Best Bakeware? Advice needed!

cat_herderDecember 11, 2007

Hi all! I would like to buy a really high quality set of bakeware for my DW. She loves to bake, but has never had anything to bake in that didn't come from Walmart or the grocery store. I would like to get her a set (of few, depending on price) of really good baking pans for bread, brownies, cakes, etc. Can anyone point me in the right direction? I am willing to spend some good bucks to get a top quality product that will last, and make her happy. THANKS for helping make it a great Christmas!

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joe_blowe

First of all, high quality bakeware really doesn't come in "sets" -- you have to buy it by the piece.

If you want to drop some serious cash, the Williams-Sonoma Goldtouch line of bakeware has received high praise from Cook's Illustrated.

However, IMHO, you should just go to your local restaurant supply (like this -- check your Yellow Pages) and get some heavy Vollrath aluminum bakeware. You'll get a lot more bang for the buck that way...

    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 12:08PM
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cat_herder

I want to get her something special. If the W-S Goldtouch is that much better, and worth the extra $, then that's what I want to get. I can always add a piece or two every year. (Not like she's going anywhere anytime soon :) )

Do you think the goldtouch is worth the price diff? Or, are there a few certain items that it's worth getting the GT, and then filling the rest with the Vollrath?

    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 10:21PM
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jessyf

Catherder, I think you need to narrow down your choices and describe her cooking/baking style.

'bread' - does she bake loaves? Free form or in a loaf pan? Nothing wrong with Pyrex.

'brownies' - that implies a 9x13 pan. Pyrex, again, is great!

'cakes' - now that gets complicated - bundt? Nordicware. 9 inch rounds? Springform?

If you want name brands, look at Le Creuset, Emile Henry, etc. Browse Williams Sonoma and Sur la Table (both online). Those are expensive brands, definitely high quality and they look great. Keep an eye out at Tuesday Morning, Ross and Marshalls for sales and discounts.

Joe I'll meet you at Surfas and we can oggle and fondle the Vollrath to our hearts content together (grin).

    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 6:33AM
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joe_blowe

Jessy, I'd much rather meet at Action Sales in Monterey Park! No food or small items (Surfas is still the best for that), but when it comes to big commercial equipment (like my ;-) or sheet pans, knives or Cambro containers they can not be beat!

I'd also like to add one more place to find discounted bakeware: HomeGoods. If you haven't been, you really must go!

    Bookmark   December 13, 2007 at 12:22PM
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cat_herder

She spends most of her time making desserts, like brownies, cakes, lemon bars, etc. But she does bake meats as well sometimes. I guess those are really what i'm after.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2007 at 12:20AM
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stbonner

If you want something for meats, stews, soups, etc. then you should look into LeCreuset. I absolutely love my LeCreuset cookware and it's the perfect thing for cooking anything at long, slow temperatures. It is expensive, but it lasts forever (it comes with a 99 year warranty) and it is also beautiful.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2007 at 8:42AM
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cat_herder

stbonner: Wow, it's dazzling! But when you bake chickens or meats, etc, do you use the stoneware or the cast iron? The cast iron seems to come primarily in french oven sizes, while the stoneware comes in what it calls the "square baker." AUGH! So many choices! Now I know how she feels when I ask her to go to Radio Shack and pick up a cable or something.

I'd like to get her something for baking chickens/meatloaf/tenderloin, etc, and something for baking brownies, cakes, and desserts. Can you give me a smidge more hint and let me know which sizes would work?

Christmas is looming! Thank the Lord for overnight shipping!

    Bookmark   December 15, 2007 at 9:53AM
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cat_herder

Ok, I'm half-way done. Now just the cake/brownie items are left to choose!

Thanks to all your input, I bought the Le Creuset 6 3/4 qt oval french oven,, and the 2 1/4 qt saucier (both red, new from Amazon).

From what I've read, these are two of the best starter pieces, and they should enable her to decide whether she likes the manufacturer (I'm concerned that it'll be too heavy for her). If so I'll get her a couple more next year, and every year!

So what do I do for the cake/brownie pan? 9"? 13"? Goldtouch?

    Bookmark   December 15, 2007 at 12:17PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Oh Cat, you are truly a good husband!
Yeah, get the gold touch pans in whatever suits: 13x9 inch, 8 and 9 inch cake and 8 inch square. All are necessary at some point for different items.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2007 at 6:32PM
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jessyf

Catherder: those are good choices so far. They are heavy, but you can tell her (1) YOU will lift and wash them or (2) she can get a free work out, good for her bones (thats how I justify it to myself when I'm wrestling with my 6 qt. cast iron job!)

JoeBlowe: Monterey Park...dim sum heaven...you will be enabling my DH, you know? I have more ??? about the Cadco, see ya at CH.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 9:16AM
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stbonner

Cat herder, those two pieces are perfect! I bet she's going to love them. Lots of people say the 5.5 qt size is the most used, but I personally find that I use my 6.75 qt size much more. If I'm going to cook something long and slow I usually cook a lot of it, so I like the larger size. In fact, I also have the 9.5 qt. oval size, and I use it quite a bit also. The 9.5 qt is harder to wash, just because of it's size and weight, but I don't think the 6.75 size is hard to wash at all. The 2 qt saucier is a great choice too, good for rice, oatmeal, vegetables, etc. Your wife is going to be thrilled.

The LeCreuset stoneware baking stuff is also good, but I also like the Williams Sonoma goldtone baking stuff, and it's a bit easier to store, I think.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 9:24AM
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marys1000

I was just reading Alton Brown's book on cook ware and gadgets. He mentions something about Le Creuset/ceramic bakeware not cooking fast enough for....something. Anyway while I don't remember the details i had it from my library and I would recommend you go there post haste and read up on bakeware in that book. They also have America Test Kitchen (Cook's illustrated?) in there there too.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2007 at 3:04PM
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