Parchment paper – The perfect baking paper


Parchment paper is often categorised as a greaseproof pan liner, baking release paper or silicon sheet. 


However, it may or may not be silicon treated, and, despite the resemblance, one type of paper it certainly is not wax paper. BakerSA investigates parchment paper’s usages, efficiency, durability and cost-effectiveness.

Most bakers are aware that wax paper should never be used as a substitute for baking parchment paper, as the two are not interchangeable, but for inexperienced bakers who are tempted to use wax paper when they run out of parchment paper, here’s why it is not a good idea.

The main difference between waxed paper and parchment paper is their respective coatings, and therefore their baking usages. Both types of paper are used for lining baking pans to eliminate the need to grease them, and both are non-stick and moisture-resistant, but, unlike parchment paper, wax paper is not heat-resistant and must never be directly exposed to the heat of an oven.

When exposed to direct heat, the thin coating of wax (soybean or paraffin) on each side of wax paper will melt and cause smoke in the oven, and thus also affect product taste.

Wax paper may be used as a liner when baking cakes, quick breads, muffins or any baked goods in which the batter completely covers the wax paper lining. In addition, it is a good, substitute for parchment paper used for covering countertops, wrapping up food for cold storage, and used as interleaving paper for hamburger patties or cheese slices. And it costs less.

Parchment paper is made by running sheets of paper through a sulphuric acid bath – a process that makes the paper strong under hot and wet conditions. Many manufacturers also apply a silicon coating to make it entirely non-stick. The chemicals are subsequently extracted during the drying operation. The completed product is dense, smooth, impermeable (so it won’t soak up grease or moisture), and releases effortlessly.

Parchment paper is versatile and convenient. It is reusable; can be purchased in rolls, sheets, or pre-cut rounds to fit cake pans; and is safe to use in regular or convection ovens at temperatures up to 215°C to 232°C. At higher temperatures, the paper will become brittle and will start to turn dark brown. (Exact temperature depends on the brand.) Both sides of parchment paper are identical, so there is no right or wrong side.

Parchment paper is also used to cook en papillote – a technique that refers to a moist-heat cooking method where the food is enclosed in a packet of parchment paper or foil and then baked in the oven. Parchment paper is not necessarily a silicon-treated paper, but a highly refined grease-resistant paper used for very high demand applications, for example, to wrap butter.

Silicon-treated parchment paper is available, but is generally used for industrial applications, not baking, due to the pricing, All silicon paper in South Africa is a silicon-treated greaseproof paper. The term ‘parchment paper’ is often incorrectly used to describe greaseproof papers generically. The term ‘wax paper’ is often incorrectly used to describe greaseproof paper.

Greaseproof paper is commonly used to line trays or displays and for making baking cups. It is also used when the paper needs to remain with the product for hygiene and stability, for example, pan liners. However, the baker must make sure that the quality of the greaseproof paper meets his expectations. There has been a trend for some time to down-gauge greaseproof paper, i.e. lower grams per square metre (gsm), making smaller sheet sizes, and using less sheets at less kilograms per pack/ream.

Traditionally, greaseproof paper used by the food industry was 38gsm paper packed 4.8kg per ream; size 432mm x 686mm. Today you can find reams with a mass of 1.8kg, size of 420mm x 600mm, and weight down to 32gsm, and consequently customers can be confused with price. We recommend that users check what they are being offered and, more importantly, that the products perform appropriately.

Silicon paper is a premium quality, greaseproof paper that is silicon-coated on both sides. It is handy when easy release of products is required and can be used four to five times at temperatures up to 220°C. It is also used for separation of frozen food products. Silicon paper is a hygienic solution as no pan oil is required, saving on cleaning and scraping of pans and trays. It is also cost effective as productivity is increased through efficient release and multiple use of each sheet, cutting the cost per bake.

But why use paper at all? Why not just use silicon bakeware? Silicon bakeware can, in the short term, offer a solution that negates the use of baking paper. However, the cleaning between product changes slows production.

Health regulations don’t embrace the use of silicon and Teflon sheets, as the detergents used to clean them can be toxic and eventually the silicon wears off, leaving the baker with his croissants stuck to the pad.

Suppliers in South Africa –

The Baking Tin – We specialize in servicing the baking, hospitality and catering industries and are able to offer a wide range of products that are not only competitively priced but also of exceptional quality.

Since its founding in 1977, The Baking Tin has developed into a major player in the industry supplying large and small businesses throughout South Africa.

We are constantly updating our range of products and sourcing innovative items from around the world to meet our customer’s needs. As part of our service offering we provide delivery throughout South Africa.

Our product range includes Baking Paper Roll, Greaseproof Paper, Rice Paper, Silicone Paper, Teflon Sheets and Wall Mounted Paper Dispenser 60cm.

Wilsam – is the leading supplier of customised bakery and pastry packaging in South Africa.

Wilsam is based in Cape Town, South Africa and is the leading manufacturer of baking and pastry packaging as well as other specialised packaging. All material is imported from the highest quality suppliers around the world. We carry a wide range of stock items and are also able to customise and print according to client specifications.

Wilsam supplies bleached and unbleached greaseproof paper. Often these are used in circular presentation boxes, they produce disks in various diameters for a neat fit. They can also cut sheets to custom sizes as well as print on the paper to add your branding.

Baking Paper Sheets
Our range of 100% natural double sided siliconised paper is available from stock in sheets and reels. We are also able to produce circular disks for a neat fit into your baking pan. Our Scandinavian Paper is known for its quality and ethical approach to business. It’s the ideal paper for a wide range of baking purposes.

Greaseproof Reams
We sell wholesale bleached or unbleached greaseproof baking paper products in sheets or reels for industrial use. Onsite sheeting machines allow us to sheet baking paper into any size. We have rewinding machines to allow reels to be customised according to your requirements.

Wax Paper Rolls
Moisture-proof wax paper is a functional and ethical alternative to plastic wrap. It offers great wet-strength properties and is ideal for keeping food fresh for longer. We rewind caterer’s roll as well as sheet to any size.

Printed Greaseproof
We sell wholesale bleached or unbleached greaseproof baking paper products in sheets or reels for industrial use. We are able to customise by printing graphics or logo with food-safe ink. Onsite sheeting machines allow us to sheet baking paper into any size. We have rewinding machines to allow reels to be customised according to your requirements.

Unopac (Pty) Ltd is a company that focusses on the manufacturing and distribution of specialized packaging for the food industry.

With a team that has over 100 years’ experience within the packaging sector, you can be assured of the highest quality products, and a customer focused service.

All our products are food grade quality. We are Halaal Certified.

We supply products such as:

Meat Separators/Interleavers – made from either wax paper or BOPP.
Greaseproof paper
MGBK paper
Wax paper
Baking paper
Food Grade Oil filters

Green Home – At GREEN HOME we are proud to identify as pioneers in the food packaging industry. We were South Africa’s first compostable food packaging company and spearheaded the introduction of bagasse and plant-based bioplastic products to the local market.

GREEN HOME’s Greaseproof Paper acquires its greaseproof properties during its unique pulping process and is free of any additives or coatings. Just natural paper and nothing else.

It is:
• 38 gsm
• Plant-based and renewable
• Compostable in a home or commercial compost facility or worm farm
• Plant-based and renewable
• Unbleached

Rush Trading/Carmen Products has been supplying greaseproof paper (Carmen Brand) and silicon baking paper (Bake Cook & Freeze Brand) to the baking and food industry for the past 25 years. The company offers parchment paper in sheets, strips, cut shapes and baking cups.

We Manufacture the Carmen range of Baking Cups, Tulip baking cups and all the other popular sizes of baking cups – including custom printed products, Greaseproof paper reams, Silicon baking paper, coffee drip mats, cupcake cuffs, polypropylene bags, retail packs, paper baking containers , glass covers and more.


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