Recently, I blogged about the bakeware pans you should have in your kitchen. Now I’d like to offer some advice about what to look for when purchasing bakeware.
Aluminum is a great heat conductor and provides even heat distribution for a good bake-out and a light, golden brown cake surface. A cake baked in an aluminum pan bakes uniformly and the crumbs are kept to a minimum. You’ll have fewer crumbs to deal with when you’re icing a cake.
Look for a pan that is sturdy enough so you don’t get warping. Try twisting a cookie sheet prior to purchasing it to make sure it’s a strong enough thickness and constructed well so it won’t bend.
I prefer bakeware that has handles so you don’t have to worry about your pot holder pushing down the cake or smashing a cookie when you’re taking the pan out of the oven. Handles also make it easier to adjust the pan once it is in the oven.
For those who don’t bake as often as I do, it’s nice to have the pan size stamped into the handle so you know if you’re grabbing an 8″ or a 9″ size pan. Even I sometimes get confused.
For a cast aluminum or tube pan, make sure the detail is at the portion where the batter will bake into it. If the detail of the pan is at the open end, your cake may not raise enough to catch the detail.
There is always the debate of aluminum or non-stick coated pans. I actually use both. I don’t use my basic aluminum pans for anything savory, especially any dish that is acidic. Acidic food may discolor aluminum pans.
If you’re not much of a baker yet, it’s a nice extra to have a kitchen tested recipe. Photos on the front of a pan show you what the recipe looks like and that could become your “signature” dish if you’re just starting out.
If a company is willing to provide a warranty then you know they stand behind their pans and you can trust the quality.
Bakeware should be considered a long term investment. Good, quality bakeware pays dividends in happy faces and satisfied stomachs.