Parchment paper is every cook's best friend. If you are an adamant baker, you might have come across this paper.
It is also known as baking paper, and you can use it in various ways. Personally, parchment paper is what I use when baking cakes and cooking meat. It ensures that my cookies and cakes do not stick on the baking pan and are easy to serve.
The paper also prevents my meat dishes from burning in the oven. Parchment paper can resist very high temperatures, is waterproof, and is nonstick.
That said, there are times that you can run out of parchment paper, or you are looking for a cheaper alternative. What do you use then?
You can use various items instead of parchment paper when baking. They are wax paper, Silpat, nonstick sheet pans, aluminum foil, cooking spray, and a silicone baking pad.
How to Use Parchment Paper in Baking
Most people use parchment paper for baking purposes. So, how do you exactly use this paper when you are baking?
First, you can use it when baking in the oven to prevent burning. Take your baking pan and ensure you have covered it evenly with parchment paper. Pour your cake or whatever you are baking on top of the parchment paper covering your baking pan. Put it in the oven and wait for it to be ready.
Second, you can use parchment paper when adding toppings to your cake. It will keep your plate and table neat.
Cut a piece of parchment paper and place it on the table. Put the cake on top of it and add toppings. Transfer the cake to a plate and throw the parchment paper away when you're done.
Third, you can use it when baking to prevent sticking. Cover the baking pan with parchment paper, whether baking cupcakes or cookies. It will be easier for you to serve them because they will not stick.
Parchment paper is a bit costly, and you cannot reuse it. I am going to talk about the best parchment paper alternatives. Read on.
1. Wax Paper
The only reason I am starting with this paper is that it is cheap. However, it does not tolerate high heat and can quickly melt at such a high temperature.
You can use a hack to make it usable when you put your cake in the oven. You can ensure that you cover the entire wax paper with butter. It is a method that can work, but you should be careful since it can as quickly fail, burning your cake and the paper melting in the process.
When baking, the best way to use wax paper is by decorating your cake or covering your cheese or butter. It can also help when you put your baked food in the dish to ensure it stays clean.
Like parchment paper, Silpat is a nonstick sheet that cooks use to prevent their baked goods from sticking or burning. Due to its nonstick quality, you don't need to spray it with oil or grease when baking to avoid sticking.
It is one of the best parchment paper replacements. Silpat and parchment paper have various similarities.
They both don't stick, are water-resistant, endure high cooking temperatures, and they ensure that your food does not burn.
Silpat is, however, cost-effective. Unlike parchment paper, you can reuse it. So, when you buy it once, you can use it repeatedly.
As you know, parchment paper is not reusable, and you can find that you have used a lot of it over a short time. As a result, you end up buying it in bulk.
Another advantage of replacing parchment paper with Silpat is that you can use it as a lid to cover your casserole and any other dish that may have otherwise required you to use aluminum foil for covering.
3. Greased Baking sheet
A greased baking sheet is a quick fix if you don't have any parchment paper in the kitchen. All you need to do is take a baking sheet and cover it with butter or grease before placing your cake on it and putting it in the oven.
You don't need baking sheets for this purpose, necessarily. You can use paper towels. Ensure that they are well greased and cover the bottom of your baking pan.
I have used this hack severally. I, however, noticed with greasing baking sheets that the bottom of your cookies will be darker than the rest of the cookies or cake.
If you are looking for an evenly colored cake, this might not be the best parchment replacement. If you have run out of options and don't mind, you can use it.
4. Aluminum Foil
Aluminum is an easy-to-find replacement for parchment paper. Even if you do not use it for baking, I bet you already have it somewhere in your kitchen.
It has many uses in the kitchen, like covering meat when grilling to make sure it is soft and tender, acting as a lid to ensure that food cooks well, and wrapping things as you put them in the fridge.
If you are in the middle of baking and you realize you ran out of parchment paper, you can use aluminum foil in its place.
It, however, differs from parchment paper in that it does not have nonstick quality. To use it, you will need to grease it to ensure your baked goods do not stick.
It is heat tolerant, and due to its shiny nature, it accelerates the baking process. Ensure you have set the timer right when using it to avoid overcooking or burning your cakes.
5. Cooking Spray
Cooking spray combines oil, lecithin, silicone, and dimethyl. The spray is put in a bottle and is thinner than oil. Cooks use cooking spray to prevent food from sticking to the cooking surfaces.
It is an excellent substitute for parchment paper if you find that you have none. You spray it on your baking pan and ensure it covers the surface well. Then, put your contents on the pan, and they will bake without sticking.
Using a cooking spray is effective because you don't put in much work. It is also cheap, and you can easily find it in the grocery store.
It's practical and thin. It ensures your baking pan is nonstick, and it doesn't add a layer to your cooked goods. Cooking spray is healthier than regular cooking oil. It is also readily available, and maybe you already have it in your kitchen.
So, if you suddenly run out of parchment paper, use cooking spray, and you will be covered. Spray it evenly on your baking pan and the go-ahead with your baking.
6. Silicone Baking Mat
Silicone baking mat or pad is another excellent parchment paper substitute. It shares various qualities with parchment paper, making it one of the best alternatives to use if you do not have parchment paper.
They are water-resistant and endure high temperatures. You can use a silicone baking mat like you use parchment paper. You can use it to line your baking pan when baking to prevent your products from burning or sticking to the pan.
These baking mats come in various sizes and shapes. So, you can use them in a variety of baking pans. Another good thing is that you can wash them and use them again for some time. Parchment paper does not have such a quality, so silicone pads prove cost-effective in the long run.
I have covered the six best substitutes o parchment paper when baking. Some are good for decorating, rolling dough on them, or wrapping baked goods. Others like silicone baking mats are good for use when doing the actual baking.
At the end of the day, whatever parchment paper substitute you decide to use will depend on the use and availability.
Some of them, like wax paper, are easy to find, but you have to grease them before using them in the oven.
Try out each of them and see what works best for you. All the best.