Glass vs. Metal Baking Pans

April 13, 2011 | By andrea | Filed in: Baking, Cookware & Cooking Gadgets, Handy Hints.

I’m always interested in learning more about what makes baking work. Sure, there’s the chemistry behind a recipe that can render a moist cake or one that is as dry as toast. But there are other things besides ingredients that can make a big difference in your baking. I found some handy baking information in one of my books called How To Break An Egg by the fine folks at Fine Cooking Magazine.

Glass vs. Metal Baking Pans: Your Choice Affects Cooking Times and Crustiness
-from How To Break An Egg: 1,453 Kitchen Tips, Food Fixes, Emergency Substitutions, and Handy Techniques by Fine Cooking Magazine

Size isn’t the only thing that counts when choosing a pan from the many in your cupboard. The material it’s made of will affect both the baking time and the color of your breads, pies, cakes, and brownies.

Glass pans give food a darker, browner crust, so they’re generally best for breads and pies, which benefit from a deeply baked exterior. Because of the way glass transfers heat in the oven, it will bake both faster and darker than most metal pans (the exceptions are very dark, heavy-gauge metal pans, like the black steel pans used in professional kitchens. These intense heat conductors cook quickly and will also turn out appealing, dark crusts).

Lighter colored pans give you a paler crust, which is what you want with delicate cakes and brownies. Light-colored aluminum and shiny stainless-steel pans reflect more heat than glass and dark metal pans. This may mean your baked goods will need a bit more time to finish cooking, but it also means the sugar and chocolate in these pastries won’t be as likely to burn.

Avoid flimsy metal pans, which often bake unevenly and tend to warp at high temperatures.

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3 comments on “Glass vs. Metal Baking Pans

  1. Pam says:

    Kind of knew this but never was taught…and now I know…thank you for posting. I thought it was my oven. Thanks again.

  2. lori ares says:

    Like Pam wrote above, I kind of knew but didn’t know the science behind it, now it makes total sense. Thank you for posting this Andrea.

  3. Holli says:

    I never knew this before. I LOVE the handy hits you have posted, not just this one, but all of them. Good information to know!