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Food Hacks

Wax, aluminum, parchment: A short guide to which baking paper is right for your dish

July 6th, 2020

Baking is a ton of fun! Though anybody can do it, it certainly takes practice and patience to get those desserts to turn out perfectly the way you want them to.

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Pexels/Andrea Piacquadio Source: Pexels/Andrea Piacquadio

Baking, like other forms of cooking, takes a level of skill and technique. Despite ads claiming that fancy and expensive equipment is required to make the best dishes, all that is truly needed is the desire to make the most out of what one has on hand.

Whether you’re an expert, an aspiring chef, or simply enjoy being in the kitchen, you have probably come across parchment paper, wax paper, and foil.

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Wikimedia Commons Source: Wikimedia Commons

Dun-dun-dun

While each of these items is essential to a well-oiled kitchen, there is confusion about which items to use and when.

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For example, people often interchange the three of these items not knowing that doing so can be a danger to one’s kitchen (fire) and perhaps your health (if ingested). As common as these kitchen materials are, there hasn’t been much discussion about their differences.

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pxhere Source: pxhere

But don’t you worry, we’re here to help clarify this dilemma. Keep reading to see whether you’re using these items correctly and how to go about using them the right way in the future.

Parchment paper

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Flickr/Veganbaking.net Source: Flickr/Veganbaking.net

Parchment paper is coated with silicone and is grease, heat, and moisture-resistant. It is also nonstick. Thus, it’s great for baking cookies, cakes, and other foods that you don’t want sticking to a pan. It is available in both bleached and unbleached (natural brown).

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Pexels/Oleg Magni Source: Pexels/Oleg Magni

In addition, parchment paper can also be used when baking fish, vegetables, and other foods “en papillote” (“in parchment” in French). For convenience, it can be bought in sheets, on a roll, and even in pre-cut pan sizes.

Wax paper

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Wikimedia Commons Source: Wikimedia Commons

Wax paper is coated with wax and though it is moisture-resistant, it is not heat-resistant! Therefore, it cannot be used in the oven. If it is used in the oven, it can melt into the food and could also potentially start a fire.

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Wallpaper Flare Source: Wallpaper Flare

However, wax paper is great for lining your countertops when working with dough for pie crusts and kneading bread. It is also ideal for wrapping food that you don’t want to stick, separating cookies and brownies for storage, and lining pans for cold food items like fudge and other no-bake dishes.

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Peakpx Source: Peakpx

Aluminum foil

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Flickr/Marco Verch Source: Flickr/Marco Verch

First and foremost, aluminum foil is not non-stick! However, it is great for easy cleanup and for wrapping foods. If your goal is to insulate a food’s temperature, whether hot or cold, aluminum foil will do the trick. For example, you can wrap aluminum foil around a bowl to retain heat or wrap food in heavy-duty foil and put in the freezer for a short period.

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Flickr/topquark22 Source: Flickr/topquark22

Foil is also used to make disposable funnels, to prevent pie crusts from burning, to clean up messes on the grill and cast iron skillets, and to keep food from boiling over in the oven.

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Wikimedia Commons Source: Wikimedia Commons

Now that you know the differences between each of these items, what will you make next?

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

Sources: Reader’s Digest, What’s for Dinner, CNET

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