Greasing a Pan
In baking it’s not always clear whether or how you should grease your pans beforehand. If you’re lucky, every recipe you encounter will specifically instruct you if and how to grease your pan.
The easiest course is always to follow the recipe’s instructions. Still, while a recipe might say to grease the pan, it might not specifically explain how.
Read on to learn how to grease a pan along with a few tips and tricks.
Preparing your baking pan properly before filling it can save a lot of heartbreak. I recommend using a non stick pan spray, for quick, effective coverage, but a thin coat of vegetable shortening also does the trick.
Choose between butter or shortening to grease your pan. Butter and shortening are the 2 most common fats used to grease baking pans.
Butter will impart a slight richness to the batter and will help the exterior bake to a golden brown.
Shortening is flavorless and the batter is less likely to brown.
When using pan spray, hold the can upright and the pan perpendicular to it. You get more even coverage that way, and less sputtering from the can.
Oil based sprays and vegetable oil should not be used to grease the pan When baking.
Oil turns into a hard glaze when it is heated that can be tough to remove from the pan.
Save the oil and sprays for stovetop cooking.
Open up a stick of unsalted butter for a smoother and richer pan lining.
Grab a new stick of unsalted butter from the package.
Open up 1 side of the paper until about half of the butter stick is out.
Leave the paper on the bottom half of the butter so you can hold it without getting your hands greasy.
Rub butter or shortening (lard) over the bottom and sides of your pan. Spread a thin layer of your greasing agent onto the entire bottom of your pan.
When using shortening, spread evenly with a pastry brush or a piece of waxed paper.
Make sure there are no holes in your layer. Go over every part of the pan at least once. Turn your pan on its side and apply your greasing agent to the sides of the pan as well.
Spray a thin layer of cooking spray on your pan if you are not baking.
For normal stovetop pans and dishes, oil and cooking sprays are fine to use.
Hold the spray can at least 5 inches away from your pan. Spray a thin layer of spray over the whole pan, making sure to coat the entire thing.
Using Non Stick sprays
Non stick sprays are a chemical combination of a form of oil, which lubricates; lecithin, which emulsifies; and a propellant like food-grade alcohol, nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, or propane.
Sounds good, doesn’t it?
Non stick cooking spray has many uses in the kitchen. It can slash fat and calories by eliminating butter or oil in some recipes.
It’s also useful for sticky cooking situations like helping slide cookies off the cookie sheet, making pouring molasses or honey from measuring cups less sticky,
And it makes the slicing of dried fruit or the molding of rice cereal treats and meatballs so much easier.
It prevents tomato based sauces from discoloring plastic containers and makes the job of cleaning a cheese grater a breeze.
The advantages of cooking spray are to prevent food items from sticking. The spray is useful on pans, in measuring tools, or baking tins
How to Grease a Pan
Follow these steps for greasing a pan. What fat to use and whether or not you need to flour the pan will depend on the recipe and is discussed below.
Apply your chosen grease generously to the entire inside of the pan. Fingers almost always work best for this since you can feel any spots you may have missed. You should achieve a uniform, even coating with no chunks of fat.
Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan by placing the pan on top of the paper and tracing it. Grease the sides of the pan then insert the parchment paper.
You don’t need to grease the parchment, but if you’re using baking or cooking spray, go ahead and insert the paper then spray the whole thing and call it a day. There’s no need to spray or grease underneath the parchment.
A Bundt cake can be tricky to grease and isn’t compatible with parchment paper. Because most Bundt pans include a pattern, they can cling on to the cake’s surface, making for a difficult unmolding.
To combat this, grease the pan thoroughly and carefully. Spray the entire inside of the pan with baking spray, making sure to spray the tube as well as the sides and bottom.
Alternately, paint with shortening or grease by hand, then coat with flour or cocoa. Make sure to get into all of the nooks and crannies. As always, follow the recipe instructions.
It’s best to grease just a few minutes before you add your batter, especially if your kitchen is warm.
Doing it too soon gives the oil or fat time to drip down the sides of the pan and pool at the bottom. If needed, pop the greased, empty pan in the fridge while you mix up the batter.
Butter, Shortening, or Cooking Spray?
The thing to remember about butter is that it contains water and milk, neither of which is particularly useful in preventing your cake from sticking.
Indeed, milk can actually act as glue. On the other hand, butter tastes wonderful, and the caramelized milk proteins can add a lovely, golden-brown crust to the edges of your cake. Use butter if you want to.
If you have extreme concerns about your cake sticking, use shortening (which is pure fat with no water), cooking spray, or baking spray.
Coconut oil or bacon fat will also work, as will clarified butter which has the milk solids removed.
For extra insurance against sticking, grease the sides of the pan and use a piece of parchment on the bottom.
Parchment paper is great for the bottoms of flat pans like round or square cake pans and loaf pans.