I've always been a big fan of stainless steel bakeware. It's safe, durable, and easy to use. But, as of this year, I have a new love:
We got these aluminum baking sheets (13x18-inch, called a "half size") at Costco Business Center, along with the two silicone baking mats. I previously had just two (11x15-inch) baking sheets and it was difficult to make larger batches of things because, well, I didn't have more than 2 sheets (both went in the oven at the same time).
I had shied away from aluminum baking sheets because I prefer our food not to have contact with aluminum. (Aluminum is affordable, and works well though!) But, with the addition of the silicone baking mat, the food doesn't touch the aluminum after all.
I'm so glad I decided to try these sheets and mats! I loved them immediately and use them several times per week, at least! The big size holds plenty of vegetables, rolls, etc. and the mats prevent any sticking without having to grease the pan. YAY for saving on butter and not having to get my hands messy! :)
Tip: After washing silicone baking mats, roll them and stand on end to dry (pictured above). I've tried lots of other ways of letting the mats air-dry but none work as well as standing on end. :)
Here are some of the things I've been making using my new sheets and mats:
Roasted vegetables. A silicone baking mat makes roasted veggies SO simple! (Have I mentioned that I love not greasing pans?!) In this picture, I made "grilled" broccoli and cauliflower (but roasted it in the oven). :)
Pizza! Again, no grease -- but a perfectly baked crust! I have never had any dough stick to my mats, and I've put some pretty sticky dough on them.
An added bonus? If a few stray pieces of shredded cheese end up on the mat instead of the pizza when you're making the pizza, they won't stick either. (Ever spend 20 minutes cleaning burnt cheese off the side of pizza pans? I know I have...)
Potato wedges are AWESOME on a silicone baking mat. Why?
#1. No need to grease the pan.
#2. The bottoms and tops evenly brown, so not really any need to stir during baking.
#3. The browned part stays on the potato wedges instead of sticking to the baking sheet = more crispy yumminess in my mouth, less time cleaning pans afterward!
The other thing that is perfect on the silicone baking mats is any bread! The bottom gets perfectly baked every time!
But, it gets better. You know how things like challah or hamburger buns or bagels tend to call for an egg wash and seeds sprinkled on top before baking? And the egg wash inevitably drips down onto the baking sheet and makes it so hard to clean afterwards, that I end up doing things like just NOT putting egg wash on my challah?
Well, the silicone baking mat eliminates that problem completely. The egg wash does not stick. The pan is not hard to wash. All my baked goods now look that much better because I can do an egg wash any time I want!! :)
The debate about washing an extra item:
When I decided to try the silicone baking mats, one of my concerns was that it would be a bit of a bother to wash an extra item (vs. just a baking sheet). Especially if you have 2, or more, sheets -- the number of dirty dishes is doubled!
But I have found that it is faster to wash the sheet + mat than to just wash my stainless steel pans, EVEN when there is nothing to really scrub off my other pans. The silicone mat has nothing sticking to it, and neither does the baking sheet, so it really is simple! The sheets + mats have been my go-to ever since I first tried them. :)
Where to buy?
You can get silicone baking mats from Amazon.com (referral link) or from a restaurant supply store like GFS or Business Costco. I really, really like the size I got (13x18-inch). My mats are Sil-Eco brand and have been used dozens of times already and still look brand new.
If anyone has silicone baking mat tips to share, I'd love to hear! :)
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2. 6 tips for storing and using cilantro (Adrienne at Whole New Mom)
3. Freezing hummus portions (Living So Abundantly)
4. Freezing and pitting peaches (Gretchen at Extraordinary Ordinary Life)
5. Avoid clumping brownies (Stacy at Stacy Makes Cents)
6. How to freeze individual peach and mango slices (Georgia at Georgia's Cookie Jar)
7. Freezing sweet potato fries (Carmen at Life Blessons)
8. Brainless French toast tip (Rachel at Trial and Error Home Ec)
9. Homemade ice cream making tips (Stephanie at Proactive Bridesmaid)
10. Tips for saving garden seeds (Kara at Taste Is Trump)