Bakeware Material Throwdown: Metal Vs. Glass Vs. Silicone
Shopping for bakeware can be exhausting. There are countless versions of just about every pan you can imagine, and it's hard to compare when you don’t know the pros and cons on each. Here's a simple guide to help you find the right bakeware for you.
Do You Bake Foods That Need To Be Browned?
Depending on the food, browning can be a necessity or something to avoid. If you want to brown foods, then metal pans are a great choice. Darker pans brown the fastest (which is good for some breads), while light-colored and shiny metal bakeware brown more evenly. Glass bakeware browns only very lightly. With silicone, you are unlikely to get much browning at all.
Want Bakeware That's Easy To Clean?
With metal pans, those with a nonstick coating are often easier to clean since the baked goods come out easily. Glass bakeware typically doesn’t have a non-stick coating so it may take some more elbow grease to clean these properly. Silicone bakeware is another choice for easy clean-up since it is dishwasher-safe.
Do You Cook At High Temps?
Metal bakeware heats up quickly and cools down quickly, making it the best choice for baked goods that are heated at high temperatures for short periods of time, like biscuits. However, pay attention to the type the metal when choosing a pan. Metal with a shiny finish takes longer to absorb heat and aluminum is good at conducting heat evenly.
Prefer Something That's Easy To Store And Transport?
Silicone bakeware’s key attraction is that it’s easy to move around and store. That’s because it’s made of lightweight, flexible material. For example, silicone baking sheets can be rolled up around a rolling pin and stored in a small space. The light weight of silicone also makes it easier to get in and out of the oven, especially if you’ve previously worked with heavy glass pans. If you do drop it, silicone won’t break or crack, which means there also aren’t any sharp edges or broken pieces to worry about.
Do You Cook At Low Temps?
If you heat items at lower temperatures for longer periods of time (casseroles, lasagna, cakes, etc.) then glass bakeware is the way to go. Glass takes longer to heat up but once it does, the temperature remains stable throughout the remainder of the cooking process. This helps prevent burning or over-browning on the baked goods.
Looking For A Wallet-Friendly Option?
Silicone bakeware is one of the cheaper bakeware options that can be reused over and over. However, there are metal pans also available at low prices, but these generally wear out quickly. A quality metal pan will cost more, so don’t expect a cheap one to last long. Shoppers will find that glassware is usually the most expensive among these three bakeware options.
One final note: Be aware that glass bakeware can potentially shatter. This only happens when the glass is overheated or is cooled down too quickly. Follow user instructions carefully when using this type of bakeware.