Saturday, July 14, 2007

I Love My Silicones

I really do love my silicones, NOT the ones in stuffed into a body, rather, I am referring to silicone bakeware that will probably be the most useful invention after the zipper, for bakers' and enthusiasts only of course. Silicone bakeware have been flooding the culinary world of late, causing much hype. It is more expensive than traditional tins but I suspect the prices would drop drastically once patent rights expire.

Silicone wares are non-stick and heat tolerant with the flexibility to be molded into more friendly shapes as compared to the traditional metal tins. They come in a variety of shapes, such as cookie baking sheets (or tray liners), traditional and animated cake / loaf tins as well as brushes. The greatest advantage of silicone bakeware to me, seems to be the non-stick properties and storage (Non-stick pans have not always been known to do its job). I have always held a secret fear that my concoctions would not un-mould whole, and similarly, have always developed migraines trying to organise bulky tin storage. The silicone baking sheet itself is kept rolled and takes up relatively little storage space.

I spent many a sleepless night, browsing the tons of Silpats advertised in American online bake stores. I wondered whether they were truly non-stick and if they would burn. I wondered how easy it would be to wash off the remnants of baked confections.

Imagine my surprise when I finally found a couple of local bake stores carrying these precious goods! Experimentation being my middle name, I went ahead and bought a decent sized Silpat loaf tray along with an 8pc regular muffin tray (Silpat is the brand name of the silicone invention by French Chemist, Guy Demarle). I remember thinking to myself how I would refer to a silicone 'Loaf Tin' from now on... Loaf Silicone? Loaf Tray? Loaf Thingamjig?

I have however, read a few flogs claiming that the silicone mat wasn't as non-stick as claimed and they would never use another again. My dense chocolate loaf baked beautifully and I had no trouble at all when it was time to un-mould. Needless to say, I am in baking lust with my silicones.

I recently found yet another treasure trove of a bakestore, and the thing that caught my eye within minutes of stepping into the shop? Cupcake silicones in a variety of pastels! How absolutely sweet is that?

Conversely or ironically, I also found a traditional item that was never available on the shores of Singapore (at least as far as I know)... Cake Release. I read that Pam had the grease/flour spray but never found it in the local supermarkets. Cake Release greases and flours tins for especially sticky recipes but obviously this would not be necessary in silicone moulds. I bought it anyway just because it is almost like realising childhood dream.

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