My general approach to bakeware has been to buy the cheap stuff, because I just assume that it has a very limited shelf life. As most of mine is coming up for replacement and my budget is a little more flexible than it has been, I wondered if it might be time to revisit this decision. Generally I'd be happier to buy good stuff that will last a long time, better for the pocket and the environment, etc. But is there any quality long lasting bakeware out there? Recs? I'd like to avoid weird coatings if possible.
Find your local restaurant supply store (phone book). They probably sell to the public. There was a fabulous one in Seattle and I just discovered the one in Oakland. Bargains galore! And the stuff in meant to last. I recently got several items for about a third of what the Baker's Catalogue wanted and no shipping costs or waiting.
I have 8", 9" and 10" cake pans, all of which are heavy gauge aluminum. I've had most of them for at least15 years and all are still in excellent shape, bake perfectly and even look good. They were not overly expensive either but certainly more than the cheap ones you can buy at the grocery. None of them are coated. Like many items of cookware (or bakeware) if you purchase quality items and take care of them they can last a very long time.
Pie plates, I have mostly Pyrex. Again, unless you drop it and break it, once you have it, it should never need replacing. And, they are not expensive either.
And - just found this:
"In general the finish of the bakeware may be the most important factor.
Baking sheets that are shiny or lighter in color are preferable. The nonstick sheets are darker and therefore absorb more heat, causing a problem with over browning and burning.
It is preferable to have nonstick or darker muffin pans and cake pans. They ensure easy release and offer a deep brown crust, which is preferable in corn muffins and the darker crust on a cake makes it sturdier and easier to ice with less crumbs on the surface."
It seems that bakeware can be made out of glass, silicone, aluminum, steel (tin), or cast iron. Cast iron and steel are porous - unless they're Teflon coated.
A simple answer might be that the Calphalon Nonstick line might be the best.