Most households use parchment paper, also known as baking paper, as a non-stick, disposable surface. This may lead to large quantities of waste, as they are only able to be used once. Silicone baking mats, however, are reusable and are a more sustainable option. But how to clean silicone baking mat in the first place? Keep reading to find out.
What Are Silicone Baking Mats?
Silicone baking mats are baking surfaces that are non-stick and made from food-grade silicone. They come in various shapes and sizes to fit several types of baking dishes. The benefit of owning a silicone baking mat as opposed to parchment paper is that they can be reused. They’re also much better suited for baking foods that would be too hot for parchment paper to stand upright without support. If you do a lot of cooking with sugar, you’ll want to pick up a silicone baking mat.
These baking mats are also extremely useful when working with hot treats like toffee, as they do not need to be lined with foil. This is also beneficial when baking savory foods. Silicone baking mats are also easy to clean, particularly when compared to scrubbing a baking sheet coated in stubborn residue. It is advised, however, that you do not use a knife on the surface. Once the mat has been sliced or punctured, it becomes extremely difficult to clean, and the damage will worsen over time.
How To Care For A Silicone Baking Mat
The most effective way to clean a silicone mat is to wash it with a soft sponge or cloth with lukewarm, soapy water, then hand dry it with a clean cloth. Generally, the majority of silicone mats should not be used under a broiler, as they are designed to withstand temperatures of up to 450°F.
As previously mentioned, it is unwise to use sharp objects on a silicone mat, as the damage they cause is often permanent and progressive. When a silicone mat is used in the oven at high temperatures, its molecules expand and absorb fats, such as those commonly found in cookie dough. The mats also absorb odors sometimes and can develop a greasy film on top.
The simplest way to clean a silicone baking mat is to place it in the dishwasher. Simply roll the mat up and place it on the top shelf of your machine. Simple! If the first wash doesn’t clean it entirely, put it back in for another cycle. If your mat has not been cleaned regularly, you might have to wash it by hand, with warm, soapy water, and a grease-fighting dish soap. Alternatively, you could use baking powder.
Parchment vs. Silicone
The jury is still out on which baking aid outperforms the other, if at all. But why choose one and not the other?
Parchment paper is a disposable, non-stick surface in most households and bakeries. It is available for purchase at most grocery stores, and is relatively affordable, at around $10/rolll. The paper can also fit into just about any pan. Simply roll it out and trim it to size.
It isn’t the most environmentally friendly option, however, as it is made to be disposable. It can also become frustrating to get the rolled paper to lay level in a dish. Flat sheets are available, even in specific sizes, but the cost per sheet is often greater than the rolled product.
Parchment paper is great for baking goods that are dry and crispy on the edges. It absorbs extra fat in baked foods and leaves a perfect outer crust almost every time.
Silicone baking mats are reusable, a bonus for consumers aiming at reducing their environmental footprint. Due to their non-stick qualities, they do not need to be greased or prepped in other ways before use. Hardened candies and other foods can easily be wiped off.
The mats are a little bit tacky, meaning that they’ll stay in place in a baking tray when placed. They are pricier than parchment paper, as they come in various sizes. Depending on the size and brand of the mat, they can be bought for around $20 to $30 each.
Storing A Silicone Baking Mat
Silicone mats don’t seem that difficult to store at first glance. They’re flexible and almost weightless, meaning they should be able to be stored anywhere. However, when rolled up, they tend to flop back open. An easy way to prevent this is to tie the rolled mat with some string or rubber bands or to place it into an empty toilet paper roll. Just make sure the mat is dry before doing this, or your roll will fall apart!
In essence, silicone baking mats can become a staple in the everyday household but might pose a problem to those looking to bake in bulk. They’re easy to clean, and almost just as easy to store, making them just about perfect for any household kitchen.