In this day and age one has endless options when it comes to baking dishes. You've got glass pans, metal pans and even silicone ones in every size and shape you can imagine. While this convenience is wonderful in many ways, it can leave you feeling a bit lost at the same time. Or on the other hand you may not even realize that it was the lighter aluminum pan that caused your beloved brownies to bake much slower than usual. This is why you often see various baking instructions on the back of boxed cake mixes that are based on what type of pan you use.
So what's the difference? Below is a quick overview to help you understand how each type of pan will affect your dish.
Glass: Glass pans earn points for being easy to clean, a common complaint with most metal pans. Glass dishes also tend to absorb heat more readily resulting in the ability to brown your food versus burning it.
Good for: meats, casseroles, savory dishes
Not so great for: sugary treats (they tend to burn around the perimeter before they finish cooking in the middle)
Metal: Most metal pans are typically made from aluminum. There are 3 factors that will affect how fast your food cooks: the color of the pan, how shiny the metal is and whether or not it is coated. The rule of thumb is that the darker the metal, the more heat it it will absorb and the faster the food will cook.
Good for: cakes, cookies, muffins, bread
Silicone: The new kid on the block. If sticking is a concern for you, then silicone is a great option. The only thing to consider is that silicone is a poor heat conductor and your baked good will brown very little, if at all.
Good for: anything that tends to stick, anything you don't want a crust on
Not so great for: meats you're wanting to brown