When cooking or baking, browning can be important to the dish’s flavor, even enhance it with a nicely browned crust (like cornbread). And, I bet you have a 13 by 9 inch rectangular baking pan. The key to getting a brown crust that you want, is knowing what pan to use.
They can be made from many materials, and with different finish colors. The most well know is metal and Pyrex. Stoneware, Non-stick, insulated (along with other new designs including texture baking pan), are some of the updates the baking pan has gotten over the years. These specialty pans and new designs can cost up to one hundred dollars each. But, are they worth it?
Pyrex came on the marketing 1915, it is oven safe glass (not range safe). Stoneware and Pyrex brown great, because they retain heat. It takes a little longer to heat but when it does, it stays hot.
Stoneware cost more than Pyrex, though way less than 100.00. More in the area of thirty to fifty dollars, it depends on where you buy it. These types of pans do not usually retain food odors, and it is safe to use metal utensils in them (that means cutting). The only thing that can really harm Pyrex or stoneware is a sever temperature change.
CRACK, is what you will hear if you put them in water before letting them cool down.
Metal pans with or without the non-stick, coating present a dilemma. Since, dishes are cut and served right out of the pan. That is the problem, Manufacturers use and care recommendations usually advise against cutting in the pan, to protect the non-stick coating. A knife can also damage pans without the coating. Metal pans can are hard to care for and keep in good condition. Without proper care, these pans will quickly end up chipped, scarred, and rusted. Cleaning can be harmful to your pan. Care recommendations advise not to use steel wool, abrasive pads, or abrasive cleaners because they can scratch the pan causing the rusting, scaring, etc… I find it impossible not to scrub your pans ever. There is always going to be that messy meal.
Because of this, I find that I go through many metal pans. Lining the pan with foil whenever possible will help. In addition, it should go without saying, not to store food in metal pans.
They have another limitation. Preparing acidic foods like anything tomato based, citrus fruits, or rhubarb can cause a problem. Because the aluminum and acid can react, this can change the flavor of your food. Giving it a bad taste, it could even ruin it, so be careful.
There are metal pans you can buy that are non-reactive. However, they can cost around 95.00 bucks. Ex; The All-Clad pan; it is the Rolls-Royce of aluminum pans, they are made from an aluminum core with stainless steel exterior and light gold finish. The inside in is stick resistant. They cost 94.99.
In consumer group test, the pricier pans did not test well. The main reason is poor browning. They browned okay but not near as well as the six-dollar version.
One of the new pan designs include insulated bake-ware. It is made with two sheets of metal, leaving air between the sheets. Making it insulated. This kind of pan cooks well but it is not great when it comes to browning.
Another innovated design is removable sides; the kind with a dark finish browns as good as any other metal pan. There is only one problem when using a pan with removable sides, leakage. The seal between the sides and bottom is not tight enough, letting juices leak out and burn. I just avoid cooking juicy food (like lasagna) in this kind of pan.
Kaiser Backform Noblelesse Quadro Springform pan is a great brand if you want a pan with removable sides. The price is right at 29.99 for a 13 by 9 inch pan.
There are other types of pans out there, ones with diamond textured interior, or pebble pattern, matted, etc… On some of them you may not be able to use cooking spray, nor can you use them in the broiler. So always, check the use and care recommendations for your pans when you buy one. Moreover, try to fallow them, to keep your pans in top condition.