Silicone pizza mat – a necessity or redundancy? Let’s find out.
Silicone pizza mats are thin, flexible baking mats made of food-grade silicone. Like all silicone bakeware, these mats are heat-resistant and non-stick.
Now there are three key benefits of using a silicone baking mat – one; you don’t have to worry about your dough sticking to the peel. Just your pizza peel with a silicone mat for stretching and prepping your pizza dough, and you’re all set. Two, you can reuse it over and over again, and third, it’s perforated, which helps crisp up the crust.
Silicone pizza mats are a fantastic choice for baking other goods too, especially baked goods like macaron, choux pastry, and sable cookies. If you are still not convinced and need some more details before you buy a silicone baking mat, read on.
How Does a Silicone Baking Mat Work?
Although the product name only has silicone in it, silicone pizza mats are made of food-grade silicone and fiberglass mesh. The silicone helps prevent the dough from sticking to your baking pan and makes it easier for you to transfer it into the oven.
The fiberglass helps reinforce the baking mat so that it won’t crack or break while cooking. You can also use silicone baking mats as a nonstick surface for baking cookies, tart shells, dacquoise, croissants, and sponge cakes.
You need to place the mat onto your baking sheet, place the dough on it and bake. Most silicone baking mats have holes in them which allow the heat to reach all parts of the mat. This prevents your crust from getting soggy or burnt in one spot and keeps it evenly cooked throughout. Due to the non-sticky yet sturdy nature of silicone, these mats are incredibly easy to clean.
If it’s our first, second, or third foray into pizza baking, I’d highly recommend you place a silicone mat on your pizza stone, pan, or pizza crisper.
7 Benefits of Silicone Baking Mats
There are several benefits to using silicone baking mats for baking pizza:
1. Non-stick surface
The silicone material is non-stick, which means that the dough will not stick to the mat and can be easily transferred onto a pizza stone or baking sheet.
If your dough is constantly sticking to the peel despite our best efforts, use a silicone mat instead of a peel for both prepping and baking the dough. Simply slide the whole thing (dough and mat) onto your preheated pizza stone or pan and bake.
2. Makes the Crust Crispy
Silicone baking mats are perforated, which means it allows more air circulation and better heat distribution. This makes silicone pizza mats a great baking solution for crispy thin-crust pizzas.
Silicone pizza mats are great space savers. They can be rolled up and stored in a drawer, unlike traditional pizza stones or pizza pans that take up a lot of room on your countertop or in your cabinet.
4. Easy to clean
Silicone baking mats are easy to clean, as they can be wiped down with a damp cloth or placed in the dishwasher.
5. Durable and long-lasting
Silicone baking mats are durable and can be used over and over again, making them a more environmentally friendly option compared to disposable parchment paper. Unlike cast iron pizza pans, they don’t rust, and unlike pizza stones, they aren’t prone to cracking either.
Silicone baking mats are affordable, which makes them a great option for those who are on a tight budget. They can be purchased in sets of three or five.
Silicone baking mats can be used for making delicious baked goods, such as croissants, eclairs, cookies, and muffins.
What Silicone Baking Mats Cannot Do:
While silicone baking mats have many benefits, they also have a few disadvantages. Here are some of the limitations:
- You can’t use them with dark or black pans. Silicone baking mats don’t work well with dark or black bakeware because they trap heat inside and cause food to burn more quickly.
- You can’t use them for roasting vegetables or grilling meat.
- It cannot be used for broiling as most silicone baking mats are safe to use at up to 500 degrees only.
- Depending on the kind and quantity of your pizza toppings, you might notice a greasy residue on the mat even after being scrubbed with soap and water.
Are Silicone Grill Mats Safe?
Silicone grill mats are generally considered safe to use when grilling food. They are made of silicone, a heat-resistant and non-toxic material that is commonly used in cooking and baking tools. Silicone grill mats are also BPA-free, which means that they do not contain Bisphenol A, a chemical that has been linked to health concerns.
However, it is important to follow proper usage instructions when using a silicone grill mat. Some tips to ensure safe use include:
- Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure to read the instructions that come with the silicone grill mat and follow them carefully. This will help to ensure that the mat is used safely and effectively.
- Avoid exposing the mat to extreme temperatures. Silicone grill mats are heat-resistant, but they should not be exposed to temperatures above their recommended maximum. Excessive heat can damage the mat and potentially release harmful fumes.
- Do not cut or poke the mat. Avoid slicing the pizza on the mat, as this can damage the surface and create sharp edges that could potentially cut or puncture the mat.
- Do not place the mat directly on the rack. It is important to place the silicone grill mat on the cooking sheet/baking stone/pizza pan rather than directly on the oven rack.
How to Pick the Best Silicone Pizza Mat
So, you have decided to get a silicone pizza mat. Good decision. Allow me to help you pick the best one. Here are five things that you should consider before making your purchase:
Silicone pizza mats are usually available in 4 sizes – 8″, 10″, 12″, and 16″. Rectangular mats have a lot more size options than round mats. My suggestion is that you get the biggest mat that will fit in your oven. If you are frequently making large pizzas, then get the 16″ mat.
If you make small personal pizzas or just like to have some fun with shapes and sizes, then consider getting a rectangular mat instead of a round one.
The Thickness of the Silicone Pad
The thickness of your pizza mat will affect how well it holds the heat. Thicker mats will retain heat longer than thinner ones. However, thinner pads circulate more air, resulting in a crispier crust. So, at the end of the day, it all boils down to how crispy you want your pizza to be.
In my experience, thinner pads create a very crunchy and brittle, almost cracker-like crust. I like a little chewiness on my crust, so I’d go with a thick silicone mat.
Ideally, a silicone baking mat surface should be smooth and moisture-wicking. A smooth surface allows for even heat distribution, and moisture-wicking properties prevent the mat from sticking to your pizza.
This is especially important if you like to bake stuffed pizzas or ones with lots of greases (like pepperoni). If the mat doesn’t have these properties, it can cause burned spots on the crust.
Make sure the mat you are buying is rated for 40-500 degrees F. This is the standard range for most baking applications. If you are going to be using your pizza mat for cooking at higher temperatures, make sure it can handle the heat. Some silicone pads have a max temp of 500 degrees F, while others go up to 600 degrees F or even more.
Make sure not to exceed the recommended temperature range of your mat. If you are going to be using it in an oven that goes beyond 500 degrees F, invest in a high-quality, heavy-duty mat.
Ease of Cleaning
Being made from food-grade silicone, which is a non-porous material, these mats do not absorb liquids or odors. This means that any spills or messes can easily be wiped away with a damp cloth or sponge, and the mat will not retain any lingering smells or flavors.
A lot of people struggle with cleaning up the grease from silicone mats, even after vigorous scrubbing. So make sure the mat you’re choosing is dishwasher-safe because all the good ones are.
Silicone Pizza Mat vs. Pizza Steel
The problem of pizza dough sticking to the peel is as old as…well, pizzas. Condensation can form even on a well-dusted peel. There are two probable causes behind this: your dough is too cold. You should always work with room-temperature pizza dough. The temperature difference between the dough and the peel can also cause this problem.
While you can always use two peels, it can be an overkill for many home cooks. Using a silicone mat is both more economical and practical for those using regular ovens for baking pizzas. It’s non-stick and porous, so the chances of the dough sticking to it are very slim.
How to Clean and Store Silicone Pizza Mats?
Silicone pizza mats are generally very easy to clean and maintain. Here are some steps you can follow to clean a silicone pizza mat properly:
Step 1: Wipe the mat with a damp cloth or sponge
After use, you can simply wipe the mat with a damp cloth or sponge to remove any excess food or spills. Use a mild detergent or soap if needed to help remove any stuck-on food or stains.
Step 2: Rinse the mat with water
If the mat is particularly dirty or greasy, you may want to rinse it off with water to help remove any remaining residues. Simply hold the mat under the tap and use a sponge or scrubber to gently scrub away any dirt or grime.
Step 3: Dry the mat before storing it away
Before folding it away, make sure to dry it thoroughly to prevent any water spots or streaks from forming. You can either air-dry the mat by hanging it up or laying it out flat, or you can pat it dry with a towel.
Step 4: Store the mat properly
To help maintain the longevity of your silicone mat, be sure to store it properly when not in use. You can roll it up or fold it and store it in a kitchen drawer or cabinet. Alternatively, you can also store it in a carrying case or storage bag if it comes with one.
Silicone Pizza Mat Related FAQs
Can you bake pizza on a silicone mat?
Yes, in fact, silicone baking mats are a much better choice than parchment better for baking pizzas in regular ovens. You can also slide them on top of your pizza stone or steel. Not just baking, but you can use silicone mats for rolling out and prepping the dough as well.
Are silicone mats better than parchment paper?
Yes, silicone mats are way more non-sticky and better at heat distribution than parchment papers.
Do you need a silicone mat for macarons?
Yes, you absolutely need a silicone baking mat for macarons. While you can use parchment paper in a pinch, you will get much better results with a silicone mat.
So, what are you waiting for? If you’re still wondering whether a silicone pizza mat is something that would be useful in your kitchen, the answer is yes. It’s a simple, affordable, and easy-to-use bakeware that will help you make delicious pizzas and desserts.
Plus, the holes in silicone mats help you achieve just the right amount of crunch on your crust.
So go ahead and get one for yourself today! You won’t regret it.