Baking Pans: What You Should Know

Nearly Everything You Need to Know About Baking Pans

What size pan do I need? What surface material is best? How do I clean these things? 

You’ve got questions. We’ll help answer them.

Let’s Talk Size
Depending on what you’re making, the size of the pan may or may not be important. Let’s take a look at the type of food you’re baking.

For cookies–an already time-consuming task–a larger pan is ideal so you can bake as many of those little orbs as possible in fewer batches. The pan you use for cookies should have no sides or low sides–either can be used and be perfectly suitable.

Sheet pan meals are a wonderful way to pare down the time it takes to make dinner because everything is done in one pan (that means faster and easier cleanup too). Here, you’ll want a pan with sides; lower sides are typically the best, allowing the heat to reach the food easily, bake evenly, and brown nicely.

On the other hand, cakes and casseroles need a pan with higher sides–or you’re just going to have a big mess on your hands. The last thing you want to do is clean your oven! Just follow your recipe’s suggestion for pan size and you’ll be fine.

As a helpful point of reference (pan size and capacity are approximate):
Square Pan (9 x 9 x 2½”) = 10 cups
Quarter Sheet Pan (9 x 13 x1″) = 8 cups
Cake Pan (9 x 13 x 2½”) = 14 cups
Half Sheet Pan (12 x 17 x 1″) =
 12 cups

Non-Coated vs. Coated Pans
Non-coated pans are usually lighter in color and thus reflect heat, while coated pans are typically darker, absorbing the heat. Therefore, pans with a darker surface often bake faster and burn foods easier than a light-colored pan; check baked goods often when using the coated kind.

Both coated and non-coated pans require a bit of TLC. Coated pans usually have a non-stick surface that scratches/flakes off when metal utensils are used on them; pans with a marred non-stick coating should no longer be used. Uncoated pans appreciate the gentle touch of non-metal utensils too because a scratched pan just doesn’t look very nice and may cause problems later on; line these pans with parchment paper or use shortening to grease inside surfaces instead of using cooking spray, which ends up creating a sticky film and discoloring your pan.

Keep Them Clean
Hand wash your baking pans, regardless of their color, surface materials, or other features. You can do a better job than your dishwasher, plus items banging together from the water’s force, and other factors can affect performance and overall good looks of your pans. When hand washing, don’t use scouring pads or harsh cleaners, but instead look for soft cloths and a gentle cleaner like good-old dishwashing detergent; dry immediately after washing.

(keep reading below…)

Recommended Tools, Proudly American Made

Rada Baking Pans

Every one of our products is made in the USA by men and women who proudly craft high-quality products.

Rada’s new baking pans are uncoated commercial grade aluminized steel, with an anti-warp reinforced rolled rim. What’s that mean for you? They’re durable and sturdy, make the perfect addition to every kitchen, and will stand the test of time.

These good-looking pans and are available in four sizes: Half Sheet (12.5 x 17.3 x 1″), Cake (9 x 12.5 x 2.5″), Quarter Sheet (9.1 x 12.5 x 1″), and Square (9 x 9 x 2.5″). This range in size assures there’s something to fit every baking need.

Rada’s baking pans will take on anything you can dish up–from French fries and cookies to tortes and focaccia. Whatever food you conjure up in your kitchen, turn to these baking pans for the assist.

Speaking of recipes, here’s one you should try. We made these Lemon Blueberry Rolls in our 9 x 13 x 2½” Cake Pan. The rolls baked up perfectly, were light and soft, and were absolutely delicious. With this recipe, the rolls can be made a day in advance then refrigerated overnight and baked the next morning or made and baked the same day.

Lemon Blueberry Rolls

INGREDIENTS (makes 12)

⅔ C. warm milk (about 110°)
1 (.25 oz.) pkg. active dry yeast
½ tsp. plus ⅓ C. sugar, divided
3 T. unsalted butter, softened
½ tsp. salt
1 egg
1 tsp. lemon zest
2 T. fresh lemon juice
3 – 3¼ C. flour, plus more for dusting
¼ C. unsalted butter, softened
½ C. sugar
2 tsp. lemon zest
2 T. flour
¼ tsp. salt
1 – 2 C. blueberries, fresh or frozen (thawed & drained if frozen)
2 T. unsalted butter, melted
2 oz. cream cheese, softened
1½ C. powdered sugar
Pinch of salt
3 – 4 tsp. fresh lemon juice

For the dough, stir together the milk, yeast, and ½ teaspoon of the sugar; set aside for 10 minutes or until foamy.

Put the butter, salt, egg, lemon zest, lemon juice, and the remaining ⅓ C. sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix until the butter is evenly distributed, but still a bit chunky. Add the yeast mixture and beat for a few seconds more. Gradually add 3 cups of the flour, mixing until the dough just just begins to stick to the paddle.

Replace the paddle with a dough hook and continue mixing on low speed until the dough forms a ball. The dough should be elastic with minimal transfer to your finger when touched. If it’s too wet, beat in up to ¼ cup flour, a little at a time.

Spray a big bowl with cooking spray, add the dough, and spray the top of the dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside until double in size.

For the filling, stir together the butter, sugar, lemon zest, flour, and salt. Roll out the risen dough on a lightly floured surface to a 10 x 14″ rectangle; spread the filling evenly over the dough and sprinkle with the blueberries.

Roll up the dough tightly, starting from a long end. Slice into 12 equal rounds and arrange in a greased 9 x 13 x 2½” baking pan. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for an hour or until they’re a little puffy (they can also be refrigerated overnight then brought to room temperature before baking).

Preheat the oven to 350°. Uncover the rolls and bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown; don’t overbake.

For the frosting, stir together the butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, salt, and lemon juice until smooth. Spread over the rolls and enjoy.

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