Baking Basic 101 Series: How Baking Pan Used Affects Your Baked Products

The Type of Baking Pan You Use Can Make or Break Your Recipe

You probably have more than one baking pan at home if you had been baking for awhile now. I have accumulated quite a lot actually more than what I really need. Some of them I bought in impulse, a leisurely walk in the mall gave me few more extra new pans. I have glass, ceramic, aluminum, stainless and silicone. I  never paid much attention on how each of these types of pan affects my baking, all I know is that I love the pan. Yes, the type of pans you use in baking affects the end baked product. With so many baking pans available now, how do you know which one to buy and use for which type of baking? That’s were our lesson today comes in.

Photo Credits: Jeremy Yap from Unsplash

While I had been baking for awhile now, Sometimes, I still feel like a beginner. There is always so much to learn to refresh my memory or just to brush up my skills. I’ve decided to share with you my baking learning journey, and I hope this will benefit you as much as it helped me. I had been meaning to create more baking basics series but I had always been side track with recipe and travel post. I’ll be documenting things that I had learned and will share with you my experiences in baking, baking basics is not just my journey, it is our journey to making ourselves a better baker, especially if you cannot afford to go to a culinary school for whatever reason. I started on my own, learned everything on my own by reading and researching, by watching videos and by listening to advice and feedback. I feel it’s time to give back and share what I’ve learned.

Today’s Lesson: How Baking Pans Affects the End Product

Today’s lesson is about baking pans. Types of baking pans and when use them. If you are just starting on your baking, this is a good read for you so you will have an idea of what type of pans to invest for your baking journey. 

It’s all about the HEAT 

Aluminum Pans

This pan distribute heat well, and not that expensive. When buying aluminum pans, look for pans labelled as anodized aluminum, this pan has been treated to make it very durable and semi non-stick. There are two types:

  • Silver Anodized 
  • Hard Anodized (recipe tips.com)

Usage: Best for baking breads, cakes, cookies, muffins, tarts

Glass Pan

Glass pans conducts heat well but it heat up slowly and do not distribute heat evenly. Recipes that uses a lot of sugar like cakes and cookie bars might start to burn before it gets cooked all way inside.    

The standard advice when baking in glass pan is to lower the temperature by 25F from what the recipe calls for and increase baking time by minutes longer 

Usage: Best for casseroles and savory dishes or cobblers and crisp 

Ceramic Pans

Ceramic is similar to glass pan, it is also a good conductor of heat but can also cause to over browning of baked products that are high in sugar

Usage: Best for casseroles and savory dishes or cobblers and crisp , pie 

Silicone Pans 

Silicone Pan are not a good heat conductor, so baked products tends to be lighter in color. But it has an advantage of no having to worry about the bake product sticking to the pan, plus it is easy to remove 

Usage: light colored cakes, breads and muffins when sticking is an issue 

Iron Skillet Pan

Iron skillet pan can withstand high oven temperatures, it is tough and durable. This type of pan stay hot longer.

Usage: searing meat, bread (like corn bread, skillet pizza or focaccia bread), dutch baby pancakes, skillet cookie, casserole

Dark Pan vs. Light Pan

The Pan Color Matter – Light or Dark?

When I started baking, I never knew about these information I was sharing you. This led me to accumulating so much baking pans that are totally unnecessary. I bought a lot of dark non stick pans, they definitely look better, and it is non stick so why not? Little did I know that the pan color do affect how the recipe turn out. We are not talking about color like red, blue, green etc. We are talking about dark or light colored pan, the likes of non-stick pan and light aluminum pans. So why does it matter and why should we concern about it?

This of it this way. You know why it is not advisable to wear black when the weather is hot and humid? because black or dark color absorbs heat, and this goes the same with baking pans. The darker the pan, the more it absorbs heat, and more heat means darker end product. Light colored pans (aluminum pans) on the other hand reflects heat. Dark pans are great for when you want to develop a nice browning, like when making breads, or crust. You certainly do not want to use it when baking delicate baked goods like cookies or cakes, more so for cakes that you want to flip and have the bottom facing up when serving. If you are using a dark pan or baking sheet, pay close attention to monitor the browning so you can do necessary steps to prevent to much browning of top.

Metal pans are what is more recommend when it comes to baking, 95% of my baking pans are metal, some are light and some are dark. Metals pans conducts and distributes heat better. Depending on whether you use light or dark pan, you can have a nicely browned bake product to a golden brown crust. 

What Pan to Use Depends on What You Are Baking

So now you ask, what should I use then? Although light colored or metal/aluminum pans seems to be the best choice, it is not always the case. What pan you use depends on what you are baking. In my personal experience., metal pans are more forgiving and flexible, but again, it depends on your recipe. Most recipe do not specify what type of pans to use, so you have to check 5 – 10 minutes before the suggested baking time. Sometimes, you will have to adjust it. Just keep these information in mind, and hopefully this will help you decide what baking pans to use.

Pan Size, Matter Too More Than You Think

You’ve selected the best pan to use for your recipe, how about the size? Size matter a lot more than you think. I always recommend to stick to the pan size recommended in the recipe, or at last close to the size but not a lot bigger or smaller. The smaller and taller the pan, the longer it will take to bake. The wider and shallow the pan, the less time it will bake because the batter will have more room to spread. This is especially true when baking cakes. Cakes are so fragile and can be easily over-bake or under-bake. rather than baking 1 piece or large cake, try to divide it into 2 or 3 pans. Baking time will less and the chances of under-baking the cake is much less.

Baking Is a Science

In baking, There is a lot more than just  following for recipe. There’s technique, even the way we mix and fold ingredients affects the end product, there’s also humidity and altitude, and even the material of the pan type that you use for baking matters. Baking is a science, which requires things to be exact to be perfect, and sadly, it is not as forgiving as cooking. So understanding why your cake did not end up looking like the delicious cake you’ve been staring all night in Pinterest will probably make you more forgiving to yourself. Blame it on humidity or blame it on the pan 🙂 then try again. Be patient, one successful key to baking is understanding the factors that contribute to the success and failure of the bake products, more than just following what is written in the recipe. 

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Baking Basic 101 Series:

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