While it's not too difficult to choose baking sheets for making cookies or for other baked goods, there's a few things you might want to consider before buying bakeware. And when it comes to bakeware construction, there's lots to choose from. You'll need at least two baking sheets and if you plan on doing a lot of baking, you will probably want more. It's also a good idea to have a couple of large ones and also one or two smaller sizes, that can be used for other things such as pizza, jelly roll or for other oven cooking needs. Baking sheets are very versatile and have many uses.
Bakeware Construction & Nonstick Finishes
The most common and economical are single-ply tin without a nonstick finish. These have been in use for generations and many bakers still use them. However, baking sheets that have multiple layers and a heavier construction, especially those with an aluminum core, do perform better and offer a more even heat distribution.
Then there's the choice of nonstick finish or not. This is entirely a personal preference but nonstick finishes do make clean-up much quicker and it's somewhat easier to remove baking from them. A nonstick finish does not entirely remove the need to grease pans before baking. Some finishes are more durable than others and there's less a tendency for baking to stick. Where nonstick is really noticeable is with clean-up.
If you plan on using parchment paper or silicone liners, you don't need to spend the extra money on nonstick pans. Standard baking sheets will be fine. Though they do give you another item to clean, silicone liners tend to help with baking performance. Parchment paper or liners are a great way to cut down on cleaning; they are discarded after use and make it easy to remove baking from sheets.
With Sides or Without
There are lots of choices including baking sheets that are mainly flat, or those that have only one side edge or all-around edges. The height of the sides also vary. Totally flat baking sheets can also be used to display/serve a decorated cake. And flat sheets and those with only one side edge make it easier to remove and transfer baked cookies without breaking them. Baking sheets with sides however, are more versatile - you can use them to make pizza, cinnamon rolls, jelly roll and such.
With Handles or Without
Baking sheets with handles make it easier to remove hot pans from the oven without getting the pot holder into the baked goods. Those with silicone inserts also help to reduce the risk of burns when handling hot baking sheets.
Why Size and Brand Should Be a Consideration
If you want to cut down on energy use and baking time, look for pan sizes where you can get two baking sheets in your oven on the same rack. If you have a large oven, this might not be a concern - two standard large baking sheets should easily fit. You can also often bake one smaller sheet along with a larger one. Baking sheets that are similar and same brand, will usually nest better and that can be very important when it comes to storage.
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