Many different kinds of pans, dishes and sheets are used in baking, as likely evidenced by your over-flowing cabinets. It is essential that you use choose the correct size and shape to ensure the right texture and appearance of your baked good. The time has come for you to become better acquainted with your assorted pans.
Shiny Aluminum Pans
The best choice for baked goods consistent in color and texture. It prevents biscuits, quick bread loaves and coffeecakes from becoming too dark on the bottom and around the sides of the pan.
Consists of two thin sheets of aluminum with a layer of air between them. Baked goods baked in insulated baking pans may require more baking time, and they often don't brown well on the bottoms and sides.
Ovenproof glass loaf pans and baking dishes are sometimes used to bake quick breads, loaves and coffeecakes. Baked goods baked in glass brown well and you can see the coloring all around. When substituting a glass baking dish for a metal baking pan, reduce the oven temperature by 25°F.
Disposable Aluminum Pans
Readily available in supermarkets, these are perfect for baked goods which will be given away as gifts. While available in sizes comparable to aluminum baking pans and glass baking dishes, they are often 1/4- to 1/2-inch smaller in length, width and depth. Baking times will need to be adjusted accordingly.
These pans help keep your baked goods from sticking. However, they tend to brown their contents quickly, particularly on the edges and the bottom. Many nonstick baking pan manufacturers recommend reducing the oven temperature by 25ºF.
This round pan, used for making cheesecakes and other desserts that are tricky to remove from their pans, has a bottom that is separate from the side. A clamp holds the pan together and opens to allow the side to easily be pulled away from the baked dessert.
Tart pans come in many different shapes and sizes. Their removable bottom makes it easy to neatly transfer a tart to a serving plate. Tart pans come in both dark-colored and shiny pan varieties, and can also have varying depths with deeper tart pans used for quiche, and shallower pans used for delicate dessert tarts.
Generally, pies are baked in a relatively deep pan with sloped sides that can hold a large amount of filling. Materials for pie plates range from ovenproof glass, glazed ceramic, heavy foil, aluminum, tinned steel, stainless steel and nonstick coated steel.
Standard Muffin Pans
Available in 12-and 6-cup pans, the standard muffin cup is about 2-3/4 inches in diameter and 1-1/8 inches deep and holds a scant 1/2 cup batter.
Jumbo Muffin Pans
Available in 6-cup pans, the jumbo muffin cups are at least 3 inches in diameter and 1-1/2 inches deep. Each jumbo muffin cup holds approximately 1 cup batter.
Mini Muffin Pans
Available in 12- and 24-cup pans, the mini muffin cup is approximately 1-3/4 inches in diameter and 7/8-inch deep. Each muffin cup holds approximately 2 tablespoons batter.
Muffin Tops (Caps) Pans
Available in 6-cup pans, each muffin top cup is approximately 3 inches in diameter and 1/2-inch deep. Each muffin top cup holds approximately 3 tablespoons batter.
Shiny Aluminum Muffin Pans
Shiny aluminum pans prevent muffins from becoming too dark around the sides.
Dark Nonstick Muffin Pans
Dark nonstick pans keep the muffins from sticking. They tend to brown muffin edges and bottoms quickly. Many nonstick baking pan manufacturers recommend reducing the oven temperature by 25°F.
Aluminum loaf pans can turn out tender cakes, while dark, nonstick or glass pans will produce a crunchy-chewy crust. You can make quick breads, brioche and meatloaf in a loaf pan.
Also known as an angel food cake pan, this deep pan has a hollow tube in the center that promotes even baking. Most tube pans have removable bottoms.
Fluted Tube Pan
The fluted sides bring a decorative look to the finished product. It comes in various sizes; a 12-cup pan is the most common.
A double-pan arrangement that features two pots formed to fit together, with one sitting partway inside the other. A single lid fits both pans. The lower pot is used to hold simmering water, which gently heats the mixture in the upper pot. Double boilers are used to warm or cook heat-sensitive food such as custards, delicate sauces and chocolate.
Baking "dish" refers to a glass baking dish. For best results, use the correct size baking dish called for in your recipe. To measure the size of a baking dish, measure the top inside of the dish with a ruler for length or width. To determine the depth of a baking dish, measure the inside from the bottom to the top edge.
To measure the volume of a baking dish, set it flat on the kitchen counter or table. Fill the dish with water, 1 cup at a time, until the water reaches the rim of the baking dish.
If you do not have the baking dish size specified in the recipe, substitute a dish of equal volume. Baking time will need to be adjusted.
An individual baking dish (3 to 4 inches in diameter) that resembles a miniature soufflé dish. Ramekins are usually made of porcelain or earthenware and can be used for both sweet and savory dishes - either baked or chilled. A tiny baked pastry filled with a creamy cheese custard is also referred to as a "Ramekin".
Soufflés are customarily baked in a classic soufflé dish, which is round and has straight sides to facilitate the soufflé's rising. These special dishes are ovenproof and come in a variety of sizes ranging from 3 1/2-ounce (individual) to 2-quart. They're available in kitchenware shops and the housewares section of most department stores. Foil or parchment "collars" are sometimes wrapped around the outside of a soufflé dish so that the top of the foil or paper rises about 2 inches above the rim of the dish. Such collars are used for cold dessert soufflés so that the sides of the frozen or molded mixture are supported until they set. Once the collar is removed, the soufflé stands tall and appears to "rise" out of the dish.
Perhaps one of the most essential pieces of bakeware, these flat, rigid sheets of metal are where such comforting confections as cookies, breads and biscuits are baked. It usually has one or more turned-up sides for ease in handling. Common sizes for baking sheets are: 17x14-inch and 12x15-inch. For even heat circulation, baking sheets should be at least 2 inches smaller all around than the interior of the oven. There are a variety of kinds of baking sheets, the three most common are aluminum, dark nonstick and insulated sheets.
Shiny, heavy-gauge aluminum baking sheets are good heat conductors and will produce evenly baked and browned goods.
Dark Nonstick Sheets
Dark sheets absorb heat and should be used only for items on which a dark, crisp exterior is desired.
Insulated baking sheets (two sheets of aluminum with an air space sealed between them) are good for soft cookies or bread crusts, but many baked goods will not get crisp on them.
A heavy, thick plate of beige or brown stone that can be placed in the oven to replicate the baking qualities of a brick-floored bread oven. Baking stones can be round or rectangular.