Ten Reasons to Use Parchment Paper

10 Reasons to Use Parchment Paper

Growing up, I always thought of parchment paper as something people wrote letters on. It involved a fountain pen and a blotter. It was all very romantic but had nothing to do with chocolate chip cookies and poached salmon.

Times switched. Parchment crept into professional kitchens and elbowed its way into gourmet magazines. Confused, I asked my mother about it. She dismissed culinary parchment as an unnessessary money grab. Aluminum foil, waxed paper and plastic wrap were inexpensive and effortless to get. Why on earth would she need parchment? Having survived the Good Depression, my mother is utterly pragmatic. She calls BS on products that dazzle fanciful people like me. She is seldom wrong. But when it comes to parchment, I think she’s living in the Dark Ages. Sorry, Mom. I hate to say it, but you’re wrong.

Glazed with a skinny film of silicone, culinary parchment is a non-stick, oven-safe, moisture-resistant culinary workhorse. It’s substituted my waxed paper entirely. Even my antsy plastic wrap is feeling neglected. And the aluminum foil? It can’t wait for the hot weather. Nowadays it’s called upon only for the grill.

I’ve been using PaperChef for a duo of years now. They recently sent me some samples to attempt out. I obliged. While it’s not ideal for letter-writing, parchment is indispensable in my kitchen. It’s right up there with my microplane and beloved French rolling pin. Here are Ten reasons I believe parchment products is worth a spot in your cramped pantry.

  1. It’s user-friendly. Overlook the watermark. It’s branding, not an indication of which side to use. Unlike aluminum foil, either side is the right side. As far as treating goes, if you can rip off a sheet of aluminum foil or waxed paper, you can deal with parchment. PaperChef makes pre-cut sheets. If these appeal, be sure to check your pan size very first. The sheets don’t fit my pans, but are still very handy for counter work .
  2. It’s compostable and 100% recyclable: Our municipality earmarks waxed paper for landfill. Parchment paper, however, can be disposed of with the compostables. I feel no guilt throwing used parchment. Plastic wrap on the other palm? I apologize to future generations.
  3. It’s reusable: As long as the item you’re cooking isn’t too raw, you can get a 2nd or even third use out of a sheet of parchment. Think kale chips, cookies and granola. Fish? Not so much.
  4. It works in fever: Because parchment can take indirect fever up to 425°F, you can bake cakes or roast meat and vegetables without fear. But it is paper, so keep it away from the broiler or stovetop elements .
  5. It works in cold: Moisture-resistant parchment withstands temperature fluctuations better than waxed paper. Use it to roll chilled items like icebox cookies or herb butter. Place a lump of parchment inbetween hamburger patties, waffles, or squares before they go into the freezer. The food will divide lightly and the parchment divider won’t rip.
  6. It saves clean-up time: While parchment doesn’t actually wash the dishes, it might save you the effort. No more chiselling cookies off baking sheets or leaving portions of cake in the bottom of the pan. And lasagna? Say good-bye to overnight soaks. Just line and lift. It also reduces prep mess. You won’t need cooking dumps and will never have to grease and flour straight-edged cake tins again. Convoluted bundt pans are another story.
  7. It prevents spills: Parchment won’t defy gravity, but it can help you lift items from the pan more lightly. Let the parchment overhang the edges to form a makeshift treat. Then simply lift the baked goods out. Bonus: When baking granola, fold the parchment lining into a funnel for effortless pouring.
  8. It saves your pans: Think of parchment as a protective layer. Since I’ve commenced using parchment my pans have stopped aging dramatically. Maybe PaperChef should branch into skin care.
  9. You can write on it: Grab a Sharpie. The ink won’t soak through or smudge once dried. Label what you’ve packaged. Trace your pan to cut a ideally shaped lining. Or draw rounds for uniform meringues. (Just roll the parchment over before you pipe. You can see the outline but the food won’t touch the ink.) Wrap a sandwich and write a love note to embarrass your kids — or delight your spouse. No fountain pen or blotter needed.
  10. It takes many shapes: PaperChef sells parchment rolls, muffin cups, pre-cut sheets, and en papillote bags. If you have limited pantry space, keep a roll on mitt. You can arch parchment to your will — or at least fold it into useful shapes. You can cut it to fit any form or size of pan (see #9), form your own muffin cups (picture below), fold it into serving cones for snacks like popcorn, or make a disposable piping bag.

There. Ten reasons to use parchment. I’m not sure if I’ve coaxed my mom. She’s a harsh sell. Have I coaxed you? If you’re already a convert, how do you use parchment?

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Posted at 14:40h, 13 June Reply

I’m with you on the parchment. I love it, too. To get it to stick and straighten in the baking dish, I very lightly grease the pan, then press the parchment onto that. It molds nicely and doesn’t shift when I pour in the batter. There are some interesting specialty sizes. I have a box of petite parchment squares, which I don’t use much, but they do come in handy periodically. They also make pre-cut tube pan parchment liners, which I infrequently see in stores. I have attempted the parchment liners for cupcakes/muffins, but didn’t like them because they gaped and pulled away from my cupcakes — too messy looking.

Charmian Christie

Posted at 23:18h, 13 June Reply

Fine peak on getting parchment to stay put in the baking dish. Thanks so much for that. I have never seen pre-cut tube pan liners but wouldn’t have the room for them even if I did stumble upon them. I’ll stick to butter and flour for now.

Thanks again for taking the time to share your expertise. For those who don’t know, Susan Sampson is an amazing food writer, author, and a former food editor with the Toronto Starlet. Just standing near her makes me a better cook.


Posted at 23:54h, 27 November Reply

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Ten Reasons to Use Parchment Paper

Growing up, I always thought of parchment paper as something people wrote letters on. It involved a fountain pen and a blotter. It was all very romantic but had nothing to do with chocolate chip cookies and poached salmon.

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