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sil-ecokitchenconservatory2_t.jpgJennifer asks, “When would I use parchment paper vs. greasing the pan? Are they interchangeable? Thanks!”

Parchment paper is a wonderful tool for baking: food easily slides off the paper after baking. Parchment paper is not the same as wax paper, which should not be used in the oven. Parchment paper is available in a roll, loose sheets (16×24 inches), and pre-cut parchment circles which are fabulous for cake pans (available in 8-inch, 9-inch, and 10-inch circles, packages of 25).

When possible, I always choose parchment paper over greasing the pan — cleanup is so much easier and the food is perfectly released. Greasing the pan is necessary for fluted bundt cake pans. Although these pans feature a nonstick finish, extra greasing helps release the cake. I do not recommend using a spray on any nonstick pan or skillet; the aerosol sprays build up on the finish and actually makes a nonstick sticky. I like to heavily grease the bundt cake pans with soft butter or shortening. Then refrigerate the pan so that the fat sticks to the pan.

Popover pans need to be heavily greased (I like to use beef fat or duck fat for flavor) and cupcake and muffin pans need cup liners; cupcake liners come in so many colorful styles! Some pans never need to be greased because the flaky short pastry does not stick to the pan: pie plates, tart pans, quiche pans, springform pans, and tart pans with removable bottoms.

In lieu of flat parchment sheets, nonstick silicone liners are wonderful, especially for very sticky foods (meringues and lace cookies). The silicone baking sheets can be re-used thousands of times and can be washed with soapy water or in the dishwasher. I love to use the silicone liner for roasting vegetables, baking fish, or making any kind of pastry. I am so excited by our newest silicone liner: it features our beautiful Kitchen Conservatory whisking logo in our favorite food colors of purple eggplant and green asparagus. Plus, we are offering this exclusive liner at a special low price of $14.95. Every cook can use an extra liner, so the Kitchen Conservatory baking mat would fit in all stockings.

May your cakes and cookies always release with ease!

4 Comments for “To Grease or Not To Grease”  

  1. Cindy Puzio


    You didn’t talk about how to use parchment paper when you bake bread on a stone or if you just use cornmeal. Also, what about Christmas cookies?

  2. Chef

    Great questions! When I bake bread on a stone, I form the bread (or pizza) on the parchment paper, let rise, then use the pizza peel to transfer to the hot stone in the 500-degree oven. After about 1-2 minutes, I open the oven door and remove the parchment paper so that the bread is directly on the stone. The paper will easily slide out. I bake Christmas cookies on parchment paper or on the silicone pan liners.

  3. Anonymous

    Have purchased my 2nd expensive popover pan, used first one several months then popovers stuck. Greased each time and washed in soap and water after use. Is there anything I can do before using new pan as I don’t want to have purchase one every few months.

  4. Chef

    Several suggestions:
    1. Do not use nonstick spray (like Pam). Nonstick surfaces hate nonstick spray. The aerosol spray gums up and the “nonstick” pan is never nonstick again.
    2. Liberally coast the pan with fat: butter, beef fat, chicken fat, duck fat, or pork fat. I melt the fat, then use a pastry brush to make sure I coat the sides, then put another spoonful in the bottom of each cup.
    3. I never wash my popover pans. I wipe them out with a paper towel and they are ready to use for the next batch of popovers.