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Bakeware is such an integral part of your kitchen that you probably don't think twice about whether you are using the right pans for your cakes and loaves. Instead of substituting the bakeware recommended in recipes with whatever you have, why not make sure you have the right cookware for the right item? In this article, we will talk about the various sizes and categories of bakeware, so look no further. When you are following a recipe that requires you to use bakeware, the first thing to determine is whether you have the proper size pans. For instance, your recipe suggests that you use a pan of a certain size, if you do not have it, you can generally substitute a similar size baking pan without any problem. But take the following into account: Bakeware Pan Basics Select a pan as close in size as possible to the pan in your recipe. In other words, the volume capacity should be approximately the same and when filled, the ingredients should reach about the same depth as they would in the original. The biggest advantage of choosing a substitute bakeware pan similar in size to the original is that the cooking temperatures and times remain the same. When measuring a pan, measure from inside edge to inside edge so that you are not including the thickness of the sides. Measure volume by filling the pan with water and then pouring it into a measuring cup. Be careful substituting a pan when the recipe indicates that a tube pan should be used, such as an angel food cake pan or a bundt pan. These pans are ideal when it comes to equal distribution of heat, so the substitute bakeware pan must satisfy that criterion. If you select a glass bakeware pan or a dark, non-stick pan, reduce the oven temperature by at least 25°F. If the substitute pan causes the depth of the ingredients to be thinner, reduce cooking time by 15 minutes. If the depth is thicker, increase cooking time by 15 minutes. Whenever you select a substitute pan, keep in mind that you need to allow room for certain foods to expand as they cook. PAN MATERIALS & HOW TO CARE FOR THEM A pan is a pan is a pan, right? Wrong. Baking pans can be made from different materials, and
each material has a different effect on your baking. For example, a bakeware pan with a darkcolored surface will cause the food to brown more easily because it absorbs the heat of the oven. On the other hand, an aluminum bakeware pan conducts heat evenly but its surface reflects heat, so the food does not brown well. So here's a list of some common bakeware materials: Aluminum Aluminum is good bakeware material because it is an excellent conductor of heat and so your baking is uniform, but the shiny surface of aluminum bakeware prevents proper browning, as we explained. Aluminum bakeware is durable and will not rust, but go for heavy-gauge aluminum bakeware rather than the thinner variety. The latter may warp when exposed to high temperatures, causing uneven baking. Also remember that aluminum bakeware should NOT be used to prepare acidic foods because the acid may react with the material to create food that has an off taste. It may also cause more wear and tear than usual. Care: Use hot soapy water for ordinary cleaning of your aluminum bakeware, but for extra cleaning, a nylon scouring pad or special powder cleansers can be used Aluminum Foil Made of heavy-gauge aluminum, this type of bakeware pan is used for a variety of foods such as pizza, bread, and meat. They also work well for egg, potato and casserole dishes. Though generally disposable, it can be reused if cleaned well after use. Care: Aluminum foil bakeware can be cleaned with hot soapy water or a nylon scouring pad for extra cleaning. If you use a dishwasher, do not stack heavier dishes on top of aluminum foil bakeware. Anodized Aluminum There are two types of anodized bakeware, silver anodized and hard anodized. Silver anodized bakeware is made of aluminum that has gone through an electro-chemical process to harden its outer layer and give it a scratch-resistant surface that will not rust, peel or blister. Even so, do not use sharp knives to cut food baked in these pans. In hard anodized bakeware, the aluminum is processed for a much longer time to create a hardened surface finish far thicker than silver anodized. Metal utensils other than knives can be used on hard anodized bakeware without damaging the surface. Most hard anodized bakeware has a darkened surface, which affects baking time. Care: Silver anodized and hard anodized bakeware should be washed by hand in hot soapy water and any stuck on food should be soaked in water to loosen. Do not wash in the dishwasher. Glass Glass ovenproof bakeware is made from tempered glass and conducts heat well. It is fairly easy to clean, does not stain, and does not react to acidic foods. Ovenproof glass can be taken from the refrigerator and placed in a hot oven, but when you remove it from the oven, cool it to room
temperature before putting in the refrigerator or exposing to water to avoid cracking. Glass bakeware heats faster and holds heat longer than metal, so reduce baking temperatures by approximately 25°F from the recipe instructions. Care: Wash with hot soapy water and loosen stuck on food by soaking in warm water. Avoid metal scrapers and abrasive cleaners. Insulated Insulated bakeware is made of two layers of metal cushioned by a layer of air, which provides for even baking and browning. Insulated bakeware with a good non-stick coating is the best, since food has a tendency to stick to other forms of this bakeware. Care: Use methods that apply to other metals. For non-stick insulated bakeware, follow the methods for other non-stick bakeware as listed below. Non-Stick Non-stick bakeware consists of steel or aluminum with a non-stick coating, which allows food to easily peel off from the surface of the bakeware. So this type of bakeware works particularly for items such as muffins and layered cakes. Once again, the non-stick coating gives the bakeware a darker surface, which absorbs heat quickly, so make sure the food is not overly browned or dried out. Care: Wash in hot soapy water and for stuck on food, use warm water to loosen. Do not use metal utensils or knives on the bakeware surface. Silicone Silicone bakeware is made of a flexible material that can be used in the oven, microwave, and freezer. Silicone bakeware does not absorb heat like other bakeware but allows heat to transfer evenly to the food. The cooking process stops immediately when food is removed from the oven, preventing additional browning of the food. Most importantly, it can withstand temperatures ranging from 40°F to 580°F. Care: Just chuck it in the dishwasher! Stainless Steel Though widely available, stainless steel bakeware is not recommended because it is a poor conductor of heat, thus distributing heat unevenly. Care: To care for stainless steel bakeware, wash with hot soapy water. You may also use a nylon scouring pad or nylon scraper for especially stubborn food. Stone
This kind of bakeware is made from stone fired at very high temperatures. Though stone bakeware takes a little longer than other material to heat up initially, it distributes heat evenly, retains heat and keeps food warm long after it is cooked. Most stone bakeware surfaces must be sprayed or rubbed with oil before using for the first time. Care: Do not use soap to clean. Scrape off excess food and wash with warm water. Tinned Steel Tinned steel bakeware is made from sheets of steel covered with a thin coat of tin, allowing the bakeware to heat slowly and evenly. Tinned steel bakeware will darken after extended use, which may affect baking times. Care: Take special care to prevent tinned steel bakeware from rusting. After washing in hot soapy water and drying thoroughly, place in a warm oven and dry completely. Do not use metal scouring pads or abrasive materials to clean.
Tania Penwell provides information on bakeware and other kinds of cookware for Savvy Cooking your guide to cooking and recipes.
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