I have had several questions about the red baking mat that appears often in blog photos. Still others have asked what a Silpat or baking mat does for cooking.
My original experience with baking mats was in the 1990s and the original brand of baking mats, Silpat. Originally, for me, it was a good alternative to lining a baking sheet with foil. I soon discovered all of the appeal of Silpats including being non-stick and reusable.
The only drawback I found was that the mats could not be bent. They are made with woven fiberglass base coated with silicone. Bending the mats would allow the fiberglass to penetrate the coating. They could find their way into the food so should be thrown away at that point. Storing these mats is a bit of a challenge since they must remain flat.
The red baking mat I use is made by Martha Stewart. I purchased it several years ago at Macy’s. It took me a while to warm to it, but I have grown to love it. Because it does not have the fiberglass threads as a base, it can be folded for storing.
It has discolored through the years (a leaky fruit galette was the culprit), however the usefulness has not diminished. A quick search on Macy’s site only came up with a Martha Stewart line of Silpat baking mats, so I assume the one I have is no longer available. Similar products can be found on Amazon.com.
I wouldn’t say I prefer one style of baking mat over another, I use them both. I have five Silpats that fit my half sheet pans and one Martha Stewart silicone baking mat that fits a quarter sheet pan.
The reason I have so many Silpats is that, when I bake large quantities of cookies, I don’t want to have to wait for one batch to cool before I can remove the cookies and put more on the mat. I bake two half sheets at a time, so I needed four Silpats and pans to make the process go faster.
A baking mat will always be in my kitchen. It is a safer option than baking on aluminum foil, it makes cleaning pans easier, and it helps prevent burning on the bottom of cookies.
For more information on Silpat and their line of their products, visit the company website at Silpat.com.