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Baking Basics: Pan Preparation

By Cook's Illustrated Published October 2003

Our many years of experience in the test kitchen baking pies, tarts, cakes, cookies, muffins, and quick breads have shown us the most effective way to prepare a pan for baking.

Parchment Paper

Parchment paper is an extremely useful baker's tool. It can be used to line round, loaf, or rectangular baking pans for an effortless release; to line baking sheets and jelly-roll pans; and to make rolling out dough easier.

Do not use waxed paper in place of parchment paper except in instances where it will not be exposed to the direct heat of the oven. used to line the bottom of a cake pan, waxed paper is fine, but if used on a cookie sheet, the wax coating will melt.

Trace the bottom of your cake pan roughly in the center of a sheet of parchment paper. Cut just inside the outline of the circle. The resulting round of parchment should fit neatly in the cake pan.

Make a sling by placing a strip of parchment paper across the length and width of the pan so that the paper overlaps the edges. Fill the pan with batter and bake. Use the parchment to transfer the cooled baked good to a cutting board.