Silicone baking mats are a commonly-used baking tool. But many people still worry about their safety, such as releasing toxic chemicals under high temperatures, buying the products of unscrupulous merchants without passing certificates, etc.
In this article, I’ll give you the objective answers to these concerns. I also list some styles of silicone mats people like to use currently for your reference.
1. What are Silicone Baking Mats Made Of?
The material of silicone baking mats is high-quality, food-grade silicone, which is manufactured from quartz sand, oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, and other elements. They can be a substitute for parchment paper to save your baking from sticking to the surface and getting burned down at the bottom.
2. Are Silicone Baking Mats Safe to Use?
Yes, silicone baking mats are safe to use in daily cooking if you follow the precautions. They have the following properties which make them safe for cooking purposes;
- Odor resistant
- Are covered with various coatings to guarantee their non-toxicity
- Can withstand temperature from -40 degrees Fahrenheit ( -40° Celsius ) to 482 degrees Fahrenheit ( 250° Celsius).
- No leaching or gassing off any harmful chemicals into food if use within recommended temperatures
They are far safer than parchment and plastic at high temperatures. Unlike silicone baking mats, plastic cookware can release toxic agents and poison the food. So, silicone baking mats can make cooking delicious by evenly cooking as well as safe.
3. Certificates Needed for Food-grade Silicone Baking Mats
Many kinds of silicone cooking mats came into the market every day. Some of them are of low quality, do not function well, may even poison the food, and cause serious health problems.
So, to separate low-quality silicone baking cookware from high-grade silicone baking cookware, tests are conducted, and certificates are given to each product if it passed the tests.
In these tests, the given silicone baking product is contacted with various food and liquid materials for different amounts of time and at various temperatures.
FDA and LFGB are the most common and high-standard certificates you can trust when buying silicone baking cookware.
Different countries have different quality standards for silicone baking products thus used various certificates. An FDA certificate is necessary for the US & Australia, while in Germany & France, an LFGB certificate is required.
FDA is a US-based test, while LFGB is Europe-based. FDA tests are easy, less expensive, and more common, while LFGB tests are hard, expensive, and less common. In a nutshell, the LFGB certificate has high standards, thus is more reliable than the FDA certificate.
The logos of FDA and LFGB are given below for your recognition:
4. Silicone Mats vs Parchment Paper
Parchment papers are simply papers coated with silicone. In contrast, silicone baking mats are wholly made up of high-rank, food-grade silicone. If want to know more about parchment paper, you can check my previous blog about the safety of parchment papers.
Some people will ask if parchment paper can be used as a substitute for silicone baking mats. It depends on you.
You can check the similarities between the 2 baking tools from the 3 aspects,
|Parchment Paper||Silicone Baking Mats|
|Functions||Prevent Sticking of food||Prevent Sticking of food|
|Save food bottom from overburning||Save food bottom from overburning|
In the following table, you can learn their differences,
|Parchment Paper||Silicone Baking Mats|
|Reusability||Single-use only||3000 oven cycles|
|Custom shape||Can be cut to fit the oddly shaped pan||Cannot be cut, only come in specific factory-made shape and sizes|
|Cleaning||Cannot be cleaned, single-use only||Easy to clean with a cloth and soap water only|
|Border Surface||A little Curly||Straight|
|Maximum Temperature||425 degrees Fahrenheit (218.33° Celsius)||482 degrees Fahrenheit (250° Celsius)|
5. How to Tell If Silicone Is Food-Grade?
There are four ways to tell whether to tell if silicone used in manufacturing is regular or food-grade:
- Check by smell
- Surface properties
- Look for a white substance
- Look for Certificates
Check by smell: Smell the silicone cookware. If it gives a foul odor, it is not food-grade. Beware that some high-grade silicone products also have a smell due to the production, but it will go away with usage.
Surface properties: Food-Grade silicone products have high toughness and elasticity strength. They can not be deformed permanently easily, while regular silicone products can be distorted effortlessly. Plus, Food-Grade silicone is soft to hand feel.
Look for a white Substance: Pull the silicone product with both hands. If there is a white substance, it is regular silicone, but if you do not see any white substance, it is Food grade silicone.
Look for certificates: All the above methods are not very precise but look if a silicone product is FDA, LFGB, or different certificates approved. An FDA or LFGB approved silicone product is made of Food grade silicone gel. This is the only accurate method to differentiate between regular silicone and food-grade silicone.
6. Seven Popular Styles of Silicone Baking Mats
Silicone baking mats come in various styles providing more functionality for cooking various dishes.
The 7 popular styles of silicone baking mats are given below;
- Basic Silicone Baking Mat
- Pyramid Non-slip Silicone Baking Mat
- Round Cake Liner Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mat
- Extra Thick Silicone Baking Mat
- Silicone Bread Baking Mat
- Silicone Macaron Baking Mat
- Dough Rolling Silicone Baking Mat
Basic Silicone Baking Mat
As the name suggests, a basic silicone baking mat is an all-purpose baking mat that can withstand temperatures up to 480 degrees Fahrenheit ( 248.88° Celsius ). It has dimensions of 11.6×16.5 inches (LxW) and can fit half-sheet size pans. Basic silicone baking mats require no oiling, are easy to clean, and are non-toxic.
Pyramid Non-slip Silicone Baking Mat
Made from FDA/LFGB approved food-grade silicone, pyramid non-slip silicone baking mats have small pyramids like structures all over the surface for easy following air. In this way, there is no need to flip. Plus, all the fat and grease will drip away, making it ideal for low-fat cooking. It can withstand 446 degrees Fahrenheit ( 230° Celsius ).
Round Cake Liner Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mat
This style of silicone baking mat is widely used to make round-shaped cakes, pastries, baking biscuits, etc. No butter, grease, oils, and sprays are required while using a round silicone baking mat. It can withstand temperatures up to 482 degrees Fahrenheit ( 250° Celsius ).
Extra Thick Silicone Baking Mat
Extra thick silicone baking mats are ideal for kneading dough, pastries, cooking vegetables, baking cookies, countertop protector, and more. It meets all FDA/LFGB food-grade silicone standards. It is non-toxic and reusable.
Silicone Bread Baking Mat
This style of silicone baking mat has a belt-like shape and can be used to pick up and bake bread in a round shape. It can withstand temperatures up to 482 degrees Fahrenheit ( 250° Celsius ). The only downside, it can not be used for other purposes.
Silicone Macaron Baking Mat
This style is used of silicone baking mat widely to make perfect size macrons without any molds. As you can see on the mat, small circles are drawn for easy shaping. It can also be used to make biscuits, cookies, pastry, pizza, and more. Circles are only drawn for reference. It is an all-purpose silicone baking mat.
Dough Rolling Silicone Baking Mat
Dough rolling silicone baking mat is mostly used to roll and bake dough. It can also be used to bake biscuits, pastry, cookies, macrons, and more. It is a non-sticky and non-toxic mat.
1) Are Silicone Baking Mats BPA-Free?
2) Can Silicone Leach Into Food?
No. You can expect food free of any kind of chemicals coming from silicone cookware. Silicone baking mats are coated with various coatings to prevent leaching at severe temperatures. Silicone is entirely leaching-free as long as you use it within recommended temperature ranges.
3) Does Silicone Merge With Food?
No. Silicone does not react with food or beverages and can withstand temperatures up to 482 degrees Fahrenheit ( 250° Celsius ) without melting. Plus, silicone does not give off any gases within recommended temperature ranges. In 1979, the American scientists of the FDA proved that silicone does not merge nor change the odor of your food.
4) How To Clean Silicone Baking Mats?
Silicone baking mats are very easy to clean. You can follow the below guidelines for cleaning;
- Get a soft clean cloth.
- Acquire warm soapy water.
- Put soapy water on silicone baking mats and gently rub them.
- Never use a wire sponge or any hard object for cleaning. Otherwise, you will damage your silicone baking mat and risk your health.
5) Are Silicone Baking Mats Microwaves Safe?
Yes. Silicone baking mats are microwave safe. In 1979, FDA conducted many tests and proved that silicone could be used in the oven, freezer, and microwave. They can withstand temperatures up to 482 degrees Fahrenheit ( 250° Celsius ). They are entirely safe for use in the microwave as long as they are cut-free and within recommended temperature ranges.
6) Is Silicone Bakeware Good for the Environment?
Silicones bakeware is highly durable and heat resistant and can be used repeatedly for years, thus replacing single-use parchments. Therefore, save the environment from a lot of parchment waste.
The only down point is silicone bakeware can not be recycled, but at present, they are the best BPA-free and PFOA-free lining agents. They also do not release any harmful chemicals, making them environmentally friendly overall.
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