The Chocolate Cult: The Advantages of Baking with Silicone Mats

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Advantages of Baking with Silicone Mats

I received the silicone mats mentioned in this article from two different programs and companies. The Zall Good Silicone Baking Mat came through the Tomoson program in exchange for my honest review on this blog, a review on another site, as well as sharing my links to The Chocolate Review through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The Dixie Crystals silicone mat was a gift for my participation in this year's Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. No other compensation was received for my honest opinions and sharing on social media.

I'll look at the Dixie Crystals mat when I do my cookie swap recipe in 11 days for you all but let's go to the Zall Good Silicon Baking Mat. This came in a small box and it was rolled up... that surprised because everything I've read about silicone baking mats says to store them flat and never roll them. The only directions are on the box which are very short, here they are: Use this mat to line your baking pan for a completely non-stick surface. May be used in the oven, microwave, and freezer. Wash by hand or in the dishwasher. Store rolled up in this box; do not fold. Do not use as a cutting board. These directions are quite different from standard advice about silicone baking mats in two ways -- store flat and do not wash in dishwasher. Both of these impact the longevity of the product so I wonder why Zall Good's directions are different. Sadly there is no further information to clarify.

I have an annual holiday party to prepare for, a museum party to prepare for, and the cookie swap, so right after Thanksgiving I got my baking on. This let me test out this silicone baking mat in several ways as you can see below.

This silicone baking mat had several advantages.

1. Easy of clean-up! Not only did using this mat mean that I never had to clean the baking sheets themselves but it took around 30 seconds to clean the mats even after baking four dozen cookies on them. Basically I laid them flat on the countertop, put a drop of dishwashing soap on it, and then used a washcloth with warm water to suds up the mat. I then lifted it off the countertop and rinsed it off under running warm water. If you let it air dry that's it!

2. No need to grease or spray pans! Forget about adding calories with butter and flour or using chemically heavy sprays, you don't need them. Everything I tried came right off, often I didn't even need to use a turner or spatula to remove food.

3. Slightly faster at baking goods. Unlike with cookie sheets that you might need to let cool for up to 5 minutes before removing cookies, the silicone cooled faster and I could remove the cookies in a couple of minutes. That might not sound like much but when I'm baking 4 dozen cookies, this is a savings of 12 minutes.

4. Zall Good Silicone Baking Mat also made it easy to space out cookies because as you can see it has circles marked out on the surface. Couple that with the use of a high quality cookie scoop and my cookies were more uniform. When you are counting calories that helps.

5. You can make anything on it as long as it doesn't need to be cut while still on the baking sheet or pan. For example, these steakfries and fishsticks were great but I wouldn't make a pizza on it.

The silicone baking mat had only one challenge -- storage. If you put it back in the box it does take up a small amount of drawer space but if you lay it flat, it takes up nearly no room at all.

I have been converted to using silicone baking mats. How about you?

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