Baking Pans

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

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Two portions of the same pastry dough, baked in the same oven but in different kinds of pan, will cook differently. Shiny pans reflect much of the oven’s radiant heat away from the crust and so are slow cooking. Black pans absorb most of the radiant heat and conduct it to the crust, and clear glass allows it to pass right through and heat the crust directly. Thin metal pans can’t hold much heat in themselves and so tend to slow heating and produce uneven browning. Heavier gauge metal pans and ceramic plates and molds can accumulate oven heat, get hotter than thin pans, and transmit the heat more evenly to the pastry.