Well constructed, with a nonstick coating that works.
Expensive; the nonstick coating is a little delicate.
Produces evenly baked breads, cakes, and meatloaves—a quality pan that’s worth the investment.
When it comes to loaf pans, the three major players are glass, aluminum (or an aluminum-steel combination), and silicone. Glass makes it easy to check out what's going on with your loaf in the oven, but its heat conduction isn’t ideal (glass transfers heat slower than metal and retains it longer, so batters with a high proportion of sugar tend to burn by the time the center cooks through). Stick-resistant silicone is good for sticky items but creates little to no browning and doesn't conduct heat very well. That leaves metal, prized for both the rich browning it produces on baked goods and its even cooking. BonJour (from Hong Kong–based Meyer Corporation) touts the professional quality of its bakeware; we thought we’d take the company up on that claim, testing its 9-by-5-inch loaf pan in a range of baking tasks.
BonJour’s 9-by-5-inch loaf pan is made of commercial-quality aluminized steel and is, in fact, 9 inches by 5 inches. (Other so-called 9-by-5 pans have actual interior dimensions of 8 1/2 inches by 4 1/2 inches.) The folded corners are said to give extra strength and resist warping in hot ovens, crucial for keeping batters level as they bake. The rims are reinforced with wire to lend stability and keep the pan from bending. The pan has a two-tone coating consisting of a dark interior (that’s supposed to resist sticking) and a light exterior (that’s supposed to produce even baking). There’s a double coat of an unspecified nonstick material, and the pan is dishwasher safe.
Results: We found this pan to have the solid construction, and to give the solid results, that BonJour promised. Our quick bread and pound cake both came out with a browned exterior and an evenly baked interior crumb. Our meatloaf, however, gave us pause: It left the oven evenly cooked and browned, but we were afraid to cut into it (the way we do with meatloaf) for fear of scratching the pan's nonstick interior—you’ll definitely want to unmold meatloaves before slicing.
General stuff: Our BonJour was more than twice the price of metal pans from Wilton or Good Cook, but this is a case where you get what you pay for. If you regularly bake breads and loaf cakes, and also turn out a meatloaf now and then, this should be the only loaf pan you'll ever need.
Photos by Chris Rochelle