Any opinions on basic bakeware from big box stores?

I am getting into baking bread and need some metal bakeware of various sizes. Any real world experience with the brands sold at big box stores?

My lovely wife actually suggested hitting a thrift store and I will stop at one but if I am not lucky on the first stop I will just buy some new gear.

I was thinking a loaf pan or two, a 9x13 pan and maybe a muffin pan.


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Hi there, the brands I use the most are Gobel, Nordic Ware, De Buyer, and Fat Daddio (in order of how much with Gobel being the most used).

Nordic Ware has beautiful bundt pans which are expensive but your wife will love them. If you splurge on these, I’d get the gold ones.

I would also just check out amazon and see which item you need has dozens of great reviews.

Non-stick eventually wears out, so that’s not a prerequisite imho, I’ve just learned to use parchment paper for simple cake forms (so not the Bundt pans).


Wilton is durable and reliable. NordicWare is great quality. If using the shaped NordicWare, you need to use a baking spray that includes flour (e.g., PAM for baking or Baker’s Joy), and a small silicone brush helps get that evenly into all the nooks and crevices.


If you’re just getting into bread baking, my suggestion would be to start with a half-sheet pan and a roll of parchment paper to prevent your loaves from sticking. Serious Eats has a handy tutorial about half-sheet pans. When I bake bread it’s either a free-form artisan loaf or foccacia, so this works for me.

I have a couple of non-coated aluminum half-sheet pans from Chicago Metallic that have been in regular use for decades now.

Later you could add a baking stone, which is my upgrade pick for free-form loaves and pizza too. Focaccia always bakes in the sheet pan though (my go-to is the recipe from Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking book).

You can always add more bakeware after you see what you like to bake most often.

How hot a temperature are you planning to bake with?? Do you plan on simulating steam baking of this bread??
This bread was baked on a baking sheet at 375(F)

This boule was baked at 475 (F) and 450 (F) in a cast iron dutch oven. I simulated “steam baking” with water and preheating the dutch oven.

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Unless you like thrift stores (I do), that’d be a long haul. And box stores like W-S and SLT would mean long green for not a lot of increase in quality.

Rather, I’d recommend at least starting at a restaurant supply place, preferably a B&M, but online would be OK.

I don’t think brand is as important as sturdiness and ease of cleaning. That’s a big advantage of a resto store. Plus, they’ll likely have most of what you want.

Other suggestions:
–Get 2 sheetpans each in half, third and 1/4.
–Likewise, get one screen/rack that fits inside.
–For rectangular 9x13s and 8x10s try to find ones that come with covers. You can find ones with sliding metal covers.
–A couple round, ceramic dishes are nice, souffle and tart, and sets (6?) of ramekins in different sizes.
–A banetton or two with linen inserts.
–Starting out, I’d get one metal and one glass loaf pan, to see which you prefer, before buying more. High probability you’d find these at a thrift.
–A high-quality mixing bowl. I like vintage Green’s Gripstand, but Mason Cash is also excellent.
–While you’re in the resto place grab some spreaders and turners.

Have fun.

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Most of the bakeware I have seen in big box stores is nonstick/coated. I far prefer not to have a coating. Plain metal sheet pans, jelly toll pans, bread pans etc. are available at restaurant supply stores and are very well priced. A couple of years ago I picked up two jelly roll pans at Ace Mart for under $5 each.

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Thanks, that was a helpful tip for the Nordicware. We already have a few Nordicware sheet pans. And I appreciate the input on Wilton.

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I really can’t answer the question about temperature yet. I did a loaf of focaccia today at 375F but I don’t know what else I might try soon except for challah. My lovely wife wants me to do that. I noticed the recipe at KA uses 375F.

As for steaming, I have looked at some recipes but haven’t decided if there are any in that category that I want to do soon.

It depends on what you like. I like a hard crusty bread (with soft center) and was having trouble making it, until I tried this quasi-steam method I saw on the internet.
I preheat my cast iron dutch oven at 475 (F), spritz in some water (with some corn meal in the bottom), plop in the dough after rising and proofing (being careful not to burn myself), put in a few cuts with some scissor for relief, spritz some more water on top, cover and put it in the oven at 475(F). After 20-25 minutes, remove the cover and bake at 450 (F) another 20-25 minutes until I get an internal temp of 190 (F) or above.
This method seems to give me the results I was after.

Baking bread is a true “Trial and Error” endeavor and a lot of fun (in my opinion).

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Another way to steam is to put a skillet low in the oven and, as the bread goes in, toss a bunch of ice cubes in.

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Thank you… I didn’t know that. I’ll give it a try!

At three bucks a cube? No effin’ way!

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Well, many big box stores carry sufficiently good enough bakeware. They are great for getting started. I think it depends how serious you are into baking. Nordic Ware and Fat Daddio are known for their quality. I would also suggest you to stop by restaurant supply stores. Many restaurant supply stores have good quality and good price.

This is Flahey’s no-knead bread method. IMO the boule has enough water in it to steam without spritzing.

I’m still in the “trial and error” phase of my bread making. I happen to see this “spritzing” method on youtube. It seemed to work for that particular presenter, so I copied his method.

I might try the “ice cube” idea suggested by @Vecchiouomo for my next “trial and error” boule.

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By all means, try away–that’s part of the fun. You can even buy countertop steam ovens now; the Cuisinart Steam Oven gets high marks.

All I’m saying is that I’ve never found bread crusts lacking just dumping and covering the boule.

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