Sunday confessions: I’m not a fan of silicone

Posted on June 3, 2012

I’ve been doing some baking recently – a muffin here, a slice there, cupcakes in the middle. What with the World’s Biggest Morning Tea, the cross country and a sudden desire to stop spending $16 a week on muesli bars, the stove at the Fibro has been cranked up to red hot. In the midst of all this stirring and rising, I’ve come to one conclusion I simply must share:

I hate silicone bakeware.

This is not a subject about which I ever thought I’d have strongly held notions. But there you have it.

At one stage, I had a fair amount of the stuff. Somewhere along the line, in the obscure manner of these things, I’d collected a loaf ‘tin’, a cake ‘tin’, a slice ‘tin’, two muffin ‘tins’ and a star-shaped arrangement, which was clearly aimed at a baker of higher standard than I. As I clear out my kitchen in preparation for my move, I note that only the muffin ‘tins’ and the star-shaped thing remain.

I remember well what happened to the slice tin. I made a slice in it. But slices require hard surfaces. Any bend or curve, weft or weave, and the whole slice falls apart. I think the crumbled slice and the slice ‘tin’ went into the bin holus-bolus as I wept and wondered if I had the makings of another one in the cupboard.

The muffin ‘tins’ have survived longer, simply because, tis true, the muffins do slide out of them more easily than they do the standard, er, tin ‘tin’. But I made some lovely pear-and-almond muffins for a communal morning tea today and they’re just looked… anaemic. Things just don’t brown. Crusts don’t crust. There’s no lustre to the baking.

As I tried to unobtrusively slide my pale little muffins onto the table this morning, one of the other mums commented on how lovely they looked. I couldn’t help myself. “Aaaugh,” I said. “They’re lily livered. I baked them in silicone–”

“Don’t tell me,” she said, holding up one hand. “They don’t brown, they don’t crust. I hate that silicone bakeware. I’ve chucked out all of mine.” Another mum nearby nodded.

So now I must know. My random survey of three mums (including myself) has uncovered no friends of silicone cookware. Are we missing something?

Are you a fan? Can you explain what we’re doing wrong? Or maybe you’ve got your own silicone horror story to share?

[image: bakerella.com]

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  1. Twitchy

    You know what silicone bakeware is GREAT for? The SANDPIT. And playdough. The End.

  2. New Baby Gifts

    I got a flat baking sheet as a gift. I laid it on the surface and loaded up my biscuits, then tried to lift into the oven. Der! Why didn’t anybody tell me you also need a metal baking sheet underneath? Completely don’t get the point of them!

  3. Kamana

    i have used silicone and do use it from time to time, but only when i run out of baking paper.

  4. MummyateMe

    Hideous stuff – I can’t stand it. Everything I have ever made in silicon has broken or stuck.

    The only thing about silicon that is better than normal baking tins is it doesn’t wake the baby up when I try and pull the ‘tin’ I want out of my over stuffed pots and pans cupboard.

    Also, I’m sure that at some future date we are all going to discover that heating plastic with food in it is terrible for you … or maybe I’m paranoid.

    • RachJM

      I have to agree with you about the baking in plastic issue! I had one of those giant cupcake silicon moulds. I used it once. It stuck completely and the smell of the hot silicon was rather unappetising. Hence, I binned the lot. Back to good old aluminium for me… a bit of spray oil and nothing sticks and the surface stays put, unlike the nonstick pans you seem to get everwhere.

  5. Wanderlust

    I’ve resisted silicone all this time because I couldn’t get beyond the aesthetics. After reading this, I’m glad I did. I think I’ll stick to the old-fashioned pans!

  6. The Wholefood Mama

    Silicone is for tradies to seal cracks. Buy yourself some old-fashioned baking paper to line your old-fashioned cake, slice and muffin tins and you’ll be a happy baker.

    • allison tait

      I used to do that. I don’t know why I strayed so far from the path of truth and righteousness #teamtin

  7. At Number 32

    I love your conviction hehe. I have the 7 muffin ‘tin’ and whilst I like it for the ease and cleaning reasons, I hate that I have to cook in 2 batches…..who has time? I did have the slice tin too at one point but when I went to cut the slice into slices, I went right through the whole thing…..ooppps!

  8. Jo @Country life experiment

    I never use silicone. The metal tins get hotter and give the lovely crust around the edge.

  9. The Kids Are All Right

    Very timely advice… I eye off silicone frequently and wonder what I might be missing out on and consider outlaying for some. Thought it was for rich, fancy people. Now I know to continue on my merry tin-baking ways.

  10. le_third

    while we are having a go at baking can I also say I don’t like cake pops – made them once – too darn fiddly and messy … long live the cupcake cooked in tin I say 🙂

    • allison tait

      Love it! You should hear Maxabella on the subject of cake pops… let’s just say that it’s old-fashioned all the way round here.

    • MummyateMe

      I’m with you. Cake pops are way too much work for no-where near enough cake!

  11. le_third

    lets save the silicon for those who want the boob job … I also don’t like non stick bakeware as the non stick bit lifts and sticks to the baking – yuk! I like butter or spray around the tim just like nana did 🙂 I don’t like silicon utensils either … try using one to make fudge … see what happens to the shape of the spoon … but I do love you and the fibro 🙂 see not a complete nay sayer 🙂 le

  12. Saffron

    In addition to your list:

    1. They don’t brown (which I second, or should I say fourth…)
    2. They don’t crust

    I’d like to add
    3. They don’t lend themselves easily to cleaning!

    Don’t you find that with sponge cake/s (that’s all I’ve made in them) get stuck right in the corners and along the edges and since the’re silicone grease (butter/oil/etc) sticks to them and doesn’t want to come off!

    Although I do love the silicone spatulas!

  13. Cate Bolt

    I bake. Probably more than your average bear. Simple solution. Put your silicone inside a tin slightly larger or at very least on a tray. The ease of silicone with the structure and browning properties of tin. It doesn’t have to be a neat fit.

  14. brismod

    I’ve never used silicone bakeware. Ever. Tin wins! The only thing silicone I have is a spatula for mixing. And it’s really good. xx

  15. Mama of 2 boys

    With you on this one Allison, don’t like the stuff. And funnily enough the only pieces I own of it were gifted to me… can you believe I even have a silicone spatula!? It just wasn’t doing it for me and I couldn’t help thinking that there is something a little wrong about baking food we eat in silicone… maybe that’s just me. It’s fun to touch though and kids love playing with the big cake mould ones.
    But give me an old fashioned non-stick wonderbake pan any day xo

  16. Mum on the Run

    I thought I didn’t have an opinion…
    but my Tupperware silicone flan form is a damn fine thing!!
    Quiches, pies, puddings just slide on out.

    I can see your point about the need for structure in many baked goods though!!!

    What are these sentences tip tapping on my keyboard????
    🙂 xx

  17. House of Dust and Fur

    I’m glad you’ve posted this. I’ve held off this long buying any silicon ‘tins’ that it’s good to know I’m not missing out! Do you think you can do something about Twitter because I’m dragging my heels on that too 🙂

  18. Kelly Exeter

    I wish I could comment here, but I. Do. Not. Bake.

    Despite that though – I know of this silicone stuff you speak of because Donna Hay once berated someone on radio for poaching eggs in silicone in the microwave. They were twice damned apparently. Meanwhile I was thinking “there’s something that lets you poach eggs in a microwave? Hot damn!”

    • allison tait

      I think it is safest not to bake. That way you don’t end up having strong opinions about cookware (for God’s sake).

    • RachJM

      Laughing uncontrollably here! Go Kelly.

  19. edenland

    … just threw out my red silicone dinosaur tray today, actually. LAMEST CAKES OF ALL TIME.


    • allison tait

      Oh God, I LOVE it. We have a team. Team Tin.

    • Sarah - That Space In Between

      I have a stupid rabbit one…I baked it, turned it all out, pieced it back together and it just looked like a big christmas tree. I think there should be a law against buying anything from those little stores just plonked in the middle of the shopping centre.I fall for it every time #teamtin here too

    • allison tait

      Wow – I’ve never tried anything that fancy (thank heavens!). But you’re right – those shopping centre stands are big trouble.

    • Rhonda

      I hate the silicone. I bought everything imaginable and sold it at a garage sale to some poor unsuspecting young couple.


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