Silicone bakeware carries the reputation that it does not adhere to foods, so it offers easy release of baked goods. Officially, you do not have to grease, butter or apply any type of non-stick spray in order to use the bakeware; however, expert and anecdotal opinions on the topic vary. Kansas State University's Research and Extension website suggests that the pans need no coating of fat, while consumer experiences and Consumer Reports Magazine suggest that food does stick without the addition of a layer of oil or cooking spray, and frequently sprayed silicone pans developed a tacky coating in Consumer Reports testing.
Silicone bakeware performs well in both the high temperatures of the oven and low temperatures of the freezer. Additionally, the bakeware can go from the freezer to the oven without worry of damage. The maximum temperature rating for each piece depends on the piece and manufacturer, but silicone is generally safe to just over 204 degrees Celsius. This type of bakeware is not for use over an open flame. The material is quick to cool and fast to heat, offering excellent heat distribution and the ability to quickly stop the cooking process so your dishes don't overcook.
Silicone bakeware is inexpensive, lightweight and comes in a range of brilliant colours. The pieces hold their colour without fading and won't chip like glass or ceramic cookware or rust like metal. Silicone pans are microwave- and dishwasher-safe and clean easily by hand. The pans hold their shape, so you can compact the pieces for storage. You can store food in the pans; silicone does not hold food aromas or carry flavours over from dish to dish.
Silicone bakeware is made of FDA-approved food-grade silicone. When buying, you should look for pans that are genuine and high-quality, as not all pans sold as silicone are 100 per cent silicone, warns the Kansas State University Research and Extension. You can twist bakeware that claims to be silicone to check the material. If the material turns white, your pan is not true silicone, according to the extension service.
The Missouri Cooperative Extension notes that silicone bakeware will not release unsafe compounds when heated. This fact makes it a better choice than bakeware using Teflon coatings for those who worry about the health implications associated with Teflon non-stick products.
Silicone bakeware is very flexible and may take some getting used to, particularly when transferring hot contents or very full moulds between the oven and work surfaces. Companion racks and sleds are available to help in manoeuvring larger silicone pieces, but you can simply place your silicone pan on top of a baking tray for ease of handling. You may need to adjust the amount of ingredients needed per pan or mould to have some baked goods rise sufficiently, and you may need to adjust your cooking times and oven temperatures for better results.
Consumer Reports tested a selection of silicone bakeware items and found that the pieces produced unevenly browned food and sagging pans caused misshapen food. Delicate baked goods may also be damaged by improper handling. You should remove food by twisting the bakeware or pulling it away at the sides.