As time has passed, a lot of people have taken an interest in baking, and quite honestly, it would be a lonely world without bread, pastries, and overall, baking. Along with the baking process are the baking materials. For starters, it would be essential to learn about “What is a baking pan?”
Everything About Baking Pans
The term “baking pan” is very broad. There are various types of baking pans for different types of food. Although baking is usually stereotyped and often thought of as something limited to bread and pastries, there is still a lot to know about baking and its materials.
Baking pans are not solely categorized as “just baking pans.” If you delve deeper into anything, you’ll discover its different colors and identities. There are pans that are solely used for baking, and some are also suitable for serving.
A baking pan can differ in many ways. There are pans with handles and some with none, some shallow and some deep. Nevertheless, they are all under one umbrella. When learning to bake, it’s also crucial to know the types and differences between different baking pans. This way, you can maximize all the available shapes and sizes and use them in the way they were designed to.
Types of Baking Pans According to Their Material
One way of differentiating or categorizing baking pans is by the type of material used in creating them. There is a lot of material out there, but here are the three most popular and common ones.
Stainless steel is on the list of the most common materials for baking pans. You must have seen a lot of cooking shows where the baking pans are stainless steel. Stainless steel is ideal for baking because it is non-reactive, which means it usually does not have any chemical reactions when mixed with other ingredients.
Some foods or recipes really require non-reactive pans. And so, stainless steel pan would be ideal for the job. Stainless steel is also corrosion and rust-resistant. Another advantage of purchasing a stainless steel baking pan is its durability. However, a disadvantage to stainless steel pans is that they do not distribute heat evenly.
Aluminum pans are popular in some regions due to their quick heating, cooling, and even heat distribution. In addition to that, aluminum pans are also relatively cheap. Aluminum pans are very much loved by bakers, as this material promotes even browning and is light in weight, so it’s easier to move in and out of the oven.
One disadvantage of using an aluminum baking pan is its reaction with acidic foods. Additionally, if you’re seeking a non-stick material, aluminum may not be ideal for you. Aluminum pans are also not highly durable. However, if you want to opt for a stronger and more durable aluminum baking pan, you can opt for aluminum oxide pans.
Bakers love glass pans. Despite the fact that they heat slowly, this allows them to distribute heat evenly. Glass pans need a consistent temperature when cooking in them. These pans are also relatively heavy and can appear fragile because they’re glass. They are also non-reactive, so it allows you to cook acidic foods, etc. Another advantage of glass pans is their ease of cleaning.
More Baking Pans and Their Material
Aside from the more common baking pans found in homes, there might be quite a lot more that you may not have known about. Perhaps these types of baking pans are not commonly used in your area or may not fit your style and needs.
Clay or stone baking pans
These pans are also ideal for baking, as they do well in the oven. Despite their relatively heavy weight, hese pans are also suitable for overall cooking due to their heat retention. Clay or stone baking pans conduct heat slowly and cook things evenly.
This material also prevents altering your food’s flavor as it is non-reactive. In addition, these pans are aesthetically pleasing and creative, so they’re not just fit for cooking but also for serving on the dining table.
Silicone Baking Molds
Silicones are used as baking tools too. In fact, it has been rising in popularity because of its perks. Silicone baking mold are great for baking because of their flexibility. Their flexibility allows for easier pop-out of baked goods from the pan.
These molds are also becoming a baker’s favorite as they are non-stick and they do not need extra greasing, unlike in other pans. These pans are ideal for cupcakes, cakes, breads, and anything that does not easily release.
Carbon Steel Pans
Carbon steel pans have been a common baking tool in restaurant kitchens. This material is made from raw, heavy-gauge steel. This process makes the material a whole lot stronger. When cared for the right way, this material is extremely long-lasting.
Carbon steel pans are also lightweight and pretty easy to deal with. One of its pricey qualities is its excellent heat conducting ability. To follow this, these pans are naturally non-stick.
Carbon steel baking pans are also very versatile, accommodating both low and high temperatures. Some drawbacks of carbon steel baking pans are their risk of rusting if not properly cared for as well as the need for seasoning.
Types of Pans According to Use
Pans cannot be classified solely based on their materials; they must also be classified based on their intended use.This is why you may see lots of types and variations of pans in kitchens, whether it be at home or in a restaurant. There are just a lot of pans for different uses and occasions!
Sheet baking pan
As the name suggests, this pan is a “tray type” of baking pan that resembles a sheet. This is usually called “baking sheet.” These pans are often confused with cookie sheets, but they are actually different! How? You can check whether it’s a baking sheet or a cookie sheet by checking the edges of the pan.
Most baking sheets have four distinctly raised edges, while cookie sheets have fewer or none at all. Nevertheless, cookie dough is always welcome on baking sheets. The rims of a baking sheet ensure that parchment paper does not slide off.
Sheet baking pans are usually used to bake pastries, but they are also ideal for savory foods such as chicken and potatoes.
Pies also require the right pie pan to be as perfect as you want them to be. Pie pans are rounded pans that are also called pie plates or pie tins. These pans are shallower than others and are 1 to 1 ½ inches deep.
The shallower pan will help cook the middle as pies have thicker batter. The pie pan’s fluted rim holds the crust in place, and its sloping sides help achieve a beautifully browned crust.
Loaf pans are loved by bakers around the world. These pans are versatile as they can accommodate both savory and sweet types of loaves, like meatloaf or banana bread. Loaf pans are also popular for their help in cooking quick loaf recipes for snacks. Loaf pans are usually rectangular in shape and are deep-walled. These pans are usually made of non-stick aluminum, glass, or steel.
Perhaps the most popular dessert at celebrations is cake. Whether it’s a birthday, anniversary, Thanksgiving, or any other celebration, a slice of cake is almost always present. In baking cakes, the cake pans available can have their own league as they’re diverse and have many types in accordance with their purpose.
Using the right type of cake pan is important just as much as the ingredients for baking. The type of cake usually determines the shape and even the material of the pan. Here are some types of cake pans.
- Traditional cake pans – These are cake pans that, although different in shapes and sizes, all have high and straight sides as well as flat bottoms.
- Silicone cake molds – This comes in a lot of shapes and sizes too. It allows you to cook several desserts at once and offers easy removal of desserts from the mold.
- Springform pans – These pans are equipped with clamps that hold adjustable sides. The bottoms are also removable.
- Cupcake pans – These pans allow you to make many mini cakes or cupcakes at once!
- Bundt pans – Bundt pans have a unique hole in the center that allows a baker to cook cakes that resemble a ring.
- Cake rings – These pans are bottomless and have tall sides. After baking, the baker would simply slide the ring up. These pans are great for layered cakes.
There is still a lot to know and explore about baking pans and their types. If you want to extend your knowledge of baking, it’s important to know the tools and equipment involved in baking. Knowing the answer to the question “What is a baking pan?” is a good start, and from there, there is still a lot to learn.
Michael Johnson is the founder of Pan Mastery, Inspired by his blacksmith grandfather’s legacy has a deep appreciation for hand-crafted pots and pans, he provides invaluable guides, reviews, and recipes to enhance your culinary journey.