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Thread: Pastry mats - what do you use?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    1,539

    Pastry mats - what do you use?

    In learning to cook here after letting my wife do it all for 35 years, I'm finding a lot of stuff I need to support western-style cooking since she basically cooks "Chinese".

    One of the items I'm now in the market for is a pastry mat. My sister-in-law over in England has a great silicone pastry mat from Lakeland:

    http://www.lakeland.co.uk/F/keyword/...t/product/7583

    but it would probably cost a lot to have her ship one from the U.K.

    I've searched Amazon and an exact match, in terms of pattern, appears to be:

    http://www.amazon.com/Fox-Run-Pastry...dp/B002NVEN48/

    but ONE to THREE months shipping!

    A similar looking one that doesn't say it's made out of silicone and dissed by some because it's said not to lay flat after being rolled up and to slide a bit on the counter is:

    http://www.amazon.com/Magic-Dough-Sl...dp/B001Q6I9GY/

    So what do you all use? I'm looking, ideally, for a similar pattern, large (about 17 x 25 or so), silicone, lays flat, nonslip.
    Last edited by Jim Lewis; 02-22-2011 at 10:19 AM. Reason: replace U.K. image with full product description
    -Jim-
    ________________________________

    Use every part of the buffalo - Brad Bird

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Silicone cooking mat just an attractive convenience for me

    I agree with elpajaro's comment in another thread that a pastry mat is not a necessity and the most important ingredient is the cook.

    CJ's comment: http://www.radiumforums.com/showthre...6131#post96131

    elpajaro's comment: http://www.radiumforums.com/showthre...6138#post96138

    The reason I'm interested in a mat is my sister-in-law, a very experienced cook, has used one for 5 years and likes it, the mat is very large, can easily be put down and picked up so counter top space is quickly available for reuse, and the one I seek, like hers, has a pattern of pie crust/tortilla/etc sizes built into the surface. I realize it's not going to make me a better cook. Just like the attractiveness of her mat and the convenience, that's all. Understand from an Amazon reviewer's comments on the one I'm interested in, I'll be able to bake on it, too, but no idea now if that's much of a plus. And I think for what I bake at one time, one mat will do. I will certainly try some of CJ's and elpajaro's excellent suggestions.

    And, P.S., I'm making a reply not to be argumentative but hopefully just to inject some interesting liveliness into the forum. CJ's and elpajaro's comments were great and I hope anyone else will volunteer their experience, too. Great learning experience for me.
    Last edited by Jim Lewis; 02-22-2011 at 02:27 PM. Reason: add title
    -Jim-
    ________________________________

    Use every part of the buffalo - Brad Bird

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Chico, CA
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    I use pastry mats for a variety of uses including pies and breads. I have 2, my favorite is an old Tupperware one with markings for each size crust. I also have a SiliconeZone Large Pastry/Baking Mat which I bought on Amazon. I use them both, keep then in my spare fridge each rolled around a baking pin (regular and french). BTW, I also have a selection of Silpats I use to line pans when baking cookies and roasting some veggies. When making pies, most of the time I use a zippered plastic pouch to roll the crusts. Kingarthurscatalog.com has an excellent selection of quality pastry tools, I always double check Amazon to see if they are available cheaper as well.

    As a home cook that bakes a lot, I do find that the mats are very helpful. I also have high heat parchment sheets which I cut down to size with a standard paper cutter (one fits a large cookie sheet and the remainder is perfect for toaster oven sheets.). Which I use depends on what works best for a particular use. My counters are tile, so flouring the counter will not work for me, nor do I have large metal covered flat surface (no large flat surfaces at all). I also find that while one can make do, good tools do make happier if not better cooks. I get better fond from my good SS pans, my eggs don't need extra grease because my NS pans are truly non-stick and my tomato knife cuts through tomatoes and peaches as if they were air. BTW, my Tupperware mat is older than my 35 year old daughter and does not roll and still works and has all the markings. It was pricey at the time, but it has lasted. So with apologies to Chef Jon, IMHO sometimes it is worth it to spend a bit now, for something that will make life easier and work well for a long time.
    Last edited by Cubangirl; 02-22-2011 at 08:27 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    61
    Jim,

    My sister uses the "R&M Silicone Pastry Mat" and really likes it. It is also available from Amazon, and it doesn't say anything about 1 to 3 months!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    Wilton Manors, FL
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    Hi Cubangirl,

    You wrote: "So with apologies to Chef Jon, IMHO sometimes it is worth it to spend a bit now, for something that will make life easier and work well for a long time."

    Sometimes. But not in my case. You would be very correct if I had a sufficiently small set of sheet pans and only needed to buy silpats for them. In my case, I have 16 sheet pans that I use all at once when I bake a typical batch (30 dozen) of cookies--4 are in the ovens, 4 just came out and are still cooling, 4 are loaded unbaked and ready to go in next, 4 I'm prepping. For $40 bucks, a box of 2000 sheets of parchment paper will last me at least 6 years. It would cost 8 times that (16 x $20 on amazon) to buy silpats for all my pans. I would have to use them for 48 years for them to be cheaper than the parchment.

    Now, I could try to get by with fewer silpats, but then I'd have to hustle cooling cookies off their silpats to reuse them for the next batch going in. Too much trouble when you're cycling pans in/out of ovens every 12 minutes or so. Plus you have to wash the silpats because they get greasy. You can reuse parchment for several cycles, then you throw it away. Plus I have all the parchment I need for other uses (lining cake pans, making piping bags, etc. Try doing that with a silpat).

    So, in my case, the economics, scale, and ease favor the parchment. For a "typical" home cook perhaps faced with paying $5 in a supermarket for rolls of overpriced Reynolds parchment (I've been there), the silpats definitely make more sense. They'd pay for themselves sooner. The two silpats I own get used for specialty things like candy and tuiles. They'll last forever. This is the same as any bakery I've worked in. Parchment for the volume grunt work, a few silpats for the things that really need one.

    I took the time to explain this for all of you out there who have fantasized about opening a bakery. These are the kinds of economic decisions you have to make often.

    CJ
    Last edited by Chef Jon; 02-23-2011 at 07:21 AM. Reason: Fixed omission of prep pans.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Tremestieri Sicily
    Posts
    191
    Quote Originally Posted by Chef Jon View Post
    Hi Cubangirl,

    You wrote: "So with apologies to Chef Jon, IMHO sometimes it is worth it to spend a bit now, for something that will make life easier and work well for a long time."

    Sometimes. But not in my case. You would be very correct if I had a sufficiently small set of sheet pans and only needed to buy silpats for them. In my case, I have 16 sheet pans that I use all at once when I bake a typical batch (30 dozen) of cookies--4 are in the ovens, 4 just came out and are still cooling, 4 are loaded unbaked and ready to go in next, 4 I'm prepping. For $40 bucks, a box of 2000 sheets of parchment paper will last me at least 6 years. It would cost 8 times that (16 x $20 on amazon) to buy silpats for all my pans. I would have to use them for 48 years for them to be cheaper than the parchment.

    CJ
    I agree with all of these points and would like to add, I think the food browns better on parchment vs silpats. And you can cut the parchment (although to be fair some of the baking sheets can be cut) to fit a smaller pan. And if you are cooking on the road, it is easier to take a few dozen sheets of parchment then an equivalent # of silplats.
    The parchment paper can be used for other things as well (covering things so they don't get dirty while cooking to make cleanup a breeze).
    I know that if you go to the bakery you frequent and asked to buy some parchment paper, they would sell you some. In fact, I bet they will even give you a few sheets (as they are less than 2 cents apiece). Ask the owner/baker if they would order you a box the next time they place an order, pay in advance and ask when they would expect the order to arrive. My job often has me located far away from my normal supply channels. The first thing I do is find a friendly restaurant that I can eat in and get to know the staff so I can have them order things for me, the same with a bakery.
    --Jack

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