I don't like buying a piece of kitchen equipment only to find that, for some odd reason, it fails to make the cut. I typically pour over the internet and published reviews and recs from the likes of Cook's Illustrated and renowned authors of baking books. I have found a disparity between the professional pastry chefs, and the kitchen realists (Alton and Cook's Illustrated).
Cook's recommends, nearly unanimously, the darker non-stick pans in their testing. Recently, they chose cake pans and muffin tins of that material (e.g. Chicago Metallic).
Conversely, in cookbooks like In the Sweet Kitchen, Baking By Flavor, and the Secrets of Baking, shiny, heavy gauge aluminum is recommended over the darker versions.
So who do I trust? From your experiences, do the darker versions end up burning your cakes and muffins, or do they leave them with a pleasing brown appearance (as Cook's says). And do you tend to lower the temperature when using these darker pans?
I suspect some of the authors choosing the shiny aluminum pans to be guilty of stubborn tendencies, as in all pro-kitchens have used shiny heavy gauge for years to great success, so why change now?
Well, I don't bake in a pro-kitchen, so who should I believe?
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