This guide aims to help you get to grips with the basics of bakeware, looking at the variety of baking tins and trays available to create a whole host of different cakes and bakes, as well as the range of materials you can expect to find them constructed of!
There isn’t just a single material used to create bakeware. In fact, different materials are favoured for different types of baking tins and trays due to their individual properties. Some bakes require a longer time in the oven on a lower heat, while others need to be zapped on high in a matter of minutes. Some materials conduct heat well, while others are extra durable and corrosion-resistant. What material will suit your bakes best?
Aluminium baking tins are lightweight, yet durable, strong and excellent conductors – heating up extremely well, cakes and biscuits are often evenly baked in these containers. This material is a favourite amongst bakers due to its easy release and cleaning properties. There are two types of aluminium tins available to buy: dark coloured or light coloured. Light tins are ideal for cakes and biscuits that don't require browning, while dark tins are best for heavyweight bakes. It's recommended to hand wash this type of bakeware.
Perfect for baking on a gentle heat for long periods of time, ceramic bakeware slowly conducts heat for even bakes. This very heavyweight material is especially ideal for baking pies as it ensures a steady heat flow throughout the filling, without burning the crust. Multifunctional, this pretty bakeware can also be used to store and serve food.
Glass bakeware is transparent, so it allows you to see the contents during the baking process. Glass bakeware can be a little temperamental, however, so it's best to use it on lower temperatures – it's important to not exceed the temperature stated on the manufacturer's instructions. It must be left to cool before doused in cold water or put in a freezer. Hand wash carefully – be careful not to scrape with sharp utensils.
Non-stick tins are generally made from either aluminium or steel, then coated with a special substance that prevents the mixture from sticking to the sides. Strong and durable, these tins allow for easy cake release. Perfect for baking at an even temperature for long periods of time, they are easy to clean and safe for dishwasher use, but it's important that you don't use a scour while cleaning as you'll scratch off the precious coating!
Silicone is a very different material in comparison to metal, glass and ceramic as it's very lightweight and flexible – but don't be fooled by its soft exterior! This durable material is heat-resistant to over 300°C and its thin consistency means that it can conduct heat at an even and quick pace. Silicone bakeware is renowned for its ability to release bakes easily, preventing the cake sticking to its sides. Often found moulded into a variety of interesting shapes, silicone cleans really easily in the dishwasher.
Although durable and resistant to corrosion and scratching, stainless steel tins can be prone to producing soggy bottoms and burnt edges as it struggles to conduct heat more than other bakeware materials. You should always ensure that you grease your tins well and use good quality lining to help prevent this as much as possible. Stainless steel tins can be used in the dishwasher.
Tin is a lightweight material that is great at conducting heat, allowing for even baking. Fairly resistant to corrosion as long as the surface isn't damaged, this material is now seen as quite dated in the baking world. As tin is quite light, it's not well suited to heavier bakes and isn't suitable for the dishwasher.
A combination of strong steel and easy release tin, tinned steel baking tins are very durable in strength, however the tin coating is prone to wearing away over time. Generally not suited to dishwasher use, always ensure your tin is dried properly and carefully.
To help you decide which bakeware material you should use when baking, we’ve put together a little chart to compare each material’s weight, quality issues and cleaning advice.
|Material||Weight||Quality Issues||Cleaning Advice|
||Lightweight||Can rust over time.||Line with greaseproof paper or non-stick spray before use. Receommended to hand wash and dry thoroughly. Soak with warm, soapy water to remove any dried bakes.|
||Very heavyweight||Can crack over time.||If glazed, this material is generally easier to clean. Wipe first before washing to loosen any dried bakes stuck to the sides/bottom. Usually dishwasher safe.|
||Heavyweight||Easily breakable - handle with care.||Leave to cool before dousing in cold water. Hand wash carefully - do not scrape with sharp untensils.|
||Lightweight||Non-stick coating can wear off over time.||Easy to clean. Safe for dishwasher use. Do not use a scour or an abrasive sponge.|
||Very lightweight and flexible||Repeated dishwasher cycles can eventually wear down the silicone.||Easy to clean in the dishwasher - food releases easily. Basic shapes are easier to clean than those with intricate cavities and designs.|
||Lightweight||Resistant to corrosion and scratching, however can rust or discolour over time.||Dishwasher safe. Avoid using abrasives to clean. Ensure to dry properly after washing.|
||Lightweight||Fairly resistant to corrosion as long as the coating is not damaged - look after carefully.||Hand wash only. Dry immediately with a soft tea towel after washing.|
||Lightweight||The tin coating can wear away over time, although tinning prevents rust to an extent.||Not suited to dishwasher use. Ensure to dry properly and carefully after washing.|