Published December 1, 2011. From Cook's Country.
Could a loaf pan you give away really be any good?
Bake-and-give pans are single-use pans for giving away baked goods. They are disposable and inexpensive and can handle the oven temperatures required for most baking recipes. They also help keep tender loaves from getting smashed in transit. While these products are sold in many shapes, we tested three “mini” loaf pans, priced from 58 cents to $1.50 each (they are sold as sets). Two brands, both made of paper, were oven-safe to 390 degrees. One, made of thin wood, was safe to 450 degrees.
We baked our Chocolate Pound Cake and Zucchini Bread in them (both recipes are formulated for an 8 1/2 by 5 1/2-inch pan), filling each small pan exactly to the recommended two-thirds level and taking note of how many mini loaf pans one batch of batter filled. All were easy to use; none required greasing, and no cakes stuck to the pans. With every brand we tested, the loaves browned nicely and cooled in their containers without becoming soggy. So, our decision largely came down to appearance: The wooden brand was awkwardly shaped and oversized for a mini pan, making only 1 1/2 loaves; one of the two paper brands looked plastic and cheap. Our favorite cost $6 for four pans, which are oven-safe to 390 degrees. One batch of batter made five small loaves with nicely domed tops, and the dark brown, gold-embossed paper pans were festive. A bonus: Each set comes with clear gift bags and gold ties—a complete package for homemade gifts.