So, you finally got fed up with all that wasteful parchment paper that ended up in the trash bin and bought a silicone baking mat. And why wouldn’t you? Silicone baking mats can be used up to 3,000 times before they need replacing. Go on, pat yourself on the back – the environment applauds you. Now, you just need to figure out how to use this nonstick marvel.
Indeed, you’re already halfway there – you’ve found the definitive guide on how to use silicone baking mats, including when to use them, and when it’s better to use an alternative method in place of silicone in your baking endeavors.
What Is a Silicone Baking Mat Used For?
Whether you’re using a 100% silicone baking mat or a fiberglass-lined product like Silpat, you may be wondering what is the purpose of silicone baking mats. Silicone baking mats can be utilized for a whole host of tasks, be it everything from baking cookies to lining a cake pan, or even dinner uses such as cooking fish and vegetables. Why is silicone a great choice in these situations? Read on to learn more!
Why Use A Silicone Baking Mat?
There are several advantages to using a silicone baking mat. Here’s a quick overview:
Even high-quality parchment paper can’t be used more than once or twice. However, silicone baking mats can be used between 2,000 to 3,000 times! Think of all the foil, parchment, and wax paper you’ve just saved from the landfill. Impressive.
Even Heat Distribution
Silicone baking mats help to distribute heat more evenly, resulting in an even baking surface. That old, dark baking sheet that always burns your cookies – you don’t have to toss it out! Just like with a silicone baking mat and you’ll soon be trading in scorched bottoms for nice, evenly browned ones.
According to Bon Appetit, silicone might be the most nonstick surface on earth, if not the universe. Even the stickiest items are no match for silicone – be it toffee or melted sugar, these items will pop right off with ease.
Additionally, there’ll be no greasing or spraying necessary, so you can feel good about decreasing those unnecessary fats and oils in your diet.
How To Bake with Silicone Mats
You’ll soon find that baking with silicone mats is simple and easy! Just follow these basic steps to get started.
Step 1: Unwrap and Clean
If you haven’t already, unwrap your shiny, new silicone baking mat. Try to take note of the max temperature limits on the packaging (they usually range from 420°F to 480°F). As with any new product, be sure to give your mat a good wash before first use – handwashing with warm water and gentle dish soap should do just fine. Allow to dry.
Step 2: Choose the Right Size
Choose the mat that best fits your baking sheet – the silicone mat should fit entirely within the sheet with no edges hanging off. Additionally, never place a silicone mat directly on an oven rack – they should only be used in the oven with a baking sheet or pan.
Not sure which way up your mat should go? Place the mat with the writing side facing up.
Step 3: Add Your Batter or Dough
Now is the fun part! No greasing is necessary, as silicone is nonstick enough on its own, just place your dough or batter directly on the silicone.
Tip: As silicone mats allow for more spreading, leave more room between baked goods (about an extra ¼ inch more on each side than normally). This prevents the possibility of baked goods touching as they spread and bake.
Step 4: Bake as Usual
Place the baking sheet or pan in the oven on the center rack (this will allow the air to circulate evenly around your items leading to even baking) and follow the baking instructions as usual. Once finished, pull out and allow to cool a few minutes before transferring your freshly baked goods to a cooling rack.
Other Uses For Silicone Baking Mats
What is the purpose of a silicone baking mat? You didn’t just think that silicone baking mats were for cookies did you? There are a variety of other uses for these nonstick surfaces in the kitchen!
- Work Surface: Ever wonder what surface you should actually be kneading dough on? A silicone baking mat is an optimal choice. You can also use these as the work base for mats for any messy kitchen activities, like drizzling glazes or dipping strawberries.
- Rolling Out Dough: You can easily make use of your silicone baking mat when rolling out cookie dough. You can even use your cookie cutters directly on the mat, provided they’re not too sharp (you don’t want to puncture your mat).
- Delicate Decorations: Ever wanted to try making piped chocolate decorations? Your silicone baking mat can help with that. Just pipe your decoration onto the mat and pop into the fridge or freezer for 10 minutes. They’ll peel right off!
- Candy-Making, Fondant, and More: Silicone mats are great for difficult, sticky items, and won’t peel up like parchment paper. Use silicone mats for hard candies, marshmallows and toffee. There are even patterned silicone mats for cake fondant.
How To Clean Silicone Mats
Gentle cleaning agents are best for silicone baking mats. Many mats are dishwasher safe, however, it is advised to use a dishwasher detergent that is devoid of bleach and other harsh chemicals. Bleach can be corrosive and cause the silicone to wear down more quickly.
To preserve the life of your mats as long as possible, it is advised to handwash with warm water and gentle soap after every use – this will help you to avoid baked-on grease. The discoloration is normal after several uses, so don’t scrub too hard as abrasive sponges can damage silicone.
When Not to Use Silicone Mats
Silicone mats are essential for delicate baked items like tuiles, florentines, and macaroons, but if you’re looking for browning or reducing spread, parchment paper may be needed. While silicone mats provide even spreading which is preferable in certain situations, if your ideal cookie possesses a more risen, puffy center, silicone is not your best match. Try a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper instead.
And whenever broiling or cooking at temperatures higher than the manufacturer’s listed heat limits, you should never use a silicone baking mat. Stick to metal or use aluminum foil as a substitute.
Tips For Baking with Silicone Mats:
- Always adhere to the silicone baking mat’s max temperature as listed by the manufacturer (which often ranges from 420°F to 480°F) and never use silicone mats under the broiler.
- Place dough slightly farther apart than you would on parchment paper. Cookies baked on silicone mats were found to be about ¼ inch wider than those cooked on parchment. To account for this, be sure to add an extra ¼ inch on either side in addition to your normal spacing.
- Clean after every use! Believe us, cleaning silicone is quick and easy, and doing so after each use ensures no baked-on residue.
Congratulations, you’re now wholly informed about silicone baking mats. We’ve covered all the bases – you know the best reasons to choose silicone, whether it be for environmental motives, ease of cleanup, or the fact that you’re just tired of burnt cookie bottoms, and when not to use them.
Silicone baking mats are touted by experts for their reusability, nonstick properties, and even heat distribution. They can be used for everything from kitchen prep to baking and crafting delicate decorations.
Now that you’re an expert, you’ll soon be perfecting how to wield silicone mats for all matters of cookie-baking. So get going – those macarons aren’t going to bake themselves.