Food | Spices | Tools | Techniques | Links | Home

Pan Liners and Baking Mats 

Liners for baking pans have been around for a long time.  Is there a kitchen in the country that doesn’t have a box of Cut-Rite Wax Paper?  The stuff has been on the market for 75 years. It works as long as it is not exposed directly to heat. Aluminum foil came on the market in 1947.  Still widely used as a cover, it has also morphed into throwaway pans and containers used by home cooks and caterers.  There are some new products used in commercial kitchens and pastry labs, that have found their way into home kitchens as replacements for wax paper and aluminum foil and as advancements in food preparation. 

The first of these is parchment paper, a non-stick, heavy tissue-like paper that is coated—usually with silicone—to withstand direct heat (goodbye wax paper).  This stuff comes in rolls and in sheets precut to fit standard commercial sheet pans and half-sheet pans.  It is used for pastry, to roll dough on, to line pie pans, cake pans and sticky bun pans where it greatly facilitates removal of product and pan clean up.  In the savory kitchen, parchment paper is used to prevent the build-up of grease and charred encrustations on sheet pans when used to roast veggies, bake cakes, focaccia and the like. Chef Laura Bell insisted that we line sheet pans with parchment paper whenever possible to simplify cleanup.  Parchment paper is also used to reduce the work area of braising liquids.  While glazing carrots, for example, simply cut a circle of parchment paper to fit the inside of the pot.  Butter, stock and carrots are then brought to simmer and the parchment paper is pushed down directly on top of the carrots.  In effect, making a small covered pot out of a big covered pot.  It is also essential for en papillote recipes, where veggies and/or fish are baked in paper. For all, parchment paper is useful and cheap.  A roll costs about $2.75.  I can’t do without it. It’s available in all kitchen supply stores.

Baking mats are of two types.  Silicone coated and Teflon coated. By far the most widely used are the silicone coated mats, which come in many sizes and are priced from between $25 and $40 depending on size.  Nothing sticks to these mats.  They are made of woven fiberglass coated with silicone or laminated rubberized silicone.  There are many manufacturers of these type mats, Exopat and Fiberlux, to name two. They can withstand temperatures from  –40F to 580F and can be used thousands of times as baking mats, freezing mats, or non-stick surfaces to work bread and pastry doughs.  Since they are rather heavy, about the thickness of eight sheets of paper, these mats lay flat and can be worked upon without them moving about or buckling.  Indeed, cookies and other firm dough products can be baked directly on these mats with only an oven rack supporting them.  It should be noted that at least one manufacturer (Matfer/Exopat) advises against cutting them due to their fibrous construction.  The same material has been used to create molds for pastries and baked goods.  Just pour in the dough, bake, and flex-pop the product out of the “Elastomold.”  Neato!

Super Parchment is another baking mat.  Specifically, it’s a “Teflon-coated bakeware liner” only about as thick as a single sheet of paper—more like parchment paper than the heavier silicone mats—hence the name.  They are light, durable and cheap, about $6.00 each.  Also, they can be cut and trimmed to fit any cookie sheet or pie pan.  While not suitable as a work surface, I much prefer their flexibility and ease in handling as sheet pan liners for baking cookies where I keep four pans going, each with a Super Parchment liner. They appear no worse for wear, after about three years of use.   If you bake a lot at home, Super Parchment is super. 

Baking Mats are available in most kitchen supply stores.  For other sources on the Internet, just search for “baking mats” or “super parchment” at



Copyright (C) 2004 All rights reserved.
Website by GRAPHiNEX