By Azure Nelson,
Published Sep 10, 2009
This week’s helpful information from Amazon’s Wedding Registry Guide
is about bakeware.
Though you're probably not making your own wedding cake
, we bet you'll want to bake some sweets into your married life. So, what's the difference between aluminum, stainless steel, and other options? Which one works for you? Do you prefer a complete bakeware set or mixed and matched pieces? Our tips on choosing bakeware will get you ready to bake your cake and eat it too.
With a well-stocked cupboard, you can whip up anything from lasagna to soufflés. Ready yourself for action with bakeware that's durable, purposeful, and in line with your cleaning preferences. A bakeware set is a great option if you're starting from the ground up, and your first step is choosing the right material for your needs:
Aluminum bakeware provides excellent conductivity and resists warping if it's heavy gauge. Anodized aluminum has been specially treated to prevent corrosion. For quick cleanup you may want aluminum products with a nonstick coating, or to invest in a few silicone baking mats.
Relatively inexpensive, easy to care for, and attractive, stainless steel is resistant to warping at high heats. Most stainless-steel bakeware comes lined with a nonstick coating for easy release.
Cast iron reacts slowly to temperature changes but retains heat better than any other material. This cookware is very heavy, making it impractical for some uses, but it's excellent for long cooking. For added color to your kitchen, choose enamel-coated cast iron.
Tempered glass does the trick for pies, casseroles, brownies, and lasagna, plus it can go in the dishwasher. Look for glass bakeware in fun colors and with storage lids for versatility.
Great for casseroles and temperamental dishes, ovenproof ceramic bakeware is easy to wash and attractive on the table. Ceramic dishes are even dependable for some delicate foods, including custards and soufflés.
Relatively new to the kitchen, silicone is oven-safe to over 400 degrees F and folds up for easy storage in small spaces. Pans provide even heat distribution and won_t retain odors or flavors. Plus, silicone is nonstick and microwave- and freezer-safe, and comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors.
Piece by Piece
By mixing and matching your bakeware piece by piece you can create a truly personalized collection. If you bake a lot of cakes and cookies, register for at least two baking sheets, a pair of round cake pans, and at least two cooling racks. Bread lovers should stock at least two loaf pans and a set of mini loaf pans for handing out samples. Get a muffin pan or two, but don't settle for pans that make only six muffins at a time, unless you're making jumbo size. Many chefs prefer at least two glass pie pans to produce a golden crust, and a metal or ceramic pie pan to supplement their collections. For casserole dishes, think about capacity before you choose--they run from 1/2 quart to 3 quarts in size. Finally, give a thought to storage space. Bakeware stores well because it nests and stacks, but if you have to put a piece in an out-of-the-way spot, you'll be less likely to use it.
Beyond Basic Bakeware
Whether you're already turning out professional pastries on a regular basis or you just aspire to, specialized bakeware can make your life easier. Consider registering for a springform pan for cakes that cannot be inverted, and a bundt pan for traditional cakes and sweet breads. Two other items that come in handy for savory and sweet concoctions are ramekins, which are great for custards and individual goodies, and tart pans with removable bottoms, which allow goods to be carefully unmolded. A pizza stone turns out terrific calzones, pretzels, or biscotti.
Want more wedding registry tips?
Hmm, is it too early for me to go get a slice of cake somewhere?