Baking can be an extremely rewarding and delicious hobby. However, it does require some specialized equipment to get those sweet and savory treats just right. One often overlooked item that can make all the difference are quality bakeware pans. Silicone pastry pans offer a flexible, nonstick, and convenient option for bakers.
Silicone’s Rise in Popularity
In recent years, silicone pans have risen in popularity as a baking pan option. Silicone provides a nonstick cooking surface, flexibility for easier food release, resistance to odor absorption, stain resistance, and higher heat thresholds than other polymers. This makes silicone an extremely versatile material perfect for baking applications.
Despite these advantages, some bakers have hesitated to adopt silicone pans due to concerns over durability or heat transmission. However, high-quality silicone with fiberglass reinforcement can last through thousands of usages with proper care. The flexibility also promotes better heat flow over traditional materials.
Perfect for Pastries and Delicate Baked Goods
Silicone pans are especially useful for baking pastries and other delicate baked goods prone to sticking. The flexibility allows for easy release of items from flakey croissants to sticky cinnamon rolls. The nonstick surface also eliminates the need for paper liners or excessive greasing and flouring.
In addition to preventing sticking, silicone allows for an easier transfer of heat during baking. The material can quickly adapt to the underside of baked goods as they expand and rise. This leads to more uniform heating and browning without hot spots.
The Setup: Getting Started with Silicone Pans
To get started, you’ll want to make sure your silicone pans have metal reinforced rims for structure and support. High edges are also preferable to keep spill overs contained. It’s also wise to choose pans with gripable handles for easier maneuvering.
Since silicone is flexible, the pans may be prone to bulging or racking during baking. To prevent this, you’ll need sturdy cooling racks, a rimmed baking sheet, or wire rack insert to reinforce the shape underneath. Be sure to check your silicone pans for fit and stability on the rack prior to using.
Types of Silicone Pastry Pans
Silicone pastry pans come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Consider what types of items you most want to bake when selecting which pieces to purchase. Here are some of the most common silicone baking pans on the market:
Muffin Pans & Cupcake Liners
A 12-cup muffin pan offers maximum versatility for baking muffins as well as cupcakes. Individual silicone cupcake liners can also be used in a traditional tin for convenience. The flexibility prevents sticking and eases removal of baked goods.
Loaf pans are perfect for quick breads, meatloaves, terrines, and more. Look for reinforced sides and ends for slicing stability. The nonstick silicone eases release of leaner recipes that tend to adhere to pans.
Tart Pans, Quiche Pans & Pie Pans
Silicone tart pans make baking shells easy and prevent sides and bottoms from overbaking. Fluted edges provide an elegant presentation while being gentle on delicate fruits. Pie pans help prevent leakage while promoting even heating and browning.
Brioche Molds & Bread Molds
Topped brioches and other breads turn out beautifully shaped and textured when baked in silicone molds. Flexible sides allow rising dough to expand freely. Breads slide out easily once cooled.
Madeleine Molds & Mini Cake Molds
From elegant madeleine shells to miniature cakes and tarts, silicone molds improve success with fussy, detail-oriented bakes. The material helps prevent cracks, breaks, and uneven textures that can plague delicate items.
Macaron Baking Mats & Decorating Mats
Silicone macaron mats feature circular guides in various sizes to pipe perfect cookies every time. Decorating mats help keep tipped or coated treats in place during chilling or cooling. Both mat styles prevent sticking.
Baking with Silicone Molds & Pans
Mixing Bowl Method
To help minimize bulging or racking of silicone pans, you can place them inside a stainless steel or heatproof glass mixing bowl. Place your filled silicone pan into a larger bowl, then put both onto your baking sheet or rack. The rigid sides of the bowl will reinforce the flexible pan’s shape.
Double Pan Method
For additional support, place your silicone bakeware into a metal or aluminized steel pan of similar dimensions. This helps reinforce the pan’s structure. remove before placing in oven Use short metal clips on the exterior sidewalls if needed to prevent bulging.
Oven Rack Placement
When using silicone pans, central rack placement is key. Set racks to the middle position before preheating your oven. This will help prevent the top or sides of your bakeware from becoming overly browned or developing hot spots. Check pans halfway through baking and rotate for even heating if necessary.
Monitoring Bake Times
Since silicone has high heat resistance yet quickly transmits heat, keep an eye on bake times. Bake times may be slightly shorter compared to traditional pans. Watch carefully near the end of expected baking times and test for doneness a few minutes early. Adjust temperature down 25 degrees F if items brown too quickly.
Cooling & Unmolding
One of silicone’s biggest perks is how easily baked goods release after cooling. Still, be sure your items have cooled sufficiently before attempting to remove from pans. Gently loosen around the edges, then flex the pan gently while holding firmly near the base. Lightly lift one edge, then work gently around the sides to release.
Care & Maintenance
Allow pans to fully cool after baking, then wash by hand or in the dishwasher. Avoid scouring pads and abrasive cleaners which can damage the silicone. For stubborn grease stains, spray with vegetable oil, allow to soak for 5 minutes, then hand wash with hot soapy water.
Store silicone bakeware either stacked neatly or laying flat. Avoid hanging pans to prevent stretching out of shape over time. Laying flat helps the pans retain their intended size and function. Wrap mats and rolled items with parchment paper before storage to prevent dust buildup over time.
Reinforcing Worn Areas
If your silicone pans have become stretched out over time, reinforce sagging areas with aluminum foil while preheating and baking. Foil strips around the interior sides and corners will act as supports. Plan to replace extremely worn pans that can no longer bake properly despite reinforcement measures.
To prevent changes in texture, appearance, and performance, avoid excessive oven curing with silicone pans. Most quality silicone requires no special treatment prior to first use. Check manufacturer guidelines before attempting to oven cure new silicone baking pans at home.
Troubleshooting Silicone Baking Issues
If baked items have darker hot spots along ridges or corners of silicone pans, the bakeware likely lacks adequate support underneath. Place pans on a rimmed baking sheet or in a metal pan before baking. Tenting foil lightly over peaked areas can shield hot spots as well. Avoid overloading pans which causes deeper bulging during baking.
Sticking or Tearing Delicate Baked Goods
Reduce the baking temperature by 25 degrees F if silicone pans are browning too rapidly before interiors finish baking. Insufficient baking can cause steam buildup between goods and the pan surface leading to sticking and tearing. Thoroughly grease and flour pans if needed despite nonstick claims for delicate recipes.
Unpleasant Odors & Flavors
Silicone should never retain or transmit odors or flavors to baked goods. However, storage near strong smelling spices, greasy containers, or other heat-transferable items can lead to absorption. Keep silicone neatly stacked or wrapped when not in use. Hand wash only and avoid soaking to prevent absorption opportunities.
Crumbling, Cracking, or Racking
Poorly-made or worn silicone with thin walls or insufficient structure is prone to bulging, sliding, or misshaping during baking. Ensure pans have fiberglass reinforced rims and corners with adequate depth and support ribs throughout the interior. Replace pans exhibiting exterior racking, interior rib detachment, or stretch marks along walls and bases.
When to Replace Silicone Bakeware
No bakeware lasts forever, including silicone. Keep an eye out for the following signs that your pans or molds need replacing:
- Pans are overly stretched out with thin spots along walls, sagging edges or corners, or detached ribbing along bottoms
- Baked goods regularly fail to hold intended shape or brown unevenly
- Odors and stains persist despite diligent cleaning attempts
- Tears, rips, holes, or permanent indents exist from forks, knives and other damaging items
- Performance, results, or texture seems to diminish over each subsequent use
The average lifespan of quality silicone is 2-4 years with proper care and storage. Rotate baking pans seasonally to give sets adequate rest between heavy rotations.
Consider an upgrade or replacement once wear negatively impacts baking or cleaning function. While silicone is affordable, failing to replace pans timely ends up wasting expensive ingredients.
Silicone Pastry Pans – Key Takeaways
Silicone offers home bakers an affordable, nonstick, flexible, and convenient option when selecting bakeware pans. When