QI know its important to use the right size pan for baking and cooking, but does it really matter what material the pan is made out of? Is it better to use glass or metal?
Paying close attention to the size of the pans specified in recipe is so important. It can have a big effect on the cooking time and texture of some recipes. And, yes, as you probably guessed, the type of pan you use does, too.
In the Test Kitchen, we use both glass and metal bakeware, but we use them for particular purposes. Glass is a very good heat conductor. It’s great for savory casseroles like our Chicken with Tiny Biscuits and for pies, like our delicious, summery Strawberry Rhubarb Pie. We also use it for cobblers and bread pudding.
We don’t use glass, however, for sweets with a very high sugar content, like cakes and bars, because those things will tend to burn before they are cooked through. Do you also have some pretty ceramic casserole and pie dishes? Go ahead and use them interchangeably with glass.
For tarts, cakes, quick breads (like our Cinnamon Banana Bread) and other sweets (like these S’mores Bars), we use metal pans. You’ve probably noticed there are lots of different kids of metal pans out there. Look for ones that are light in color and shiny; they will help your bars and your bread brown evenly. Dark metal pans can make foods brown too fast. Avoid using any kind of metal pan if you’re making a savory dish like lasagna or anything else high in acid. The acid will react with the metal and leave off flavors in your dish.
How can you tell which kind of pan we use for our Land O’Lakes recipes? That’s easy. When you see the words “baking pan” that means a metal pan, while “baking dish” means a glass or ceramic dish.
Thanks for your question, Tracy! I’m sure lots of other people were wondering, as well.