How to Clean Baking Sheets?
In order to provide the proper features of the pans in your kitchen, you should always follow the guides suggested by a producer and be aware of how to clean a baking sheet. It is vital for most cases and means not only the durability of the vessels but also the safety of people eating the meal cooked in it. Among the great variety of pans there are really useful ones which can easily replace some others being quite versatile. We are talking about baking sheets. You can face the difficulties when trying to find them in the bakeware stores but in the professional places you will succeed for sure. The chefs appreciate this simple appliance due to its ability to help saving time.
Why Do You Have Baking Sheet in Your Kitchen?
You can hear at least three names of this pan: a baking sheet, baking tray or sheet pan. All of them have the common features. This is a flat pan made of metal more often with low sides or without them having a rectangular shape usually. You can find different sizes and choose any material. The tray with sides is known as a rimmed baking sheet and very good for preparing such dishes which need to be hold inside with those rims. The standard sizes are 18 by 13 inches. The experts suppose them really convenient. As to the material the opinions vary and the evidence is not clear because each one has its pros and cons. So, you are expected to decide what you want actually. The producers offer the alloys of steel and aluminum or tri-ply constructions which include two outer layers of stainless steel and one aluminum layer inside. The silicon mats look somewhat different compared to these variants but also are considered as a type of this bakeware.
The thickness of the bottom and sides also can vary and that is very important as far as the heavier the pan the more durable it is. Otherwise it can warp when heated too much. Though this drawback does not impact the cooking but spoil the looks. The people who know recommend to spread the foods evenly across the surface and heat a sheet pan gradually to escape warping.
Well, when are they used? Of course, the baking sheets are perfect for homemade desserts. You can bake marvelous cookies and cakes for a crowd in no time using them. It is easy to make a large pie or biscuit. Do you like macarons or meringues? The baking tray allows you cooking them in a proper way without harsh. Although you can bake anything you want on it if the recipe agrees. There are the deep pans which are more appropriate for some dishes, but the fried potato, crispy chicken or bacon, juicy veal or vegies are prepared easily on baking trays. Such features like shape, size, and material will do matter if you want to be sure how your dishes turn out.
Types of Baking Sheets
- Metal baking dishes are probably the most popular ones and to tell you the truth the professional cooks prefer right them or if to narrow down – they prefer the aluminum ones. But still the tastes differ that is why we are going to discuss all of those which are marketed. The kind of metal is important here as you understand.
- Even being reactive, the aluminum is the most common choice in this case. It is a perfect heat conductor that is why it provides even baking of foods, especially it is good for desserts. It will last you for a long time. But if it is too light and thin, it can warp. As we have mentioned already it can contact with acidic foods like tomatoes. Moreover, it can change the color and taste of the juicy foods as far as the bare aluminum can leak into the food that is why the desserts are the best purpose for it. If you want to take advantage of the beneficial properties of this material which are even heat distribution and low price but you would like to escape its undesired features, you’d better consider anodized aluminum which is covered with a thin non-stick coating preventing leaking and other cons. In addition, it is easy to clean.
- Stainless steel is known with its non-reactivity but unfortunately its conductivity is very low. Still it is versatile due to its durability, safety, inertness. You can bake anything on such a sheet but still you should be ready that acid and salty content can cause some undesired result. Even stainless steel can rust. Here the particular care is required.
- Silicone baking mats are very handy. You can use them to cover almost any pans and prevent the foods from sticking and burning. It is the ultimate nonstick and durable material. It tolerates the low and high temperature as well as the rapid change of it. You can place it even in freezer with ready-to-cook food for example and then when it is needed you can put a mat into the preheated oven without any concerns. Though you should understand that this material doesn’t conduct heat very well that is why if you use it together with aluminum and expect of the dish to be ready in particular time, you’d better increase the recipe time and keep the process under control.
Now when you understand the peculiarities of the material and choose one of them or buy some sheet pans for various purposes, you should know how you are expected to maintain them in order to last its service life.
So, how to clean aluminum baking sheets? While you are involved in frequent cooking and prepare the greasy dishes using an aluminum baking sheet, you can wash it with warm water every time you use it. But sometimes it is not enough, because the nasty brown and black marks appear which cannot be removed just with some soapy water. In order to get the baking sheet back to its initial shiny look, you should make efforts to clean it in a proper way. There are some ways to make it sparkling but we describe the easiest method. When a sheet gets cool after heating, wash it as usual removing the grease or evident dirt. Now add some baking soda on the surface, then pour hydrogen peroxide on it and again sprinkle this mix with soda. Take a sponge and rub the pan with a kind of wet pasta you have which will clean the aluminum surface after thorough wiping. Finally, you should wash and dry it. That is not easy but efficient.
The steel baking sheet is very convenient but it is characterized with a range of features which cause difficulties. First of all, it can rust. The best way to avoid this is to dry the pan properly after washing.
Now let’s consider our standard situation when the pan made of steel is dirty after cooking. You know that disappointing moment when you take the browned tasty cookies out of the oven transferring them from the baking sheet to a dish and notice that the pan is full of crumbs, burnt marks, and brown patches which are almost impossible to be removed. But it is not so difficult as it seems. You should apply the method which we are going to describe here. You should use the same baking soda. Take the pan, wash it with water, then take wet soda and apply this paste on the surface evenly. Leave as it is for about thirty minutes. Now take the sponge and rub the pan until it becomes clean. This substance has the soft abrasive texture which will gently remove all the stains. Mind that the scrubber should not be abrasive. When it is done, wash the tray again and dry carefully as we have already said.
The silicon mats are used to prevent sticking of the foods to the metal bottom of baking sheet and thus they protect it from becoming dirt. Being made of inert material they are high-heat and stain resistant. Its non-porous surface does not accumulate the grease and odors. That is why they are easily cleaned with warm soapy water. There is even no sense in using scrubbers. It goes without saying that they are not corrosive and can be soaked in water for a long time without undesired consequences. Even after intensive use they look like at the beginning. But if your mat gets pretty oily and dirty, you can apply soda as well following the above recommendations.
Wash the mat under hot running water then generously sprinkle baking soda all over the surface and rub it. If the baking soda is too dry, you can add some more water to make a paste. After spreading let it work without your participation for about 20 minutes. At last rinse it using hot water and dry the clean bakeware with a soft towel. In order to refresh the mats and to remove oil completely you can use a lemon juice sprinkling it all over the pan and leave it for ten minutes. Another method is to soak mats in very hot water adding a little bit of grease-fighting dish soap. Leave it here during 20 minutes. But use the soap intended to clean the tough stains and the piping hot water. You should put on kitchen gloves, in order not to burn your hands, and scrub the surfaces clean without taking the mats from the water. Then rinse and dry with a towel. If it is needed, repeat the procedure again.
As you see the soda is a very efficient substance for cleaning of the above types of baking sheets. But are there any additional methods?
If you want to clean rust from baking sheets, you can use a potato with the above baking soda. You should cut the vegetable in half and dip the wet end in a baking soda. You can use a dish soap instead of soda. Now rub the potato over the place with corrosion and you will see that the rust will be removed due to oxalic acid. When you feel there is a need, slice off the end again and repeat the procedure.
Of course, it is possible to apply dish detergent. But the above methods are time-proved and help to achieve the needed result easily. Take into consideration that the aluminized steel is tough enough and can be scrubbed intensively, so you can use a scouring pad or a sponge with a rough side. Even the steel wool is ok, though it may leave scratches. The baking sheets made of bare aluminum should be cleaned with a gentler scrubber though the methods can be the same. The non-stick surfaces should be cleaned carefully in order not to damage the coating.
It is important to remember that if you wash your bakeware thoroughly after every use, it will be clean for a long time. In this way you prevent build-up of grease and food residue. You should avoid contact with food when it is possible using parchment paper or aluminum foil to cover the working surface and protect it from getting dirt. There is another concern – rusting. You are advised to coat a sheet with a light layer of oil. That will help to prevent rusting. It is very important to dry baking trays immediately after washing with water. And even if the producers indicate that the bakeware is dish washer friendly, clean it by hand. The chemical substances and continuous contact with water make rusting more probable.
As we have already said the baking sheets are versatile tools in a professional and home kitchen. They can be used intensively. There are various cooking methods which are available. In order to ensure durability and decrease your costs for replacing the worn-out pans, you should take care of them. We have suggested several methods based on the simple things you have in your kitchen.
Now you know how to clean cookie sheets with baking soda and peroxide. To clean aluminum you can also apply vinegar, ammonia, cream of Tartar – all these methods are affordable and easy. But you should avoid them for non-stick surfaces – in this case only soda is allowed. If you are tired to clean the burnt marks and use inconvenient parchment paper, try the silicone baking mats which are safe and environmentally friendly improving the baking process and protecting the pans form grease and oil. But you should clean them too what is much easier compared to the trays made of metal. And it is much less expensive meaning that you can afford replacing it as often as you want. You can purchase a few different mats for various situations.
In general, you can buy any kind of baking sheet and be sure that you will manage to maintain it properly. Here there is a wide choice of the trays made of various material.