If you love making delicious baked goods at home, you’ve probably wondered, “What is the best material for baking sheets?” Even if you’ve only baked a few times, you’ve already noticed that the type of baking sheets that you use will determine if your recipe is a success or not. Depending on the material used, you can get anything from perfectly baked pastries, cookies, and bread, to burnt or undercooked items.
Why It’s Important Knowing What Is the Best Material for Baking Sheets?
Some poorly-made baking sheets can even impart an unpleasant metallic taste to your food! What’s more, getting the most expensive baking sheets won’t even guarantee that you’ll get the best results with your baking.
Have you ever noticed that there are recipes that call for a certain type of baking sheet to be used? When you read the recipe, you might see that a certain recipe calls for a specific material for your bakeware such as aluminum, insulated, or black steel. In some cases, however, you’ll also notice that the recipe doesn’t call for any specific type of bakeware. So, how do you choose which is the best material for baking sheets?
Baking Sheets vs. Cookie Sheets
First, let’s define baking sheets versus cookie sheets. Many people tend to use the two terms interchangeably, however, baking sheets are different from cookie sheets. Baking sheets generally have four raised edges while cookie sheets have only one raised edge. This design in cookie sheets allows you to hold the sheet while easily sliding off the cookies when they are done baking. Furthermore, cookie sheets cannot be used for baking or roasting other food items such as meat or vegetables. Now, furthermore to what is the best material for baking sheets.
Common Types of Baking Sheets
Here are some of the common types of baking sheets as well as how they perform when they are used for baking. By knowing these types, we’ll get to answer the question, “What is the best material for baking sheets?”
Basic Aluminum Baking Sheets
Single layer aluminum baking sheets are the most basic type of bakeware and they are cheap, easy to clean, and durable. If you are just starting out with your baking, they are great to use because they heat up quickly and evenly. However, the aluminum surface tends to react with acidic foods, causing a metallic taste. They can also cause delicate food items such as white fish to discolor.
If you are using a basic aluminum sheet, line it with a piece of parchment paper to protect your food while it is baking.
Double-Thick Aluminum Baking Sheets
If you’re looking to level up your baking game without breaking the bank, double-thick aluminum baking sheets are the way to go. They are made with a double layer of aluminum, making them more durable while still being affordable.
Many double-thick aluminum baking sheets have rolled edges so that they are easier to handle coming out of an oven and they can catch drippings from your food better.
French Black Steel Baking Sheets
For those who love working with delicate and specialized baked goods such as puff pastry and palmiers, French Black steel baking sheets will give you the best result. They conduct heat more quickly and evenly compared to aluminum, allowing you to reduce your baking time to produce delicate baked items without browning them too much.
French Black steel baking sheets require special care and maintenance. They must be seasoned regularly with kosher salt (similar to cast-iron pans) and they must be kept dry when not in use to prevent rusting.
Insulated Baking Sheets
If you love making light-colored baked goods such as shortbread and spritz cookies, insulated baking sheets are the best bakeware to use. The design of the baking sheet allows the top and bottom of the baked goods to brown evenly.
When using insulated baking sheets, you need to remember that they conduct heat more slowly compared to aluminum baking sheets, which means that you might need to adjust your baking time.
Introducing the New Kid on the Block: The Silicone Baking Sheet
Silicone baking sheets are relatively new compared to other types of baking sheets, but they are quickly gaining in popularity because of several reasons.
First, silicone is naturally a non-stick surface which means that you won’t need to use oil or butter when baking. Second, clean up is much easier compared to other types of baking sheets because silicone dose not scratch and can be used in dishwashers. Third, this material is oven-safe, microwave-safe, and freezer-safe, which means that you can cook and store your baked goods in one container. Finally, silicone is flexible making this type of bakeware easy to store.
The only drawback to silicone is that the material does not conduct heat as well as aluminum or black steel. This means that silicone baking sheets are best used for light-colored baked goods such as muffins or chiffon cake.
Does the Color of My Baking Sheet Matter?
Another thing that you might have noticed is that baking sheets come in either light or dark colors. Dark baking sheets absorb heat which means that the baked goods will cook and brown faster. If the recipe that you are using does not specify the color of your baking sheet, you generally need to reduce the cooking time by around 25% if you are using dark-colored baking sheets.
Dark baking sheets are best used for baked goods that you want to crisp up such as pies or brownies. On the other hand, light baking sheets are better for food items that you want to brown evenly from top to bottom such as cookies or cakes.
So, what is the best material for baking sheets? It will depend on what you are baking! If you are making delicate baked items such as palmiers or lady fingers, French black steel baking sheets are the best material.
However, if you are making chocolate chip cookies or croissants, double-thick aluminum baking sheets will give you the best heat conduction and distribution. You should also keep the color of the baking sheet in mind if the recipe does not specify the type of bakeware that you should use. Get more tips on baking sheets.