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Lodge Cast Iron Bread Pan Review

It was time to upgrade my old bread pans so I decided to try out a lodge cast iron bread pan. 

lodge cast iron loaf pan with loaf of bread inside

Why Cast Iron

I have many years of experience cooking with cast iron, primarily using several lodge skillets and my beloved dutch oven. It seemed like a cast iron bread pan was a logical choice when it came time to buy a new bread pan for my weekly sourdough bread bakes. 

Cast iron can withstand very high temperatures for baking. It’s also favored by many a home baker for its excellent heat retention.

Seasoned Cast Iron vs. Coated Pans vs. Uncoated Pans

When buying bread pans there are several options in terms of what kind of material is on the inside of your pan. The reason for this is so your bread can be removed from the pan easily, keeping your loaf in one piece.

Seasoned Cast Iron

Cast iron is straight forward iron. When they are manufactured and pre-seasoned, that means they have been coated in a food safe oil, then heated so the oil seals into the orifaces of the steel,  creating a layer that is essentially non-stick. As you cook more foods in the pan, especially with oils, you add to this coating. No chemicals or things are used except an oil and the iron itself.

Coated Pans

Coated pans have a synthetic layer of some sort of non-stick coating. The most popular one you might know is Teflon. Teflon, also called polytetrafluoroethylene or PTFE. Teflon is considered food safe. However, the issue is when it becomes over-heated. If it reaches 500 degrees it starts to break down and release toxic chemicals. It can also cause problems when it is scratched, as the coating and get into your food where you ingest it. 

 In years past, non-stick coatings also included something called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), however this hasn’t been allowed in pan coatings since 2013.  (Source)

Many companies now have their own proprietary coatings that are not teflon based. This is something you’ll have to read more about on each company’s FAQ  or individual product page. 

chicago metallic pan next to a lodge cast iron pan

Uncoated Pans

These are usually made from aluminized steel, which is steel that has been dipped in an aluminum coating. It is safe to bake with and makes for a non-stick coating. However, this outer layer of aluminized steel can be scratched (say, when you try and pry out a loaf of bread with a butter knife) and it can cause your pan to rust or begin to break down. 

The Lodge Cast Iron Loaf Pan

This particular pan is 8.5 by 4.5 inches, making it perfect for slicing breads. They also have a larger size, 10×5 inches. The larger pan would be a good choice for quick breads like a soda bread or for sweet breads like chocolate zucchini bread. 

This pan is $20 on Amazon or is available on the Lodge website for $24.95. It might also be available at your local Fleet Supply store. It looks like our local store only has it available for online order at $20. 

Sandwich Bread vs. Sweet Loaves

I must say, I have only used this bread pan for making savory loves of your general sourdough. I haven’t made any sort of banana bread or similar. I could see with the heat retention on this pan it might be an issue with breads that have a higher sugar content. I plan to test one out and will update it here when I do.

Pros and Cons of the Lodge Cast Iron Loaf Pan

cast iron loaf pan

Cons

There are a few cons to this pan, though I think the pros far outweigh it. 

Weight

A cast iron pan is sturdy but man is it heavy! I would feel confident using this sucker as a weapon if need be. It comes in at 3.78 pounds, so darn near four pounds. Something like an aluminized steel would be much lighter weight and easier to manage. I do talk a little about an aluminized steel option below. 

Rough Surface

I was surprised by how rough the surface was of this pan. To get best results with your bread bakes, you should grease the pan with coconut oil, cooking spray, etc.  It takes a little extra effort to get this pan properly greased up before baking a loaf of bread in it. I used a paper towel and coconut oil and by the time I was done greasing it the towel was almost worn through.

Harder to Clean

As compared to the Chicago Metallic Pan (see the YouTube video for more on that) with a smoother surface, the cast iron takes a lot more work to clean off any bread residue. You have to clean it thoroughly or you are just inviting future loaves to stick or rust to start to develop on the pan. Cast iron should be cleaned without soap, just water and a scouring pad/sponge/gentle scraper. 

Extra Effort

Whether it is a cast iron skillet, muffin pans, or dutch oven, cast iron in general needs a little more care than your basic non-stick pan. Pans need to be washed and dried right away to keep them in good condition. They should then be re-seasoned with your oil of choice. 

cast iron bread pan review

Pros

Price

I purchased this pan from Amazon for $20 and got free shipping. Compared to some other loaf pans that are highly reviewed, this is a great value. I took a look at GoodJones pans, which honeslty look pretty great! However, for just one pan plus shipping you are looking at $52. That’s insane!

Excellent Heat Distribution

The perfect crust resulting from my cast iron bread pan can’t be beat. Thanks to the even heating of cast iron, the bread has well-defined edge pieces and a crisp, beautiful crust all the way around. 

Non-Toxic

The lodge models available in store or online all come pre-seasoned but that’s it. No nonstick coating with mystery chemicals. Just good ol’ oil and cast iron. Many bread pans have teflon coatings or other types of non-stick coatings. While teflon is known to have negative impacts on health (source) several brands have come up with new non-stick coatings that are free of LIST THE THINGS HERE. Still, if I can get a pan that works great without needing any type of coating at all, that’s my top choice. 

Made in the USA

Lodge is a USA based company and all their pans are made in Tennessee. I’m certainly not opposed to things made elsewhere, but I always like to support local jobs as much as possible. Heck you can even visit Lodge if you want!

Handles

Given its hefty weight, I really appreciate the handles on this loaf pan. It makes taking it in and out of the oven a breeze. The only downside to the handles is it does make the pan longer on the sides, meaning it takes up more cupboard space. 

Sturdy

A major pro of cast iron cooking is that the pans shouldn’t warp, break, or get out of shape in any way. You’d basically need a blacksmith forge to change the shape of your cast iron.

No Coating

If you do scratch your cast iron when trying to pry a loaf out, you don’t have to worry. You can simply reseason the pan with oil and bake it in the oven. If you scratch an aluminized pan or a coated pan, there is no fixing it. You are stuck baking with damaged cookware until you eventually decide to recycle it. 

The Conclusion

I really liked this bread pan. The biggest con for me is that it is more difficult to clean than a standard non-stick pan. Beyond that, I really don’t have anything negative to say about it. I love that by spending only $40 I could have two bread pans that should reasonably outlive me and continue to cook bread for my kids and grandkids for years to come.

Alternatives to the Lodge Cast Iron Pan

At the same time that I purchased this pan I also picked up a Chicago Metallic pan. 

This pan also came highly rated on several websites. Since it seemed to rank well on best selling lists, and it was also listed as non-coated, I decided to give it a try.

The Chicago Metallic comes in at the same size of 8.5 by 4.5. It is much lighter weight and has no handles. It was advertised on Amazon as being an uncoated pan. However, as I talked about above in the coatings section, it seems after a few months of use some folks saw that aluminized steel was beginning to break down. Granted I don’t know if they were prying out their bread loaves with a sharp knife or washing it in the dishwasher. Still something to consider. 

I found this pan to do a decent job of cooking a solid loaf of bread. If I had a small bakery business or sold bread at the farmers market I would probably buy more of this pan. Given its lighter weight and smaller profile it would be easier for bulk making bread. Overall, I still preferred the loaf from the Lodge pan.

Let’s Bake Some Bread!

Here are some of my favorite bread recipes, loaves and otherwise.

  • Oat Loaf
  • Chocolate Zucchini Bread
  • Honey Dinner Rolls
  • Best Ever Buns
  • Grandma’s Cinnamon Rolls 

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