In baking, you will notice that a lot of the instructions you find in recipes require you to grease the pan. As simple as this instruction may sound, there are actually some things you should and should not do when it comes to doing this. Not greasing your pans the right way, or even not greasing them enough, can prove somewhat catastrophic for your bake.
In order to properly grease your pan when you bake, there are a number of tricks you can use. Here are some of the more useful ones you can remember for when you are baking:
- Always follow what the recipe tells you. There is a reason why those instructions are there, and that is to ensure that your bake turns out the way it should. If you forgo one or more of the steps written in the recipe, i.e grease and flour, grease and line, or whatnot, don’t be surprised if your bake does not turn out the way it should.
- If the recipe does not specify whether to grease or not, simply follow this rule of thumb for baking. When you are baking cakes, brownies, and bread, greasing the pan is usually a must. When it comes to cookies, don’t grease the cookie sheet, but rather line it with parchment paper for easier removal. For pies, pizza, and other similar bakes, don’t even bother to take out the butter for greasing for this. These should be baked without the pan being greased for these to come out perfectly.
- When flouring is required, you should do this with a little bit of caution. If you are baking a chocolate cake or brownies, and the recipe tells you to flour the pan after greasing, it might be a good idea to “flour” it with unsweetened cocoa powder. This will add another chocolatey depth to your bake without giving it the unsightly white layer that makes chocolate cakes and brownies look rather off.
- Always remember that when you are baking cakes that don’t use leavening agents in them and are dependent on the airiness of the eggwhites or their rise, flouring the pan after greasing is always a must. The reason why flouring the sides is needed in this case is because of the need for the cake to have friction with the sides. When your sides are greased but not floured, cakes like angel food cakes and chiffon cakes won’t rise as much as they should since there will be no friction with the sides of the pan to facilitate this. If you want, you can simply grease and line the pan instead of flouring if you don’t want the mess associated with flouring baking pans.
- When greasing pans, always remember that flat-bottomed and plain-sided pans can be lined with parchment paper instead of greased and floured for a cleaner look. If the pan is patterned however, like in the case of bundt and shaped pans, greasing and flouring is probably your only option.
- When asked to butter your pan, remember that butter actually has components in it that can burn when heated. This can actually work against you and can make your cake stick instead of come out of the pan easily. Your best option for greasing your pan for easy removal of cakes and brownies is coconut oil, lard, shortening, and even cooking spray. If you like the added taste of butter on your bake, then by all means, use butter but be prepared to have your cake stick to your pan. If you want the best of both worlds, you might want to grease the pan with shortening, line it with parchment paper, then grease the paper with butter. This will allow you to get the butter outer crust you want from your bake while at the same time enabling for easy removal from the pan.