What Kind of Bakeware - FineCooking.com

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What Kind of Bakeware

By Brian Geiger, contributor

August 15th, 2010

 

SugarChills asks via Twitter,

We're re-vamping our kitchen tools ... what bakeware would you recommend? (material, brand)

Hi, SugarChills,

For bakeware, you have a couple of broad options on materials, with a few variations. As a general rule, you could go with aluminum or silicone, and chances are you'll want a mix of the two.

Aluminum is great in a lot of situations because it's inexpensive. It conducts heat well, and because things that are baked are generally not very acidic (at least the bits that touch the pan), you don't have a lot of trouble with food reacting with it. That's often the problem with an aluminum pot, if you were to cook tomatoes in it or similar.

Sometimes you can get nonstick baking sheets, and by and large I think this is not helpful. You have to baby nonstick a lot more, it doesn't last as long, and I tend to use either a silicone mat or parchment paper under whatever I'm cooking with to keep it from sticking. I do know people who use nonstick quite well and have made it last many years without any damage, but I don't think I'm one of those types of cooks.

Another thing to bear in mind is that a dark material will react differently in the oven than a light material. Ovens are mostly radiant heat (unless you have a convection oven), and an lightly-colored pan will reflect that heat, whereas a darkly-colored pan will absorb it. Eventually it all will get to the same temperature, but if you are used to a lightly-colored pan, and you switch once to a darkly-colored pan, you may very well burn the bottom and/or sides of whatever you're cooking. By and large, this just means that you should be consistent in what you get. Don't get one lightly-colored jelly roll pan and one darkly-colored jelly roll pan, or else you'll have to think a lot more when you cook. 

Another option is silicone. Silicone has this handy property of becoming nonstick at baking temperatures, which is fantastic for baked goods. The disadvantage of silicone is that it doesn't really hold its shape well, so you're likely to want to set your silicone baking container on a cookie sheet or similar in order to get it into and out of the oven. Depending on your budget and the types of things you cook, you might want to at least have a few silicone items.

I don't really have a recommendation on brands, but especially for aluminum, I have a recommendation on how to purchase. Find a good restaurant supply store and buy there. You can get what you need at a low price, and the quality will be durable. Look for bakeware that doesn't feel flimsy and doesn't have any material defects, and that should allow you to re-outfit your kitchen without spending too much money.

If you go with silicone, be prepared to spend a lot more. For a baking mat, the Silpat from Demarle is the major brand, though there are certainly others. For baking moulds, I don't have any brand recommendations, though you will probably find reviews elsewhere on the site and in Fine Cooking Magazine from time to time. 

Good luck with the re-vamp, and have fun!

 

posted in: Blogs, food geek, oven, aluminum, nonstick, bakeware, silicone
Comments (1)

SugarChills writes: Thanks for the tips, Brian! A restaurant supply store sounds like the perfect place to get started - I will search for one here in Miami! Posted: 10:51 pm on August 15th

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