From Season 12: Soup and Bread from Scratch
A Pullman loaf pan is a bread pan with a slide-on lid that produces a squared-off loaf with a firm, compact crumb that’s perfect for sandwiches. Though this style of pan (and bread) existed long before, these vessels are commonly associated with the cramped kitchens of 19th-century Pullman railcars, where the flat-topped breads that the pans produced were easier to stack than the domed loaves baked in traditional pans. We purchased three models—all 4 inches deep and 4 inches wide, with lengths ranging from 13 inches to 15¾ inches—and baked off a round of sandwich breads to see how each performed.
We can’t recommend two of the pans—both made from uncoated steel—at all. Both reacted with the canola-based cooking spray we used: Their surfaces discolored and gave off a fishy odor, and the bread in one pan actually stuck to the metal. (We later learned that the fishy smell came from iron in the steel that was reacting to the unsaturated fatty acids in the canola oil.) Moreover, because of their darker surface color, these two pans produced crust that was darker than we liked.
Neither pan came with care instructions, but we later learned that uncoated blue steel pans like these should be carefully and continuously seasoned and kept dry—like cast iron—lest they stick, discolor, and/or rust. We might have been willing to take the trouble, but the nonstick aluminized steel model in our lineup produced perfectly baked bread that released easily, with no fishy odor, plus it cleaned up in a snap.
Victorinox (formerly Victorinox Forschner) 6-inch Straight Boning Knife: Flexible
The nonslip grip and narrow, straight blade let testers remove the smallest bones with precision and complete comfort. Perfectly balanced with enough flexibility to maneuver around tight joints. The low price was a bonus.
|★ ★ ★||★ ★ ★||$19.95|
Wüsthof Classic Boning Knife
Hefty in weight, this knife was a solid performer when removing poultry bones, and the handle was easy to grip, even when covered in chicken fat. Piercing silver skin was a challenge since the tip wasnt sharp enough and the long narrow blade produced slightly jagged cuts.
|★ ★||★ ★ ★||$99.95|
|Recommended with Reservations|
Mundial Boning Knife: Flexible
The sharp tip performed well when removing silver skin, but it was too flexible when maneuvering around poultry joints, leaving testers feeling a lack of control. The heavy handle was slightly unbalanced and became slippery once covered in poultry fat.
|★ ★||★ ★||$19.95|
Shun Gokujo Filet Knife
Designed to replicate a samurai blade, this expensive knife was a disappointment. It struggled to pierce the silver skin, although long cuts were smooth and even. Minimal flexibility and extreme curve got in the way when maneuvering around joints. The smooth handle was hard to grip and slippery.
MAC Boning KnifeChef Series
The large, cumbersome handle reminded testers of an outdoors knife for fishing and hunting. The blade was too wide to maneuver around joints and it struggled to pierce silver skin. Unlike other knives, this boning knife could only slice in one direction, making intricate cuts around joints difficult.
Messermeister San Moritz Elite Flexible Boning Knife
The blade was so flexible it led to erratic cuttings; testers said the knife was hard to control. The blade was not sturdy enough to maneuver around joints and the lightweight handle felt flimsy and unbalanced.