How to Successfully Bake With Silicone Pans
By Mariette Mifflin, About.com Guide
While many home chefs have embraced this newest line of bakeware products, some of us have been slightly reluctant to depart from our traditional metal and glass baking pans that have stood the test of time, long enough to even ‘test drive’ a silicone pan.
Their cheerfully bright colors do attract our attention, but it’s their general flimsiness that raises a few skeptic baker’s eyebrows. However, manufacturers have been very quick to allay our visions of folding pans and overflowing batter, by designing optional or companion racks or ‘sleds’ that provide the much-needed stability especially for the larger pans.
If you haven’t yet ventured out to try one of these, you may be pleasantly surprised, I certainly was. I started out slowly at first, with spatulas which were very economical – no big risk, and these quickly captured this baker’s heart and were rewarded with a spot in the handy main tool holder.
Goodbye rubber – hello silicone spatulas! They really are that good – no melting and no more scissor-trimming to remove worn edges. They can take the heat and you can even use them in a hot skillet to scramble your eggs. After a year and considerable mileage, they still look like new.
Since the spatulas passed the test, it was on to bigger silicone baking tools – a general purpose loaf pan. To grease or not to grease the bakeware was the question and I opted for ‘not’ trusting the silicone would work its releasing magic.
Results were terrific – quick even baking and cooling. But what was most impressive was the easy loaf removal. A slight twist or should I say movement of the pan and sides just pulled away, revealing an evenly baked delicious banana loaf that gently rolled out onto the cutting board.
The only drawback was the size of this particular silicone pan. Being slightly smaller than a regular bread pan, it meant adjusting the batter level and baking the excess in a single-serve pan. No problem, neighbors were happy to share in the baking.
Silicone bakeware is made of FDA-approved food grade silicone and this should be clear on the packaging label. Each piece of silicone has its own limitation as to manufacturer recommended maximum oven temperature, which is usually stamped right on the product.
Benefits of Silicone Bakeware
- No greasing or oiling of pans required
- Pans heat quickly and bake evenly with no burnt or dark edges or bottom.
- Removal from pans is super easy – a slight twist or gently pulling on the sides and roll out your baking.
- They’re freezer, refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher and oven safe.
- Bake, store, freeze and reheat right in the pans.
- No rusting or staining.
- No need to alter your batter or temperature – bake as usual.
- Cleanup is a breeze.
- Lightweight and perfect for a camper or RV.
- Storing is easy – although they do not easily nest, no special attention is required and they retain their shape.
Notable Tips for Successful Baking
- Follow manufacturer’s maximum heat ratings.
- Pans are hot to touch while in the oven but cool down quickly; use hot pads to remove them.
- Using a cookie sheet underneath will provide stability even for smaller pans.
- Always use a metal baker’s sheet or specially designed sled or rack underneath wider or larger silicone pans.
- Wash pans thoroughly before first use.
- Warranties tend to vary with bakeware brands.
- Do not use knives or sharp objects – they could damage your pans.
- Never use on an open flame or on stovetop burners.
Imagine the uses for silicone bakeware and there are a few. You can freeze conversation-inspiring shaped ice cubes for the punch bowl or use the pans for your favorite gelled salads or desserts. And no more fears of your special coffee cake not releasing from the pan.
Silicone bakeware has been in use commercially for several years but it’s still quite new to the home market. Will it survive the test of time? I think it will – like anything new, we just need to give it a chance to show off its great features.