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Why is all bakewear non-stick?

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Is this a stupid question? Perhaps. I know my fellow 'hounds will put me in my place if so.

I'm not much of a baker but growing up I remember my mom's pans not having any non-stick coating. I don't even think Teflon was around until my late childhood and then, she only had one skillet that had it which we used for eggs.

Some years ago, mr. rockandroller and I got rid of all our Teflon pans, I loathe it and don't think it's particularly safe. We don't have a ton of pans but what we have is either stainless or cast iron and it works just fine for us.

I discovered by accident, a rare recent baking episode, that I no longer have any loaf pans, no idea what happened to them, and that my sole muffin pan was really rusted and awful looking (I think it was non-stick some years ago but now just looked dangerous so I got rid of it). I went to 4 typical, regular stores today (not specialty or restaurant supply places) to try to get some inexpensive but decent loaf pans and a muffin pan. EVERYTHING is non-stick. Or silicone, which I just don't want to try. The way the silicone pan flopped around when I picked it up spelled disaster for me as a cook, I'm clumsy enough. Plus it just seems weird, and not having been around long enough to get a true measure of it's safety as bakeware (what you might ingest).

I ended up having to buy non-stick as there was literally nothing else. I suppose I could go to a W-S or try to find a restaurant supply place and spend $50 on one pan, but I really didn't want to spend that much. I had no idea it was so prevalent in bakeware.

Maybe it's because I don't bake much, but am I stupid? Why is all bakeware sold in the regular stores (BBB, department stores, etc.) non-stick? They sell pans and skillets in both stainless and non-stick, and BBB even sells some cast iron, so why is it just the bakeware that's non-stick?

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  1. Because it's what most home bakers want, I guess. Although not all non-stick is Teflon.

    Try the King Arthur website. They sell the Chicago Metallic line without non-stick coatings.

    1. You'd be surprised how inexpensive the basics are, even at a WS or restaurant supply place. I just bought non-non-stick cake pans at Sur La Table and they were about $10 each. No more than a non-stick pan would be at Target or Kohls or BB&B. I've also purchased pieces in restaurant supply places and not paid anything exorbitant. It's worth a look in some of those places, as you might be surprised.

      1. Retailers tend to put their money into inventory which will turn over quickly. So if 90%+ of their customers want non-stick that's what you'll find on the shelf. The average home cook (whoever that is) wants a pan they don't have to prep and one that is easy to clean. Non-stick fills those needs. It's not like non-stick makes the food taste bad.

        There are lots of choices out there but most are available online. For most baking I use the Le Crueset enameled poterie. Plus it's great for lasagna, scalloped potatoes,etc. For cookies I use an aluminized jellyroll pan with a silpat liner.

        1. You have totally the wrong idea about restaurant supply outlets. They are much. much, much cheaper than department stores, gourmet stores and the like. Just go to a site like Surfas or Restaurant Source and you'll find anything you want. For instance, I just got an anodized saucepan at one-quarter tge price of Calphalon. Uncoated sheet pans, by the way, are a mainstay of restaurant kitchens.

          1. I thought the coating on Bakers Secret (formerly EKCO), which is pretty common at the local supermarkets, was silicone rather than Teflon.

            1. Retailers stock and sell what they can turn over quickly. Many consumers don't share your viewpoint of teflon and will purchase non-stick items without hesitation, that's why retailers stock and sell them. I own both and prefer carbon steel, but when my options are limited, I will buy non-stick. Restaurant supply stores are much less expensive than your perceptions indicate and WS does offer some carbon steel options. I have purchased 1/2 sheet steel pans from Sam's for $10 for a package of 2. If you shop around you can find just about whatever you want at the price you want to pay, all it takes is time. How much time do you want to spend ?

              1 Reply
              1. re: Grillncook

                Thanks everyone. @grillncook, time is what I don't have. I work 2 jobs and so does mr. RNR and so my free time is pretty limited, I try to keep shopping for just about anything I need to a very limited time. The only restaurant supply place I knew of in town closed some time ago and the only other one I know about is about an hour away, just too far for me to drive for a few pans I will rarely use.

                The ones I bought are chicago metallic and say "heavy duty precoated steel construction." It doesn't say what the coating is but I assumed it's Teflon or something just like it. No?