OVEN, ON TOP OF THE STOVE or ON BBQ GRILLS. Can be used in all types of ovens and also used under the broiler. Can go directly from the Freezer to the Oven or microwave right to the table.
- HEALTHY COOKING. Low, Slow cooking brings out the best flavors. Highly resistant glaze allows cooking with a minimal amount of fat.
- 30% LIGHTER. Weighs up to 30% lighter than many types of heavy cast iron or metal cookware. EASY TO CLEAN. Dishwasher Safe or hand wash with soap and water.
- 10 YEAR GUARANTEE. 10 YEAR warranty against manufacturing defects when used in a household environmen
The best pan for making bread rolls
If you’re an American, I don’t have to explain to you what bread rolls are. You’ve probably had them since you were a child. But for the rest of the world, bread rolls are, well, little bread rolls! The Americans call them dinner rolls and they are soft little balls of bread that go well with everything!
The good news is that if you want to start making dinner rolls right now, you probably can! Here, a baking sheet will suffice! But don’t forget about the baking paper. I do not recommend baking dinner rolls on a baking paper, because you might encounter several problems: the heat convection is just not good enough and the baking paper will prevent the water from evaporating properly from below.
Instead, think about investing in a silicone sheet. The baking sheet that I currently use is from Silikomart. It is an enamelled silicone mat which allows high-quality cooking and non-stick properties. No complaints about it, really.
Use it with this steel sheet from De Buyer and you’re good to go.
Where to find special pans for making bread?
Personally, I buy my bread pans on the Internet. It’s the safest way to browse through hundreds of models without leaving the comfort of your house, lol. But depending on where you live, you might have different choices. Whatever you do, please don’t buy them from cheap supermarket stores or supermarket brands. It is worth it to invest in your baking equipment, this way you will get the best possible results and not be disappointed if something does not come out right because you used a cheap pan…
You will also save money in the long run, as they will probably last for many, many years to come. Happy baking!