Perfectly Baked Bread Without the Bread Machine

A loaf of baked bread cooling in the Emile Henry black glazed Italian Loaf Baker. Its lid is sitting to the side of the baker and all of it is resting on a light colored tea towel.
Photos: Emily Holdorf, MS, RDN, LDN

Products reviewed: Emile Henry Italian Bread Loaf Baker and Crown Bread Baker

A nice, crusty slice of homemade bread is one of my favorite things to enjoy. Whenever my grandma would make bread, she would lug out her giant bread machine. As a child I thought having a bread machine was pretty neat, but as I’ve moved into small apartments of my own, I’ve never had enough space in my kitchen cabinets. Baking bread has been intimidating for me in the past because of the kneading, proofing and equipment needed. So I was thrilled to test out these Emile Henry bread baker pans with hopes of a simpler way to make homemade bread without the big bread machine.

These two ceramic bread bakers are beautifully glazed on the outside for an impressive look that you could keep on your countertop. The Italian Bread Loaf Baker is perfect for baking rustic loaves, and the Crown Bread Baker is specifically for making buns.  These both have a top that is used throughout the proofing and baking steps, which helps to maintain the right moisture level to create a nice crusty outside and pillowy-soft inside. And one of the best features is that the pans are dishwasher-safe!

I first tried out the Italian loaf baker since the dough to make rolls has to rise overnight and I couldn’t wait to get baking. I used the recipe for the rustic loaf that came with the pan. The recipe was very simple, and I liked that it had whole-wheat flour in addition to all-purpose flour. I also really liked that the first proof was only for 30 minutes in the bowl and the second proof was done right in the baker pan The Emile Henry Crown Baker with baked bread rolls sitting inside of it. These rest on a marble countertop and a navy striped tea towelitself. I baked the bread for the time noted in the recipe and it came out perfectly golden brown and nicely raised. The bread was very easy to remove from the pan, and the pan kept the bread fresh on my countertop for about five days. Even though the recipe for the no-knead white rolls takes a little more planning, these rolls also were very easy to make. Any recipe with “no-knead” in the title is right up my alley! I’ve never made rolls before so I was a complete newbie, and this Crown Bread Baker really helped me out. The rolls came right out of the pan, were super soft on the inside and made the perfect vessel for mini meatball sliders. Both of these pans definitely produce bread that is more on the crusty, rustic side rather than a soft outer crust.

I was thoroughly impressed with how flawlessly baked the breads were, how simple it was to make them, and the fact that these bread pans don’t take up a ton of space in your kitchen. If you’re looking for high-quality bread pans that are easily stored and make a nice, crusty bread or roll, these Emile Henry bakers are for you.

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Emily Holdorf
Emily Holdorf, MS, RDN, LDN, is a college dining dietitian based in Charlotte, NC, and the owner of EmPowered Nutrition. She blogs at empowerednutrition.org. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.