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Nov 28, 2006 11:20 PM

Silpat vs parchment

I'm a beginner baker who is thinking of asking Santa DH for a Silpat for Christmas. Then I got to thinking, $30 (Canadian price) buys a lot of parchment! Is there anything a Silpat can do that parchment can't?

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  1. They say you can roll pasty or dough on a silpat. I've never really tried it. I recently baked a batch of chocolate chip cookies, 1 pan lined with silpat, the other with parchment. The parchment ones were crispier but still chewy on the inside. The silapt batch was a bit greasy but still good. Just different. I use parchment mostly. I guess it's because the silpat while it's supposed to be easy to clean, it doesn't seem to be "cleans in a snap" type of thing. The parchment, you just wad up and toss. Maybe I'm lazy but I prefer the parchment.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mrsmegawatt

      This makes sense to me -- whenever I do choc. chip cookies, I always see some grease on the parchment after takign the cookie off. I'm kinda glad it absorbs a bit of it.

    2. I'd rather use parchment. I have Sil-Pats in two sizes but I generally go to the parchment. Sil-Pats don't deliver a crisp product and take a lot longer to cool for the next tray of cookies when I am doing quantum baking. I am not going to cut up a Sil-PAt to rounds to fit a cake pan either. Parchment is cheap and an easy way to go. Also I have found rolling out sticky doughs on a Sil-Pat is no advantage. It sticks to it too. I have $$$ invested in Sil-Pats that I just don't use very much.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Candy

        Candy, I'm glad that I am not the only baker on Chowhound who feels this way about Sil-pats. I feel that they have their place, but they are in no way a replacement for parchment.

        1. re: Candy

          I'm with you, I lay out multiple sheets of parchment and slide them on and off the bakng sheets when I'm in major cookie mode.. I'd need a bloody fortunes worth of silpat to accomplish the same, as I have only a small fortunes worth of them parchment is a better tool.

          There are a few recipes that silpats work very well for (florentines for one) but I don't use them anywhere near as much as parchment.

          1. re: Scrapironchef

            scrap, you probably already do something like this: when i'm doing production cookies, I line disposable (I reuse mine forever) aluminum half sheet pans with parchment, on which I place or pipe my cookies. These pans can be stacked at opposite angles because they have rims, thus saving alot of space. For the baking, I slide the sheet of raw cookies off the aluminum pan and onto my heavier baking pans. After baking, I move the sheet of baked cookies onto the cooling rack.

        2. i use both but if i had to do it again, i would just use parchment.

          1. Parchment is more versatile - I use it for baking meat and roasting peppers.

            On the other hand, my Silpat still gets lots of use for other stuff, such as cookies, pita crisps, etc.

            One thing you will need to consider is that Silpats only come in certain sizes, and you can't cut them to fit.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Shazam

              Well, you can cut them, but the cut edges will fray so it's not recommended. A razor blade does the trick. I once had one full sheet and wanted two half sheets. Voila.

              The things I use silpat for: tuiles, florentines (lace cookies), pouring carame/toffee onto, apple chips (dipped in simple syrup and dried in a low oven, they peel off silpat nicely).

              Yes, parchment is more versatile for general baking, but silpat can be nice for sticky things.

              Mellie, just be sure to resist all the silicone bakeware that is out there! It doesn't brown things the way conventional pans do - silicone has its uses, but be wary of the hype.

            2. We discovered a brand-new use for the silpat over Thanksgiving - it's amazing for rolling out pie dough! You don't need nearly as much flour and you don't need to fold it into quarters, etc, to get it into the pie dish - just flip the silpat over the pie plate. The dough doesn't break!

              2 Replies
              1. re: macrogal

                A question about rolling out pie dough: Does the silpat have enough traction on the countertop so that it doesn't slide around when you use a rolling pin? I've been thinking about getting one to replace the cumbersome pastry board that I always use for rolling.

                1. re: Kagey

                  Yes, the rougher back side has enough traction for my countertop. YMMV, depending on how smooth your counter is, I guess! I have a big silpat (about 17x22 inches) that I've been using for pie dough, rolled cookies, etc. for some time. As macrogal says above, you don't need as much flour (although I do find that I need some or the dough will stick!)