Sil-Pats are so pricey. Is there a substitute that can be used successfully?
I see "no-name" silicone baking mats/sheets around $11 on Amazon. I'd try one of those. Or simply a roll of parchment paper.
For whatever reason, I have a number of silpats but I usually use parchment paper. I like the precut kind that I get inexpensively from the restaurant supply or GFS.
I have been using non Sil-pat silicone bake sheets/oven liners.
I have many, and they all work well.
They do last forever but i just don't like the feel of them.
I have a couple but always have regular parchment and will often just grab that. Don't like the disposable one-use though.
I do have one of the thin baking sheets that i custom cut to fit a half-sheet pan. It is pretty beat up now but did a good job for a few years. We use it for roasted veg and focaccia.
Easier to wash. Like rinsing a hand towel and hanging to dry.
I also like the pre-cut parchment from a supply house like webstaurant.com. Added some to my order when i bought their metal grid sheets for the dehydrator. (how did i survive without grid racks for so long?)
Here is a link that might be useful: baking sheets
It really comes down to what you are going to use it for? I'm with mustangs, I have a number of mats (I use them when I teach bread classes) and use parchment paper for cookie sheets (15-years ago I bought a lifetime supply of parchment paper from a restaurant supply store). I dislike baking cookies on mats, but when it comes to kneading dough or forming dough, a Silpat (or silicon mat) is a great tool - dough doesn't stick and you don't need bench flour (easy clean-up). There is also a 10", 8-sided, Silpat mat and I use it more than the large one. I like to use it when I form scones.
The - made in France - Fiberlux is actually thicker than the Silpat - great for pouring hot peanut brittle onto, and the peanut brittle won't stick. It's a brand used by a lot of commercial bakers because it is thicker.
I bought an inexpensive "Kitchen Living " mat at Aldi, and it's as good as my Silpat, and a lot less expensive - but they only carry them around the holidays.
The Tupperware silicon mat was a piece of junk (glad I didn't pay for it). It was so thin it was useless for kneading dough.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with a silicon mat when baking meatballs or sausage balls. They make clean-up a lot easier.
Another thing to remember, these mats don't last forever. They do wear out from oven use, and the suggested lifespan was noted on the Silpat label.
And NEVER cut on them with a sharp knife, and don't trim it to fit a pan - that will destroy it. I form dough logs for cinnamon rolls on my Silpat and I cut the dough with dental floss. If I need to divide dough into portions on the mats, I use a hard plastic or rubber/silicon spatula, or a plastic (disposable picnic) knife.
To clarify, the thin baking sheets are designed to be cut to fit pans for toaster ovens and smaller sized sheet pans.
Sil-pats should never be cut as it exposes the thicker fibers.
The op, pink, is looking for an alternative.
Parchment can be expensive in grocery rolls. The thinner re-usable sheet do work well as a cheaper alternative.
I use parchment for baking, etc. and appreciate all the suggestions, but mainly am interested in being able to roll out and work dough on a base on my counter. Will check with Aldi just in case. Thanks for everyone's help.
Sil-pats are great for counter work being so sticky and thick. Worth the investment.
I use silpats and knockoffs for working dough on my counter if I don't need to use a sharp knife with it. It took a long time for me to give up pastry cloths because of the feel of the silicone, but now I really do like it better. At least one of my three (different sizes) is a Silpat brand, but they all handle the same.
One has measures and lines, which can be useful. Working dough on one is great because even when it's very sticky, it comes right off, and hardly leaves any behind. Picking up pie dough (on the pin) is easier, as is picking up a topped pizza (on the peel). The only thing I use a board or cloth for nowadays (other than sharp knife dough cutting), is the occasional recipe that really wants a bed of flour. The silpat doesn't have the texture to hold all that flour in place.
BUT, you have to be careful not to cut the silicone. I can divide dough with my bench scraper, being careful not to press too hard at the bottom, and not leave a mark, but for actually scraping, I use a plastic pan scraper or spatula, and am still pretty careful about the angle and all.
It's not that it's that delicate. With a little care, you can keep your mat pristine. Without care, it's easy to ruin.
I gotta tell ya, the one I bought at ALDI...the dough does NOT come off of it. I've only used it a few times just to make dough on rather than the counter top, I have to flour the thing because dough sticks like GLUE and it wasn't all that soft of a dough either(pizza dough). Why would it do that? I'd heard such fabulous stories of how dough doesn't ever stick. Did I just get a bum mat?
EDIT: OK so I'm looking at KAF and they say you are supposed to flour or oil these. I'm confused now, are you supposed to flour them or are the supposed to not be sticky without flour or oil? I did not realize they are supposed to be either floured or oiled prior to use which would explain why the dough stuck to the bare mat. I did end up flouring it but I thought that you weren't supposed to have to do that.
This post was edited by arkansas_girl on Thu, Apr 3, 14 at 19:50
I took a good look at mine. The ones I like are NSF. The Silpat is the one with the booboo. :(
Arkansas Girl, If your mat is that grabby, you should oil it. Just a drop the size of a quarter, or a good spritz of oil spray, should be enough. Wipe it all over the mat, and remove the excess. I wash mine with mild dish liquid and warm to hot water, and they rarely need re-oiling, but that depends on your personal circumstances.
When I said that about sticky doughs not sticking, I meant that I can lift them without leaving lots of wisps of dough behind, not that they slide around. Sticky is sticky and will stick to anything. Oil and/or flour definitely help with sticky. :) By sticky, I mean the kind of dough that sticks to your fingers while you shape it.
I prefer a stiffer dough for pizza, though these very wet slow rise in the fridge ones are popular. When I tried that, I didn't like it and kneaded in more flour. But for a traditional stiff dough, I just sprinkle a little yellow cornmeal underneath and the pizza just slides beautifully.
Me making an 18" pizza with silicone bake mat.
Here is a link that might be useful: pizza making
dcarch, I noted that you used flour to avoid sticking.
I tried using my SilPat to roll out pie dough and got this result:
Cookie dough is much the same, I tried to avoid adding flour but it was no more successful.
So, for rolling out dough, you need to add flour, in my experience, and I have the same result with other sticky doughs. I don't have to add as much flour, but I still have to use it to avoid sticking.
OK well that solves that mystery...HAHA! I just had it in my head that they were supposed to be non-stick as is, I guess like how marble is. I have no issue with using flour, it's just that I thought you weren't supposed to have to. Good to know, now I know I'm not doing something wrong.
Yes Annie, that's similar to my results...HEEHEE!
dcarch, wouldn't a larger "rolling pin" be easier? That little one seems too small and could cut the mat.
DCarch, that's very cool! I'm going to have to see if I have an old breyer with enough integrity left to try that. :) AR girl, the breyer is hard rubber (at least mine are) and won't cut the mat. I think it's cool because of the one handed operation.
Any other art supplies we should be cooking with? (I got a circle template out of my studio for macarons yesterday...)
Re marble: It isn't naturally non-stick, just less stick. Traditionally, one oils it for baking (and really oils it for candy). :) Then the flour base fills in the little pits. :D But I agree that the silpat is stickier. Part of what makes it so nice to roll out pie and cookies on is that it doesn't shift under the pressure the way a pastry cloth does because it clings to the counter. But I have sharp cookie cutters, so I generally use a baking board for them. Cleaning a silpat is a lot easier. ;)
I don't use the mat for non-stickness. I have a culture specific block to working directly on the counter, so it's just the latest in pastry cloths, for me.
I had a silpat and I only used it for roasting veggies. I didn't like that it was always greasy.
I also had some cheaper ones from the grocery store, one was thicker and wasn't pliable, didn't care for it either. President's Choice for we Canadians.
I've been using parchment, but I think I'll scout out a different silicone mat somewhere for my cookies and to try rolling pie crust on. I don't want them to always feel greasy though.
Arkansas_girl, it is not that easy to use a rolling pin for an 18" pizza. Actually, a couple of things were not shown well in the video.
I roll the pizza on a restaurant serving tray, it makes clean up easier. Just take the tray to the sink.
Using the tray, I can turn the dough around by turning the tray, which is not that easy on a counter. I can flip the dough on the pizza pan without messing up the round shape. Finally, leaving the silicone mat on the dough for the rising will prevent the dough from drying out.
Regarding the dough sticking to the mat, it is not all because of the dough's stickiness. It is unavoidable with any non-stick surface.
When you roll the dough on the mat, it creates a perfect contact between the two. When that happens, there will be 14 lbs/sq in of atmospheric pressure pushing the dough and the mat together. It is the suction cup situation. You can walk up a glass building wall wearing shoes with suction cups.
Here is a link that might be useful: It sucks
This post was edited by dcarch on Fri, Apr 4, 14 at 14:09
Ooooh! Physics! That explains why the cornmeal works so well underneath. It interrupts the suction cup perfect contact thing. :)
This wasn't a suction cup effect though, it was the stucker than stuck effect. HAHA! It was just plain old glued to it effect! :)
Oils well that end well?
"---Oils well that end well?--"
:-) Very slick (I don't mean the oil)!
"---It interrupts the suction cup perfect contact thing. :) ----"
That's the idea for the dimples (granton edged) on some knives and Kumagoro finish on Japanese knives.
Bellsmom suggested we check the KA sales ad which I did. While there I purchased their Sil-Pat and will advise how I like it.
Hmmm...I used one for the first time last night after oiling. DOn't know its brand, but it did fine for some cookies. But---why do you not roll or knead dough directly on your counters? I've been wiping it down with soap and hot water, then rinsing and work right there. They are granite, FWIW.
Clean-up is a lot easier with a mat, especially when it's a small project that isn't going to get the whole kitchen full of flour anyway.
Also, countertops are never kosher (when people talk about being able to kasher countertops, it's for Passover, which is a different issue, though one might, theoretically, be able to make a stainless steel counter kosher for a short time), so if one has a Jewish background, even if one doesn't keep kosher, there's a strong cultural bias against putting any food directly on the counter.
I'm sure other cultures have similar strictures. It's one of those things that we learn from our mothers just isn't done, even though plenty of people are doing it with great objective success.