Is Silicone Safe?
The short answer is yes, silicone is safe. According to the FDA, food-grade silicone cookware and utensils do not cause harmful chemical contamination of foods. If you are nervous about using silicone when cooking or baking, focus on using silicone kitchen tools and avoid cookware. Whether you are making goodies for a continental breakfast or preparing a delicious dessert, there are plenty of safe silicone molds that can be used to help. Continue reading to learn if silicone is safe to cook with and how to properly care and clean for silicone baking mats and molds.Shop All Silicone Baking Molds
What is Silicone?
Silicone is a synthetic polymer that contains bonded silicone, oxygen, and other elements like carbon and hydrogen. Silicone is generally formed into a flexible, rubberlike plastic, which has a number of properties useful in any commercial kitchen. Known for its low toxicity and high heat resistance, silicone has a variety of uses.
Benefits of Silicone
- Offers options for fun shapes
- Easy to clean
- Durable and long-lasting
- Flexible material
- Can withstand high temperatures
- Resistant to staining
- Space saving
- Offered in a wide variety of color options
- Better nonstick qualities than several alternatives
Is Silicone Safe for Food?
Food-grade silicone is safe for baking and cooking. The ingredients in silicone are inert materials, which means that none of the materials used to manufacture the silicone will leach into the food being cooked in it.
When buying silicone bakeware, buy high-quality items and make sure that there are no fillers in the silicone. Fillers are a cause for concern because when silicone bakeware or cookware is heated, it expels an odor that can be transferred into the food. Only buy silicone products that say they are 100% silicone on the packaging.
Is Silicone Safer than Plastic?
Yes, silicone is safer than plastic. Many prefer to use silicone over plastic because silicone is more durable and environmentally friendly compared to plastic. Silicone also has a higher tolerance to heat and does not contain BPA like some plastics do.
Can You Microwave Silicone?
Silicone molds are microwave-safe, freezer-safe, and oven-safe. In 1979, the FDA deemed silicone safe to be used for cooking and everyday usage. Temperature changes will not cause food-grade silicone to leach into foods, despite common consumer concerns.
How to Clean Silicone
Cleaning silicone bakeware is easier than you might think! Check your products to make sure they are dishwasher safe if you would like to throw them in for an automatic cleaning. If you prefer hand washing, follow the steps below to get clean silicone!
- Put grease-cutting soap on a cloth (avoid abrasive cleaning tools) and run the water until it is hot.
- Once water is very hot, wipe down silicone mats, molds, or pans with soapy cloth.
- Rinse thoroughly.
- Leave out to air dry.
- If cleaning a silicone baking mat, lay the mat out flat to dry.
If your silicone still has a few bits and pieces of food stuck to it, place it back in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 to 10 minutes then to soak in hot water to loosen the food. Repeat the steps above to achieve clean silicone.
Silicone is still relatively new to the cooking scene and there is a lot to be learned of it. As long as you are using high-quality silicone bakeware without fillers, your food will be safe.
High Altitude Baking Adjustments
Is Baking Soda the Same as Baking Powder?
Whether you own a bakery, offer baked goods on your menu, or just have a casual interest in baking, it’s essential to understand the difference between baking soda and baking powder. In the blog below we’ll explain what sets baking soda and baking powder apart, how they work, and the different substitutes you can use in their place. Baking Soda vs Baking Powder The difference between baking powder and baking soda comes down to their ingredients. Baking soda only contains one ingredient, sodium bicarbonate. On the other hand, baking powder is made up of two ingredients: sodium bicarbonate and some form of powdered acid. In most cases, that acid is potassium bitartrate, also known as cream of tartar. How Baking Soda Works Baking soda undergoes a chemical reaction when mixed with an acidic ingredient. This reaction only takes place in the presence of moisture and produces carbon dioxide gas, which helps your batter or dough to rise and appears as air bubbles in the recipe. Once you’ve added baking soda to your dough, it’s best to bake it as soon as possible as the carbon dioxide will eventually escape. If this happens long enough, it can prevent your baked goods from rising. The list of ingredients that can help induce this reaction includes: Lemon juice Buttermilk Yogurt Honey How Baking Powder Works Similarly to baking soda, the activation process of baking powder produces carbon dioxide gas that helps raise your batter or dough. Unlike baking soda, baking powder already contains an acidic ingredient. Because of this, it only requires water to activate. It’s important to note that some baking powders are double-acting. This means that they will activate a second time when introduced to heat. Because of this second activation, you don’t need to rush to get your baked goods in the oven when you’re using double-acting baking powder. Baking Powder Substitute While it’s possible to substitute baking powder in your recipes, any ingredient used in its place will not be as effective. Regardless, if you don’t have access to baking powder, you may need to find a convenient alternative. Below, we’ve listed some ingredients commonly found in kitchens that can act as a suitable substitute for baking powder. Buttermilk and baking soda: As a fermented dairy product, buttermilk can have a similar leavening effect as baking powder when combined with baking soda. Cream of tartar: Created as a byproduct of the wine-making process, cream of tartar is an acidic white powder. Combining it with baking soda allows you to mix an excellent replacement for baking powder. Lemon juice: With a high concentration of citric acid, lemon juice is acidic enough to trigger a leavening effect when combined with baking soda. Keep in mind that it should only be used in small amounts to avoid giving your recipes a lemon flavor. Molasses and baking soda: Typically used as a sweetener, molasses can cause an acid-based reaction when combined with baking soda, making it an effective substitute for baking powder. Sour milk: Because of its diminished pH levels, sour milk reacts with baking soda to produce a similar leavening effect as baking powder. Vinegar and baking soda: Vinegar, which has an acidic pH, can be a possible substitute for baking powder when paired with baking soda. Baking Soda to Baking Powder Conversion For every 1 teaspoon of baking soda, substitute 3 teaspoons of baking powder. Baking Soda Substitute Though some recipes can still be prepared without baking soda, it's best to make sure you have a suitable replacement on hand just in case. Remember that a baking soda reaction requires acid to activate, so it's essential to have acidic foods on hand during the process. Below, we've listed some baking soda substitutes that you might find around the kitchen: Baking powder: Baking powder is one of the most common substitutes for baking soda. It’s best to use it as a substitute in sugar-based recipes. In the section below, we’ve included a baking soda to baking powder conversion. Self-rising flour: Though the conversion can be tricky, self-rising flour can serve as a substitute for baking soda. It is made of a combination of all-purpose flour, baking soda, and salt. Egg whites: In some cases, egg whites can serve as a viable replacement for baking soda. Whipped egg whites can help add structure to your recipe, but must be folded in gently to avoid agitating the batter. Club soda: As it contains a small amount of baking soda, club soda can sometimes be used as a substitute in a pinch. It's important to note that club soda will only work as a replacement for recipes that require minimal rising. Baking Powder to Baking Soda Conversion Use 1 teaspoon of baking soda for every tablespoon of baking powder. To make sure it functions correctly, also add 2 teaspoons of vinegar, lemon juice, cream of tartar, or another acidic ingredient to your batter or dough. One drawback to using baking powder as a substitute is that it isn't double-acting. With that in mind, be sure to get it in the oven as soon as possible after you combine it with wet ingredients. How Long Does Baking Soda Last? In general, an unopened package of baking soda can be stored at room temperature for up to 18 months. However, once the package has been opened, its shelf life is reduced to 6 months. Environmental factors can speed up the rate at which ingredients lose their effectiveness, making it essential that you store your baking soda in a suitable space. How to Test Baking Soda To test baking soda, mix 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda with 2 teaspoons of vinegar. It should bubble immediately if your baking soda is useable. What Happens If You Use Expired Baking Soda? Baking soda can still be used after its expiration date, though it won't work as well as fresh baking soda. Despite its reduced effectiveness, expired baking soda is still safe to consume. How Long Does Baking Powder Last? An unopened package of baking powder can typically be used until 18-24 months after manufacturing. However, for the best results, it’s recommended that you use your baking soda before expiration. How to Test Baking Powder To test baking powder, mix 1 teaspoon of baking powder with 1/2 cup of hot water. If it bubbles, your baking powder is still effective. What Happens If You Use Expired Baking Powder? Expired baking powder is safe to consume, but using it in your recipes can cause baked goods to come out flat or dense. Baking Soda and Baking Powder FAQ In the section below, we've answered some of the most frequently asked questions about baking powder and baking soda. How to Store Baking Soda Since baking soda absorbs odors and moisture, it's best to store it in a cool, dry location. The best temperature for storing baking soda falls somewhere between 40-70 degrees Fahrenheit. Once you’ve opened a package of baking soda, be sure to store it in an air-tight and moisture-proof container to preserve freshness. How to Store Baking Powder Similar to baking soda, baking powder should be stored in a cool, dry location. Avoid storing it in a refrigerator, as it’s possible moisture could develop and cause a reaction within the baking powder. What Is a Leavening Agent? A leavening agent, sometimes referred to as a leavener or a rising agent, is used in baking to expand doughs and batters. When mixed with liquid, acid, or heat, they release gas, causing the dough to rise. Many people say that baking is a science, and how baking soda and baking powder work as chemical leavening agents is an excellent example of science at work in your kitchen. Recipes use these ingredients to give your baked goods the perfect texture brought on by chemical reactions and carbon dioxide gas. As a result, precision is key when working with baking soda and baking powder. Next time you use one of these ingredients, remember our storage tips and directions for how to make sure that your baking soda or baking powder is still working.
British Desserts You Can Add to Your Menu
There’s a lot to be said for American bakery classics like the humble jelly donut or the beloved chocolate chip cookie, but there’s a world of bakery items out there waiting to be discovered. Thanks to the popularity of the TV show The Great British Bake Off, or The Great British Baking Show as it’s known in the States, Americans are now being exposed to traditional British desserts. Have you ever wanted to add classic British bakery items to your dessert menu or bakery case? Whether you’re opening a new bakery or revamping your current offerings, read on to learn about some of the most popular Great British Baking Show recipes and how you can incorporate them into your menu. Desserts From the Great British Baking Show We've made a list of the most iconic British bakes from your favorite show: 1. Victoria Sponge Cake The Victoria Sponge sandwich cake is the quintessential British dessert. It consists of a layer of whipped double cream and a layer of raspberry or strawberry jam, sandwiched between two feather-light vanilla cakes. In order to bake the perfect sponge, you must ensure that the cake mixture is light and full of air. To retain air in your batter, use room temperature ingredients and fresh eggs. Make sure to sift your dry ingredients and don't overmix the batter. 2. Lemon Drizzle CakeA British tea time favorite, lemon drizzle cake doesn’t take a lot of time to prepare, so it’s a great dessert for beginners to test their baking skills. First bake a lemon sponge in a lined loaf bread tin. Then, while the cake is still warm, prick the surface all over with a fork. Drizzle a mixture of caster sugar and fresh lemon juice all over the top of the cake. The glaze moistens the cake and forms a crunchy topping as it cools. This lemony-sweet cake will keep in an airtight container for 3-4 days. 3. Chelsea Buns The Chelsea bun is made with yeasted dough and shaped into a swirl pattern, which makes it look very similar to a cinnamon bun. A major difference between the two is that the Chelsea bun gets a generous helping of dried fruit like currants, raisins, apples, or apricots before the dough is rolled and cut into individual buns. The key to fluffy buns is to let the dough rise once after kneading and a second time after shaping. Chelsea buns were considered a hot item when they were invented by the Chelsea Bun House in the early 1700s.This traditional spiced fruit bun has seen a resurgence thanks to being highlighted on the Great British Baking Show. 4. Sticky Toffee Pudding This classic British dessert consists of a dense cake made with dates and drenched in a rich toffee sauce, usually served with cream or custard. Traditional recipes call for Demerara sugar, a partially-raw brown sugar with large crystals and a subtle molasses flavor. If you don’t have Demerara on hand, you can substitute Turbinado or light brown sugar. Use a muffin pan to produce single servings of pudding for your guests. 5. Bakewell Tarts There is some debate over how to make the perfect Bakewell tart. Should it be iced or not? The traditional Bakewell tart begins with a shortcrust pastry shell, a layer of jam, followed by frangipane filling. It’s then sprinkled with flaked almonds and a dusting of confectioner’s sugar. The addition of icing and a candied cherry changes the dessert from a traditional Bakewell tart into a Cherry Bakewell, according to supporters of the traditional recipe. Fans of the Great British Baking Show may remember the infamous episode where contestants were tasked with making a Bakewell Tart topped with icing instead of almonds. Former host, Mary Berry, makes her version of the tart with feathered icing for a unique presentation. 6. Yorkshire Pudding Possibly one of the most mysterious British baked goods, Yorkshire puddings are neither a pudding or a dessert. The signature “Yorkie” is a puffy roll with a cup-like shape, perfect for holding gravy. It’s usually served alongside a dinner of roast beef. There are many theories about how best to achieve the signature shape of the Yorkshire pudding, including letting your batter rest before baking and using a hot pan. It might take some experimentation before you get the perfect pudding but the results will be worth the effort! 7. Cornish Pasties A pasty (pronounced past-ee) is a hand pie made of shortcrust pastry and sweet or savory fillings. The dough is shaped into a semi-circle, crimped on the side, and baked. Unlike other pastries that require a delicate, flaky shortcrust, the pasty needs a sturdy crust that will hold its shape. Kneading the shortcrust ensures it will be strong enough to support the heavy filling inside. The traditional Cornish pasty filling is made of beef, potatoes, onion, and rutabaga. To be considered a Cornish pasty, the handpie must contain these exact ingredients in the correct ratio. The strict guidelines for making this authentic hand pie are due to its protected designation of origin. If the recipe isn’t followed exactly, it cannot be labeled as a Cornish pasty. 8. Millionaires Shortbread Millionaires shortbread is made with a shortbread base, followed by a layer of caramel filling, and a thick topping of chocolate ganache. When all the layers have set, the dessert is cut into squares or bars. This layered dessert actually comes from Australia, where it’s known as caramel shortbread or caramel slice. The nickname “millionaires shortbread” was adopted in Scotland, presumably because the dessert is so rich. Glossary of British Baking Terminology These are words that you may have read in a British recipe or heard on The Great British Baking Show. Before you get started with baking your first Victoria Sponge or Swiss Roll, familiarize yourself with these terms so you can follow the recipe successfully. Bicarbonate of Soda - Bicarbonate of soda, or bicarb soda, is the same thing as baking soda. It’s a leavening agent used to make your baked goods rise. Biscuit - British biscuits are what Americans refer to as cookies or crackers. They are small, firm baked goods that can be sweet or savory. Digestive biscuits are similar to a graham cracker and are served with tea. Caster Sugar - Caster sugar has a finer consistency than granulated sugar but it’s not as powdery as confectioner’s sugar. It’s a common ingredient in the UK but not widely available in the US. Creme Pat - The full name for this classic vanilla-flavored custard is creme patissiere. It’s commonly used as a filling for pastries, cakes, or tarts. Choux Pastry - Choux pastry, pronounced shoe pastry, is a light dough that relies on steam to rise. The high moisture content of the dough evaporates as it bakes, creating air pockets that can be piped with fillings. Icing Sugar - Icing sugar is finely ground sugar with a powdery consistency. In the US, we call it confectioner’s sugar or powdered sugar. Prove - To prove your dough is to let it rise. Proving or proofing is the period when the dough becomes aerated by the activated yeast, causing it to grow in size. Pudding - In America the word pudding refers to custard, but the British meaning is not so clearly defined. Most commonly when the word pudding is used by itself, it’s a generic term for dessert. It’s also used to denote a sweet or savory dish that has been steamed or boiled, like Christmas pudding. Self-Raising Flour - Self-raising flour is the same thing as self-rising flour. It contains baking powder and salt so it provides a good rise to baked goods. Sponge - The word sponge is sometimes used interchangeably with cake, but specifically refers to a cake made with butter, sugar, eggs, flour, and a rising agent to make the texture light and airy. Strong Flour - Strong flour is the same thing as bread flour or hard flour. It has a high gluten content and requires strong kneading. Different types of flour yield different results and strong flour is the best choice for crusty, chewy breads. Suet - Suet is animal fat that comes from around the kidneys of a cow or sheep. It’s prized because of its high smoke point, which makes it suited to baking pastry and puddings. Sultanas - Sultanas are made from dried seedless white grapes and look like small, golden raisins. They are more plump and sweet than raisins. Treacle - Treacle is the equivalent of molasses, a byproduct of sugar refining. There are two types of treacle used in British baking, light treacle and black treacle. The light form is gold in color and can replace maple syrup or honey. Black treacle is thick, dark, and richly flavored. British Weight Conversions While following a British recipe, you’ll notice that ingredients are measured by weight and not volume. In the US, we use measuring cups and measuring spoons, but the rest of the world relies on a kitchen scale to make sure they have the exact amounts needed. Baking requires a high level of accuracy and using a kitchen scale is the best way to ensure that you get consistent results every time. Weighing your ingredients is highly recommended, but here’s a cheat sheet to get you started. Ingredient 1 Cup 3/4 Cup 2/3 Cup 1/2 Cup 1/3 Cup 1/4 Cup Flour (unsifted) 120 grams 90 grams 80 grams 60 grams 40 grams 30 grams Flour (sifted) 110 grams 80 grams 70 grams 55 grams 35 grams 27 grams Granulated Sugar 200 grams 150 grams 130 grams 100 grams 65 grams 50 grams Icing Sugar 100 grams 75 grams 70 grams 50 grams 35 grams 25 grams Brown Sugar 180 grams 135 grams 120 grams 90 grams 60 grams 45 grams Butter 240 grams 180 grams 160 grams 120 grams 80 grams 60 grams Sultanas 175 grams 150 grams 130 grams 100 grams 65 grams 50 grams Now that you’ve brushed up on the basics, you’re ready to tackle some British recipes! Impress your customers with a bakery case filled with beautiful cakes and desserts they’ve only seen on TV.