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Bakeware refers to the pans you use to bake cookies, cakes muffins and more. To put it simply, your bake ware are the pans you use in the oven whether it's a cookie sheet or a roasting pan. As discussed in Cookware -Your Pots and Pans quality can last a lifetime so buy the best you can afford. Buy heavy solid pans. Poor quality cake pans and cookie sheets tend to conduct heat unevenly and will affect your baking time and your results. Your cookies may burn on the bottom, your cake may burn in sections but still be unbaked in the center.
Bakeware is made of different materials, some are better than others. Stainless steel is the best choice for most cake pans, muffin pans and cookie sheets. Stainless steel pans conduct heat evenly and are easy to care for. Aluminum pans are good conductors but regular aluminum pans tend to be thin, lack support and will have shorter life. If you want aluminum select pans that are made of insulated aluminum or anodized aluminum and select non-stick aluminum. They will be thicker and stronger. Steel pans are also available with non-stick coating. Although easier to clean non-stick bakeware can scratch. As with non-stick cookware, proper maintenance and use of gentle utensils is a must when using non-stick bakeware.
Cast iron pans are also available. These are heavy and are mainly used for breads and muffins. A variety of bakeware made of glass or ceramic can be found. These baking dishes are great for roasting and baking casseroles, lasagnas and similar items. Glass baking dishes and ceramic baking dishes are easy to clean and maintain. It is important to note that baking times will be reduced when using glass and ceramic pans. Many recipes will include the approximate baking time for both metal and glass/ceramic but if not keep a close eye on them during baking.
For baking casseroles and lasagna you will want at least one large baking dish. The most practical size is 9x13x2 as this is the one used in most recipes for lasagna and casseroles. A selection of other baking dishes is also very practical. Corningware French White Bakeware Sets like the one shown above, and Pyrex Bakeware Sets have became popular because of their ability to go from oven to table and refrigerator or freezer. Not only do they look nice but they clean up easily.
Buy quality bakeware and care for it properly and it will last you a lifetime. Follow the manufacturer's directions for cleaning and maintaining bakeware. Use the recommended cleaning solutions, dry thoroughly and store properly. With the exception of glass and ceramic baking dishes, skip the dish washer and wash your bakeware by hand. Try not to allow bakeware to soak in water. Avoid banging them unnecessarily and if they have nonstick coating take care to avoid scratching. With a little care your quality bakeware can last a lifetime.