If you have yet to take a dip into the cooking world of silicone, you’re probably missing out. I’m pretty late to the game myself, but I have the bonus of having a brother-in-law who is a chef.
A couple years back he was dabbling in baking with silicone molds and some specifically shaped molds made his Christmas gift list. I went in search of these silicone solutions and my curiosity was piqued. Now, I had already been dabbling in silicone kitchen utensils, so I knew how resilient silicone was. While I wouldn’t be using the specific molds he was interested, I targeted my interest in on the silicone baking sheet. It seemed like an easy place to start. But there are many subtle variations out there.
silicone parchment paper
One tiny step in the right direction is using silicone baking paper like the unbleached parchment paper and baking paper sheets offered by If You Care. According to their site, most baking papers are coated in quilon, which has chrome in it. “Quilon is a chemical containing chrome – a heavy metal – which when incinerated becomes toxic and leaves trace elements. The reason for the majority of parchment paper to be quilon-coated is the cost, which is substantially lower than silicone. So, in order to be environmentally friendly, the paper should be silicone-coated.”
The nice thing is, you can use silicone parchment multiple times if the cooking doesn’t get too messy.
silicone cooking sheet
You probably won’t find a silicone cookie sheet that is rigid. Almost all of the silicone baking sheet liners are designed to line a metal cookie sheet. This is great when it comes to clean-up. All of the mess is stuck to the flexible and easy to clean silicon which can just be washed in the sink.
Silicone is quick to cool, so once you get the silicone cookie liner out of the cookie sheet you should be able to handle it rather quickly.
Most silicone baking sheets have a very good temperature tolerance of around -40°F to 480°F. This range is why many bakers have switched to silicone. One product is good for baking OR freezing. And because silicone is a nonstick surface, no greasing is required! That’s a huge bonus in my book.
specific silicone baking sheets
Demarle (or as some say, De Marle) makes some of the most popular products you’ll find in silicone baking sheet stores. All of their three main baking sheets are created in a very similar way: a fiber glass weave surrounded by silicone. But their subtle differences make them stand out just enough from each other to be used in different tasks.
silpat baking sheet
Top of list in the silicone baking sheet shop is Demarle’s Silpat baking mat. The Silpat would probably be considered your standard cookie sheet liner in the silicone world. It is designed to insulate whatever you’re cooking just enough so that it doesn’t burn…unless you REALLY overcook it. Since it is insulated, you’ll have to adjust your bake time if you use the Silpat or any other silicone baking sheet with an airbake cookie sheet. Double insulation means less heat getting to your food.
But is the Silpat good for all uses? Watch this video for a general idea of how to use silicone bakeware, then read on!
silpain baking sheet
If you’re working with a lot of breads or doughs, you’ll want to head the way of the Silpain silicone mat. The Silpain varies from the Silpat in that it is perforated. Since an important part of baking is letting all the water in the dough escape in the heat, the perforation lets that water get out instead of trapping it.
Want to see some examples? See the video, but there is more below!
roul’pat workstation mat
The Roul’pat is made up from the same materials but with a different way to use silicone baking sheet technology. The bottom of the Roul’pat counter mat has grip to it. Now, just because it is a workstation doesn’t mean it is good for all preparation. A good rule of thumb is if it has an edge, keep it away. Knives and any edged metal can cut into and ruin a silicone mat. This goes for any of them, but a workstation would be more tempting of a place to do so.
Here is a video of the Roul’pat in action. But it’s not over yet!
• To clean your silicone baking sheet, you only need to wipe it off with a damp sponge and then rinse. You can use a small amount of mild detergent, but since silicone is non-stick, not a lot will…you know…stick.
• As mentioned earlier, keep knives and other edged metal away from your mat. Once it is cut, the fiberglass is exposed and you don’t really want to risk eating that.
• Your silicone cooking mat should always be stored flat or rolled up. Folding the mat runs the risk of breaking the fiberglass weave internally and having it cut its way through the silicone barrier.
The smaller sized silicone mats are also good for the microwave! You might have noticed that if you watched the videos.