Although baking paper is made from paper, it must be disposed of with the general waste. This is due to its coating, which is not water-soluble and therefore suitable for paper recycling. Nevertheless, it is used in millions of households because its function is indispensable for many dishes: Thanks to its coated surfaces, no food sticks to it, even at a baking temperature of up to 250 degrees. Unfortunately, that doesn't change the fact that the use of baking paper - in the truest sense of the word - is for the bin. In terms of sustainability, five practical alternatives are presented below that produce no or at least less waste.
Simply grease the baking sheet with fat. It doesn't matter whether you use butter or margarine, sunflower oil or coconut oil - anything that has a good amount of fat is suitable for baking. And ensures that your dishes do not burn on the tray. For soft dough masses (e.g. cakes or pizza), it is important to know that you should additionally dust the greased tray with a thin layer of flour so that nothing sticks to it.
So-called baking wafers consist of water, flour and starch - which makes them edible. The small luggage can be found among various gingerbread specialties, especially during the Christmas season, but it can also be used to bake biscuits. There are round and square wafers in different sizes that don't stick to the baking tray, so you don't need any additional baking paper.
At first glance, conventional greaseproof paper is very similar to baking paper and is often used as a substitute for baking paper. It doesn't have a Teflon coating, but it's still a useful baking pad. In contrast to the original, the sandwich paper has the advantage that it does not contain any plasticizers. But after baking, it ends up in the trash can just like the baking paper, so the wear and tear is similar.
4. Permanent baking foil
Free from silicone, permanent baking foils are made of a fiberglass mesh and are coated with polytetrafluoroethylene, better known as Teflon - but unlike ordinary baking paper, they can be used several hundred times. There are pre-cut sets in different colors, but you can also use permanent baking foil that you cut to size yourself.
There are now silicone baking mats that can be used as a substitute for baking paper. Its smooth surface ensures that nothing sticks to it. After baking, the baking mat can be cleaned by hand with washing-up liquid and water and reused – depending on the manufacturer, also in the dishwasher. If the silicone mat ends up in the garbage, disposal is not harmless for the environment.
It used to be common practice to use aluminum foil if there was no parchment paper around the house. Today, this is strongly discouraged for the following reasons: On the one hand, the production of aluminum ore uses bauxite, which comes from the rainforest floor and drives the clearing of numerous trees. On the other hand, a lot of energy is required for the production of aluminum foil - which is even worse and the real problem is that toxic waste is produced during production. In addition, aluminum is a neurotoxin whose ingredients can be transferred to your food. For this reason, aluminum foil is not a good substitute for baking paper.
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