It’s easy to look at the flimsy nature of silicone bakeware and have doubts. I sure did! But I’m here to tell you to give it a try. Here’s why.
A few years ago, I found some silicone bakeware for a crazy deal and I thought I’d give it a try. I was skeptical, extremely so, and I found myself delaying cooking with it. I’d been using non-stick metal cooking pans for quite awhile, especially with muffins, but all the coatings always failed.
After more than five years using the same silicone muffin tins for everything from muffins to pastries to Yorkshire pudding, it’s safe to say I may never use another kind.
What is silicone?
It’s essentially a bonded rubber that is created from the same material that makes glass — sand.
When you’re buying quality silicone cookware, it should be safe to over 450+ degrees fahrenheit. It’ll be a soft rubber and will feel flimsy, so you might have to come up with creative ways to use it safely. (I put mine on a sideless tray so I can slide it into the oven and not risk spilling things by carrying its unsupported, floppy bottom.)
Is silicone safe? Well, that was the big question a lot of folks were asking over five years ago when it was getting word of mouth from new adopters. A half-decade later and there appear to be no studies suggesting it is unsafe.
From barbecue basting brushes to oven mitts, silicone has become one of the most dominant materials in the modern kitchen and pro chefs love it for its many benefits.
What are the downsides to silicone?
There ain’t much to hate about silicone, actually. It’s soft, so using any sharp or pointed tools is a recipe for disaster. Skip that behaviour, though, and it’s looking like a great product for you.
You can’t sit it directly on a heat source like a stovetop, but that’s true of the majority of bakeware anyhow. That’s sort of why it’s called “bakeware,” so is this really a downside? Not really.
What are the upsides to silicone?
You want to know my favorite thing about baking with silicone? I look like a genius. I never, ever burn my muffins. Personally, I know this is a lie, because I once had a master’s degree in how to burn muffins. I’d have to soak my tins overnight just to get them clean.
But silicone distributes the heat differently and seems to have a forgiveness buffer when you let things cook a little too long. This also results in a better baked surface — usually golden-brown all over. It’s a thing of beauty.
Another thing I love silicone for is the flexibility. This is a downside when you’re carrying a “tray” of muffins filled with batter sloshing around, but a rigid tray under it for transferring it to the oven, and you’re fine. Where flexibility is great is in removing your baked goods, and also in storing the bakeware. You can roll it up, squish it flat under heavier items, fold it — whatever you want, really. This is super-convenient for those of us with small kitchens that just seem to get smaller all the time.
There’s also a plus in its lightness. This means it’s great for packing along for a trip to the cottage, or bringing home on the bus after a potluck dinner.
If you love to bake, I really see no negatives to switching to silicone bakeware. Whether you’re talking cookie tray liners, Silpat sheets, chocolate molds, cupcake liners, muffin trays, bread pans — there’s no reason to fear silicone.
I haven’t heard any of my friends switch from metal or glass to silicone and have any regrets. I urge you to put your skepticism aside and give silicone bakeware a try. It’s eco-friendly, great for small spaces, forgiving to cook with — what’s not to love?