bakeware buying guide
find out the basics you should have at hand for baking before you make the batter
Projects are always easier when you have the right tools for the job. This is especially true in the kitchen, where the lack of a saucepan or cake tin can quickly spell disaster. Find out the basics you should have at hand for baking before you make the batter. Basics like bakeware are ideal wedding gifts, too.
what is the difference between bakeware and cookware?
Bakeware consists of the items you use for oven cooking. Cookware, on the other hand, is more at home on the stovetop or grill. When it comes to bakeware, think cookie sheets, muffin pans, ramekins, and related tools.
types of bakeware and their uses
Bakeware sets provide various sizes and shapes of bakeware for a specific use. For example, dessert bakeware sets include a baking sheet, cake pans, and a muffin pan.
A baking dish can hold a casserole or a batch of bar cookies. Baking dishes come in different shapes and sizes for varied uses.
Cake pans are round, square or oblong. You use them for baking layer cakes or sheet cakes.
Bread and loaf pans are equally suited to yeast breads, tea breads, and meatloaf. Typically rectangular, bread loaf pans are available in a few different sizes.
Cupcake and muffin pans hold from six to 24 muffins or cupcakes. Each muffin pan and cupcake pan has a number of mini wells where you pour your batter.
Measuring tools like measuring spoons and measuring cups are essential for successful baking.
Baking and decorating tools help you put the finishing touches on your culinary creations. Decorating kits for cakes and cookies include tools like a frosting spatula that help you create a professional finish.
Mixing bowls in graduated sizes are ideal for baking projects large or small. A set of mixing bowls is essential for any kitchen.
what is bakeware made of?
Bakeware is made of materials that tolerate exposure to oven temperatures without breaking, cracking, or discoloring. Our best-selling selection of bakeware includes the following materials:
Aluminum bakeware is ideal for cookies and biscuits because it heats quickly and promotes an even crispness. Aluminum cake pans and baking sheets are lightweight and relatively inexpensive.
Cast iron is a heavy metal material that retains heat. A cast iron muffin pan cooks slowly and evenly.
A glass baking dish is great for recipes like lasagna because it provides even heating over a longer cooking time. Glass pie dishes bake pastry perfectly. Our selection of Pyrex® glass bakeware is one of our most popular.
Silicone bakeware is flexible and exceptionally resistant to heat. Nonstick silicone baking sheets and silicone muffin pans turn out cupcakes and Bundt cakes without breakage.
Enamel cast iron bakeware provides the same even heating as cast iron. An enameled cast iron baking dish from manufacturers like Le Creuset® has an attractive enamel coating that comes in table-ready colors.
Insulated metal bakeware features a double layer of metal with an envelope of air in between. This helps keep your food warmer longer.
Stoneware bakeware is versatile and attractive for oven-to-table service. Stoneware conducts heat evenly, so it works well for casseroles and pies.
Nonstick coated steel is a durable material that is safe for temperatures up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. A nonstick baking sheet allows your baked goods to slide off without sticking or breaking.
Uncoated aluminum is a lightweight material for bakeware. You should not use this material with acidic foods because it is vulnerable to corrosion.
the pros and cons of bakeware materials
- Heats up and cools off quickly
- Will not corrode or rust
- May react to acidic contents
- Professional quality
- Higher price point than other materials
- Good heat retention
- Requires seasoning
- Even heating
- Does not react to acidity in food
- Naturally nonstick material
- High resistance to heat
- Exterior may chip or scratch
- Nonstick material
- Cools quickly
- Flexibility can make handling harder
- Very long-lasting
- Natural nonstick surface
- Can rust without proper care
enameled cast iron
- Does not need seasoning
- Will not rust
- Heats up more slowly than noncoated cast iron
- Air layer spreads out cooking heat
- Food stays warmer longer out of the oven
- Slows cooling of baked goods
- Heats evenly
- Resistant to rust and corrosion
- Distributes heat unevenly
nonstick coated steel
- Food won’t stick as with noncoated steel
- The sleek look of stainless cookware
- Nonstick coatings show wear and scratches
- Absorbs ambient temperatures quickly
- Food browns evenly
- Prone to dents and dings
surfaces and features of bakeware
Nonstick bakeware not only saves cleaning time but also helps you turn out great-looking dinners and desserts. Some types of bakeware, such as cast iron, require seasoning and care to maintain their nonstick properties.
Other bakeware brands, such as Calphalon®, use nonstick coatings that are safe and free of health risks. If you care for them correctly, Calphalon baking pans with nonstick coating will last a long time. Be sure to use plastic or wood utensils, though, because metal spoons or spatulas can scratch the coating.
We also have bakeware with nonstick textured surfaces. For example, our Circulon® cookware sets feature a concentric-circle-patterned nonstick coating.
Nonstick, straight-sided bakeware for cakes and bar cookies lets your desserts come out with fully defined corners and straight edges for frostings. If you are shopping for bakeware that answers such purposes, make sure it has straight walls.
top considerations for choosing bakeware
Once you know all you need about bakeware to make informed purchasing decisions, determine what type of bakeware is best for you. If you are making a wedding registry purchase, think about what type will be the safest, most attractive, and easiest to clean for the happy couple. Other top considerations should include:
The material of your new bakeware should jibe with how you will use it. Does it need to cook evenly plus look good on the table? Perhaps you want ceramic or coated cast iron.
Do you prefer lightweight bakeware like aluminum or a heavier, more substantial material such as cast iron? Will you be taking it along to potlucks and parties? In that case, the lighter, the better.
Ideally, how long do you want your bakeware to last? If you'd like to avoid replacing it anytime soon, breakable materials like glass and ceramic are not your best choice. For bakeware that lasts a lifetime, go for cast iron or carbon steel.
Insulated bakeware is great for keeping desserts like pies warm until dinner’s over. This bakeware also works well when you’re having dinner to go. If you plan to use your bakeware mainly for items like cookies that require short cooking times, you may not want to wait those extra minutes for insulated bakeware to heat up.
Sheet pans can warp after several uses. Some manufacturers address this problem by corrugating the metal surface of their bakeware pans for greater warp resistance.
Bakeware is made for the oven, so you can count on it to be oven safe. However, some materials withstand high temperatures better than others. If you frequently bake at temps over 425 degrees Fahrenheit, you probably need bakeware made of ceramic, cast iron, or stoneware.
uncoated vs. nonstick:
Uncoated bakeware with natural nonstick properties includes silicone, cast iron, and ceramic. Nonstick bakeware has an added coating that keeps food from baking onto its surface.
best practices for bakeware use and care
Most bakeware, including that with nonstick coatings, is dishwasher safe. Some materials, like aluminum, may require hand washing with soap and water. Refer to your owner's manual to be sure.
How you store your bakeware has a direct effect on how long it lasts. For example, if you store your baking sheets on their sides in a storage rack, you can avoid warping and denting.
One savvy way to keep your bakeware clean is with add-ons such as silicone baking mats. They protect the metal or glass surfaces from wear.
Microwave and freezer safe bakeware helps eliminate an extra step when it’s time to store your leftovers. Simply use the same vessel you cooked them in to freeze them and then reheat.
For bakeware too big for the dishwasher, use a nonabrasive scrub pad, soap and warm water. Be sure rust-prone materials like cast iron are completely dry before storing.
Properly seasoned bakeware and nonstick baking pans do not require any sprays or oils. Food won’t stick. If you use bakeware without a nonstick coating, a light spray with oil before adding food is a good idea.
Shop Bed Bath & Beyond for the best selection of name-brand bakeware and baking tools. Remember that bakeware is a perfect gift for newlyweds, too.