Ultimate Bakeware: Silicone Cookware, Silicone Baking Trays, No Grease Required
For Xmas I received some new silicone bakeware and have been testing it out for the last month or so... the question for me was: Is silicone bakeware better than metal bakeware? And I was surprised.
Can You Cook with Silicone Cookware?
At first I was quite nervous, how could this floppy bakeware possibly work? Wouldn't it melt? Would I bake something and find the base had melted and welded to the shelf...? I'm such a nervous cook, it's questions like this that hold me back!
Silicone Bakeware Does Not Melt
Silicone bakeware is not rubber! It just seems to be rubber to us because we're not scientists.
It is actually a special material designed for cooking with. It's safe, clean, oven proof, microwave proof and dishwasher proof!
So, what have I found so far:
Silicone Bakeware is Quiet
Now, that's an odd statement to make about silicone bakeware, or any bakeware, but it's true. I don't like the noise involved in selecting and pulling out the cookware I want to use. Silicone bakeware makes no noise when you put it away or pull it out. No more clatter as all the other items fall over when I grab the one I want! No clatter when I decide 2am is a great time to be putting the washing up away. Silicone bakeware is completely silent.
Silicone Bakeware Stacks Brilliantly
You don't have to worry how you're stacking silicone bakeware because it won't scratch or dent alongside other items either. Silicone bakeware won't fall out of its shape, you can even fold it away! So that's great. You can literally stack or store silicone bakeware in any space and when you come to use it, it's still exactly the same shape it was when you bought it! Ideal if you have a small kitchen, are living in a bedsit or are looking for perfect cookware for a campervan.
Silicone Bakeware Doesn't Get Damaged
So long as you're not being totally mad with it, silicone bakeware does not get damaged when you store it. It's lightweight and bendy and you can even fold it away - and it doesn't get damaged. Metal bakeware can get scratched if you stack 2-3 items inside each other, or when you grab one and the rest fall over. That just doesn't happen with silicone bakeware.
That means I can be less OCD and less annoyed at how I am storing my bakeware and whether I've stacked it perfectly so I can get to what I need without the rest falling over and damaging.
No Greasing Required With Silicone Bakeware
Now, this bit I've been especially enjoying. WIth bakeware your recipe will always tell you to grease or flour the tin you're about to cook in. There's no need to do this with silicone bakeware, it doesn't stick. My loaves just drop out of the silicone loaf tin, cakes slide out of the muffin trays - and I've even used it to make sticky flapjack and pizza on. Nothing has stuck so far, meaning I am less likely to wreck my creation when I try to get it out of the dish to serve.
Cleaning Silicone Bakeware is a Doddle
Once I've cooked anything in my silicone bakeware I find just a quick rinse down in warm/hot water, using just my hands, is enough. Nothing sticks to silicone, it's just a quick rinse off and it's clean.
No more putting anything in soak, no more worrying that I'll damage the tin when I get any baked bits off. I've always hated any cookware that doesn't look as perfect as the day it was bought.
It seems to me as soon as you use traditional cookware there's the chance a tiny residue of burnt cooked goo will be stuck to it forever. This doesn't happen with silicone bakeware at all. No more scrubbing and soaking!
Also, with stacking the dishes on the kitchen drainer, I don't have to worry that it will slip off the top, bounce and dent... which might happen with a tin.
Bad Things About Silicone Bakeware
I hesitated before adding a paragraph with this heading, but it has to be said. The only bad thing I can find so far is that it IS floppy.
- Being floppy it means you do have to be a bit careful about how you get it into and out of the oven. Because I am so clumsy I do often tend to use a traditional baking tray to give it a firm base, I place the silicone bakeware on a baking tray and use the baking tray to get it into and out of the oven, but that's mainly because I am over-compensating for my own thoughtlessness and clumsiness.
- I find with the loaf tin the sides of a loaf aren't perpendicular because silicone bakeware will tend to bow outwards if you have a large/high sided loaf tin - if this bothers you then you can buy higher grade commercial silicone bakeware rather than the run of the mill cheaper ranges. You might like this aspect as it makes your homemade bread look MORE homemade! If you want that rustic look to your homebaked bread, then silicone bakeware gives you that as the loaf tins are flexible, so you don't get those absolutely straight lines.
So that's it, nothing really bad, just a bit of a thought for some of you maybe.
Choosing Silicone Bakeware
You can buy silicone bakeware in a range of prices, so how can you tell which is a good one? Silicone is an expensive product to produce, this means that manufacturers of cheaper/budget silicone bakeware ranges will tend to mix pure silicone with other ingredients to keep the cost lower.
Personally, I've bought the cheapest silicone loaf tins and cheapest silicone muffin trays that I could find - and never had any trouble whatsoever with them.
When buying silicone bakeware, if you can, fold it in half - if you can see a white line appear/disappear along where you folded it, it means there are other things mixed with the silicone. Ideally you want to buy the best one you can with the smallest/no white line.
I just bought mine cheaply from the local supermarket and have had no problems at all, but I thought it important you were aware of how to tell the quality. I've also bought a couple from ebay and ithey're just as good - and I can also find a much larger range of silicone bakeware on ebay than I have ever seen in the shops.
So, it's a full 10/10 for me with silicone bakeware!
Now I just need to build up my collection so I have every shape and size possible!
I hope this has helped somebody. If in doubt, just do it - pick up a piece of silicone bakeware and just try it out. Let me know how you get on with it!
In short, "can you cook with silicone cookware?": YES!