Browsing in the baking section of any department or kitchen goods store will reveal a large variety of baking sheets. So many in fact, it may be difficult to figure out which one to purchase. In order to choose the best baking sheet you need to evaluate your baking needs to help determine which size and type will work best for you. Cost, durability and ease of care are other factors that should also come into play.
Baking sheets are most commonly made of metal or silicone and both types are widely used for baking and cooking. The choice between the two is a matter of personal preference. Silicone pans are generally lighter in weight than metal ones and they also come in fun colors such as green, blue and red, whereas metal pans is usually only come in gray or silver. Several advantages silicone sheets have over metal is that they are easy to fold or bend for storage and they are microwave, freezer and dishwasher safe. Metal baking sheets have advantages over silicone in that they can be used for broiling, withstand higher oven temperatures and can be used for more cooking and baking tasks.
If you will be using your baking sheet frequently, then you will want to make sure you select one that is durable and equipped to last. A heavy duty, commercial or professional grade baking sheet may last longer than a traditional baking sheet. Looking at the sheets in person can give you an idea of its quality and durability. If the pans seem flimsy they may wear out quickly.
Some metal sheets come with a non-stick surface which, when used properly, keeps food from sticking to the pan. This can be helpful if you are doing a lot of baking at one time and need to reuse the same baking sheet several times. For instance, when baking cookies, a sheet with a non-stick surface allows you to quickly wipe down the sheet when you have removed the cookies and then refill it and put it back in the oven.
When it comes to choosing a style of baking sheet there are two main choices: a flat sheet with no edges, or a sheet that has a rim around it. Having a rim around the pan is useful for cooking foods like cookie bars or sheet cakes which need to be contained within the pan. Some styles of rimmed pans come with a lid that snaps into place, making it convenient for transporting or storing the baked goods. A flat sheet works well for baking items like cookies that do not need to be kept within the pan.
The size of the sheet you purchase should be determined by what you will be using it for as well as the size of your oven. Baking sheets come in several sizes from small to large and most will fit in a normal size oven. The only time fit may be an issue is if you have a smaller than average oven or do your baking in a stand-alone convection oven.
Baking sheets can often be purchased in a set that contains several different sizes of the same type of sheet. Although the purchase price of a set may seem expensive, the overall cost is generally less than if you purchased each sheet separately. Single baking sheets vary in price depending on the size, type and style you select.
Disposable baking sheets are another option for someone who isn't looking to invest in a baking sheet. The disposable variety are made of aluminum and although they can be somewhat flimsy, they can be used for one-time baking. When the cooking is done, they can simply be tossed in the recycling pail.