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When I bake a banana bread or cake at home, I always use a square Pyrex(about 20cm in width and 7 cm high) dish. The batter only fill the dish at half its height or less and I set my oven to 350F. I bake the banana bread for 30 min in the middle of the oven and when I check for doneness, the middle part is a bit wet(about 90% done) while the surrounding area is perfectly done.

Is a square Pyrex a good way to bake banana bread and cake or should I get a loaf pan or bundt shape one? Does a loaf pan bake the banana bread or cake evenly in a set period of time? From this recipe, the baking time in the load pan seems to be 1 hour compared to 30 min in the Pyrex.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

"Best" is subjective.

The different choices of baking pans will effect texture and baking time. The more surface area the more crust and the faster the baking time.

Recipes call for a bread pan simply because then it looks like bread and is easier to slice. As you noticed, it does require longer to bake.

Muffin pans are also very popular because of the convenient shape and faster baking time.

If you like the shape and texture of your bread in a baking dish then by all means keep using it. I won't criticize you for it.

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Agreed on the muffin pans -- it's so much easier for portioning; I also like mini-loaf pans. –  Joe May 2 '11 at 16:28

I have never tried banana bread in a square pan. I have used loaf pans and it always cooks evenly that way. The center is of course still the last to cook but when it's done the entire loaf is evenly baked and moist.

But the pan might not be your problem. Although Pyrex cooking times are generally shorter, 30 minutes seems too short. I would bet your oven is running hot. Oven dials are usually not very accurate and it might not be a bad idea to invest in an inexpensive oven thermometer, or just try a lower temp and 40 to 45 minutes to see if that gives you a more evenly baked result.

In a regular loaf pan I remember getting a perfect result at more like the 50 minute mark, rather than a full hour as that recipe suggests.

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I would expect that the shorter baking time in the larger square pan is actually a function of the shape of the loaf. At the same temperature, the center of a flat item will get cooked faster than a cylindrical (or thick rectangle, like a loaf pan) item of the same volume. So based on the information provided I don't see any reason to assume that the oven is running hot. –  bikeboy389 May 3 '11 at 16:10
    
@bikeboy389, that's a good point, and my loaf pan is smaller than the square pan, so you're right about the height and a better explanation for the faster cooking time overall. For the undercooked center, I still think a lower temp and longer cooking time might help. Think about it at the extremes. At 800F the center would be underdone with a burnt outside. At the lower extreme the entire bread would stay undercooked :-) The tip about oven thermometer comes from personal experience. Had a few ovens that were quite off. –  Todd Chaffee May 3 '11 at 16:41

As Sobachatina said, "Best" is subjective.

There is a significant difference between baking in glass loaf pans (pyrex), standard metal loaf pans, and non-stick loaf pans. All three will require different time adjustments for the exact same item. You may also want to play around with the temperature a bit. When trying to find the right temperature for baking, I drop the oven temp by 25 degrees F, and add about 10 minutes to the cook time, then I check for doneness (if not done, pop it back in for another 10 minutes, check, etc.)

Hope this helped.

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Well, there is one difference: adding cooler liquids to a hot glass pan can make it blow apart, but a metal pan will merely make a noise and maybe flex a little. –  Will E. Mar 3 at 19:19

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