Making peace with smaller pans

I love to make quick breads like banana bread. They are an easy way to use up leftover ingredients and require minimal effort. The main downsides I’ve run into are the long baking times (often an hour or more) and the disagreements about the appropriate add ins. Nuts or no nuts? Chocolate chips? Berries? No one can seem to agree. Then there is the problem of needing to finish an entire loaf before staleness makes it inedible.

Enter these mini loaf pans, which seem to solve all these problems.

Recipes typically targeted at a standard loaf pan can be split amongst 3-4 mini pans, depending on preference. By waiting until the last minute to incorporate add-ins, each mini loaf can be customized. Excess bounty can be handled by individually wrapping and storing (or freezing) loaves as needed. These downsized loaves allow for even smaller portions to have a satisfying thickness. Lastly, these diminutive pans allow for faster cooking time, although a higher oven temperature may be helpful in ensuring a satisfying crust.

When adjusting pan size, it’s necessary to have a way to assess doneness other than the recipe’s time guidance. I turn to an instant read thermometer, aiming for 190° F for yeast breads and 200-210° F for quick breads.

While I appreciate concerns about clutter, these pans stack nicely and solve many frustrations about loaf baking.

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