How well does that new silicone bakeware work?
December 1, 2004 8:22 AM   Subscribe

CooksFilter: Has anyone tried that new silicone bakeware that's popping up everywhere? My mom found a good deal on it and is itching to give it to all the family bakers. I'm leery (bake-curious?) but don't see anything on Cooks Illustrated's site or anywhere else. Reviews, please!
posted by mimi to Shopping (18 answers total)
It's terribly convenient, and works pretty much as advertized. What you won't get, however, is a nicely browned crust exterior on anything.
posted by mkultra at 8:25 AM on December 1, 2004

My husband and I have a couple silpat baking mats and use them for cookies. They work quite well: my only minor nitpicks are the size (we bought what I think were the standard-sized mats, but they don't exactly fit our cookie sheets; there's either an edge that hangs over the sheet or some wasted space on the sheet--there are probably more size options by now, though) and the slightly greasy feel to them. Also, the first batch of cookies I made seems to have left a permanent, though faint, ring on the sheets. I'm not sure if that was operator error or just how the material breaks in.

My mom's getting my husband (who loves to bake) a silpat rolling pin for Christmas. I think it's fine for a gift or if you find a good deal, but probably not a kitchen item that you simply can't do without. We bought the sheets for cookies, which we make a lot of at Christmas, and don't really use them much otherwise. I'm sure the rolling pin will meet a similar fate--but will come in useful every now and then.
posted by handful of rain at 8:28 AM on December 1, 2004

My sister manages a high-end resort/hotel. I commented on these a bit ago and she mentioned that the chefs in her hotel used them. Desserts are what they do best, therefore, I assume the stuff works well.
posted by rotifer at 8:48 AM on December 1, 2004

They do get a greasy feel to them, don't they? But they work. Of course, people have been baking without silicone for only a few millennia.
posted by thirdparty at 8:50 AM on December 1, 2004

I have a loaf pan that I really like;I am not much of a baker so my needs are not that great, but for meat loaves and other non-bread uses it works well and clean up is a breeze; the same goes for my silicone potholders and pastry brushes.
posted by TedW at 8:53 AM on December 1, 2004

i haven't had problems with browning using the silpat mats. the pans are also wobbly, which i imagine means that the cake pans can make misshapen cakes. the madeleine pans don't quite give the definition to the ridges that metal pans do.

overall, i like them and never noticed any "greasy" feel.
posted by crush-onastick at 8:54 AM on December 1, 2004

Yeah, thirdparty, that's my feeling...we got them on a bit of a whim--and they definitely help when baking marathon batches of cookies--but they don't do anything that you can't accomplish with other methods (i.e. liberal buttering, using a chilled marble slab or rolling pin, etc). Which is why they mostly sit in our cupboard =)

I think they'd be a good gift especially for someone who's inclined towards kitchen gadgets. But if Aunt Jane's been baking bread for 30 years without a silpat loaf pan, she probably doesn't need one now.
posted by handful of rain at 8:59 AM on December 1, 2004

I've used square and Bundt cake silicone molds, and have not had anything come out misshapen - they have a shape that they "want" to be in, and will retain when full of batter. The silpat sheets are also awesome.

Never had greasy texture problems, either, though I find the texture odd enough even when they're new!
posted by whatzit at 9:01 AM on December 1, 2004

(Oh, and for giving it to long time bakers - my mother makes cakes and cookies all the time for photo shoots. These come out whenever she bakes, and have seen at least two years of heavy use now)
posted by whatzit at 9:02 AM on December 1, 2004

Cook's Illustrated did bundt pans in January 04 (if you have a CI login, you can just search for "bundt" in the equipment corner on their site) and tested a silicone one. They weren't crazy about the ont they tested, but for reasons other than complaints I've heard about the pans (usually being hard to clean). The extent of the review from their website:
SILICONE ZONE Bundtform Pan, $19.99
This pliable pan was hard to handle and produced cakes with flattened tops.
Not to further derail this from the bakeware in question, but I love my Silpat. I usually cook with it directly on a stone. The bottoms of breads baked on them brown nicely, but seem to take on a particular "shine" and texture (as opposed to using a stone and corn meal). It's not offending, but if you are self-conscious about it, taking it off the Silpat after a few minutes of cooking and letting it bake directly on the stone will mitigate it. They work well for kneading/shaping sticky doughs, too.
posted by milkrate at 9:11 AM on December 1, 2004

I've had limited experience using parchment paper and so far so good. I bake a lot of Xmas cookies and this year's batch will really put it to the test. I'm crossing my fingers. It wouldn't be appropriate for a gift but it's worth trying yourself as an alternative.
posted by TimeFactor at 9:55 AM on December 1, 2004

I'd just like to make the tangential point that those silicone spatulas you can now buy anywhere rock.
posted by LairBob at 10:03 AM on December 1, 2004

I'd just like to make the tangential point that those silicone spatulas you can now buy anywhere rock.
posted by LairBob at 10:03 AM PST on December 1

I came to do the same thing.
posted by callmejay at 10:28 AM on December 1, 2004

My wife has a bunch of the pans with all the ridges in the bottom (I can make toast OK) which she loves. They seem to perform as advertised for her.
posted by Mitheral at 11:19 AM on December 1, 2004

I've used two different silicone muffin molds. One was really, really terrific. Best muffin pan I've ever used, by a mile. I liked it more than my beloved cast iron. The other silicone muffin mold, a generic one from Target, is awful. It bakes acceptably, but has almost no nonstick properties, and I wind up with a lot of broken baked goods.

Unfortunately, I didn't get down the name of the terrific one, so I've been unable to get one for myself. It was grey, fairly thick, and slightly textured. That's all I remember. (In fact, I've been meaning to Ask about it).

I've never used a baking mat.
posted by majick at 11:32 AM on December 1, 2004

I got one of the cake molds and it destroyed two cakes, as they absolutely refused to come out. Not impressed.
posted by rushmc at 11:38 AM on December 1, 2004

I use silpats all the time - they're great.

handful of rain - they're sized for standard commercial "sheet pans".

Just a warning - DO NOT CUT A SILPAT. They have loose fiberglass mesh inside.

Third, I guess, on the silicone spatulas - I've been using them for years.

Also, a plug - my family runs a sculpture supply store - The Compleat Sculptor. They stock a number of silicone mold-making products that are food safe.

My brother Marc, who runs the store, says:

"Any platinum based silicones are considered to be, when mixed properly, non-toxic and can be used for creating technically food safe molds. Also, we carry easy pour, a thermo rubber, used by Jacques Torres for chocolate molds. There's a great book on silicone molds for confectionery."

He stressed that anyone interested in this should contact him directly at the store - call 1-800-9-SCULPT or email at to ensure that you get the proper guidance.
posted by Caviar at 3:12 PM on December 1, 2004

I've never used the molds, but the sheets are amazing for cookies. (I have the same rings on mine from the first batch - weird.) I did hear that only the tops of whatever you are baking in the mold get brown though.

I wish I had known not to cut the sheet ages ago. My mother got one large one back when they were pricey and rare and gave me half. Now I think I may go buy myself a new small one.
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:38 AM on December 2, 2004

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