How to Use a Silicone Baking Mat
If you love baking and are always looking for new ways to perfect your recipes, you may want to invest in a silicone baking mat. If you are fed up of putting time and effort into making the perfect cookie dough only for it to stick to your tray, silicone is the answer to all of your baking problems.
What is a Baking Mat
A silicone baking mat is a high-quality sheet that is used in place of parchment paper. Silicone mats are non-slip and are easy to get hold of in grocery stores or online. Mats come in all shapes and sizes for cookies, cakes, pies, and more. They have been used by professional chefs and bakers for many years as they are easy to use, clean easily, and offer a superior finish.
A silicone mat can withstand temperatures of up to 450°F and are suitable for all oven types although they are not suitable for open flames, broiling or grilling. You should not use the mat in the microwave either.
The Benefits of Using a Silicone Mat
If you are unsure about investing in silicone baking mats, take a look at their many benefits:
- They are reusable—which is great for the environment and your grocery bills
- Great for sticky mixtures— such as cookie dough
- No need for greasing— which saves both time and money
- Good for cooking caramel and hot liquids—both for safety and for ease
- Less chance of burning or over-browning
- Less spread when cooking with high-fat recipes
- Great for cooking fish as the skin does not stick to the tray
- Great for cooking meats with a sticky glaze as you don’t lose the sauce when taking the meat off the tray
- Good for kneading dough, especially if it is sticky
- Easy to clean
While there are many benefits of using a silicone baking mat you must take care not to cut or scratch the mat as it will not be as effective. Any puncture will make the mat difficult to clean and it may not be as non-stick as it should. If you use your silicone mat on a regular basis some discoloration is normal and will not affect your bake.
When to Use a Silicone Baking Mat
If you are unsure when to use a silicone mat instead of parchment paper or aluminum foil it may be that you want to trial a mat before investing lots of different types. As silicone is used by professionals and generally provides the best results during tests, it is difficult to see why you would not want to use. That said, parchment paper does come in handy when you are baking something that needs to be a specific shape. There are lots of silicone molds on the market in all shapes and sizes but with parchment paper, you can fold into bespoke shapes to suit your needs. Parchment paper also works best if you need an extra crispy finish to your bake.
If you are cooking candy or any other really sticky mixtures you may need to spray the mat with a little grease. You should not use a silicone mat for grilling or broiling so check your recipe instructions all the way through before placing items on your mat.
Baking With a Silicone Mat
Using a silicone is very easy, even for novice bakers. Here is a rundown on how to use a silicone baking mat
- Make sure the mat is clean. You may want to give it a wash if it has been in storage as the material can pick up dust easily.
- Place your silicone mat on to a baking tray or flat surface (if you are making batches of cookies, for example). You can put the mat directly on to the oven rack but this may not produce an even bake so the tray should be used for stability.
- Do not grease the mat unless you are making super sticky bakes, such as hard candy or caramel.
- Lay the items to be baked on the tray, leaving gaps as directed by the recipe that you are following.
- Bake your items. Note that most silicone mats are safe at temperatures between 40°F to 480°F ( minus 40°C to 280°C ).
- Once your baked goods have cooled slightly place them on a cooling tray.
- Wash your silicone mat in soapy water and be careful not to scratch with a scourer. You will get some grease sticking to the mat so if your recipe has used a lot of fat then you may need to wash a couple of times in warmer water.
- Shake to release excess water and leave to air dry in storage until the next time you bake.