Bread Making Without a Loaf Pan (It’s Less Difficult Than You Thought)

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When you stroll into the shop, you’ll see a slew of packaged loaves neatly lined up and consistent in shape and size. Since this rectangular bread form is the most known to you, when you think of cooking bread, you naturally go for a loaf pan.

Now is the moment to think beyond the loaf pan and create bread without it! Although loaf pans are lovely to have, they are not required for making bread.

Try out the suggestions below before moving on to my other bread making tips!

Boules (aka Round Loaves)

The first thing to abandon when baking homemade bread without a loaf pan is attempting to construct a perfectly rectangular, sandwich-style bread loaf. Who needs a square loaf of bread in the first place!

What is the best shape? A circular loaf of bread, often known as a boule. Isn’t boule a fancier word?!? It is!

In reality, many artisan breads are formed into boules. So toss out that old loaf pan and create a gorgeous, round, fancy boule instead!

To begin, prepare a sheet pan by lining it with parchment paper. Let the bread dough to rise once. Next, divide the bread dough into pieces roughly the size you want your bread to be (note that while your bread bakes, it will expand by about 40% more than it did when it was raw dough).

Shape each dough piece into a tight ball and set it on a sheet pan coated with parchment paper. You should allow approximately 4-5 inches around each boule on the pan, so one or two bigger loaves may fit on each sheet pan.

Wrap the sheet tray and boules in plastic wrap and set aside to rise again. Remove the plastic wrap, then egg wash the boules and slice the tops of the dough to allow steam to escape when baking (you can make a simple X, a few dashes or even a pretty design slashed into the top of the dough).

If desired, brush the dough with egg wash. Bake the dough in a hot oven according to your bread recipe. Let the bread to cool before slicing and serving warm.

You can also make a great soup dish by cutting a circle in the top of a boule and scooping out the centre! You can’t accomplish that with a loaf of basic rectangle bread!

Check out my post on properly freezing and defrosting bread for storage ideas.


A baguette is a long, slender bread that is always rolled by hand rather than in a loaf pan. Naturally, this is one form of loaf that may be made without a loaf pan.

Baguettes are very simple to make after you’ve practiced a few times (and once you taste fresh baked bread, you will be making these all the time).

Place your dough on a lightly floured work surface once it has risen once. Form a rough ball with the dough and then roll it back and forth on the work surface as if it were a rolling pin.

As you roll the dough ball, it should grow longer and thinner. By moving your hands up and down the dough as you roll, you may try to maintain the baguette consistent in size and shape. Back and forth, left and right, till you have a wonderful long baguette!

four inches down). Put the coiled loaf on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and slit the top with a sharp knife. As with a boule, you may construct attractive patterns with your knife or keep it simple with one long slice through the middle (not cutting all the way through the dough but just about 1 inch).

Bake the baguette, then slice and serve warm, either with a lovely cheese plate or as a side to a saucy spaghetti that can be sopped up with the bread.


If you want to make a thick, lengthy bread comparable to what a loaf pan creates, just braid your bread dough. This will provide a wonderful broad bread that is far nicer than anything made in a loaf pan. Yeah, and it’s really rather simple!

Set aside a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. When your bread dough has risen once, punch it down to deflate it and divide it into three equal halves.

Shape each piece of dough into a long log that is the same size. Attempt to maintain the width of each log consistent and even. Consider constructing one long hot dog out of your dough that is consistent in size, length, and thin!

Pinch the tops of the logs together at one end and place them on the prepared sheet tray. Braid the dough like you would hair, pulling up one rope at a time, crossing it over the others, and laying it down in between the two.

After braiding, squeeze the rope’s bottoms together. If you want a lovely sheen on the finished loaf, egg wash it and bake as advised! After it’s finished, a beautiful loaf of bread awaits!

Here’s a video that demonstrates some more advanced bread-braiding techniques:

Close to Rectangular

Well, so maybe you’re not a fan of fancy bread forms and prefer a normal, practically rectangular loaf. Is it possible without a loaf pan? Without a doubt!

Without a pan, you’ll never achieve those ideal straight sides, but you can come close.

Begin by laying the pre-risen bread dough on a lightly floured board. Put more flour on top of the dough and begin rolling it out, aiming for a rectangle form.

2 inches thick, beautiful and rectangular (straight sides, longer than it is wide). Make an effort to make the bread dough as uniform and square as possible. Roll the dough out to approximately 1 inch thick.

Begin rolling the dough upward on the side nearest to you, as if you were making a jelly roll cake or a sushi roll. After the dough has been fully rolled and formed into a good uniform loaf, squeeze the seam to seal it all the way along the loaf. Put the loaf, seam side down, on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper. Bake according per package directions!

The loaf may seem somewhat more round than if cooked in a loaf pan, but it will be long, thick, and consistent in shape! Ideal for slicing for sandwiches or just serving with butter.

Quick Breads

You may be staring at a batter in a bowl rather than a ball of dough if you are creating a fast bread (learn more in my article on quick breads).

You can’t really form batter the way you can shape dough, so what do you do when you don’t have a loaf pan but a dish full of banana bread?

The first option is to spoon the batter into a muffin tray. Quick breads are delicious as loaves, but they are much better as muffins! The bread mixture will not only bake quicker, but once baked, everyone will get their own piece, albeit in the shape of a muffin.

Quick breads may be baked in a cake pan for a good round loaf, or in a casserole dish for a longer, thinner bread.

Bear in mind that baking time will be reduced if you use a casserole dish since the batter will be considerably thinner in a bigger pan.

Do you have a cast iron skillet? Pour in your fast bread batter and bake for a beautiful loaf (put the finished bread in the skillet on a table and snap a picture- it will look like it’s from a magazine cover!).

Maybe you have a bundt pan that you’ve been itching to utilize. Make it greasy! It will also serve as a bread pan!

For fast breads, almost any oven-safe pan may be used in place of a loaf pan. All that will happen is that your bread will be more wonderful and intriguing than if it was cooked in a loaf pan.

Loaf pans are useful, and if you like a consistent appearance, you should consider purchasing one. But, do you actually need it? Nope! In fact, without a loaf pan, your bread will be more artisanal.

Hence, even if you have a loaf pan on hand, forgo it. Without one, your bread will be just as wonderful but a bit more fancy!

If you find yourself with leftover bread, be sure to try some of these leftover bread ideas!


Can I bake bread in not a loaf pan?

You don’t necessarily have to use a loaf pan to obtain good results while preparing bread. There are several recipes that call for the use of alternative cooking containers. You can still make bread at home if you have a skillet, cookie sheet, casserole dish, or cake pan.

How do you loaf bread without a loaf pan?

A baking sheet is another common item that may be used instead of a loaf pan to make bread. Use parchment paper if desired, or oil the baking sheet before laying any dough on it. This will keep the dough from sticking together.

What can you use if you don’t have a loaf pan?

A baking sheet, cake pan, casserole pans, and pie plate may all be used to bake a number of recipes. Each of these products has distinct traits and benefits that make them good loaf pan alternatives.

What does a loaf pan do in baking?

A bread pan, sometimes known as a loaf pan, is a cooking tool in the shape of a container used to bake bread. Its purpose is to form bread as it rises during baking. The loaf, or thin rectangle, is the most frequent shape of bread pan, since it allows for consistent slicing.

Can I use a 9×13 pan instead of a loaf pan?

A baking dish 913. The recipe for two loaf pans is ideal for one baking dish. We didn’t even need to change the cooking time that much; since the baking dish is shallower, it bakes in approximately the same amount of time as a loaf pan, although being larger.

What size pan can I substitute for a loaf pan?

Circular frying pans

A 62-inch circular pan contains the same amount of batter as an 84-inch loaf pan.

What type of pan is best for baking bread?

Most bakers choose to bake bread loaves on metal pans. Metal loaf pans transfer heat fast and readily, enabling heat to move through the pan and into the dough to help bake loaves evenly.

What can I use instead of a loaf pan for banana bread?

The square pan is the game changer. Instead of a loaf pan, I bake the banana bread in a 9×9 square cake pan. As a result, the bread may be baked in as little as 20 minutes (as opposed to 1 hour in a loaf pan). Additionally, there’s no need to worry about overcooking the outside while undercooking the middle.

Can I use Pyrex instead of loaf pan?

A pyrex dish may be used as a bread cloche as long as it can be heated to the required temperature. Put the inverted pyrex dish over your sourdough bread in the oven to trap steam and improve oven spring.

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