How Do You Clean a Cookie Sheet?


Thanks to their smooth, flat surfaces and raised edges, cookie sheets are ideal for baking anything from chewy chocolate chip cookies to roasted vegetables. With such heavy usage, however, it's inevitable that your sheet pans may develop unsightly stains and residue build-up. To keep your health inspector happy and your food tasting its best, follow the methods below to combat grease, food particle residue, and even rust on your aluminized steel, aluminum, and non-stick cookie sheets.

What Method is Best for Cleaning Your Cookie Sheet?

Before you clean your baking sheets, you'll need to know which method will work best for your type of pan. Refer to the table below to decide which method is safe to use on your kitchen's cookie sheets.

Method: Aluminized Steel Aluminum Non-Stick
Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide Yes No No
Baking soda and vinegar Yes Yes No
Ammonia Yes No No
Aluminum Foil Yes No No
Washing Soda and Cream of Tartar Yes Yes Yes
Water and Baking Soda Yes Yes Yes

Methods for Cleaning Your Cookie Sheets

Based on the type of pan you're cleaning, choose the right method below to remove unsightly residue and stains without ruining your cookie sheet.

How to Clean Cookie Sheets with Baking Soda and Peroxide

For this method, the most important factor is time. The mixture is simply baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, but you must give it enough time to attack your pan’s food particles and grime.

  1. Mix baking soda and hydrogen peroxide into a paste.
  2. Spread mixture across the top of the pan.
  3. Let sit for 2-3 hours.
  4. Wipe mixture away with a paper towel and water.
  5. If necessary, scrub any remaining sections.
  6. Clean with regular soap and water to rid sheet of any remaining residue.

How to Clean Cookie Sheets with Baking Soda and Vinegar

  1. Use 1 part baking soda and 1 part vinegar (we recommend 1/4 cup to start).
  2. Pour the baking soda on the tray and spread evenly across.
  3. Add vinegar to the tray and watch for the ingredients to begin to react.
  4. Submerge the tray into a sink filled with hot water.
  5. Soak the sheet for 30-60 minutes.
  6. Remove from the water and scrub away dirt and grime with a scouring pad or steel wool.
  7. Clean sheet with regular soap and water.

How to Clean Cookie Sheets with Ammonia

While ammonia can be very effective at removing tough stains and food particles, it's important to note that this method takes the most time to complete and involves harsh chemicals that employees must take caution when using. For your safety, be sure to wear protective gloves and eye wear when handling.

  1. Place your cookie sheets inside a durable plastic bag, such as a garbage bag.
  2. Add 1/2 cup of ammonia to the bag.
  3. Seal the bag shut and let it sit out in the sun for a day to allow enough time for the ammonia to soften and react with grease and food particles.
  4. Without breathing in the ammonia, open the bag and remove the pans.
  5. Scrub pans with steel wool.
  6. Wash the sheets thoroughly.

How to Clean Cookie Sheets with Aluminum Foil

  1. Soak sheet pans in water for an extended period of time.
  2. Remove and dry.
  3. Bunch up a ball of aluminum foil and scrub burnt spots and stuck-on food.
  4. Wash and rinse with soap and water.

How to Clean Cookie Sheets with Washing Soda and Cream of Tartar

  1. Sprinkle washing soda and cream of tartar onto the cookie sheet.
  2. Pour a small amount of hot water on top of the sheet.
  3. Mix ingredients into a paste.
  4. Spread paste evenly across the pan.
  5. Let sit for 15 minutes.
  6. Scrub stains with a non-abrasive scrubbing pad.
  7. Wash paste and dirt off the pan with water and soap.

How to Clean Cookie Sheets with Baking Soda and Water

  1. Create a paste with warm water and baking soda.
  2. Cover the cookie sheet with the paste.
  3. Let sit for 30 minutes.
  4. Gently rub stains with a nylon scrubber until the spots are gone.
  5. Wash thoroughly and dry immediately.

How to Clean Rust from Cookie Sheets

Instead of replacing old baking pans, try these methods to remove damaging rust and make your sheets usable again.

Using a Potato and Baking Soda

  1. Cut the potato in half.
  2. Dip the cut end in either dish soap or baking soda. To figure out which would be best to use, you may wish to experiment with both.
  3. Firmly rub the potato over the rusted area. The potato's natural oxalic acid will help break rust down.
  4. If the potato starts to get slick, slice off the end and dip it in the dish soap or baking soda again.
  5. Repeat steps until rust is removed.
  6. Rinse off the pan and dry immediately.

Using Baking Soda

  1. Rinse the sheet thoroughly, then shake it dry so it remains slightly damp.
  2. Lightly dust the pan with baking soda so the powder sticks to the remaining water.
  3. Make sure all rusty spots are covered with baking soda.
  4. Let sit for about 30 minutes.
  5. With the baking soda still on, gently scrub the pan.
  6. Rinse everything off and towel dry immediately.

How to Clean Cookie Sheets with Baked-On Grease


Baked-on grease can be a tough mess to deal with, but the following methods for each type of sheet pan should help solve the problem.

  • Aluminum Steel Cookie Sheets: Place your cookie sheet on the stove with water and a few drops of dish detergent inside. Bring the water to a gentle boil for about five minutes. Let the liquid cool completely, then scrub the pan with a stainless steel scrubbing pad to remove baked-on grease.
  • Aluminum Cookie Sheets: Sprinkle cream of tartar all over the top of your baking sheets. Add water and bring to a boil over the stovetop for 5 minutes. This should lift the grease off of the pan. Simply rinse away any remaining residue and dry.
  • Non-Stick Cookie Sheets: Sprinkle the top of the cookie sheet with baking soda. Pour vinegar over the baking soda so that the powder begins to fizz. Let the sheet stand for 30 minutes. Gently scrub any remaining grease. Rinse thoroughly and dry.

Cleaning Tools That Are Safe to Use on Your Cookie Sheets

Take the following into consideration when cleaning your kitchen's specific type of cookie sheet.

How to Clean Aluminized Steel Cookie Sheets

Aluminized steel is a tough material that is able to withstand rough scouring and scrubbing. For any of the methods you use, we recommend using a scouring pad, the rough side of a sponge, or steel wool. It’s important to consider that while it is effective at eliminating stains, steel wool may leave small scratch marks on your pans.

How to Clean Aluminum Cookie Sheets

Aluminum baking sheets can be cleaned using similar methods as aluminized steel or stainless steel pans. However, you may need to use a gentler scrubber. To be sure, test the scrubber on a small section on the back of your sheet.

How to Clean Non-Stick Cookie Sheets

To preserve the integrity of the non-stick finish on your cookie sheet, do not use rough or steel scrubbers. Instead, opt for non-abrasive nylon scrubbers. Additionally, it’s recommended you first try covering the cookie sheet with wet paper towels and let the sheet soak for an hour. For minor build-up, this may be effective.

Tips for Cleaning Your Cookie Sheets

To prevent build-up of food residue, grease, or rust, consider these tips for cleaning and maintaining your cookie sheets.

  • Avoid large messes to begin with by lining your pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
  • Coat your pan with a light layer of oil to prevent rusting.
  • Dry cookie sheets immediately after washing to avoid a build-up of bacteria and rusting.
  • When possible, hand-wash your cookie sheets soon after use.

Cookie sheets are a great, versatile tool to use in your commercial kitchen. Use these methods to ensure longevity and reduce replacement costs. Choose the right method above based on what supplies you already have in your kitchen, any time constraints you may have, and what type of sheet you're using.

Posted in: Cleaning Tips | Bakeries | By Rachel Jenkins

Hiring Seasonal Help for Your Restaurant

From rooftop bars to dining patios, sunshine is sure to bring customers to your outdoor areas during the summer months. Instead of stretching your staff too thin, consider hiring seasonal help to handle the annual influx of guests. Follow these guidelines to stay on top of your busy season without compromising service or quality.

What to Consider Before Hiring Seasonal Help

Advantages of Hiring Seasonal Help

Before jumping right into the hiring process, ask yourself these questions to determine whether seasonal help is the right solution for your establishment.

  • Are we busy at the same time every year? There’s a big difference between a steady growth in customers and encountering a busy season. If your restaurant seems to experience busy times consistently throughout the year, it may be time to expand your full-time staff. Alternatively, if year after year you experience a hike in business around Mother's Day to Labor Day or Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, this is a good indication seasonal help could be beneficial.
  • Do I have the time to train new staff? Taking the time to properly and thoroughly train seasonal help can be unappealing for business owners. It’s a time-consuming process for a short-term situation. However, it’s important to remember that every staff member, whether full-time or seasonal, represents your company to the customer, and a compromise in customer service could cost your reputation.
  • Do I understand the legal impact of hiring seasonal workers? Restaurant owners may not realize that seasonal employees could be eligible for certain benefits such as unemployment. Because this varies state by state, it is recommended you check your local regulations before bringing on new staff members. Similarly, contact your insurance company about coverage for seasonal employees and find out how this may impact your current rates.

Hiring the Right Employees for Seasonal Help

Once you’ve decided that seasonal help will be beneficial for your business, there are several things to keep in mind when beginning the hiring process. Since these seasonal staff members are only on board for a few months out of the year, it would be a waste of time for you to interview, hire, and train someone who didn’t work out. Consider the following as you begin your candidate recruitment process.

  • Keep expectations clear in the job description. State in the title of the job posting that this is seasonal work only. An example would include “Host / Hostess (Part Time, Summer Only).” Within the job description, list out all duties you expect the candidate to perform, including any labor-intensive tasks or challenges involved.
  • Identify candidates who have the potential to become permanent, full-time employees. Instead of simply filling a temporary position, consider whether or not you could see a candidate moving on to become a full-time employee. This could save time and hassle when it comes to filling a full-time position in the future or once the season is over.
  • Look for quick learners with positive attitudes. While hiring employees with relevant experience is usually preferred, identifying candidates who learn quickly and present positive attitudes can be equally as rewarding. Seasonal workers may need to learn some skills on the job, so a willingness to do so can go a long way.
  • Begin the hiring process early. If you’re looking to fill positions for the holiday season, begin posting job descriptions toward the end of the summer. It takes time to create interest, interview applicants, and properly train new hires. Getting all of this done before your busy season ensures a smooth and stress-free transition.
  • Get referrals and recommendations from current exemplary staff members. Your staff knows what you expect of your employees. Because of this, they can make valuable connections between you and potential new hires who they believe are qualified for the job.
  • Target the right applicants. Seasonal work is ideal for high school kids and college students looking for summer jobs. Or, market your business to recent college graduates who need time to figure out their next move. Teachers looking for extra cash during the summer and retirees also make great candidates for seasonal hire.

Training for Seasonal Help

Tips for Training and Hiring Seasonal Help

Your customers won’t know the difference between temporary hires and full-time staff. Because of this, training seasonal help should be the same or very similar to the process you use to train permanent staff members. Although it’s for a shorter period of time, these temporary servers, hosts, or bartenders are being paid to represent your company name and are expected to offer the same level of customer service as full-time staff. It is recommended you train all seasonal staff members at once to save time and ensure consistency.

If you were thorough in your interview process, you should have found candidates who have good interpersonal skills and who demonstrate the ability to interact well with customers and fellow staff members. During their training period, promote the best benefits about the job to motivate and excite staff. For example, if your seasonal staff is expected to work a lot of weekend hours, remind them about the potential for great tips.

How to Keep Employees from Quitting Mid-Season

Once you’ve acquired top-notch new hires, it’s important to keep them from quitting mid-season. A sudden loss of employees can leave you understaffed and out of time to begin the hiring process over again. Along with taking the time to properly and thoroughly train seasonal hires, there are a few precautions you can take to keep staff happy during their time with your restaurant.

  • Offer bonuses or incentives. Offering bonuses or incentives for those who complete the season may seem excessive, but it’s a highly effective method for retaining seasonal help. Giving your staff an extra reason to stay can make the difference between a smooth season and a bumpy ride. Make it clear in your job description posting that you’ll be offering incentives to make your business more desirable to work for from the beginning.
  • Create a positive work environment that makes seasonal hires feel welcomed. Eliminate any rivalry or tension between your temporary and full-time staff by encouraging seasonal employees to participate in company activities and programs. Making sure your temporary staff feels welcomed is a simple way to ensure retention and shouldn’t be overlooked.
  • Respect employees' personal schedules. Whether it’s the summer months or the holiday season, it’s important to remember your seasonal staff is working at a time others may normally have off. They’ll want to enjoy the warm weather or seasonal activities as well, and you need to provide clear expectations about how many days or hours they can be expected to work. Letting employees know how many days on or off they’ll have each week as well as providing flexibility in their schedule can help seasonal employees better plan and enjoy their time off.

  • Having too many employees on the clock during a slow day takes away from your restaurant’s profits and can hurt your bottom line. Because of this, seasonal hiring can be advantageous for business owners during busy seasons. By keeping your business well-staffed for the busy season, your staff can adjust quickly to workload fluctuations, respond effectively to increased customer demand, and ensure customers experience shorter wait times and faster service.

    Posted in: Management & Operation | Seasonal | By Rachel Jenkins

What Is a Springform Pan?


Springform pans feature a removable bottom and adjustable sides meant to eliminate the risks associated with removing cakes from traditional pans.

Springform pans are a kitchen essential for producing flawlessly smooth cheesecakes, perfectly crusted tarts, or intricate ice cream cakes without damage to their tops, bottoms, or sides. Removing your product from the pan is the final step before placing your delicate treats on display, serving to the customer, or packaging them to go.

How to Use a Springform Pan

Springform pans are easy to use and can be rewarding when it comes to producing a flawless final product. Follow these easy steps to effectively use your springform pan.

  • First, ensure your bottom and sides fit together securely. This can help reduce or eliminate leakage.
  • Once the sides and bottom are put together and the clamps are shut, fill the pan with your desired ingredients.
  • Bake your dish to completion and let cool.
  • If you are not using a nonstick pan, use a butter knife to loosen the edges around the sides. For nonstick pans, use a small rubber spatula or scraper.
  • Unhinge the clasp and remove the sides.
  • Serve as is, or remove the bottom by carefully sliding the cake onto a tray or lifting with a spatula.

What Can I Bake in My Springform Pan?


Springform pans are designed primarily for use with delicate desserts such as cheesecake, ice cream cake, and bread pudding. It is recommended you choose recipes with thicker batters, as the thin batter of desserts such as flan can easily leak. Its removable sides and bottom ensure these treats stay intact while being prepared for service.

Modern bakers and restaurateurs are finding new and creative ways to put these important pans to use. For example, these pans are perfect for sweet or savory pies made with press-in crusts because they won’t stick to the sides of your pan. Or, some chefs create show-stopping specials by preparing pasta dishes such as rigatoni pie in springform pans. From cheese tarts to frozen cakes, you can make memorable presentations that are outside of the norm to impress your guests.

How to Keep a Springform Pan from Leaking

Due to their convenient, breakaway design, springform pans are prone to leaking. Here are a few tips to help reduce or eliminate leaking.

  • Choosing a higher quality pan for your commercial kitchen is recommended to avoid immediate leaking issues or to help reduce the chance of a problem developing in the future.
  • Opt for a traditional, non-springform pan if you plan on baking items with thin batters that may easily leak out of the pan.
  • When cooking baked goods in a water bath, place your springform pan inside a slightly larger cake pan to both prevent leakage and protect your batter from excess moisture.
  • For cooking baked goods without a water bath, place a layer or two of aluminum foil along the entire outside of your springform pan. Crimp the foil over the top of the sides to ensure it stays in place.

What Springform Pan Sizes are Available?

Most springform pan sizes have a depth of 3 inches, which can be significantly taller than traditional cake pans. The top diameter typically ranges from about 6 to 12 inches. Plus, some pans include interchangeable bottoms for maximum versatility.

What Can I Use as a Springform Pan Substitute?

You may use a traditional cake pan wrapped in aluminum foil or a disposable pan as a springform pan substitute.

While it’s best to use a springform pan with delicate baked goods such as cheesecakes or ice cream cakes, the following methods have the potential to mimic its effects. Keep in mind, however, that these may not be as reliable or produce such consistent results as using a springform pan.

If you’re in a pinch but have a traditional cake pan lying around, you may be able to get similar results by lining the pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil. It’s important to leave plenty of material hanging outside of the pan. This will allow you, with the help of another employee, to hold the pan down and lift the edges of the paper out from the pan. This will create a sling for your baked good and hopefully keep it intact as it’s removed from the pan. Keep in mind, however, if you are using a traditional cake pan, the size may vary and you’ll need to adjust the time or temperature of your oven.

Another option would be to bake your batter in a disposable cake pan. Again, you may need to adjust the time or temperature of your oven because these tend to be shorter in height than springform pan. With disposable pans, once your product is cooked and cooled, you can use a knife and scissors to cut the pan away from your dessert. This method, however, can be time consuming for commercial kitchens. In addition, you’ll need to stock a large number of disposable pans, which can create problems in establishments with smaller storage areas.

Springform pans feature an innovative design for effectively extracting your delicate cakes, pies, tarts, and pasta creations. Keeping your product intact from start to finish ensures an enticing and professional presentation, whether it's served right away or put on display in your bakery or restaurant.

Posted in: Kitchen & Cooking Tips | Bakeries | By Rachel Jenkins

Mother's Day Restaurant Ideas

Taking Mom out for brunch on Mother’s Day is a tradition that’s becoming more popular each year. If you own a restaurant, this holiday gives you the opportunity to bring in more customers than any other day. To help your restaurant stand out from the competition, decorate your space and offer mothers special treats that mark the occasion. From organization tips to Mother’s Day menu ideas, we’ve created a guide to help your establishment make the most of this day. Keep reading to see our Mother’s Day restaurant ideas and get inspiration for enticing promotions.

Ideas for Mother’s Day Restaurant Offers

According to the National Restaurant Association, Mother’s Day is the busiest day of the year for restaurants. With more than half the country’s population planning to dine out on Mother’s Day, your establishment needs to offer promotions that will stand out from your competition. Check out these suggestions for simple ways your restaurant can bring in more customers this Mother’s Day.

Mother's Day restaurant offers

Open Earlier Than Usual

If your business typically only opens for lunch and dinner, consider opening a little earlier on Mother's Day to take advantage of the large number of diners who will be searching for a great place to eat before lunchtime. This also gives you the opportunity to serve an exclusive Mother’s Day brunch menu.

Offer Discounted or Free Food to Moms

Giving your customers the opportunity to save a little money is a great way to make your business stand out. Try offering a discount for mothers’ entrees or make their entree free with the purchase of another. During your dinner service, you can offer mothers a free cocktail or dessert to complete their meals.

Try a Prix Fixe Menu

Prix fixe menus are not only a great way for your restaurant to maximize profits, but they also make things simpler for your guests. On a holiday that is so popular for dining out, families may eat together in big groups, and a prix fixe menu could make things easier when it comes time to pay. Plus, you can more easily prepare for a limited menu by buying fewer ingredients than usual, and your chefs can work more efficiently with fewer menu items to cook.

Have a Raffle for Prizes

You can put together a gift basket or give away a gift certificate to one of the moms celebrating at your restaurant this Mother’s Day. Give each mother a ticket and announce a winner during your meal service to help your customers feel special.

Partner with a Charity

For your customers, Mother’s Day is the chance to thank their mother, grandmother, or other special loved one for what she does. Your restaurant can encourage the grateful spirit of the day by donating proceeds to a charity like a local women’s shelter, hospital, or food bank. If you promote this partnership before the holiday, you may even attract more customers who appreciate your generosity to other organizations.

How to Prepare Your Restaurant for Mother’s Day

To make this holiday a success, you need to prepare your restaurant for a higher volume of customers. Here are our suggestions to help your establishment to stay organized for Mother’s Day.

Consider Hiring Seasonal Staff

Even though Mother’s Day is only one day, some customers may celebrate in the weeks before or after the holiday. As a result, you may need to take on some temporary staff members for the month of May. You’ll want to make sure you have enough staff coverage to maintain a smooth service.

Take Mother’s Day Reservations

Even if your restaurant doesn’t normally take reservations, Mother’s Day is the perfect time to accept them. This helps you anticipate how many staff members you’ll require and how much food you’ll need to prepare. Plus, many customers will like the security of having a reserved table on the busiest day of the year.

Consider Setting Up More Tables than Usual

If you have any extra space that isn’t ordinarily used for seating (like a patio), you may want to set out a few extra tables for the day. Be sure not to put too many tables in your space, as this could create an unpleasant experience for your customers and your servers. Choose special place mats, tablecloths, and centerpieces to make your meal service unique for the holiday.

Mother’s Day Brunch Menu Ideas

Mother's Day brunch ideas

Planning a menu specifically for Mother’s Day is one way to help your meal service feel like a special occasion, and it can simplify the preparation process for your kitchen staff, too. If you’re unsure of what to serve in your restaurant this Mother’s Day, check out our menu suggestions below.

  • Baked French Toast: This dish is quicker than making pieces of french toast individually because it can be assembled in large pans. It can even be reheated to order. Fresh berries and cream on top make this a sweet choice that’s a twist on traditional brunch fare.
  • Frittata: Quicker than quiche, frittatas can be prepared with many different ingredients to satisfy customers’ cravings for savory foods. Additionally, you can get creative with your toppings, offering anything from salmon and dill to tomato and cheddar.
  • Moroccan Poached Eggs: Offering something a little different can help set your brunch apart from all the rest. This North African dish, also called shakshuka, is a nod to the trend of international cuisine taking center stage and will entice your more adventurous moms. Served with a simple flatbread, this dish is a showstopper.
  • Monte Cristo Sandwich: This classic grilled ham and cheese sandwich is made with french toast as its bread. To simplify preparation, you can use the same bread you use for your baked french toast.
  • Parfait: A lighter option of yogurt, berries, and granola is a healthy choice that’s as pretty as it is delicious. Parfaits also make a great side dish or dessert that’s perfect as an add-on item.

How to Promote Your Restaurant for Mother’s Day

Now that you have a plan for how to prepare your restaurant for Mother’s Day, you need a strategy for getting the word out to potential customers.

Mother's Day menu ideas

Social media is a great tool for reaching customers on Mother’s Day and every day. If you have a sizable number of followers, posting announcements on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter is an effective way to get the word out about any events you may be planning at your restaurant this Mother’s Day.

Don't worry if you haven’t built up a big social media following. Word of mouth and flyers can work just as well. In the weeks leading up to Mother’s Day, have your servers encourage customers to come back for your special brunch. You can also print out flyers and hang them in a visible place inside your restaurant. If you have a good relationship with any local community groups, ask if you can post your flyers on their bulletin boards.

No matter how you choose to celebrate Mother’s Day this year, make sure you don’t lose sight of the most important part: celebrating moms! Encourage your staff to take the time to wish a happy Mother’s Day to all the moms who visit your business and do your best to maintain a pleasant atmosphere, even if service becomes very busy. As you prepare for this big day, be sure to refer to our Mother’s Day restaurant ideas for inspiration and guidance.

Posted in: Holidays | Menu Tips | By Christine Potts
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