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Silicone baking/cooking stuff, good or bad?

 
pollinator
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Help!  I love the idea of silicone for the easy cleaning aspect, but worry it's not healthy,  or safe.  

So far I mostly have utensils, 'egg bite' trays (used in Instant Pot for crustless quiches), and this paper thin silicone copper colored,
flexible 'sheet' (not thick or rubbery) I use on baking/broiling pans, and in place of tin foil under the burner element in the toaster oven.

Supposedly, the test for true silicone is it should not "turn white" when stretched, the color should stay the same.  Is this true, any science folks out there who are familiar with this?

 
gardener
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I too had heard that silicone baking products are a better choice. So I bought some silicone muffin cups last year, since my family eats muffins regularly.

My experience with the silicone muffin cups is that they are very difficult to clean. It took time to get the muffin remnants out of each one, and since I make 12 at a time...I decided to find good-quality paper ones for future use (the "If You Care" brand of paper muffin cups).

Perhaps other silicone products (that don't have a zillion creases in them!) will be very useful.
 
pioneer
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Sigh. I really really *want* to love my slipat. But it's a pain to clean and flavors really linger. I've become disenchanted. Moving toward compostable parchment paper that gets 2-4 reuses before it hits the pile.
 
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I'm really not a fan of the stuff, for baking, other than the sheets you can put under cookies - think silpat. But, silicone, like plastic, clings to grease and oil, and once it sticks, my experience has been that it pretty much sticks every time, afterward. I use compostable, unbleached paper muffin cups, if possible - and usually only if I'm taking it somewhere, that seems important to have that paper barrier.
 
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I am really relieved to see everyone corroborating my experience. I still use the silpats for cookies, but I think for roasting anything else it kills the "roasty" taste. And they definitely hold smells.
My experience with muffin cups and bundt pans was exactly the same. I gave the muffin cups to my kid to use in soapmaking, and the bundt pan got given away. I would rather just grease/flour the heck out of a normal pan and wash it. It's got to save me some time.
I also am a serial reuser of parchment!!
 
Carla Burke
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Good point, Tereza!! I do like the silicone for soap making, if I want something in a specific shape. I've also used the cupcake ones for candle making, because making candles that look like a cupcake, complete with 'frosting' is very cute.

The one food thing I DO like them for, is fat bombs, for the keto diet. They freeze well, and as long as you pop them out while still frozen, the fats and smells don't seem to stick.
 
pollinator
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DW uses silicone pans for baking and says they work fine. We put them in the dishwasher. Washing by hand never seems to clean them as well as we would like.
 
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I like my silicone, but had to learn not to grease it. If I grease it, it becomes really hard to clean and seems to stick more.

Jury is out on if it is nontoxic, but my other muffin tins were inherited from my great aunt who died before I was born, and I worry about heavy metal leaching.
 
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I love silicon muffin cups, but I only use them for muffins so I never checked if subtle flavors/smells stick. They are smooth sided, not rippled, so that might be why I don't find them particularly hard to clean. Certainly easier than directly in the muffin tin! I haven't tried using paper liners. Sometimes I remove the silicon when the muffins are almost done and let them brown and crisp directly in the muffin tins. Yum! My favorite muffins are a banana bread type, and they go sublime with a crispy browned surface.

I also use silicon cake pans. They're flimsy so they have to go on a baking tray. I dunno, they seem to be the best option for not sticking. If in doubt, I grease it lightly with ghee and then dust lightly with flour, and the cake comes out neatly.

The muffin tins haven't discolored at all after many uses. The cake pans have. I used the cake pans and a silpat style flat mat for roasting tomatoes last summer in prep for canning them, and that did discolor them permanently. But I'm still using them.

I also like the silicon mat for rolling out, say, pie crust, and then lifting and placing it gently.

None of them appear to be eroding after heavy use for 2-4 years so I hope the material is not being ingested by us.
 
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Louise Berns wrote:Sigh. I really really *want* to love my slipat. But it's a pain to clean and flavors really linger. I've become disenchanted. Moving toward compostable parchment paper that gets 2-4 reuses before it hits the pile.



I don't care for my silpats. BUT, I found these 100% silicone mats. They're original purpose is for kids to use as a placemat. BUT, they're just silicone! And food doesn't stick to them. And I can throw them into my washing machine pretty easily. I use them to make peanut brittle, to bake fries and cheese and pretty much everything else on. So what if they have silly designs on them! They do the job, and they're cheap, and extremely durable. I've had mine for 4+ years and just bought three more.

silicone baking mats and placemats
Smooth silicone mats. They have cartoonish pictures on them, but I don't care!
nice and clear and smooth and flexible


Added bonus: They don't have fiberglass inside them! My silpats eventually started cracking apart, exposing the fiberglass fibers on the inside. ICK!

Rachel Lindsay wrote: I too had heard that silicone baking products are a better choice. So I bought some silicone muffin cups last year, since my family eats muffins regularly.

My experience with the silicone muffin cups is that they are very difficult to clean. It took time to get the muffin remnants out of each one, and since I make 12 at a time...I decided to find good-quality paper ones for future use (the "If You Care" brand of paper muffin cups).



I feel your pain! I bought 48 of those to use for birthdays, etc. But cleaning them is such a pain that I just bake everything in a 9x9 pan. It's not as fun-shaped, but at least I don't have to scrub out all those annoying creases!

I do have a silicone thing for making heart-shaped muffins, and that works a bit better, but only makes 6 muffins. When I looked years ago, I couldn't find any silicone muffin pans that just had smooth sides. But, looking just now, I spotted these smooth-sided muffin pans:

smooth sided silicone muffin pan. Looks like I could throw it into the dishwasher and not have to individually scrub them!

 
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I also find silicone a pain to clean, especially muffin liners.  In addition to what has already been stated, they are so floppy that you can't really push on them to clean them.  I've decided it's much easier to sprinkle a little baking soda on a pan and give it a little scrub.  It takes less time than trying to clean silicone.

The only thing I use silicone for food-wise (and I use them a lot) is for candy making.  It's so easier to pop gummies or chocolates from a silicone mold. They just need a quick rinse in hot soapy water because they don't leave any mess behind that I can ever see.  White chocolate leaves a greasy residue but I prefer dark chocolate anyway.

My kids like using silicone to make fun ice cubes and often steal my candy making molds to do so.
 
pollinator
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Help!  I love the idea of silicone for the easy cleaning aspect, but worry it's not healthy,  or safe.  



A lot of posts about ease or difficulty of cleaning but none about the safety.  I was looking forward to an answer as, like Lorrine, I am curious/anxious about how safe it is to use.  Any one knows??

 
Carla Burke
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Olga Booker wrote:

Help!  I love the idea of silicone for the easy cleaning aspect, but worry it's not healthy,  or safe.  



A lot of posts about ease or difficulty of cleaning but none about the safety.  I was looking forward to an answer as, like Lorrine, I am curious/anxious about how safe it is to use.  Any one knows??


This has been a long running concern for me, too - but finding definitive information on it is iffy, at best. The manufacture of silicone is not universal, so different manufacturers produce different qualities and use different chemical/material contents. I've no doubt that some use fillers - likely some rather questionable ones. Another reason I'm really not a fan, for most things, especially anything that is heated/ cooked in them.
 
Tereza Okava
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^^ this is what I have read as well- if you're finding cheap, no-name silicone you might not want to be baking in it at high heat. I spent an arm and a leg on my silpats, treat them like my antique car, and they're in great shape. (let someone try to cut a scone on top of one and they're going to get karate-chopped. It's happened before. )
 
Olga Booker
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Like Carla I have tried to do some research but the information is definitely iffy, usually the result of proponents of silicone and not a very unbiased  study.

One thing that catches my attention however, is the "Low toxicity" on the list of wonders of silicone.  I am not convinced and to me even low toxicity IS toxicity.

Plastic was the new wonder until it was eventually proven to be harmful to health and environment.  So I think that for the time being, I will continue with my very ancient kitchen and baking utensils.
 
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