Are you a beginner or an experienced home chef? Regardless of the answer, you probably have aluminum foil and baking paper in your kitchen. When we are going to bake cookies, roast meat or vegetables in the oven, we always think what is better to use and let’s be honest, very often we simply take what comes to hand. Do you know how to use these kitchen helpers? It turns out that many people wonder what to use for baking – a silicone mat, parchment paper or aluminum foil?
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Silicone Baking Mat
The silicone baking mat is a sheet of silicone designed for baking and freezing. It is a universal item, you can bake anything you want on it. Its surface will not damage the shape of the products and will not affect their structure. One of the main advantages of silicone mats is that they are reusable. They are also heat resistant and depending on the manufacturer, withstand temperatures up to 250-300 C/480-570 F. Silicone mats do not stick and do not require lubrication, they do not deform or leave marks on your pastry and are easily cleaned. However, their surface can be easily scratched or damaged if you try to remove pastries with a knife. Silicone baking mats are great for baking cookies, buns, bread, hot sandwiches or snacks. You can also bake meat like steaks, meatballs, chicken breast or other cuts.
Parchment Paper or Aluminum Foil – Which One Is Better for Baking?
Parchment paper or aluminum foil? Both are widely used for preparing baked dishes. Is aluminum foil a good parchment paper substitute? In fact, it is important to remember that in many cases one is clearly preferable to the other. Let’s see what is better to use for baking.
Thanks to its versatility, parchment paper is a shining star in the kitchen. It is suitable for numerous culinary tasks but most often it is used for lining pans and trays to prevent food from sticking while being cooked. Parchment paper is a unique material that has a lot of advantages. Here is a list of the most important ones:
- it does not burn
- parchment paper does not stick
- it does not damages the pans and trays
- does not soak or crumble
- it is greaseproof
- resistant to high temperatures
- retains the shape of baked goods
- you can cut it to suit the size of your pots and trays
- protects dishes from burning;
- creates a barrier to moisture and fat;
- does not emit harmful substances during the baking process;
- protects products from drying out and dampness;
In addition, you can use parchment paper to roll out sticky dough without flour, prepare cold desserts and sweets, cover food instead of a lid, line the bottom of dishes for storing cookies, etc.
Despite its versatility, parchment paper has its limitations. It usually withstands temperatures up to 200-210°C/390-410°F. If the temperature is higher, the paper darkens, becomes brittle, and crumbles when touched. Different brands of paper have different properties and temperature restrictions, so you should always read manufacturer’s recommendations before using the paper.
When to Use Aluminum Foil for Baking?
Aluminum foil is another versatile kitchen assistant. This is a thin sheet of aluminum and a good choice when cooking various dishes in the oven or on the grill. Usually, the foil is used for lining trays or covering a dish while it is baked in the oven. Unlike parchment paper and silicone mats, aluminum foil can be used on gas or charcoal grills for preparing vegetables, meat or fish. Here are some other advantages:
- foil protects food from burning;
- retains juice and moisture;
- withstands temperatures up to 220°C/430°F degrees
- retains heat well and is very flexible
- great for packing ready-made food or cover dishes with ready-made food
Aluminum foil must not be used in the microwave. Since it is a metal, the foil can heat up very quickly, which can cause a spark and fire.
What to Choose: Silicone Mat, Parchment Paper or Aluminum Foil?
In conclusion, we have to say that when it comes to choosing between silicone mat, parchment paper or aluminum foil, the choice depends on what you are cooking. For some dishes like fatty fish or large pieces of meat, it is better to use foil instead of parchment. However, if you are baking cookies, paper or silicone mat is a better choice.