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Much like cookware, your choice of bakeware can play a crucial role in the final results of your bakes. This is due to the fact that different shapes, sizes and materials of bakeware will affect the distribution of heat during the baking. Therefore, it is important to learn the unique perks of each material, so you can determine which suits your cooking style but also the type of baked goods you wish to bake.
To help, we've put together this handy bakeware buying guide that will cover the properties of each material, how each piece of bakeware should be used, and how to care for your bakeware properly.
The material you choose can greatly impact the quality of your bakes as well as the bakeware's longevity and heat conductivity. Before purchasing any bakeware (or cookware, for that matter), you will need to list off some must-haves. For instance, do you want lightweight bakeware, so it's easier to carry to and from the oven? Or, are you looking for ceramic bakeware because of its earthy aesthetic and charm?
If you are unsure, here's a quick list of the most popular and common bakeware materials, along with their positives.
Carbon steel is a popular material when it comes to both bakeware and cookware. This popularity is because of the numerous advantages that come with carbon steel. Carbon steel is:
Our carbon steel bakeware sets are non-stick and provide even heat distribution and conductivity, so your baked goods are evenly cooked all the way through. Their non-stick coating also makes removing cakes, biscuits, cookies or muffins much easier, reducing the likelihood of tearing your baked goods and ruining their shape.
Many bakers or home cooks love baking with silicone due to them being naturally non-stick and dishwasher safe (ideal for easy clean-up after a day of baking). Typically, silicone bakeware is a popular choice for cupcake and muffin tins, however, you can also find square silicone cake tins and baking trays.
You can use silicone bakeware in the same way you might use other types of bakeware. Although they are naturally non-stick, you should still apply a little bit of grease to the silicone to ensure that you can easily remove your baked goods. Read the manufacturer's instructions before using as each piece of silicone bakeware will have maximum heat rating. You may also wish to place silicone cake tins and cupcake tins on a baking sheet for added stability when moving them to and from the oven.
TIP: Silicone is also a very popular material for baking utensils, such as rolling pins, spatulas and palette knives. Silicone utensils can withstand high temperatures and are food-safe, making them ideal for cooking and baking alike.
While you may struggle to find glass baking trays and baking sheets, glass oven dishes are great for baking cobblers, crumbles and pies. Glass ovenware is also fantastic for storing food safely in the fridge and is microwave safe, so you can easily and quickly warm up your food. Other great reasons to bake with glass bakeware include:
Ceramic bakeware not only looks gorgeous and adds a rustic charm to your kitchen and dining table, but ceramic bakeware is also great for cooking and baking. Whether you want to cook a lasagne or an apple crumble, ceramic oven dishes are your best friend.
Having the right bakeware is essential. After all, you can't bake individual cookies in a cake tin or a sponge for a Victoria sponge on a baking sheet. Whether you are new to baking or looking to expand your horizons and tackle tricker recipes like a souffle, here's a list of the most used bakeware and how to use them.
The cake tin is one of the most easily recognised with its circular shape, and is most commonly used to bake sandwich cakes like Victoria sponges. Typically, you will put cake batter in two separate cake tins, and once cooked and cooled, you add jam and buttercream on top of the bottom cake and sandwich the other on top. However, cake tins can be used for an assortment of cakes such as a chocolate cake, carrot cake and fruit cake.
There are a few different styles of cake tin. Springform cake tins include a clip on the side which can be unclipped so that you can remove the sides from the base, making it easier to remove your cakes once baked. Loose bottom cake tins, on the other hand, requires you to push the loose bottom upwards to remove the cake.
How you line your cake tin depends on the material you are using and whether you wish to use grease (butter or margarine) or baking paper. If you are using grease, you can use a pastry brush to brush the grease on the cake tin's bottom and side. However, if you use baking paper, you need to measure the paper and cut out a circle that sits in the bottom of the cake tin, as well as a long piece of baking paper that wraps around the inside of the tin. To secure the baking paper, apply a small amount of grease to the cake tin.
Loaf tins are incredibly popular due to their simplicity, as you can mix up a simple mixture and pour it into the loaf tin for relatively easy baking. One great appeal of loaf cakes is that you typically bake one mixture and can add simple icing if desired.
Popular loaf tin recipes include banana bread, lemon drizzle, pound cake and madeira cake. However, you can turn any standard cake recipe into a loaf cake.
Lining a loaf tin can be as simple as greasing the sides and bottom with butter or margarine, or you can use grease and baking paper.
There are various shapes, sizes and depths of baking trays and sheets. While baking sheets typically have no lip and are idea for baking cookies, biscuits and pasties, baking trays are usually deeper and used for baking bread but are also great for cookies and pastries. Baking trays are great for baking most flat baked goods.
Available in a variety of sizes and materials, these tins are ideal for cupcakes and muffins, but can also be used for cooking Yorkshire puddings and mini quiches. When baking cupcakes and muffins, you will typically place paper cases into the individual indentations. However, for Yorkshire puddings and mini quiches, you typically grease the indentations with oil or butter. Muffin and cupcake trays are incredibly versatile.
A popular piece of bakeware that is used for sweet sponge puddings like treacle sponge or Christmas pudding. Ideal for steaming sponges or cooking in the oven.
Pudding basins come in various sizes but are typically made from ceramics, or ceramic material. They also feature a wide rim at the top, so you can cover the top with parchment paper and securely tie it for steaming sticky toffee pudding or chocolate steamed pudding.
Quiche and flan dishes are easily recognisable due to their indented sides that help form the crust into its wavy, or fluted, shape. Furthermore, quiche dishes are designed to help you achieve a flaky and golden crust that firmly holds its filling due to its straight sides.
When preparing a quiche dish, make sure to grease the sides with butter (baking paper is not typically used) and bake the pastry with baking beans before adding the filling. Partially cooking the pastry stops it from being undercooked and soggy, while also promoting more golden and brown pastry edges with a flaky texture.
A baking stone works similarly to a baking tray or baking sheet but are usually made from ceramics, or ceramic material. Much like baking trays and sheets, baking stones are ideal for baking flat goods like cookies and pastries, but are also great for baking bread and pizza. All our baking stones offer fantastic heat conductivity, distribution and retention.
Baking requires precision, which is why using the correct baking utensils and accessories is a necessity when preparing your dough and mixture. Not only do the right baking utensils make baking easier, but when used correctly, your bakes will be more consistent and of a higher quality.
Silicone spatulas are ideal for stirring, mixing and folding your mixture. You can also use a silicone spatula for spreading light mixtures, ensuring that the mixture reaches the edges of the cake tins.
Used to blend both dry and wet ingredients, whisks are an essential when it comes to baking. Whisks are a great way to whip ingredients, add air into a mixture, and remove lumps for a smoother batter.
Accuracy is an important part of baking, as you need to ensure that you are adding the right amount of ingredients for the mixture to react properly when heat is applied. Too much milk, butter or flour can cause your cakes to be too runny or dense - measuring jugs, cups and spoons are an easy way to ensure precision while taking the guesswork out of baking.
Baking requires you to mix dry and wet ingredients together to achieve a batter or dough, making mixing bowls a kitchen essential. However, outside of baking, mixing bowls are also great for mixing salad and sauces. Having a selection of differently sized mixing bowls means you can mix vast quantities of ingredients for larger or smaller batches.
A sieve helps eliminate lumps from flour, so you can achieve a smoother and lighter batter. What's more, sifted flour will combine better and more evenly with other dry ingredients like cocoa powder and provide you with a more accurate measurement.
Hot bakeware will continue to cook your baked goods, even when removed from the oven. Therefore, having cooling racks at hand can prevent your baked goods from becoming overcooked while promote quicker cooling times. Typically, a cooling rack features large holes that allows air to circulate the baked goods sitting on top of it, helping them cool down faster.
Blind baking typically calls for baking beans as their weighty nature helps keep the pastry in shape and prevents shrinking when cooking in the oven. Without the added weight of the beans, the pastry can puff up and cause irregularities, making it difficult to get an even filling.
Ceramic baking beans are quite simple to use. Simply place your pastry dough in your tart or quiche tin and add the beans on top, ensuring that you have covered the entire base. Once covered, place your pastry into the oven for the specified amount of time. Ceramic beans make great heat conductors but also prevent the pastry from shrinking in from the sides.
What's a cake without beautiful icing and piping work? Through decoration, you can enhance the presentation of your cakes, cupcakes, biscuits and pastries, while also adding additional flavour to your bakes.
Sometimes referred to as a frosting spatula, a palette knife is a useful decorating tool that helps you evenly spread icing across your cake. Ideal for frosting cakes, creating peaked or swirled frosting, and trimming frosting on the sides of cakes, a palette knife has many uses. You can also use a palette knife to move certain baked goods like pastries and cookies from one surface to another.
Piping bags (also known as pastry bags) are a great way to add intricate icing work to your cakes, however, they can also be used to shape meringue and whipped cream, and to fill doughnuts with jam or custard. Most piping bag sets come with a selection of nozzles such as plain, leaf and drop piping tips, so you can create one-squeeze flowers, intricate lattice work, roses and much more. The right piping bag and nozzles can greatly improve the accuracy of your icing work.
Pastry brushes help you evenly apply oils, glazes, sauces and other liquids before and during the cooking process. Using a baking brush gives you greater control over the amount of liquid you are adding, improving the consistency of your dishes. Ideal for adding milk, egg or oil glazes to your bakes, so you can achieve a golden brown and flaky finish to your pastry.
A chocolate shaker is great and simple way to sprinkle cocoa powder and icing sugar onto your cakes, adding finesse and additional flavour. Outside of baking, you can also use a chocolate shaker to add chocolate powder to a cappuccino or mocha.
A micro-grater comes with fine blade, allowing it to shave ingredients much more finely than a traditional box grater. From shaving chocolate to zesting fruit and grounding spices, a micro-grater can offer more delicate results when adding chocolate shavings to the top of your cakes and combining zest to your batter or dough for incredible flavour.
If you do a lot of baking and love baking cookies, biscuits and pastries, then pastry and cookie cutters can be a worthwhile addition to your bakeware. Add accuracy, precision, and improve the aesthetic of your baked goods by cutting them into uniform shapes. Not only do cookie and pastry cutters improve the appearance of your baked goods, but they help you save time, too.
Proper care is essential if you want your bakeware to remain efficient and to last for many years to come. Here are some helpful tips on how you can prolong the longevity of your bakeware.
Each manufacturer will have different care instructions, so be sure to read them before submerging your baking tins and trays into hot water or putting them in the dishwasher. We make sure to include clear instructions, so you know whether your ProCook bakeware is dishwasher safe.
Metal or hard utensils can scratch the non-stick coating, reducing the efficiency of your bakeware while damaging the appearance of your baking tins and trays too. We would advise using silicone spatulas when removing baked goods from your non-stick bakeware.
While it can be tempting to turn to abrasive sponges and wire wools to remove stubborn, burnt-on food, this can do more harm than good. Abrasive scouring pads and such will not only scratch the surface of your bakeware, but they can also remove your bakeware's non-stick coating and impact your bakeware's performance.
While most of our bakeware is dishwasher safe, handwashing is recommended because of the harsh detergents found in dishwasher tablets that can impact your bakeware's appearance over time. While dishwashing your bakeware will not affect its effectiveness and performance, it can cause discolouration.
Sometimes stubborn grease and burnt on food can become stuck to baking trays and cake tins, making them more difficult to clean. Of course, placing them in the dishwasher or leaving them to soak in hot, soapy water for around 40 minutes can make them easier to clean. However, some brown, burnt on stains may require you to fill your kitchen sink with hot water and a mixture of baking soda and white vinegar (approximately half a cup of each). Submerge your baking trays in the mixture for around 30 minutes and use some elbow grease and a sponge to remove the brown stains.