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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. :)