Monday, January 21, 2008

All About Parchment Paper? What is it? Why use It?

What is Parchment paper anyways? And why is it so widely praised? what do you use it for? And is it that great?

Well those are a few of my questions about the stuff....I decided to do a little research about it and see what all the fuss was about. So here is what I found;

  • Parchment paper is a silicone coated paper that is used in more and more kitchens as the word gets passed along. It feels kind of like heavy tissue paper, but the biggest difference is that it can withstand heat and food products put on it and it will NOT stick!
  • Parchment Paper comes in 16 3/8" x 12 3 1/16" or 16 3/8" x 24 3/8"sheets. The individual sheets make it easy to use and you always know when you are about to run out.

  • You can use it when baking just about anything. Use it when making cookies, in a roasting pan, a bread pan, or a casserole. You can use it to line your souffle dish or when you are pouring out fudge to cool down, or how about using it when making peanut brittle.

  • You'll be amazed and how simple clean-up will become

You will find that once you start using it you'll find more and more uses for it. Parchment paper kind of grows on you, if you know what I mean.

But there are some downfalls, like it's really important not to have any of it overhang a cookie sheet because it could catch fire in an oven. And you cannot use it in a toaster oven, broiler, or under halogen lights.

Some people feel waxed paper is just as good. However, beware....because you cannot line a cookie sheet with waxed paper- it will smoke you out of your house! Waxed paper is only good for using outside of the oven or in the oven with something that covers it completely, i.e. a cake. parchment is just more versatile.

Parchment allows you to bake on a sheet without greasing the pan....not only does it save calories and scouring the pan, but it makes a nicer cookie, bread or whatever you are baking. And the finished product is nicer as you don't have that greasy residue around the outside of the cookie.

Probably once you try Parchment you will consider it a kitchen necessity as many do.
A few tips;
  • The unbleached (brown) parchment in the brown and green box is the best brand and you get a lot more in the box than with a lot of other brands.
  • It's also a better size for cookie sheets than the white parchment that you find in the blue box.
  • Parchment is reusable. If you bake something 'non' messy on it (breads, most cookies, etc), just shake off the crumbs and store away until you need to use it again.
  • Around Christmas, just line your cookie sheets with parchment and leave it on them for the season unless it gets soiled with jam, melted chocolate, etc.
  • You can also use parchment to line cake pans or loaf pans for quick breads.

It's an expensive alternative to waxed paper, but it's less sticky, so it's a good choice if you're making gooey items. Parchment paper can also be wrapped around foods to be cooked or formed into cones for cake decorating. Specialty cooking stores and larger supermarkets often carry rolls or sheets of it. Paper grocery bags are sometimes recommended as a substitute for parchment paper, but it's not advisable to use them. Grocery bags will ignite at 450 degrees, and that they may have been treated with unsafe chemicals. Substitutes: waxed paper (This is a lot cheaper, but it's more likely to stick to gooey baked goods. Try greasing the waxed paper before using.) OR rice paper (as a baking pan liner) OR aluminum foil (Works well for cooking en papillote. If greased, it also works well as a liner for baking pans.) OR lightly grease baking pan (This tends to encourage cookies to spread out on the baking sheet.) OR nonstick baking sheet OR plastic zip-lock bag (If you're piping icing on a cake, this works well as a substitute for a parchment cone. Just fill the plastic bag, cut a hole in a corner, and squeeze.)

So in a nutshell Parchment paper seems to me to be a great item to keep stocked in the kitchen and one that will save you a lot of time and clean-up and since I am not one to like doing dishes, this is a plus for me!!

And check out one of the best places to find all those cookie cutters!


Christine said...

I tend to ration it to messy and sticky stuff. Great stuff.

rebecca said...

I use the Pampered Chef brand, especially for candy making and delicate pastries and stuff. You can re-use it all the way through a batch, and you don't end up with wax on your food, as you would with waxed paper.

Jill C. said...

I've started making homemade crackers dehydrating them in the oven on greased cookie sheets. But at some point you need to flip the whole sheet which is impossible, even with greasing it sticks to the pan. I am hoping that parchment paper will work. Thanks for all the information!