baking pans: metal vs. ceramic vs. stoneware vs. ???

jenva2010August 14, 2010

In the past, I've always used metal baking pans for everything -- nothing special, just whatever looked good at Target. I would like to buy some new pans, and I'm wondering what materials are best suited to what foods. I've been drooling over some beautiful ceramic and stoneware baking pans, but I don't want to buy them for looks if they aren't ideal for what I bake. Mostly in the past I've baked cakes, cobblers, and quick breads. I'm hoping to branch out into yeast breads, pies, and some other baked desserts.

If ceramic or stoneware would give good results, is there a performance difference between ceramic and stoneware? Also, I know the expensive brands like Emile Henry and Le Creuset are gorgeous and heavy, but are they also significantly better baking-wise than, for example, Target's Giada baking dishes? If some ceramic/stoneware baking dishes are better than others, are there certain characteristics to look for if I see an unfamiliar brand at HomeGoods? Or should I just stick to specific name brands (and if so, which ones?)


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For baking anything that will be removed from the pan or sheet, you don't really need to consider attractiveness. I swear by Chicago Metallic Commercial baking sheets and pans. They are NOT nonstick. I did not like nonstick bakeware or that air-cushion stuff.

For those dishes where appearance matters, I have some Emile Henry bakeware, some French porcelain (Pillivuyt), and some Polish stoneware.

Ceramic is the term used to describe any type of fired clay.

Here is a link that might be useful: Types of Ceramicware

    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 3:43PM
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For baking cookies I love the Doughmakers brand of cookie sheet. They have a pebbled surface and are made in the U.S. I've baked a LOT of cookies in my time, and these have been the best. I don't care for the air bake ones. works well for biscuits too. cast iron also bakes up beautiful biscuits. Preheated and greased cast iron is the ONLY way to truly get great corn bread.

For quick breads I have recently tried the Lodge cast iron bread pans. I've gotten the best banana bread out of them, and am anxious to try yeast breads. I LOVE cast iron, but hadn't been sure about it for baking. So far, so good, at least on banana bread. The same bread recipe did not cook in the middle with the Emile Henry pan.

I am using Emile Henry pie dishes and have gotten some wonderful pies out of them. I do what their web site suggested (and some cookbooks) by pre baking the crust a tad before adding the filling. I am going to try a cast iron pan one of these days. One of the Lodge ladies swears by a pie baked in a 9 or 10 inch skillet. Still, you can't go wrong with clay.

I've used pyrex pie dishes, and cooks magazine likes them the best for pies, but I still like Emile Henry better. They are also beautiul and make a nice presentation. le Cruset pottery is made in China. I won't touch it.

I haven't been thrilled with shiny metal pie pans.

I have found that dark metal pans tend to burn baked goods before they are finished cooking through. Turning down the oven temp didn't help.

Hate non stick and feel it is toxic.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 5:46PM
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I do most of baking in glass (pyrex). I think it works great.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2010 at 2:24AM
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