Commercial Bakeware Buyers' Guide
Baking is often thought of as a cooking method best suited for desserts, but bakeware and oven-safe cookware can be used to perfect a number of delicious entrées as well. For example, roasting pans and Dutch ovens are great tools for roasting meats and vegetables, and bread is a staple component in many restaurants.
What Type of Bakeware Do You Need?
There are several different types of commercial bakeware available and what you'll need for your kitchen will depend on which items your menu offers. Below, we've created a guide to help you decide which bakeware belongs in your kitchen.
|Sheet Pans||Sheet pans can be baking pans, which are generally designed with one or two raised edges, or bun pans, which are also known as jelly roll pans and have raised edges on all four sides. Both can be used to bake items that don't produce liquid, like cookies and pastries, while bun pans are capable of containing juices that foods release as they bake. Sheet pans are commonly half- or full-sized, but are available in smaller fractional sizes as well.|
|Loaf Pans||Loaf pans can be designed for baking one or multiple loaves of traditional, French, or sub sandwich roll bread at once, so you'll be able to find the right size pan for your commercial baking needs. Specialty bread pans, like those used to bake brioche bread, are also available.|
|Cake Pans||Cake pans, which are available in a variety of sizes and can be round or rectangular, may be used for any basic cake and might come in sets with multiple pans for businesses that make cakes with more than one layer. Tube cake pans are used for bundt and angel food cakes, while springform cake pans are used for cheesecake and other delicate cakes.|
|Muffin pans are commonly used for muffins, cupcakes, cornbread, and popovers, as well as other breakfast pastries and baked treats. Muffin pans come in a variety of sizes, allowing you to make jumbo, standard, or miniature products. Some manufacturers also offer specialty pans for baking hot dog and hamburger buns.|
|Pie Pans||Pie pans are shallower than cake pans and are designed with edges that taper out. They are commonly available in sizes ranging from 7 to 13 inches in diameter, but miniature pie pans can be as small as 4 inches in diameter.|
|Quiche pans feature a removable bottom, which allows you to remove the dish without damaging the delicate crust of the food. The diameter of a quiche or tart pan can range from 4 to 12 inches, so you'll be able to find the right size pan for your restaurant.|
|While the smallest ramekins are used as sauce cups, larger ones made from oven-safe materials can be used to bake single-serving entrees and desserts. Although soufflé dishes, which are generally larger than a ramekin, are made specifically for baking that dessert, ramekins can be used for that purpose, too.|
|Baking Dishes||Baking dishes are ideal for creating items like au gratin, casseroles, baked pasta, and other entrees. Many baking dishes are beautifully designed and will retain heat to keep the dish warm, which makes them ideal for oven-to-table service.|
|Braising Pots and |
|Braising pots and Dutch ovens are popular types of oven-safe cookware and are designed to slow-cook food, whether it's meat and vegetables or a casserole. Dutch ovens are deeper, which also makes them ideal for stews, while braising pots are better suited to dishes with less liquid. These can be crafted from brightly-colored enameled cast iron and are often used as serving dishes.|
|Roasting Pans||Roasting pans, often available with a lid, are another popular type of oven-safe cookware that can double as a serving dish. Available in a variety of sizes and shapes, they can also be used to cook meat, vegetables, and casseroles, but are shallower than braising pots or Dutch ovens and are more compatible with dishes that don't require a liquid base.|
Which Material Do You Want?
Knowing what material your bakeware is made from is just as important as knowing what type of bakeware to use. Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages, and what material your commercial bakeware is crafted from can impact your cooking methods and quality of the end result. Aluminum, stainless steel, and cast iron are three of the most popular materials used in bakeware, but copper, ceramic, and glass are also common materials.
- Aluminum conducts heat well and will usually be more lightweight and less expensive than other materials. However, uncoated or non-anodized aluminum does react to acidic and alkaline foods, which may harm the flavor of a finished product.
- Stainless steel is a more durable material and won't transfer any flavors to your products, but will be more expensive and may have trouble providing even heating. It does not conduct heat as well, so pieces made with this material will often have a built-in layer of aluminum or copper to aid in that process.
- Cast iron will be heavier than other materials and will take longer to heat up, but it heats contents evenly. As an added bonus, seasoned cast iron is naturally non-stick. Because this material retains heat so well, it is a popular option for oven-to-table serveware.
- Copper is more expensive, but has superb thermal conductivity and heats food evenly. Although this material will react with acidic foods, most pieces will have a lining made from a different metal to avoid the problem.
- Ceramic and glass are both heavy and may break if dropped, but they are also naturally non-reactive to acidic or alkaline foods. Although ceramic will retain heat for a longer time, glass is a less expensive option.