Soft brownie pops with their crispy edges give you a sense of pride as you cook them to perfection.
For any chocolate enthusiast, brownies are the ideal dessert because the ingredients are pretty basic – and all you need is the right set of tools – including the right brownie pan size.
While it is possible to use just about any baking dish for brownies, it is highly recommended to opt for a brownie baking pan specially made for baking brownies.
Brownie pans come with a nonstick coating, flexible design, and inserts to divide the brownies evenly while they’re being baked.
These features make it simple and quick to bake brownies, so much so, that you’ll be baking them all the time.
What Size is a Brownie Pan?
Brownie pan size, for one, makes a world of difference in how your brownies turn out. For example, if you like your brownies extra gooey, bake them in a larger, deeper pan.
But if you like your brownies extra-crisp, go for a shallower pan.
Careful with shallow pans though, because if you go too small, there’s a big chance that the middle area wouldn’t be properly cooked.
This will also alter the depth of the batter and that will increase the required baking time.
- To measure the true dimensions of your pan, measure the inside edges to exclude the thickness of the pan from your reading.
- For the depth of the pan: place your ruler perpendicular to the bottom of the pan (without slanting the ruler).
- To determine the volume of the pan (to calculate the amount of batter it can hold), pour a measured quantity of water into the pan it is full.
Once you have figured out the volume and dimensions of the pan, you can then compare it with the requirements for the recipe.
For best results, the pan should use the same batter depth as the original recipe, by having the same surface area of the pan (more on this later).
In this way, you won’t have to significantly adjust the baking temperatures and times.
For example, you could use a 9 inch round pan in place of an 8-inch square pan (because their square area is roughly the same), without changing the required oven temperature or baking time as specified by the original recipe.
The Impact of Size on Oven Temperature and Baking Times
If the batter isn’t as deep in the new pan as specified in the original recipe, the heat will reach the center of the batter and increase the rate of evaporation.
To solve this problem, you will have to reduce the baking time and increase the oven’s temperature.
Similarly, if your pan increases the depth of the batter compared as compared to the original recipe, there will be less evaporation and the batter will require a bit longer to cook.
One clever workaround is to decrease the oven’s temperature and increase the baking time. This should prevent the batter from being overcooked.
Brownie Pan Measurements
The quest for making the perfect brownies requires some basic mathematics to calculate the area of a square, circle, or rectangle.
Your brownie dish size will not always be according to the recipe, this is why it pays to invest in several brownie pans of different sizes, but that’s not always feasible.
The good news is that there’s a workaround: adjusting the recipe based on pan size.
Are you cooking with a larger pan (or a shorter one)? Here’s a neat trick everyone uses:
Divide the surface area of the larger pan by the area of the smaller pan to figure out how many times you have to multiply the recipe to fill the larger pan with the same depth of batter.
In this guide, we’ll go over the basics of brownie pan surface areas. Once you have a good idea of the area of the pan, it will become easier to adjust the quantities of baking recipes accordingly.
The surface area of square and rectangle pans:
- 6 by 6: 36 sq inches
- 7 by 7: 49 sq inches
- 8 by 8: 64 sq inches
- 9 by 9: 81 sq inches
- 9 by 13: 117 sq inches
- 12 by 16 (aka half-sheet pan): 192 sq inches
Area of round pans (using the radius)
- 5 inches = 20 sq inches
- 6 inches = 29 sq inches
- 7 inches = 39 sq inches
- 8 inches = 50 sq inches
- 9 inches = 64 sq inches
- 10 inches = 79 sq inches
- 12 inches = 113 sq inches
Let’s go over the geometry bit real quick:
You don’t need to bring out a scale to measure the area of the pan. Some basic geometry should do the trick.
In the case of square and rectangular pans: The area is measured by multiplying one side times the other side. In the case of a 10-inch square, the area is 100 inches because 10 by 10 = 100. Similarly, the area of a 12 by 16-inch pan is 192 square inches because 12 by 16 = 192. That’s all it takes.
For round brownie pans: The area of a circle equals pi (π) times the radius squared. For this specific exercise, we can round off pi to the nearest 2 decimal places, i.e. 3.14. The radius of a circle is half the diameter; ‘squaring’ means you’re multiplying the number by itself.
What if the Original Recipe is for a Smaller (or Bigger) Pan?
Suppose the original recipe is designed for a 9-inch pan – but you’ve got a 10-inch pan.
A common elementary mistake is to substitute the 10-inch pan for the 9-inch pan because that extra inch doesn’t seem like such a big deal – until you take into account the surface area.
If you do the math, you’ll realize that the 10-inch pan is a good 25% bigger than a 9-inch pan in terms of surface area. (The relationship between an 8 inch and 9-inch pan is also very similar).
This is a considerable difference in size that can result in different textures, shapes, and gooeyness of the brownie.
In some cases, you may end up over-baking the brownie by the time you evaluate them for doneness (because smaller brownies bake faster than bigger ones).
But if you know the surface area of the pans beforehand, you can adjust the recipe accordingly (based on the size difference of the pan).
For instance, if the recipe is designed for a 9 by 9-inch square pan, you know that you’ll have to increase the recipe quantity by 25% for a 10 by 10 square pan to get the same results as the original recipe intended.
However, if you want the brownies to be a bit thicker than the original recipe is going for, you can increase the quantity of the ingredients by 33%.
Let’s go over an example now:
How should you adjust the recipe for an 8-inch pan on a 10-inch pan?
To find out, divide the surface area of the 10-inch pan by the surface area of the 8-inch pan.
For the 10-inch square pan, the area is = 100
For the 8-inch square pan, the area is = 64
100/64 = 1.566, which can be rounded off to 1.5. So you need about 1.5 times the recipe for a round cake to make a rectangular sheet cake. You don’t have to multiply the recipes by whole numbers – it’s perfectly fine to multiple a recipe by 1.5 or 2.5.
Dealing With Fractions of Eggs
If you multiply a recipe and need a fraction of an egg, here’s what you should do: Set aside the whole eggs for the recipe.
Next, whisk the other egg until you’ve blended the white and yolk. Weigh the egg in grams, and then separate the part of the egg that you need for the recipe and toss it into the whole eggs.
For example, if you need about 50% of a 50-gram egg, that amounts to 25 grams of the whisked egg.
If the yolks and egg white are used separately, weigh them as outlined above, but separately. Unused parts of the egg don’t have to go to waste; you can add them to your breakfast
A Word on Charts and Math for Brownie Ingredients
Math and charts should only be used as a reference point, not as instructions written in stone.
As a general rule, if you’re making brownies in a large batch, you should use slightly more ingredients than specified in the original because the results will be visually more pleasing.
For example, if you are making a 10-inch brown cake using a recipe meant for an 8-inch pan, you divide the area of the 10 inch round pan by the area of the 8 inch round pan and get 1.5.
But instead of multiplying the recipe by 1.5, you multiply it by 2 so that the brownies will turn out lofty and tall.
Other articles you may also like: