Learn About Baking Sheets
Every kitchen has to have them. Every baker needs them and needs to have them of the highest quality. We are talking about baking sheets. They may seem boring and you may not have paid attention to them but they are key pieces in any kitchen. Good baking sheets are like good everyday shoes. You want them to be useful and to last a long time.
All About Baking Sheets
What should you be looking for in baking sheets? That depends on what you are going to do with them. Baking sheets for cookies and other desserts should be kept separate from sheets used for roasting meats or other heavy, greasy cooking. We are looking at sheets just for baking and what you should be aware of when you are buying new cookie sheets..
Aluminum Versus Non-Stick
Your grandma used aluminum and steel baking sheets. They were sturdy, held heat nicely and generally lasted a long time. Then came the advent of non-stick surfaces (commonly called Teflon, although that is a brand name). These were usually made of a thin steel and coated with the non-stick surface, usually with a dark color. People loved the convenience of them, nothing stuck to the sheet and clean up was a breeze. They were usually a bit more expensive but the non-stick feature was a big seller.
This is an example of an aluminum baking sheet. Right now it is the #1 selling baking sheet at Amazon. It’s surface is shiny, it’s sturdy and is usually less expensive than a non-stick sheet. With proper care (wash with gentle soap and water, don’t over heat) these pans can last for years. You can find more info HERE.
These baking sheets are non-stick. Made from a very light weight steel these sheets are a bit more expensive than most aluminum sheets but are still moderately priced. Amazon usually sells these for around $17 (per set). You have the benefit of an easy clean surface but a lighter steel body can lead to warping in extreme circumstances. You can find more info HERE.
Other Types Of Baking Sheets
While a baking sheet is a fairly basic piece of cooking equipment there are a few variations that you might want to look at. One feature that is available on some sets of cookie sheets are silicone handle grips. Silicone is one of those all-purpose items in the kitchen. Spatulas are made made of silicone, beater blades on stand up mixers have silicone and some baking sheets have silicone grips. This set is a best seller at Amazon, more info can be found HERE.
I really like the silicone grips on my baking sheets, they add an extra layer of support (gripping) when you are removing hot sheets from the oven. Rachael Ray has a set of baking sheets that have silicone grips and they have been a top seller for Amazon.
Silicone Baking Mats
Another option involving silicone is baking sheet and silicone mat sets. If you haven’t tried silicone mats yet, you should. Even non-stick surfaces can get sticky but silicone mats avoid all stains and sticking. They wash off easily in warm, soapy water and last forever. Used with aluminum baking sheets they conduct heat well and clean up in a snap. Amazon has a great set from Wildone that has 2 cookie sheets and 2 silicone mats. Usually this set will be priced around $27 and is a good combination of sheet and mat. You can learn more HERE.
Yet another option with baking sheets is copper. Recently copper has become a key material in the making of kitchen pots, pans and sheets and many people are excited about how it conducts heat and it’s durability.
Copper baking sheets are not solid copper. They usually are carbon steel and coated with a copper non-stick coating. Usually this copper coating in silicone based and PFOS and PTFE free. The sheets are also dishwasher friendly, a real plus over traditional non-stick surfaces. Amazon has this set of two sheets and one pan for around $24 and the user reviews are quite positive. For more info on these copper baking sheets click HERE.
Other Baking Sheet Tips
Baking sheets and cookie sheets are the same things. As previously mentioned you want to keep your sheets separated by use: meats and other roasting recipes should be done on one set of baking sheets, cookies and other desserts on a different set. The choice between aluminum sheets and non-stick sheets is personal. Aluminum sheets last longer and usually cost less. Non-stick sheets are very easy to clean up but have a shorter shelf life. Some people have mentioned concerns about non-stick surfaces being unhealthy. There have been issues of fumes being released at high temperatures from some non-stick coatings but no testing has shown this to be a serious problem, it is mostly word of mouth.
Silicone mats have been proven to be great additions to your baking sheet collection. While they serve the same purpose as parchment paper, they are easy to clean and don’t create any waste. They will develop an oily build up after repeated uses but this can be removed easily with warm soapy water.
A good cooling rack is a must for your kitchen. Again, it is a boring basic piece of equipment but you need one. There is not much difference in the quality of cooling racks. Most are aluminum, wash easily and last forever.