What Are Silicone Baking Mats And How To Use It For Baking And Cooking
Are you a new baker? If you are, you may not yet have the full range of baking equipment than some more experienced home bakers. You may have the baking pans, the mixing and ingredient bowls, and even the spatulas and measuring cups and spoons that are necessary for most baking projects.
You may be more familiar with the silicone spatula that you use for almost every baking project you make. It's a soft and flexible material that you can use to blend, mix, and fold and, the best part is that it easily makes cleaning a bowl an easy task since it smoothly scrapes the sides of your bowl well. Plus, you can stir simmering hot mixtures such as melted sugar or bubbling caramel on the stove without burning or melting what looks like plastic.
Take those same characteristics that you love and apply them to a flat sheet that you can use for baking as well as cooking.
What is a silicone mat?
A silicone mat is basically a flat sheet of silicone. This may be a sheet of silicone-coated heat-resistant fibers which is what many professional bakers have but it can also be a simple length of silicone that you can roll out onto your baking sheet or your counter.
It is highly heat resistant, able to withstand heat up to and a little beyond 450 degrees F or 230 degrees C. This is typically the hottest that home ovens are capable of heating up to so you can bake almost anything on it and not have to worry about it bursting into flames inside your oven. It is also a nonstick surface that you can use when preparing dough that is sticky, including but not limited to bread dough.
There are many ways to use a silicone mat! Here is a list of ideas on how best to maximize the use of your silicone mat in your every day cooking and baking:
1 Knead bread dough and other sticky mixtures.
One of the biggest and most tiring challenges of making bread at home is kneading the dough. If you do not have a stand mixer or even a hand mixer, you have to do this by hand. You'll need a cleared-away area of the counter so you can exercise your arm muscles to knead the dough until it's smooth yet supple. You don't want to add too much flour on the surface of the counter but when you are working with a soft dough that's still sticky, you might be tempted.
Resist and instead knead on a silicone mat! Remember that nonstick surface? The mat should more readily release the dough from its surface compared to a tile or marble kitchen counter. So while your kitchen counter may still cling to the dough, a silicone mat will let it go earlier so you have an easier time kneading. Plus, you're less tempted from adding more flour resulting in better bread dough.
Not only that, you can use it to help you knead together no-cook pastillas dough and form sticky peanut yema into tall pyramids.
2 Use it like parchment paper.
For all those instances when you need parchment paper, use a silicone mat instead! These mats are wonderful as a replacement for parchment paper. Need a liner for your batch of cookies? Use a silicone mat! These are especially useful when making French macarons and other meringue-based desserts since the sticky egg white mixture will still cling to parchment paper. Not so on silicone mats.
You can bake cookies on these, as well as free-standing desserts and even bread. You can even cut silicone mats into the right-size rounds to use for lining cake pans and even brownie pans!
3 Use it to make queso de bola crisps and peanut brittle.
Silicone is a great nonstick surface. It's so nonstick, even super-hot melted sugar and scalding hot melted cheese won't stick to it! This is a fantastic quality since that means you can make your own peanut brittle at home! Homemade lollipops are just as easy to make for special treats, too.
You can also melt cheese at a high enough temperature to melt hard cheeses such as Parmesan and queso de bola and make your own queso de bola crisps.
4 Use when making your own chocolate decorations.
Have you ever envied those gorgeous chocolate decorations that you see on the internet? You can make it too and pretty easily with a silicone mat. Just melt chocolate and use your artistry to add pizzazz to your cakes! Draw or pipe homemade decorations to make your own equally awesome homemade cakes.
5 Use it as a liner for sticky chicken wings and ribs.
There's no reason why you can't make use of it when you're cooking, too! Glue the sticky glaze onto those chicken wings and ribs in the oven and just to make sure you don't have to worry about burnt sugar, line the pan with a silicone mat so those wings and ribs stay sticky and not stuck to the pan.
Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating!
Got your own version of the classic dishes? Pa-share naman! Get your recipe published on Yummy.ph by submitting your recipe here.
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