A blog reader, Sue, posted this comment yesterday. And it sent me running for the kitchen: literally.

“Now a question for you, something I’ve tried to have answered a couple of times before - the recipe for Easy Cinnamon Bread posted on the KA Flour website calls for an 8-1/2 x 4-1/2” pan which I found is too small; a 9 x 5” pan is perfect. I keep checking back to see if the pan size has been changed……..not so far!! Love the Bakers’ Banter and, of course, the great recipes. THANKS!”

I felt a moment of panic. Oh, no… If there’s one thing we pride ourselves on here at King Arthur Flour, it’s that our recipes WORK. Yeah, they taste good, they’re often imaginative, sometimes (though not often, for me) they’re even gorgeous, something you’d be proud to make the centerpiece of an elegant dessert buffet. But most of all—they work. They turn out the way they’re supposed to. THE RECIPE IS ACCURATE. Thus my sinking heart at Sue’s comment.

I found the Easy Cinnamon Bread recipe online. Yup, it calls for an 8 ½” x 4 ½” pan. I see it would take probably just under 2 hours start to finish. I glance at my watch: 3:30 p.m. If I start RIGHT NOW… thus my sprint to the kitchen. (Usually it takes me 21 seconds to get to the test kitchen from my desk, barring any hallway chitchat. This time, it must have taken under 10 seconds…)

I quickly gather the simple ingredients and make the batter.


This bread is interesting, in that it includes both yeast and baking powder. It needs to rest for an hour before baking; so an hour goes by, and now it’s like 4:45. It's time to stir in the baking powder and cinnamon chips. OH NO! Baking powder, yes. Cinnamon chips, no—the cupboard is bare. “Oh darn,” I say (or words to that effect), and tear down the stairs to our warehouse, which is on the ground floor below the test kitchen.


The warehouse folks have almost all gone home; the usual bustling aisles are silent. Back upstairs I run, to find someone who can tell me WHERE TO FIND CINNAMON CHIPS IN THE WAREHOUSE. A bit of computer noodling from Andrea (my fellow test baker and computer-savvy savior) tells me the chips are in “J1D3.” Back down:


HA! There they are, the little rascals! I grab a bag and sprint back up the stairs.

Into the risen batter go the baking powder and chips.


I select a bread pan from the shelf and, just in case, measure it. Yup; 8 ½” x 4 ½”.


Unless you see them side by side, you can sometimes mistake an 8 ½” x 4 ½” for a 9” x 5”. But this one was the right size. Now, the question: Is it the right size for the cinnamon bread recipe?

I fill the pan, sprinkle the batter with cinnamon sugar—looking good, not too full.

Finally, put it in the oven and set the timer for 20 minutes. Now it’s past 5 p.m., and everyone’s pretty much cleared out; the kitchen is quiet. Holding my breath, I peer into the oven and see:


Success! The bread has risen beautifully, and hasn’t overflowed. BUT: had I used a pan even 1/2” smaller, I might have been in trouble.

Problem is, oftentimes pans labeled 8 ½” x 4 ½” are actually calling out exterior measurements; a TRUE measurement is taken from the pan’s interior dimensions. So, when a manufacturer calls it a 9” cake pan, it might actually be 8 ½”; or a 9” x 13” pan might really measure 8 ½” x 13”. Good thing to remember, when you’re buying pans: measure the inside.

Another good thing to remember: here at the Baker’s Catalogue, we very carefully measure pans. What we say is what you’ll get.

So Sue, I’m not sure why your 8 ½” x 4 ½” pan doesn’t work for this recipe. But I’d take a ruler to it, and make sure it’s really what it says: 8 ½” x 4 ½” x 2 1/2” high. And, thanks for reminding me about this great Cinnamon Bread recipe… It’s easy, it’s truly delicious, AND I can throw it together late on a Monday afternoon and enjoy it Tuesday morning for breakfast—which I just did!


Find the complete recipe online: Easy Cinnamon Bread.

Note: Further testing of this recipe revealed that it's OK to add the cinnamon chips and baking powder right at the beginning, along with everything else; THEN give the batter its rest prior to baking. Either way is fine.

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About PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was an award-winning Maine journalist (favorite topics: sports and food) before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. Hired to write the newly launched Baker’s Catalogue, PJ became the small but growing company’s sixth employee.&nbsp...
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