Shiny, Dull, Dark- A Little “Need to Know” About Your Baking Pans

Here's a Tip

Okay so it’s safe to say that all baking pans are made from some sort of metal, however that is the last thing they probably have in common. This is something as a beginning baker, that took me a bit to learn. Google would have been very helpful back then.

Aluminum pans are easily the most popular type of baking pan you will find on the market, but there are definitely others. These rules apply to all.

Pans with a shiny finish reflects light and heat. These will conduct heat more proficiently, but they will not produce a crisp cookie bottom as well as a dull finished sheet.

Pans with the dullest finishes will give you the most success and best overall baking results. Tinned Aluminum pans are an excellent choice, although there are some new movers and shakers on the market that you can read about in my “What your Baking Pans Are Made of” post.

Dark coated pans often bake and brown food more quickly than you might want, unless you are baking something that requires high heat and a very fast baking time. (This makes more sense if you think about wearing black out in the sun, dark colors absorb heat fast.) Believe it or not, the success of your baking is highly dependent on the color/finish of your pan. Some bakers will disagree, and say it’s the heavier the pan. I recommend heavily gauged pans for their durability, always! I still love and own some of my Grandmother’s baking pans and she began baking in 1932! Now that’s durability!

If you already own dark coated pans, no worries. You can always purchase parchment paper by the roll at any supermarket; tear a piece off the size of your pan, placing it on the pan and it will give you much more control of your baking outcomes. Parchment paper is the paper cupcake liners are made from. You can also place a piece of aluminum foil over the tops of cakes or muffins etc. to prevent overbrowning.

  • So here’s the deal; Shiny pans are perfect for cookies and baked goods that do not require a crispy bottom.
  • For crispy bottoms, that are evenly baked and browned go with a dull pan. (Remember parchment paper, there is no need to go out and buy new pans until you are ready.)
  • Dark pans can be used, and are optimal for high heat, fast baking items, like puff pastry. Just be vigilant.

Lastly when purchasing pans, always opt for the heaviest gauge pan you can reasonably afford. The heavy gauged pans are your best bet, especially if you can find one with a dull finish.  Both of those factors will always promote even baking and prevent overbrowning; this is not only important, it is necessary. Once you and your pan(s) get to know each other, the consistency of your baking will be incredibly rewarding.

Please see my post “The Many Type Of Bakeware” for even more information.