Kitchen Basics – Part 6: Bakeware

In addition to pots and pans that are used on the cooktop (burners) of the stove, you also need things that can go into the oven. Some pots and pans can go into the oven, but some have plastic handles that may not be oven proof.

There are two basics I think every kitchen needs: a cookie sheet or baking sheet and a baking dish or casserole.

The difference between a cookie sheet and a baking sheet is the presence of a lip all around the edge of the cookie sheet. There are also things called a sheet pan or half-sheet pan, which usually have 1/2 to one-inch sides. I’ve never used any of these for cookies. But I do use them all the time to put under dishes that might bubble over or to provide support to lightweight cake pans or foil cookware. They’re also good for making pizza if you don’t mind that they’re not round. These cost less than $10 usually.

The other baking dish you need is a 9 by 13 inch pan, preferably Pyrex glass. Be wary of non-stick metal pans because the non-stick coating is easily scratched, making is no longer non-stick. Pyrex is a wonderful invention. Just don’t use one of your good knifes to cut what’s in the dish into portions. Use a butter knife or metal spatula. This will cost you about $15.

A casserole, made of Corningware or ceramic works great for many things, but can be a bit pricey. Stick to the oval shape or something similar. Rectangular casseroles can sometimes lead to corners getting overdone.

Additional bakeware will depend on what you like to make, such as bread, biscuits, meatloaf and other dishes.

One additional note here. To us Americans, an oven, even a small one, is pretty much standard in every kitchen. But that’s not true in other parts of the world. Those places just have a cooktop. Baked goods are purchased from a bakery, restaurant or other food shop. So, enjoy your oven and make good use of it.

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