A few months ago Cook's Illustrated magazine picked the Williams-Sonoma Goldtouch nonstick loaf pan as their top loaf pan. I wondered if it was better than my current nonstick loaf pan from Chicago Metallic. So I walked over to the nearby Williams-Sonoma store and purchased a pan. At $19, it was definitely pricier than any other loaf pan I had ever owned, but it was not an outrageous price for a baking pan. (Ahem, I'm talking about you All-Clad. I own your cookware but $85 for a loaf pan is just crazy!)
I decided to start with baking a loaf of zucchini bread. I actually really like zucchini bread and I make it all year round. It's not just something I make when my garden has too many zucchini in the summer. (Although I haven't grown zucchini in my garden for 4 years now because I got tired of fighting the battle against powdery mildew. Doesn't help that we live in the fog belt of San Francisco.)
For my zucchini bread, I adapted a recipe from The Baker's Dozen Cookbook. Since the nonstick surface on the Goldtouch pan is lighter than most nonstick finishes, the crust was a perfect shade of golden brown. The crust had a nice chew without any toughness. It was a perfect contrast to the moist, flavorful center of zucchini, walnuts and cinnamon. Now, I don't know if the pan made any difference in this case but I must say it was the most delicious zucchini loaf I've made in quite some time. Sometimes I don't know if it's the equipment, the recipe, or the baker.
WS Goldtouch Nonstick Loaf Pan (L) Chicago Metallic Nonstick Loaf Pan (R)
To really see if the Goldtouch pan would produce a better loaf than my tried and true Chicago Metallic nonstick loaf pan, I did a side by side comparison by baking 2 loaves of banana bread. My unscientific conclusion is the Goldtouch pan doesn't make a difference. The 2 banana breads looked and tasted exactly the same.
(Makes two 8.5 x 4.5 inch loaves)
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room tmp.
4 large eggs
2 1/2 cups mashed overripe bananas
(This could require 4-6 bananas depending on the size of your bananas)
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly butter two 8.5 by 4.5 inch loaf pans (sometimes referred to as an 1-pound loaf pan).
Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside dry ingredients.
Beat butter and both sugars until well combined (using a spoon or a mixer). Add eggs, one at time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the mashed bananas until well combined. Mix in walnuts.
Add dry ingredients and mix until flour is just incorporated. Some lumps are okay. It's better to undermix than overmix.
Divide batter evenly into the 2 prepared loaf pans.
Bake at 350F until cake tester comes out clean, about 1 hour.
Cool in pans for about 20 minutes before removing loaves from pans to cool completely on a rack.
(Makes one 8.5 x 4.5 inch loaf)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup (6 ounces by weight) grated zucchini
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly butter an 8.5 by 4.5 inch loaf pan (sometimes referred to as a 1-pound loaf pan).
Sift together flour, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside dry ingredients.
In large bowl, whisk together oil, sugar, and vanilla. Stir in zucchini and walnuts. Add dry ingredients and mix until flour is just incorporated. Some lumps are okay. It's better to undermix than overmix.
Bake at 350F until cake tester comes out clean, about 50 minutes.
Cool in pan for about 20 minutes before removing loaf from pan to cool completely on a rack.