12 FAQs About Cooking With Silicone Molds
Aren’t you just tired of having to scrape your muffins and cakes off the side of your metal baking tins? How many times has this caused them to break apart, and ruin your plans?
All that work for 3 or 4 perfect cupcakes doesn't sit quite right. It’s time to ditch those metal baking tins and switch to silicone.
Chances are, you have your questions and concerns since you've watched your mother use metal pans her entire life. Why should you switch now? Here are the answers to 12 of the top questions about silicone molds.
1. What is Silicone?
Silicone is a type of durable rubber made from silicon, oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen. When compared to organic rubber, silicone has greater flexibility, electrical insulation, chemical stability, and abrasion resistance. It can also withstand heat up to 350℃ for an extended period with no change in its chemical properties. It also does not have a melting point and will remain solid past that, but will however become brittle.
2. Is Silicone Safe?
Food-grade silicone is resistant to heat and frost, and will not release odors or release chemicals that may affect the quality of your food. They are low toxicity and reusable.
3. What can I make in a silicone mold?
You can make pretty much anything in a silicone mold, once it can fit. Even though they may say something along the lines of “for baking”, they can be used in the microwave, refrigerator, and freezer as well.
You can bake cookies, muffins, cupcakes, mini pies, cakes, puff pastry, and other forms of baked cooks.
Silicone molds can be used to make homemade candies and treats such as lollipops, chocolate, jello, and ice-pops. They are great for savory items such as chicken and other meat dishes or sides such as mac and cheese, casseroles, and biscuits.
If you want, you can use your silicone molds as cool lunch/snack trays for your kids, or even serve guests treats directly from them. If you're into DIY projects, you can use them as molds for candles, soaps, bath bombs, and crayons.
You can even use silicone molds for storage around the house and in the kitchen for meal prep. Place all your ingredients in a mold so you don’t have to go back and forth in your cupboard and fridge when making a meal!
4. Can I put silicone molds directly on the oven rack?
Silicone molds can go directly on the oven rack and won’t melt. However, since they aren't as stable as metal pans, it’s a good idea to put them on a tray, especially if they are single cups. This will prevent spills and will help them to stay upright.
5. What type of silicone mold should I get?
There are many different types of silicone molds on the market and choosing the right one for your home can be a bit tricky. In reality, it all boils down to practicality and what it will be used for.
One of the first things you should consider is size. Generally, smaller is better. Baking a large cake with a silicone mold is probably not a good idea because they are more likely to mold, or be gooey in the center. Silicone molds are perfect for cupcakes, muffins, cookies, and even baked foods like mac and cheese.
You should also consider shape. Novelty silicone molds are cute and fun, but you need to consider practicality. Are tiny heart-shaped cupcake molds going to hold all the batter you’ve mixed, or are you better off going with the standard cupcake mold? If you choose to buy novelty silicone mold, you’ll probably end up buying more molds or doing multiple batches.
If you have kids, novelty molds are generally a great idea, so buy a mixed pack, or buy diverse molds to keep them interesting.
Colour is a personal preference, and won’t affect your baking in any way.
6. Do I have to grease silicone molds?
Silicone molds do not have to be greased like regular metal pans, but a light spray with cooking spray or a little butter/oil does make clean up easier. This is especially true for novelty molds with unique and intricate shapes, that can break apart if you aren't careful.
If you don’t want to use grease, you can buy paper baking cups or grease paper to put inside muffin and cupcake molds.
7. Are silicone molds dishwasher safe?
Silicone molds are generally dishwasher safe unless otherwise stated by the manufacturer.
If you don’t have a dishwasher, you're better off using paper baking cups to save yourself the effort but soaking them in warm, soapy water generally does the trick. All you have to do is knock out the loose crumbs and let them sit in the soapy water for 10-15 minutes. Afterward, everything should slide right off when you use a sponge or brush.
8. How are silicone molds stored?
Silicone molds can be stored wherever you normally store your baking tools. There aren't any special requirements for instructions on how to store them.
Unlike metal pans, silicone molds are flexible and are easier to store. However, some molds may become bent out of shape if they are stored in a certain way for too long, so keep that in mind.
9. What are the pros of using silicone molds?
By now you've probably picked up on some of the benefits of using silicone molds such as versatility, durability, easy-cleaning, easy-storage, but that’s not all. Silicone molds are also:
- Eco-friendly- Many people end up using paper cups or grease paper when baking in metal pans since food and baked goods can get stuck on the bottom or sides. However, baking paper is completely optional with silicone molds since sticking is less likely, especially if you grease it.
When baking in single-cup silicone molds, you don’t need to use paper cups for serving. You can serve whatever you made directly from the mold once it cools.
- Affordable- Good quality silicone molds are generally cheaper than metal pans, and chances are, you can get multiple molds for the price of one good quality metal pan. You can buy them in sets or singly and get good value for your money.
- Novelty- Silicone molds come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors, and can easily be found at reasonable prices in-store and online. You can even have them custom made!
- Time conserving- Silicone molds heat up fast, and you may find that using them can shave off a few minutes from overall baking time. When the food is done, removing it is faster because all you have to do is give the mold a little twist and it gets loose.
10. What are the cons of using silicone molds?
Silicone molds do have their drawbacks, and it is up to you to decide which is a dealbreaker. Here are some cons of using silicone molds:
- They're useless if punctured- While silicone can withstand high temperatures, won't smash or break if it falls, and won’t start to rust after a few years, it isn't indestructible.
One tiny puncture in your silicone mold can render it useless. This can happen if you slice baked goods in the mold or use metal utensils to test readiness or remove it from the mold. Punctures can even come from mischievous kids who like playing with scissors a bit too much.
- They can melt- Silicone can withstand high temperatures in the oven, but if exposed to open flame on a burner or placed directly on a hot plate, it can start to melt. At this point, you can kiss your mold goodbye.
- They can cause spills in the oven- Because silicone molds are so flexible, they can cause spills in the oven if they bend or twist when placed on the oven rack by themselves.The solution is using a cookie sheet for support.
11. How do I test silicone?
You’ll notice that when you check out the prices of silicone molds, you’ll find them at different price points. The reason for this is generally the quality of the silicone.
Not all silicone is created equal, and poor quality silicone can affect how your creations come out. Some manufacturers market their molds as silicone, but truthfully, they are not pure silicone and contain fillers that allow them to cut manufacturing costs and sell them cheaper.
To test a silicone mold, all you have to do is pinch the material. If it bends easily and the color stays the same, then you’ve got pure silicone. However, if it turns white and you feel resistance, that mold has fillers and isn't as strong.
12. So, should I toss all my metal pans?
You can toss some, but not all. Cupcake and muffin tins that don't stack well take up a lot of space. Silicone molds are perfect for that purpose and are generally multi-use.
You might want to hang on to your large cake tins though, especially if you bake a lot. They are more rigid and can support themselves. If you are making a multi-tier cake, it’s best to use metal since the silicone can bend and bulge and sizes may be a little off.