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replacing my Pyrex - trying to figure out what to buy instead!

v
violet42 Nov 9, 2011 11:19 AM

So like an earlier poster, I had a Pyrex explode on me randomly - except that it was the second time this has happened to me with Pyrex in the course of a couple months! I've decided enough is enough and that I'm going to get rid of my Pyrex before someone gets seriously hurt. (And for the record, neither explosion even involved wild temp changes or wet surfaces, which freaks me out even more.)

I'm starting to get more serious about cooking, so what would your recommendations be for replacing the following Pyrex items:

- round 9" pie plates
- 8x8 square pans
- 13x9 pans
- loaf pans

I use the loaf and round pans almost always for baking-only, and I'm not sure whether to replace them with metal bakeware or with stoneware/corningware. I prefer NOT to use nonstick. I like the weight and the quality of nordicware alumimum, but am wary about the safety of cooking with aluminum pans. what would be the best high quality, long lasting option for cooking loaf breads, pies and cakes?

As for the rectangular pans, I use them occasionally for baking cakes/brownies and mostly for roasting vegetables and baking chicken/fish. Should I replace them with two separate sets - metalware for the baking side of things and stoneware/corningware for the roasting needs? I'm talking about roasting chopped up veggies, chicken breasts or fish fillets - not usually a whole chicken. Or is there an option that can also do both?

Also, I have no idea what kind of stoneware to purchase. I really like Le Creuset and Corningware, but I need something that I can use routinely at 400-450 degrees as that's the temp at which I usually bake dinner items. What are your recommendations?

Thanks in advance!

  1. s
    sueatmo Nov 9, 2011 01:33 PM

    I found nice Wilton pie pans at Home Goods, which is where I go first for anything kitcheny. You never know what you will find there, and that is what appeals to me. There were several brands of metal bakeware there, but not many choices for pie pans. I compared my new pans to the Wilton sold at Joanne's, and the stuff I bought is heavier and appears to be better quality. I paid $5 per pan.

    http://tinyurl.com/ch4scnw Wilton pie pan

    I have other metal bakeware, all bought at Home Goods over time. Some of the brands I've seen or bought are Chicago metallic, Calphalon, Cuisinart and maybe others.

    http://tinyurl.com/7ghucwe Cuisinart loaf pan

    Or for a super pie pan, check out this Made in Missouri clay pie pan. I assume it is exceptional.

    http://www.hesspottery.com/catalogue.htm

    1. c
      cutipie721 Nov 9, 2011 02:02 PM

      You can always line an aluminum pan with silpat or parchment.

      1. SanityRemoved Nov 9, 2011 02:23 PM

        I use enameled cast iron for 13x9 type pans. Cast iron for loaf pan which can be preheated if you'd like a crustier loaf all around.

        1. Chemicalkinetics Nov 9, 2011 03:21 PM

          Well, I have nothing against Pyrex bakeware. I have one. However, if your goal is to avoid anything breaking, then metal should be under your consideration. As for metal bakeware, you are more or less looking at aluminum, steel, or aluminized steel. Each has its advantages. Aluminum is a better heat conductor, but steel is stronger and less likely to warp.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
            v
            violet42 Nov 9, 2011 03:29 PM

            I don't mind if something breaks by accident - it's more the issue of Pyrex exploding dangerously that I am not a fan of. I'm totally open to stoneware etc.

            I do use stainless cookware with an aluminum core and love it - maybe they make something similar for baking pans.

            1. re: violet42
              Chemicalkinetics Nov 9, 2011 03:55 PM

              Today North American Pyrex is made of tempered lime soda glass. This makes them physically stronger than normal glass, but they will crumble and explode because of the stored energy. It is not as dangerous as one thinks, still it is your personal choice. Let me quote from wikipedia: "tempered glass is a type of safety glass processed by controlled thermal or chemical treatments to increase its strength compared with normal glass. Tempering creates balanced internal stresses which cause the glass, when broken, to crumble into small granular chunks instead of splintering into jagged shards. The granular chunks are less likely to cause injury."

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tempered_glass

              Were you also the person who mentioned the Pyrex exploded for no reason? Tempered glass has a tendency to do that. It isn't really exploding for no reason, but there can be a significant lag time. In other words, it could suddenly break at room temperature on a counter because of what happened a week ago.

              "Spontaneous glass breakage is a phenomenon by which toughened glass (or tempered) may spontaneously break without any apparent reason"

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spontane...

              Back to your bakeware, they make something opposite, and that is because how an oven works. Aluminized steel.

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                v
                violet42 Nov 9, 2011 04:05 PM

                what are the best brands for aluminized steel bakeware? and for roasting etc is stoneware - le creuset or corningware - probably the best way to go?

                1. re: violet42
                  p
                  pericolosa Nov 10, 2011 08:29 AM

                  Chicago Metallics _Professional_ is a top choice for baking pans in many shapes and sizes. There is a CM Commercial line and maybe one other line, one or the other is uncoated, the other nonstick. But Professional is what I chose. I think they're better made than Wilton.
                  Nordic makes good pans too.

                  Pies bake best in ceramic/stoneware pans, similar to how pyrex bakes them, but aluminum or steel will certainly produce good pies. You'll just get different results with your crust and you'll probably want to experiment with temperature and placement.

                  I use cast iron, sometimes enameled, for roasting needs.

                  Corningware is nice, but I think it would be subject to the same issues as pyrex, no? Anybody?

          2. e
            ellabee Nov 9, 2011 06:45 PM

            I replaced my 9" x 13" pyrex baker with an Emile Henry stoneware version that's significantly deeper, so I can finally make four-layer lasagna. It's also beautiful, and it's a pan in which you make the kinds of things that work well for entertaining, so that was an additional reason. The explosion risk was a handy rationalization to go ahead and get an item I wanted already for other reasons.

            I'm too fond of my tempered-glass 8" x 8" pan to give it up unless it explodes It gets used as often for marinating and other prep as in the oven, where it also spends plenty of time. It's a retro - repro depression glass, pale green and ribbed, made in the late 1990s for Martha Stewart [no idea by whom or where].

            I am looking for a non-nonstick metal alternative to the pyrex loaf pans myself, will be interested to see what chowhounds recommend.

            2 Replies
            1. re: ellabee
              p
              pericolosa Nov 10, 2011 08:36 AM

              I've heard that bread bakes very nicely in plain cast iron loaf pans, though I haven't done it myself (See my Chicago Metallics Pro recommendation.) If Lodge isn't still making them they can certainly be found on eBay with a little patience.

              1. re: ellabee
                s
                skyline Nov 10, 2011 02:53 PM

                I'm a huge fan of Fat Daddios anodized aluminum (which, btw, is not the same as aluminized steel). I don't cook on "naked" aluminum -- I do have aluminum baking sheets but I always use parchment -- but I do use the anodized aluminum because the anodization process creates a different kind of surface. And yes I consider anodized aluminum nonstick as far as bakeware goes.

                I got all my Fat Daddios via Amazon but Sur la Table stocks it in their stores, I believe, if you prefer to see and handle in person before buying. I haven't seen it anywhere else on shelves within a 50-75 mile radius of where I live.

              2. BIGGUNDOCTOR Nov 10, 2011 01:42 AM

                Only had one Pyrex break, and it cracked when my brother put some water in it while it was hot. I will continue to use mine without worry.

                For baking bread, etc I have several pieces of old Ekco steel pans, and they work fine. Stoneware will also crack. My friend's pizza stone cracked recently. Steel pans are light weight, tough, and work fine.

                If you are worried about cooking with aluminum don't eat at a restaurant. Most restaurants have tons of aluminum on the line Wear-Ever is a major player.

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