The Promise of Things New
I have been using silicone pans in soap making for quite some time and I love them! The ones I have came from a company that sells commercial baking supplies and they were quite pricy. I decided on them knowing they would last a good long time considering the abuse I give them often when making soap. Mine were made is Spain, not China. LeKue is the brand name. I also have several Wilton silicone pans in several shapes.
While poking around the kitchen store the other day I ran across silicone bread pans and brought two of them home with me. All the brightly colored pans look very festive and fun to have around the kitchen. I tried baking in them for the first time over the weekend.
After about 5 minutes in the oven I noticed a “funny” smell coming from the oven and convinced myself the pans were the cause. They must be melting in the oven and letting off toxic fumes. (Here is where I turned on the kitchen fan and threw open both doors and a couple of windows just in case.) After I calmed down I discovered a bit of paper from the stick of butter stuck to the underside of the pan. Phew, that made me feel better.
Now I realize there is a huge difference in plastic, rubber and silicone. I set out to find information about the safety of silicone in baking pans. I clearly remember the ill effects it had on women who had breast implants. I know– not the same thing at all. I have been using a silicone spatula here for a couple of years now and I love the thing for scrambling eggs in the cast iron frying pan and scraping bowls. It works much better than the rubber one I had that I needed to trim often because it melted.
As it turns out silicone has been used in Europe and the commercial baking industry here in the US and is well liked. Here in the US our FDA tells us it okay and safe for baking. I find conflicting reports that I think are mostly opinion as there have been no solid studies done on the safety of silicone here in the US. I found nothing about it at the usual green sites I frequent. And yes I know our FDA also told us teflon was safe too at one point. Here is a link I found talking about silicone safety.
Here is what I discovered about my kitchen store pan (the only ones I have baked in):
- No greasing or oiling required according to the label-this is good to reduce fat in our diet, even if by the tiniest amount. My pan however even with 1.5 cups of butter in the batter should have been greased. My cake came out in chunks and stuck everywhere.
- my cake popped out easily. None of the banging on the counter when using some metal pans. It did stick to the pan.
- Appeared to heat quickly and cooked evenly.
- A couple of minutes out of the oven the pan was cool to touch above the cake line in the pan.
- safe for freezer, fridge and oven. I don’t know about microwave.
- easy to wash up
- easy to store, they fold but the Yankee in me says to store them as they are, less they might warp.
- Won’t rust or warp according to the label.
- It was suggested to support the pan by setting it on a baking sheet. Seems some of them can be flimsy and collapse when full of batter. Mine didn’t seem to bother or bend much.
The only company here in the US that manufactures silicone pans is Silicone Solutions that I could find.
Also from what I am reading you want to use only silicone bakeware that is listed as 100% food safe. Also it was noted that not all silicone baking pans are made of 100% silicone, the way to find out is to read the label and by giving the pan a twist to see if white shows through the color, an indication that other materials were used.
Back to the pans I got from the kitchen store. They are clearly not a thick as the commercial LeKue pans I have but seem thicker than the Wilton pans. When I twist them I can see white showing through the color even though the label on the said 100% food grade silicone. The LeKue pans also show white when twisted as do the Wilton pans. All of them were labeled to be 100% silicone and food safe/quality.
Since silicone is made from silica (sand) and oxygen I’m not all that worried about the material being safe to use around food as say teflon or other plastics. I think every material has some degree of being potentially harmful. Even wood, pottery, aluminum and steel. I remember when we had to get rid of my Grandmother beloved and very large (service for 18) collection of vintage Fieastaware because the glaze contained lead. I also remember several wooden spoons we had to part with because the finish ended up not being food grade after many years of use in my mother’s kitchen.
I have been on the hunt for non-coated baking pans for a few months now and have had no luck in finding them. Can you not get them anymore? My bread pans I bought only 2 years ago are now hard to clean and turn rusty between uses. I’m hoping the silicone might be the answer to my pan wooes. The verdict is still out though. They are a keeper for the soap, no question about that.
I trip to Tractor Supply yesterday and I couldn’t resist the chicks. The Delaware chicks won’t be here until mid June and the ever pressing desire for our own fresh eggs “forced” me to bring these cute little ones home. They assured me they were Golden Comet AND pullets. I already knew they were fast to mature and start laying very early.
After reading about them they are a sex-link bird, meaning they are a cross breed bird and can be sexed at birth by their color. I’m reading the pullets are a brown/golden color and the roos are a creamy yellow. I called them back this morning and the chicks can not be returned. I explained to the guy what I found and all he can say is they are marked by the hatchery and that is what the birds are. To add to the frustration he also told me that just this morning they received an order of New Hampshire Red pullets….ERRRR the breed I wanted yesterday but settled on the Golden Comets because I have heard many good things about them. (The black one in here is a Black Sex-link so I know that one is supposed to look different.)
So I’ll keep my fingers crossed that they are indeed pullets and not roos as the info I found in my chicken book and on line suggests. All in all they are so very cute and Daisy is loving them up. When they get older I’ll make a decision as to what to do with them. Today I would like to return to Tractor Supply for the NH Reds, lets see what Dick thinks….
Over the weekend Dick and I tore apart the old raised garden bed we built last year to move the timbers down to the kitchen garden area. He moved all of the soil and mixed in some composted manure for me. It’s all sitting in a nice pile until its time to add it to the new raised beds. Its a good start. Today the sun is back out and I hope to find time to work on the garden beds more. Daisy is still not feeling well and we have another doctor appointment today, so we shall see how that goes.