Not every recipe will come with the specific instruction to grease the baking pan. Some recipes will call for the use of parchment or baking sheet instead. Others will require you to grease the pan before dusting it with flour. It is unfortunate that these recipes don’t include specific instructions on how you can grease your pan. In this article, we’ll look at some of the best methods and useful tips for greasing your baking pan.
Should You Use Flour in Addition to Grease?
The fundamental reason why you need to grease your baking pan is to prevent the cake or pastry from sticking. Greasing the pan is a fundamental requirement for baking cakes, brownies, and quick breads. The question most people have is whether to dust the pan with flour or not.
As a general rule, stick to what the recipe says. If it calls for the dusting of the pan with flour in addition to grease, then you should do it.
There are certain recipes that call for light dusting of flour, however. For example, angel food and sponge cakes will require a coating of flour on the sides of the baking pan. These types of cake do not contain leavening agent. They only contain whipped egg whites which serve as leavening agents. Dusting the sides of the pan with flour helps prevent the collapse of the batter as it bakes. The function of flour in this regard is to allow the batter to “stick” onto the sides of the baking pan.
Dusting your pan with flour is not necessary if you are going to bake a cake that you’re going to serve as is. This means you are not going to put icing or any other finishing touches to the cake. The same is true for cakes that will have a dusting of confectioner’s sugar or with a clear glaze finishing. The point here is you don’t want to leave any floury residue on your cake. Doing so can ruin the taste of your treats.
How to grease a pan for brownies? Brownies do not need a dusting of flour. Adding flour onto your baking pan can leave a white residue which can turn into white crusts on your brownies. If the recipe calls for a light dusting of flour, you may substitute flour for cocoa powder instead. This is a lot better than flour since it has the same color as your brownies. Plus, the richness of cocoa will elevate the flavors of your brownies.
Should You Use Parchment Paper, Cooking Spray, Shortening, or Butter?
Some recipes require the greasing of the entire inner surface of the pan, both the bottom and the sides. Using a parchment paper on the bottom of the pan is better than applying grease, however. Parchment paper is also one of the best ways to grease a pan for cookies. You will also have a layer to handle when you’re ready to transfer the cake onto your serving dish.
As for the type of grease to use on the pan, you have a choice of cooking spray, butter, or shortening.
It is important to understand that butter contains milk and water. Neither of these two ingredients will prevent your cake or pastry from sticking. The good thing about butter is that it can impart a rich flavor that you won’t get from shortening or cooking spray. Butter can also give your pastry that golden-brown crust that you desire – the Maillard effect.
If the main concern is to prevent the cake from sticking to the pan, then you should go for baking spray, cooking spray, or pure fat. This is how to grease a pan without butter. You can also use bacon fat or coconut oil if you want to impart a different flavor to your cake.
How to Grease Your Pan
There are two ways you can grease your pan, depending on whether you will use grease only or with parchment paper. If you’re going to grease both the bottom and sides of your flat-bottomed pan, it is best to spread the grease using your fingers. This is a lot better than using some fancy brush. You can use your fingers to “feel” for areas that still need greasing.
If you want to dust flour over the layer of grease, you can do so. You can sprinkle a light dusting of flour on the inner surface of the pan, making sure you cover every spot. Also make sure to distribute the flour in an even manner. Do this by shaking the pan and tilting it from side to side. Finish it off by inverting the pan and tapping the excess flour off.
If you don’t want to grease the bottom of the pan, then you can line this with a parchment paper. Grease the sides of the pan first before putting the parchment paper at the bottom. You can also add flour to the sides of the pan. If you’re going to do this, make sure you have the grease and flour on the sides first before putting the parchment paper. Once the parchment paper is in place, you can also spray it with a cooking or baking spray if you want.
The next question most people have is how to grease a Bundt pan. If you are working with pans with uneven bottoms like Bundt pans, it is best to apply the shortening agent using a pastry brush. This is to help you distribute the grease on all the crevices and corners of the pan. You can also use a baking spray.
On a final note, it is best to grease your pan right before you add the batter. This is to help prevent creating a pool of grease at the bottom of the pan which can undermine the quality of your pastry.
Greasing your baking pan is as easy as applying a coat of an appropriate product. What is important is you cover all the surfaces to prevent your cake from sticking.