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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!)

              2. I use parchment for just about all my baking, but I use my big Roulpats for rolling out pastry, cookies etc. As already noted, they are great for this because you don't need to add flour.

                1. Another great use for a large Silpat if you have stone countertops is for under a cutting board. With granite countertops the cutting boards always slip around. DH found that if he lays the Silpat under the cutting board it stays stable.

                  I also like it to work with premade puff pastry dough and sticky mandelbread dough.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: compucook

                    or alternatively you could use a damp kitchen towel under the cutting board to keep it from moving on you. no sense in spending $$ on silpat to just keep your cutting board in place.

                  2. The frayed edges are actually shards of fiberglass, which can cause cuts if touched or ingested.

                    1. Bought a Silpat that's just slightly larger (about an inch) than my baking sheet. Will a little overhang cause problems?

                      1. Personally I just love my Silpat mats and use them all the time. While parchment works well, it tends to slide around the cookie sheet and the parchment box is just one other thing to get in my way. I can use and reuse the Silpat mats endlessly and while they tend to get a kind of ugly color with age, I really don't worry about it and clean them with a quick wash and dry. The only annoying thing is that my Silpat mats -- the real brand -- are just a teensie bit too big for my cookie sheets, which are regulation size, so I have to watch that side, which kind of slopes upward, when baking certain cookies.

                        1. I've preferred my Exopats to Parchment for two years now. The waste of Parchment bothered me and I don't have a place to put the bulk parchment that restaurant supply houses have.

                          The Exopat is perfect for cooking bagels after the boil, for lace cookies, for my molasses cookie recipes, for oven baked potatoe slices, for some of the large breads that I've begun to bake.

                          I have two and alternate them when I'm doing cookies. I just slide the baked cookies out the open end of the cookie sheet and let the metal cool for a couple of minutes and then slide the next batch on. With so many cookies, the front edge of a metal spatula gets encrusted with sugar/flour/fat from the underside of the cookies. With the ___pats, the cookies look great from the undersides as well.

                          1. I, too got a Silpat to save on waste. I use it for some stuff, but one of its properties that rules it out sometimes is that it does stick where it is. I like to put things on parchment and be able to slide it all onto a baking stone. If you are getting one to roll out pie dough, a piece of cloth works just as well, IMHO. They sell them as pastry cloths with these little sleeves that slip over your rolling pin (if you like). If I were a beginning baker, I'd ask Santa for a La Cloche baker, but that sounds like the topic of a new thread!

                            1. Parchment is so much more versatile. Just this weekend I used it to bake pizzas at 500 degrees (Silpat shouldn't be used above 480 degrees), formed it into a paper mould for panettone, and wrapped up a loaf of crusty bread Try that with a Silpat, ha!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Channa

                                This is an excellent topic since I often wonder if I should invest in Silpat. I currently use parchment, but don't do that much baking.

                              2. I know this is an old thread but I was wonderring what people use while roasting veggies? i try to use very little oil which causes some sticking (i usually use non stick backing pans) will either a silpat or parchment help? thanks!

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: qwerty78

                                  Either will help. Parchment will soak up the oil you do use, so you'll still need to wash your pan, but you shouldn't have sticking. Things will also stick less if you use a silpat; you may get a bit of residue on the mat (especially from things that caramelize more), but it washes off easily enough, in my experience. Silpat can go through the dishwasher, too, if you use one. In either case, you'll still need to use oil (and vegetables roast better with some oil), but you'll have fewer sticking issues.

                                  1. re: qwerty78

                                    What I use for roasting veggies is Reynolds Non-Stick foil. That stuff has changed my life! No more leaving half of the yummy crusty bits on the pan.