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Non toxic baking gear?

 
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I was wondering if anyone had recommendations for baking tins and sheets that aren't made from aluminium or coated in some weird suspicious coating that will probably start to chip off in a few years?

I had a look in a kitchen shop recently and found stainless steel serving trays - are these likely to warp in the oven because they're designed for serving rather than baking? Has anyone successfully used these for baking?

One thing I use a lot is an enameled cast iron roasting tin. I use this for big sheet pan cakes and slices as well as roasting, shallow frying, and cooking lots of things.

Has anyone found a non-toxic buy-it-for-life springform pan or cookie sheet?

What is your favourite non-toxic baking gear?
 
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I use pizza pans as cookie sheets. They’re all aluminum, no coatings and why have pizza pans and sheet pans too? If you don’t want aluminum at all of course this won’t help.

Otherwise, try your local restaurant supply store maybe? Many of them have a used section and will let the public buy from them. Some don’t though.
 
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Williams-Sonoma has stainless steel baking pans much like those we used in the bakeries, where I've worked - but, they're pricey: https://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/usa-pan-traditional-half-sheet-pan/?catalogId=66&sku=1984343&cm_ven=PLA&cm_cat=Google&cm_pla=Bakeware%20%3E%20Cookie%20Sheets%20%26%20Baking%20Sheets&cm_ite=1984343&gclid=CjwKCAiAuK3vBRBOEiwA1IMhuk2iyVGh6dhSXyJRrADAzKwopYT8R0idFF7gufJmGOQOApeqV4DK6xoCD28QAvD_BwE

For a (MUCH) less expensive way to go, a restaurant supply store is the most affordable, yet durable. The key to the supply stores is understanding how the gauges work. Frankly, it's much like the wire fencing - the thicker the metal, the lower the number. So, the heaviest duty will be those with the lowest guage number. I've not used this site, because with both of us coming out of pro kitchens, we haven't needed any, in a very long time, but you can see what I'm talking about, and they might ship internationally:
https://www.webstaurantstore.com/search/baking-pans.html
 
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I had success making pies in cast iron skillets
20191127_125956-1008x756.jpg
Cast iron skillet pies
Cast iron skillet pies
 
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We use stainless steel for sheets and Pyrex or cast iron Dutch ovens for anything that needs better containment. It's really easy to find old Pyrex in "antique" shops if you don't mind mismatched patterns.
 
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I personally have used stoneware baking sheets for years instead of the metal ones, and I LOVE them. (pizza stones work, too). I have a round one and a rectangular one-- and while they are a bit heavier, I feel as though the cook is much more even.

Plus, they're non-toxic.
 
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I saw a comment about aluminum, I have not used that for any kind of cooking or baking. There is much information out there to show what aluminum cooking and baking does to one's health. I like the options of steel and stoneware personally.

I like Jill's suggestion of stoneware I will look into that for my new purchase. For years I used heavy-duty steel bakeware. It was worth the price. Mine has lasted 20 years and now needs to be replaced due to a roommate misusing them, sigh. At least with stoneware, a person can not damage the pan unless they drop it.

A good quality steel pan is very forgiving and cleans up well. A green scotch pad can clean them easily. Of course, I use mine as a baking sheet only for cookies, flatbread cheese melts, pizzas etc. I use glassware/pyrex for pies and cakes.

When I was on my homestead I would use the steel baking sheet on my woodstove with no warping issues. Of course, you do not want a high heat. A person can also put a cooking rack under the pan. I actually cooked like that for the first 2 years. After the stove got hot and cooled a bit, I use a laser temperature gun to check the heat on top of the stove. I would aim for the top of the stove to be around 350-400F. Place my baking cooling rack than my baking pan on top, or fry pan and put a cover over the whole thing. This would mimic an oven. It would bake cookies so nicely.

The photo is a picture of my baking sheet. You can see how the pan turned black on the sides. The roommate used steel wool and scratched it quite badly.

IMG_20191209_111015.jpg
steel baking sheet
steel baking sheet
 
Kate Downham
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Jill Winger wrote:I personally have used stoneware baking sheets for years instead of the metal ones, and I LOVE them. (pizza stones work, too). I have a round one and a rectangular one-- and while they are a bit heavier, I feel as though the cook is much more even.

Plus, they're non-toxic.



Those sound like a good idea. Do you find you need to bake cookies for a bit longer on these to account for the stone taking longer to heat up than a metal sheet? And does anything weird happen when you use a hot/warm stone from the oven to bake another batch on it right away?
 
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stainless pans work great, serving pan, baking pan both work equally well, that's mostly what I use, got a bunch of em repurposed from scrap yard, they clean perfectly with degreaser or vinegar and last forever, I've read that you should not use those scrubbing pads that can double as sandpaper cuz what gets sanded off can be problematic. what most folks don't know is that goodwill and large places like that send truckloads of donated stuff to scrapyards for the pennies per pound that they can get, stainless, brass, steel, etc.
 
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From what I’ve read there’s nothing toxic about aluminium for cooking or baking.
 
Carla Burke
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I also don't use aluminum baking or cookware. There is to much Alzheimer's in my family, and that link has been made, so I'm not taking any chances.

Stoneware cooks beautifully, Kate. I've never added extra time, or changed temps. I love what I have, but probably won't buy more, simply because with my arthritis & cts, they're getting more and more difficult for me to safely work with.
 
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Quick tip on unglazed stone ware: don't use soap--if you use soap on one that isn't seasoned, it can get into the pores and take FOREVER for your cookies to stop tasting like Dawn.
 
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I love stoneware, too. It's heavy, but that's the reason it's so easy to find in thrift stores. I guess the one's who bought it back in the pampered chef days of the '90s are getting arthritis about now. :)
 
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I'm a big fan of black iron for baking, and I once had some great black iron bread pans with folded ends. The bread never stuck and always had a yummy crust.

In Goodwill in the US I've found cast iron muffin or popover pans.

Sheet iron from a welding shop, with one or more edges bent up to a slight angle would be great for cookie sheets. I'm scheming to go to a welding shop and get some made, since the only baking sheets I could find here, even on amazon.in, was too small, aluminum, and with sides bent up too sharply.

For the purpose of a pizza stone, I got a "cast iron dosa tawa" which is a very heavy circular flat thing about 14 inches in diameter. It's meant for stovetop use to make South Indian dosa pancakes, but I keep it in the oven and bake loaves of bread straight on it, or use it as a pizza stone. My South Indian sometime housemate complains that leaving it in the oven dries out the oils so it's not good for dosas, and truly I love it when he makes dosas, but oh man I really love it for bread! The only cast iron dosa tawa I see on amazon.com (ie USA) is labelled at an exorbitant $55. But considering it works just like a pizza stone but with little or no risk of breaking if dropped, it might be worth it. Mine didn't cost anywhere near that much here in India.
 
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wayne fajkus wrote:I had success making pies in cast iron skillets



I have a Facebook friend from my college days who owns a genuine cast iron pie pan.  She swears by it, but she does recommend removing sticky oozy acidic fruit pies to another container for storage, lest the pie create and pick up a bit of rust.  (Non toxic, probably good for you, but unsightly and in excess, metallic flavored.)  
 
Dan Boone
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Rebecca Norman wrote:In Goodwill in the US I've found cast iron muffin or popover pans.



I am surprised there isn't more love in this thread for cast iron baking gear.  I grew up eating muffins from a cast iron muffin pan; I was shocked the first time I saw a tinny steel one.  Nothing beats cast iron for good even heat and browning.

There exist cast iron bundt pans, although cast aluminum ones are more common.

Throughout the southern parts of the USA, one often find cast iron cornbread pans built like muffin pans, only the holes are shaped like half-sized ears of corn.  It's cute but it works!

I have a cast iron casserole pan that would work wonderfully as a rectangular cake pan, only it's enameled and it came to me with chips in the enamel, so I use it for decorative plant stuff.  

 
Dan Boone
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Several people have mentioned Pyrex, which is one of several brands of ovensafe glass.  Unlike cast iron, which people tend to price highly even on the used market, I see endless amounts of Pyrex pie dishes and rectangular baking dishes in many sizes at garage sales, usually priced at a buck or two.  Old ovensafe glass does sometime get rough-looking from repeated contact with abrasive cleansers, but it works great for baking.  You can even find ramekins (little cups) made from Pyrex, designed for baking custards; if you pick a shape that works for you and arrange them on a cookie sheet, you could use these like a muffin pan.  
 
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I've had a hard time finding stainless steel baking sheets that don't warp in the oven. I'm using a stainless paella pan now and that's working really well. It seems like the quality of the steel paella pans is higher than other baking sheets I could find.
 
Jill Winger
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Those sound like a good idea. Do you find you need to bake cookies for a bit longer on these to account for the stone taking longer to heat up than a metal sheet? And does anything weird happen when you use a hot/warm stone from the oven to bake another batch on it right away?



Maybe a minute or two longer, but not much. They do a great job of NOT burning the bottoms of biscuits/cookies as well, which I greatly appreciate.

And there's usually not a problem using a warm stone again immediately for a next batch-- you may need to reduce the cook time by 1-3 minutes, but that's it.
 
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What a coincidental thread - i'm thinking about this too. I use a lot of thrift store/garage sale pyrex and corningware for baking, but find it's heavy and my arthritis causes me to drop and shatter at least three things a year. I would love to find decent stainless steel, like the restaurant grade stuff my parents had when I was growing up.

I've been using my mom's old muffin tins, loaf pans, and cake pans since I left home - she inherited most of them from her aunt, who died before I was born, and got them when she was moving out... I started to worry about the potential lead content and metal leaching in 50+ year old bakewear that tastes like metal if I leave stuff in it too long.

I just went out and bought silicone muffin cups a few days ago. The silicone was on sale, so I also purchased silicone sheets to replace parchment paper, which has plastic on it.  I do wonder about leaching of the dyes etc.

I bought aluminum cookie sheets a few years ago to replace the icky teflon ones that i never wanted to use. I'm not thrilled with the aluminum - they scratch very easily and discolour easily. And, of course, a few weeks after I purchased them, I read about the potential health issues with aluminum. So far I am uncertain about the silicone - it's great because it's very easy to remove things once they are cooked, however you need to put them on a cookie sheet because of how floppy they are.

Still to replace are: loaf pans and cake pans - appreciate any suggestions, otherwise I may just go with silicone.  I'd also love a new enameled oven safe pot, and have been scouring thrift stores/garage sales for years, but at $75 and up for new ones, I'm going to keep dreaming for quite a while yet!!!
 
Carla Burke
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Catie, like you, I'm struggling with the weight of the heavier options, and starting to experiment with silicone. So far, I have a few things - cupcake tin liners, a loaf pan, a few candy/petite fours molds, 2 donut pans, and a 'brownie bar' mold pan. The loaf pan has a reinforced bottom, sides, and corners, and holds its shape well, but I still use a stainless cookie sheet, underneath. I'm seriously considering replacing my ridiculously expensive, still in great shape cake pans too, because we've discovered that hubs is extremely allergic to chromium - which comprises about 20% of the content of stainless steel. Yup. It's a thing. And, it can be a deadly allergy. And hubs is a retired chef - so, my pans are a potentially very hazardous problem.

Yet, I worry about the degradation of the silicone. They're not, imho, a very sustainable option, simply because I've seen how silicone degrades. It essentially crumbles. I don't think it's something our bodies can digest, but that still puts it out there, in the environment, as it goes through us. On the other hand, the primary degradation I've seen had been almost exclusively in the super thin masks that are part of the equipment on our cpaps. The kitchen stuff is made of much tougher stuffs, and I've had silicone spatulas that lasted in excess of a decade, only becoming unusable after a certain ex 'forgot' to remove it from the blender, before turning the blender on. Ahem. (That was from pampered chef, btw.) So, my feelings on the silicone are a mixed bag. Right now, I'm hesitantly/reluctantly going for it.

(Edited to add: his allergy is contact, and food cooked in the stainless isn't a problem, but touching the stainless is. Also, the reason I'm still recommending stainless, for lighter weight baking pans, rather than silicone, is because while it seems to be working, just fine, I'm not ready to trust it, under normal situations. Our situation is atypical, as this allergy is rare, and this husband is & actually wants to continue being the primary chef, in our home. We only pieced together what the allergy is, with the help of our doctor, and painstaking process of elimination - and finally figured it out, just a few years ago)
 
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A couple of years ago I stumble across some bake ware at a gift shop that I fell in love with.  I only bought the pie pan as I thought it was a little expensive.  It was $5.00 and it now sells for $13.00.  Later I looked back at the receipt to find the name: Granite Ware

Here is the link for it on Amazon:



Amazon Link for Granite Ware
 
Carla Burke
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YAASSSS!!! I always forget about that stuff, but I LOVE it! Reasonably priced, nice looking, long lasting, nontoxic, sturdy... Anne, you ROCK!!!
 
Pamela Smith
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Anne Miller wrote:A couple of years ago I stumble across some bake ware at a gift shop that I fell in love with.  I only bought the pie pan as I thought it was a little expensive.  It was $5.00 and it now sells for $13.00.  Later I looked back at the receipt to find the name: Granite Ware

Here is the link for it on Amazon:



Amazon Link for Granite Ware



I always research everything, I found there were concerns of lead and cadmium in some porcelain products and I did not get a straight answer for the graniteware so I went to a Canadian amazon, I am Canadian and found the true graniteware product. (There are lots of products that claim graniteware.) They clearly state the following "Carbon steel core provides excellent heat distribution, Naturally non-stick porcelain enamel surface
No PTFE, PFOA or harsh metals are used,Dishwasher and metal utensil safe"

This looks like an amazing product. I found all pieces were individul and mentioned sizes so you should get what you are buying.  Here is the Canadian link I used to get info. It is not an affiliate link, just a google link.

https://www.amazon.ca/Granite-Ware-0624-4-8-Inch-Browning/dp/B004ZKSQA2/ref=sr_1_16?keywords=granite+ware&qid=1576085663&sr=8-16

 
Rebecca Norman
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At the risk of being repetitive, black sheet iron folded into flat sheet pans or boxy baking pans is really great stuff, and for those with wrist/weight-carrying problems, not as heavy as the pyrex, cast iron, and graniteware options above (which I also think are great, if you are able to swing them around with ease). Black iron is just like cast iron in that cooked things don't stick to it. You keep it tempered and avoid rust just like cast iron. I find that stainless steel is pretty bad for things sticking, much worse than aluminum or black iron. Cast iron is thick and heavy, so not possible for people who can't carry swing things heavy things in and out of a hot oven comfortably, but of course complex rounded shapes like muffin tins can't be folded of sheet iron.

I also got those silicon muffin cups, and though I'm opposed to using such a plasticky thing, they really are great. I have been using them fairly frequently for a year and see no signs of degradation, cracking, scratching or other wear, so I don't think they are releasing bits into the food or the greywater. I've got some heavy cast iron muffin or popover tins from secondhand shops in the US stored with my stuff in the US, but every year I decide against using up so much of my luggage allowance on them, so they remain there in storage.

Does anyone here know why that silicon plasticky stuff is not called "plastic"? Is it just greenwashing, to catch people like us (it worked on me!) or is it actually not "plastic"?
 
Dan Boone
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Carla Burke wrote:YAASSSS!!! I always forget about that stuff, but I LOVE it! Reasonably priced, nice looking, long lasting, nontoxic, sturdy... Anne, you ROCK!!!



Growing up, the porcelain-coated thin steel ware  (enamelware is the generic non-branded name under which I am familiar with it) was what my family used for camping cookware and dishes.  This is a tradition going back at least 120 years -- at gold-rush era cabin sites on the Yukon, we'd find cups, bowls, coffee pots, and many other items made from the stuff.  The classic chuckwagon/cowboy coffee pot in old movies was usually this stuff.  

It's great -- lighter than anything else but aluminum and seemingly 100% nonreactive.  (There have been concerns about the metals in some glaze colors, but I dunno how established it ever was that the glaze materials might transport into food.) As late as the 1980s my family sold a complete line of the stuff in our hardware store as camping gear -- it was blue with white speckles and made in Mexico.  Coffee pots, cups, pie plates (works as plate or bowl in mining camp) and bowls were particularly popular.    

The one big issue with the stuff is that if it's dented, a small bit of enamel will chip off at the site of the dent.  That little bit of enamel is like a small flake of glass; you don't want to eat it.  And the black steel exposed underneath will eventually rust, until you have a hole in your enamelware.  The best solution is to make the stuff of heavier steel that's harder to dent -- the stuff they make nowadays is not as heavy as the stuff we were pulling out of 1900-era cabin sites.  The second-best solution is to handle with care; it takes quite a sharp blow to dent/chip the enamel.  
 
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