Baking with parchment paper makes things so much easier in your kitchen! We’d go so far as to say that looking back in time, it’s hard to think about how people reliably stopped their bakes from getting stuck in the tins.
In this article, we’re going to talk a little about baking with parchment paper, from the basics of what the paper is, to how you can get the best stuff for your kitchen.
What is parchment paper?
Parchment paper is a really interesting solution to a problem that plenty of kitchens face. The core paper of a roll is made from cellulose, the same as any paper made from wood, bamboo, or other plant-based materials.
The paper is treated and coated with silicone, though, which allows the paper itself to have a properly non-stick surface to bake on. Silicone is a relatively inert material, which means that sugars, fats, and other typically sticky substances, simply cannot bind to it in the same way they can with metal or ceramic baking dishes.
How to get parchment paper to fit into containers
When baking with parchment paper, fitting it into a uniquely sized container can be a tricky thing. The reason for this is the same as the reason so many people loathe to wrap presents each Christmas – getting a flat sheet of paper to perfectly fit the irregular surface of anything is a huge challenge.
Thankfully, we’ve got a great way to help you when you’re baking with parchment paper.
This is a trick that we’ve seen in a few spots online, so we can’t trace back its exact origin. However, whoever did come up with it is surely a baking angel!
To make your parchment paper fit within a baking dish or loaf pan easily, simply cut off a sheet from the roll that’s too big. Then, scrunch it up into a ball in your hands, and give it a good squeeze. This will give you lots of creases on the silicone surface of the baking paper.
Unfurl the ball of parchment paper, and press it into all the nooks and crannies of your baking surface – it will suddenly be much more amenable to your poking! This might sound like an odd solution, but it works really well, and we encourage you to try it the next time you’re baking with parchment paper.
Should you dampen your parchment paper?
This is an interesting question! For a long time, we weren’t sure why people insisted on doing this in various recipes, but now that we’ve done a bit of research, it makes an awful lot more sense.
There are two main reasons why people do this.
First of all, if your parchment paper is particularly old or brittle, it can help with the scrunching process we outlined above. This means that, when baking with parchment paper, old or new, you’ll easily be able to make your paper fit the mold you’re using.
The second reason is that it can help you to remove parchment paper from your mold really easily. A number of recipes suggest greasing your mold before adding parchment paper to make the baked item easier to remove. This can be frustrating, though, as you’ll need to deep clean the mold afterward, and deal with a piece of greasy parchment paper.
Using water when baking with parchment paper is a great way to get the benefit of easy removal, without the tricky grease cleanup later on.
How to find a great parchment paper
When you’re in the supermarket, every option will likely work great in your kitchen. To find the best one for you, though, we’d suggest considering the size, reusability, and compostability of the different options.
The size question is a fairly simple one. You need to pick a roll or a pack of pre-cut sheets that are larger than the thing you’ll be baking within.
The reusability question is a little trickier – some parchment paper options are reusable. In those circumstances, consider whether you’d want to reuse parchment paper, or if it would simply be easier to use it as a single-use option.
Finally, the compostability of parchment paper is important for such a single-use item. Some parchment papers out there can be composted at home, which means that you can take them from your oven and throw them straight on your compost pile. Baking with parchment paper is typically a one-and-done thing, so this is great for your sustainability footprint.
Of course, if you don’t compost at home, then you’re likely not to pay as much attention to this problem. Consider the disposal routes available in your home – it will pay off when you come to throw out the parchment paper.
We hope that we’ve been able to help you answer some burning questions about parchment paper, from the best way to use it in your kitchen, to how you can find good stuff in the supermarket. Happy baking!