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Wax paper vs. Parchment paper

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Does anyone understand the difference between the two? Can they be used interchably when baking seafood? Thanks.

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  1. Wax paper is, not surprisingly, covered with wax, so it's no good in the oven I think. Parchment is some sort of smooth, but unwaxed, paper.

    1. Yes, wax paper has wax, and I can vouch for the fact that if you use it in the oven, it smokes. I tried to substitute it when I first started baking before parchment became readily available. Whew. What a mess.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Andiereid

        Yes, if you're baking... definitely DO NOT use wax paper. i made that mistake an hour ago.... not only did my kitchen fill up with smoke, but i almost burned the house down. Use parchment paper ONLY! (when baking). good luck

      2. Parchment is coated with chemically inert silicone, and is meant to be used in the oven. Wax paper should never be used in hot food conditions as the wax will met and transfer to the food. The wax isn't a health problem, but it does impart off flavors.

        Wax paper can be safely used anywhere you would use Saran(cling film.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Kelli2006

          Flavors like crayons... and burnt paper! Wax paper is for wrapping picnic sandwiches, that's about all I've ever found it good for.

          1. re: HaagenDazs

            Waxed is also good for pounding cutlets and the like, as it's less unruly than cling wraps.

            Never use waxed paper for baking.

        2. Oh! Just remembered something from the old Frugal Gourmet. He advocated oiling plain old white paper to use in place of parchment. Never tried it.

          Anyone remember this or tried it? Does it work? Could it work for the OP's seafood?

          1. Back before anyone thought of using parchment paper for anything but typing (machines we had prior to computers and word processors some were electric and some manual) we would routinely line our cake pans with waxed paper. In some old cookbooks you will see instructions to do so. You may substitute parchment rounds if you wish. Waxed paper was also useful when making jelly rolls, buche de noel, and some of those rolled souffles. It has its place in our kitchens. When you need to butter a pan, using waxed paper to smear the butter around is helpful. If you have a slow iron that seems to drag, running it warm across waxed paper will help make it iron more smoothly are a couple more uses. Anyone have anyother favorite uses for waxed paper?

            2 Replies
            1. re: Candy

              Yes, my dad has always used wax paper for lining his cake pans and the cakes have never tasted waxy. My grandpa always wraps his caramels up in waxed paper too... they just wouldn't be the same without it!

              I, too, made the mistake of trying to bake cookies on waxed paper when I first started baking! Yikes, that was nasty!

              1. re: Candy

                Duh! I guess I wasn't thinking about baking cakes and such, where the paper isn't exposed! Yeah - my mistake. Still, I would never use waxed for cookie baking.

                Guess I should bake more cakes. :)

              2. I've used wax paper in baking - to line a jelly roll pan for a sponge-type cake, and to line layer cake tins. The process was grease bottom of pan, dust with flour, add wax paper, grease that, dust that with flour, knock off excess. It made the cake easier to flip out of the pan with no loss of cake, as you'd have the edges sticking out a bit from the pan so you could lift it out or gently nudge it while holding upside down over plate. The edges did get brown but as most of the paper was covered by the batter, it didn't burn.

                Wax paper is also useful to wrap individual caramels or popcorn balls in. Or, if you are making dipped chocolates - you can place the chocolates on a wax paper-lined pan, knock the excess drips off it when cool, and use the chocolate again if you like.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Seldomsated

                  I was wondering that, because a pumpkin roll recipe I have (for a jelly roll pan) says buttered wax paper. But as I only have parchment, and I knwo that works well, I'll be sticking with that.

                2. I use them interchangeably for storage but only use parchment when any heat is going to be involved. Parchment paper is the key to our stress free pizza making. Spread the dough on the parchment and then slide the whole thing onto the preheated stone. Brilliant.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ccbweb

                    I agree ccbweb. Parchment paper makes pizza transfers so much easier! Last weekend I also used it for a no knead bread--after "shape" put on parchment paper, lift by parchment and set parchment and dough into dutch oven when preheated. So much easier.