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Silicon Bakeware

Posted by gardenlad (My Page) on
Mon, Jun 19, 06 at 7:49

Has anyone used that new silicon bakeware (or whatever it's made of---some sort of flexible plastic)? If so, can I have a run-down, including the pros and cons.

Did you like it? Why or why not? How does it work compared to comparable metal or glass products? Does it clean up nicely? Etc. Etc.

I'm thinking of getting some, but wanted some first-hand reports first, if possible.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Silicon Bakeware

I've tried silicon bakeware (baking pans) a couple of times.

I HATE it.

Inevitably, part of whatever I was cooking came out burned, and part came out raw. There was absolutely no middle ground.

I pitched it.


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RE: Silicon Bakeware

I tossed the couple of pieces I got as gifts. Useless. Like Kframe, I hated it.


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RE: Silicon Bakeware

Thanks, guys. That's what I wanted to know.


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RE: Silicon Bakeware

I just got a few pieces for Christmas. I like mine. I get sick of having all the glass and metal bakeware. I haven't had any issues with cooking issues. My cakes have turned out fine. It's also nice, because I don't have to spray or grease before baking. Nothing sticks.

The only thing I will "complain" about is, that they are flexible. You have to put everything on a pan to move it around. But otherwise...it's great.


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RE: Silicon Bakeware

Stick with the tried and true. I love my plain ol' aluminum (NOT nonstick) cookie sheets and muffin, loaf, and rectangular pans.

In my opinion, the silicon I've tried was a royal PITA.


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RE: Silicon Bakeware

I have some silicone muffin pans (both mini muffin and regular in sunflower design). It is true that you must fill them on the cookie sheet. I am not sure if you get quite as good a "crisp" on the crust but they have one bonus: they clean up by just throwing them in the dishwasher. My metal muffin pans have to be scrubbed out before loading because otherwise they don't come completely clean in the dishwasher. This is a big plus for me. I wouldn't recommend them except for the easy cleanup. I wouldn't use one for cakes.


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RE: Silicon Bakeware

I was going to start a thread on this myself, but I did a search and found this one. When I first moved in, I bought a "set" when I was trying to stock my kitchen. I had always been curious about it. It had a muffin pan, 2 round cake pans, a flexible flat piece for lining the cookie sheets with, and a loaf pan. Well, they are all just terrible. The muffin pan has something burned on the edge and I can't get if off for the life of me. I tried to scrub it, took part of the rubber off, but the stain is still there. The loaf pan is too wide, and makes terribly flat meatloaf and banana bread. The round cake "pans" have cracked every cake I've ever tried in them during the flipping process. Everything burns. I have to reduce time and temp to even get an acceptable result. I use the flexible baking sheet to measure on so I can funnel the excess flour or sugar back into the canister or bag. I just bought some Pyrex, and will be going back to get some metal stuff soon. This modern junk is going straight for the dumpster. What terrible crap... the person who invented obviously never spent a second in the kitchen! Of course I shan't even consider the tube/bundt pan... I will find the oldest metal one I can and keep in until the day I die.


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RE: Silicon Bakeware

Put me down for 'hate them'.

You aren't supposed to grease or spray them--but the muffin pans (expensive brand) I have stick worse than ANY metal or glass pan I've ever used.

And of course you aren't supposed to use anything sharp (knife) in them, so there's no way to get the stuck muffins out.

You can't pick them up when they're filled--they're way to flimsy--but according to the directions, you aren't supposed to put them on a baking sheet when baking.

No crisp crust.

Worst problem of all (and I've heard others who are sensitive and complained about this) they impart the smell and taste of silicone to the food--muffins have that horrible taste you get when you lick a rubber scraper. Not everyone is bothered by this, but many like me are.


Have to add--I did find one great use for my silicone muffin cups, though. I use them to make microwaved mini-cheesecakes. 4-5 minutes is all it takes to nuke a perfect mini-cheesecake.


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RE: Silicon Bakeware

Okay, I don't want everyone throwing silicone at me but I love this stuff! Before the bakeware flies I must say there was a learning curve in this kitchen.

I decided to give silicone a whirl after hearing a friend who is a professional pastry chef say she uses nothing else for her fabulous cakes.

I purchased a number of different shapes from different manufacturers and the first thing I noticed was that some are rated to higher temperatures than others. I had mixed results when I started using the pans, then I noticed a pattern. Stuff cooked a bit faster than with traditional pans. Food released easier "sooner" rather than "later." Silicone pans hate to be greased & love to release. Millions of these things fit in one drawer with virtually no weight. There is no noise or breakage washing up or putting away. If I'm worried about a notoriously fussy recipe, I can still use parchment paper to relax while waiting for the moment of truth. I can literally flip a silicon pan inside out and rinse every corner perfectly clean.

And fun colors!

This week I baked the King's Pound Cake (as in Elvis!) and meatloaf in silicone loaf pans & both were perfect. (No, Elvis was nowhere in sight.) It's true you can't cut or pry with metal but then I don't touch any pan I own with metal (only silicone & wood/bamboo utensils live in my kitchen).

I suspect that, as with other materials, some designs/manufacturers may be better than others. Supposedly there is no taste transfer with silicone -- and none has been detected here. I was originally suspicious of this -- I avoid plastics. I wonder if taste issues might be related to certain brands(formulas) or overheating or dishwasher use. While I notice some labels say "dishwasher safe" I handwash as I do all my pans and all plastic. I wonder if issues involving taste or staining might be related to a breakdown of the material -- for example, an inadvertent overheating.

My biggest concern now is that someone will do a study & announce health issues. I wouldn't use silicone for every recipe, but it's my first pick for cake-type things. Until someone proves silicone lowers my metabolism or weakens my sense of humor, I'll continue to use it happily.

One of my favorite kitchen items is this silicone warmer/steamer:
http://silicone-zone-usa.pans.com/products/silicone-zone-usa-warmersteamerorange-32395.html
I use it in the microwave to warm tortillas & steam vegies. Thumbs way up on this item!!!

gardenlad, if you decide to purchase some silicone for your own kitchen tests, I have 2 tips: Get the higher temperature models. Check out deals with the usual suspects like TJMaxx or Amazon, esp since you're just testing the waters.

Here is a link that might be useful: madeleine pan extolling virtues of silicone.....


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RE: Silicon Bakeware

I don't bake a lot, but so far I'm very happy with the silicone muffin pan and mini-bundt pan I've used. The instructions said to spray them, and I did, with "Baker's Joy." Absolutely no sticking --- wonderful!

Iread an article (can't remember where) that said there are differences in the quality of the material used. Some manufacturers use more "fillers," and these silicones are mor likely to crack or fail early. According to the article, you can tell which silicones use these fillers by folding a flat area and twisting it a bit. If the fold shows white, that indicates undesirable filler levels; pure silicone is evenly colored all the way through. I pass that on for whatever it's worth.

---Margaret


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RE: Silicon Bakeware

Margaret, great tip! I'll check out my collection this afternoon. If folding and twisting tells the tale that's an easy thing to do when I discover "new" brands at my local discount outlet. Won't help much online but maybe folks could post findings here.

Did the article mention anything about temperatures at which the material deteriorates? This is what worries me though so far everything I've done in silicone has been in the 300s.


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RE: NY Times Article on Silicon Bakeware

Here's a copy of the article, from the New York Times. (Since I had the option of e-mailing the article to anyone, I don't think I'm violating any copyright laws---hope not, anyway!)

---Margaret

January 10, 2007
Hot Stuff
By MARIAN BURROS

SILICONE kitchen tools have been lending a playful, psychedelic air to kitchens across the country, especially those where stark, sophisticated stainless steel had been the coin of the realm. The new tools appear in colors from electric green and royal purple to sweetheart pink and terra cotta and come in every shape imaginable.

Until about a decade ago, Americans knew silicone, a synthetic rubber, mainly from Silly Putty and, more controversially, from breast implants. But in recent years cooks have been deluged with silicone spatulas, cake pans, muffin tins, potholders, colanders and ties.

Clearly, the designers are having a ball. And so are the manufacturers and retailers of housewares. According to HomeWorld Business, a magazine that serves the housewares industry, silicone products make up about 7 percent of the bakeware business. Sales of silicone bakeware for 2006 are expected to exceed 2.7 million units, up from 365,000 units in 2001, according to the magazine.

What's less clear is whether these products are as revolutionary in their use as they are in their appearance.

After four days in the kitchen -- ovens blasting, water boiling, microwave beeping -- I have clear ideas about which pieces of silicone belong in my kitchen and which do not, even if I were starting from scratch. There were plenty of disappointments, but a lot of treats.

Let's immediately dispense with a common myth about silicone baking pans, and a reason many people say they buy them: that they are nonstick and do not require greasing.

Those who once believed this can tell you about partial layers of cake left behind and about muffin tops in hand and muffin bottoms left in the cup. Stick resistant is a better description.

Michael Karyo, owner of SiliconeZone, which makes silicone cookware, agreed. ''If any silicone manufacturer says you never have to grease a pan, no matter, they are not telling you the truth,'' he said.

Despite many magical qualities, silicone is not Teflon. (In light of some questions about Teflon's safety, this can be seen as a plus.) It is also not all things to all people: like glass and aluminum, stainless steel and cast iron, it is the best choice for some tasks in the kitchen and not for others. Used as a potholder or as a baking surface for cookies, it has no equal. Used to peel garlic or to squeeze lemons, it is unclear why anyone would bother.

The universally appealing qualities of silicone are its heat resistance; its flexibility, which allows you to fold it, flatten it and squish it into a drawer; its ease of washing; and its ability to go from oven or microwave to refrigerator, freezer, dishwasher (in most cases) and sometimes even to the dinner table, cutting down on the number and kinds of containers you need.

It is also, in its own way, environmentally friendly. The assorted lids, some of which quite conveniently form a vacuum when pressed down on a pot or a bowl, can be used again and again, saving on plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Silicone baking mats, sold by SiliconeZone and under the brand name Silpat, have slicker surfaces than silicone bakeware and are unbeatable at keeping pastries from sticking. The sheets eliminate the need for parchment paper.

While Silpat cannot be cut into smaller pieces, the baking mats made by SiliconeZone can, making them perfect for fitting into pan bottoms. Silicone ties can be used in place of string to tie rolled meats like boneless leg of lamb and to truss birds.

The better silicone products cost more than the glass or metal ones they replace. Some of them are worth it. But beware: not all silicone is created equal. To reduce costs, some manufacturers add fillers to the product. Luckily there is a simple way to tell: pinch and twist a flat surface on the item. If white shows through, the product contains filler. Pure silicone does not change color when twisted.

Kate Humphrey, owner of the Art of Cooking, a cookware store in Greenwich Village, does not carry any silicone products with fillers because, she said, ''they compromise heat, stability and performance.'' In other words, they are not uniformly heat resistant.

Mr. Karyo, whose products are 100 percent silicone, says some filler products ''get crackly looking, start buckling and shrinking, dry out and lose their elasticity.'' The pans with filler may even produce an odor that permeates food baked in them. SiliconeZone products have a lifetime guarantee, but will they last as long as the pots my mother had since her wedding day and handed down to me? Silicone has not been used in the kitchen long enough to know the answer.

The pieces that appeal to me most have to do with managing hot pots. The potholders that double as trivets; the ''heat holder,'' with the little finger and thumb mitt from Dexas; and the long-gloved Orka mitt, for taking corn and lobster out of boiling water, are ensconced in my kitchen. My old cloth potholders are slowly disappearing. The handle holders from Lamson & Goodnow, which have been slipped on to my Le Creuset saut pan and to my Lodge frying pan, will never be removed.

Sauting while using a Tovolo splatter screen, knowing there will be no specks of grease to wipe from the stove top afterward, is sheer heaven.

After two tries I learned to love the PoachPods from Lamson & Goodnow, ovoid shapes that poach an egg to perfection, as long as you grease the cup and run a knife not only around the sides of the egg but also along the bottom.

And for all but delicate cakes, silicone brushes work well, are easy to clean and do not burn.

The disappointments were mostly bakeware products, though some of the muffin tins, cupcake molds and specialty molds held up nicely. Loaf pans, cake tins, brownie pans and Bundt pans gave me the most trouble. Even SiliconeZone's New Wave pans, constructed of thicker material than most silicone bakeware, which is usually so floppy it has to be placed on a cookie sheet, are not something I would invest in.

The sweet bread baked in the loaf pan never browned properly. A corner of one of the cake layers stuck in the greased pan. And when I took the brownies out of the oven, I lifted one side of the New Wave pan, resulting in a big crack in the brownies. Even these heavier pans should be placed on cookie sheets.

I take full responsibility for what happened to the angel cake I baked in a Bundt pan: I forgot to turn down the temperature of the oven and the cake burned, leaving dark black remnants that did not wash away. Instructions from SiliconeZone to boil the pan in equal parts white vinegar and water were marginally successful.

One kind of liner I tried for the bottom of cake pans was very trying. Silicone picks up a lot of static electricity, which not only makes it collect dust, but sometimes makes it difficult to arrange in the bottom of a cake pan. Once it touches the metal, it clings. There is a much thicker liner that does not cling, but it contains filler, so it will not stay in my kitchen.

The vertical roaster, on which to stand a chicken, failed its test immediately, tipping over as it was placed in the oven. My old metal roaster remained upright.

I spent 30 minutes trying to thicken an egg, sugar and lemon mixture in the silicone double boiler top that fits on a pan. Then I remembered that it is heat resistant, and I removed the mixture to a metal bowl. The egg mixture thickened in less than 60 seconds. Silicone is fine for melting chocolate, however.

I gave the spring-form, with a ceramic bottom, a second chance after cheesecake batter leaked out on the first try. The second time it worked perfectly, but baking temperatures and times had to be adjusted downward.

One question nagged at me as I put these tools through their paces: Is this stuff safe? Unfortunately, there is not as much research as I had hoped. Dr. Mitchell Cheeseman, associate director of the office of food additive safety at the Food and Drug Administration, said silicone is ''regulated to the same safety standards as food additives like aspartame, monosodium glutamate.''

He added: ''The F.D.A. ensures safety of the end product by ensuring the safety of the materials that produce it. The agency has a substantial database on silicone compounds. The industry has to submit data that is relevant. But there is nothing that requires verification of compliance because companies are not required to come back to us.''

No problems have been reported in this country and nonbaking products are the least likely to cause trouble.

Even silicone's most ardent fans do not think it will put metal and glassware out of business. But I confess that I have fallen head over heels for the splatter screen, the potholders and the baking mats.

Yes to Potholders, No to Floppy Pans

Here are silicone products I found to be good or bad, useful or not so useful, in tests over four days. These items contain no fillers and are available online and at kitchenware shops, including the Art of Cooking, Broadway Panhandler, Sur La Table and Zabar's. Prices are approximate and may vary.

RECOMMENDED

SiliconeZone baking mats: indispensable. Three sizes, from 9 by 12 inches to 16.5 by 24.4 inches. Can be cut to fit; $14 to $24.

SiliconeZone colander: collapses for storage, free-standing; $25.

Dexas colander: sturdy, with collapsible metal legs; $24.

SiliconeZone cupcake pans: wonderful for cupcakes and popovers; six for $16.

Lamson & Goodnow PoachPod egg poacher: makes perfect eggs; two for $10.

HotSpot handle holders: indispensable for metal-handled pots; $6.50.

SiliconeZone ice tray: frozen cylinders fit water bottles; 2 for $10.

Kuhn Rikon Magic Cover lids and covers: 8- to 12.5-inch-diameter lids with light vacuum seal; $12 to $20.

SiliconeZone lids and covers: 6- to 13-inch-diameter lids and 9-by-13-inch rectangles for lasagna pan; all with light vacuum seal; $7 to $25.

SiliconeZone New Wave muffin pan: six to a pan; $18.

Pastry brushes (many makers): won't burn or melt, easy to clean but do not work well on delicate cakes; $5 to $12.

Dexas potholder: easy-to-use mitt protects fingers; $10.

iSi Orka potholder: mitt for putting hand in boiling water; $15 to $30.

Sil-Pin rolling pin: makes flouring unnecessary; $24 to $40.

Tovolo splatter screen: keeps stove clean during frying; $17.

Spatulas (many makers): useful for nonstick and enamel-lined pans; $7 to $10.

Spoons (many makers): like the spatulas, won't scratch nonstick and enamel surfaces; $8 to $12.

Trivets (many makers): double as not very effective potholders; $4 to $8.

SiliconeZone warmer/steamer: excellent way to microwave vegetables or to keep tortillas warm; $25.

Cuisipro twisted silicone-coated whisk: nice if you need one; $16.

MIXED FEELINGS

Tovolo collapsible cover: may be helpful for steaming; $17.

Lekue double boiler insert or mold: good for melting sauces but not for thickening them; $17.

SiliconeZone funnel: stores easily; $10.

Lekue spring-form cake pan: ceramic bottom goes easily to table; some adjustment of time or temperature may be needed; $25 to $35.

SiliconeZone Silly Twists: for tying roasts, closing bags; 6 for $14.

NOT RECOMMENDED

Cake pans, loaf pans (many makers): do not perform as well as metal pans; floppy.

SiliconeZone cutting board set: easily scratched by knife.

SiliconeZone garlic peeler: impractical.

SiliconeZone lemon squeezer: impractical.

Measuring cups (many makers): harder to use than metal or glass.

Pan liners without filler (many makers): too sticky.

Sili Gourmet vertical roaster: tips over in oven. MARIAN BURROS


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RE: Silicon Bakeware

I purchased the heart shape silicone muffin pans from Target to bake muffins with my six-year-old nephew as a way to introduce him to baking. When the silicones are heated they give off a lot of heat which caused the fire alarms to go off several times that I had to call the fire department. I've baked many times before using regular baking pan and never had a problem with the alarms. I will definitely stick with my metal baking pans.

---Jade


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RE: Silicon Bakeware

i too am not much of a fan but i base my experience on silpat pan liners. paid enough for them and the first time i baked all i could taste was plastic/chemical. tried them a second time with a different recipe and i can taste whatever it is. therefore, i would never consider using them.

maryanne


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RE: Silicon Bakeware

Can anyone help with the baking time adjustment? I bought both the Target heart-shaped pan, and a flower-shaped cake pan. Cake recipe directions called for 35-40 minutes, and after an hour and a half at recommended temperature (350), I finally got a semi-done cake.


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