Between the Sheets: A Silpat Experiment

Dan and I love Alton Brown, a Food Network chef who gets into the scientific side of food and cooking/baking, and explaining how everything works and comes together. It brings me back to those endless experiments in all my science subjects from grade school to college. I’ve learned to embrace them. I love testing and experimenting with stuff, and one of the things I’ve been curious about (for the past 2…3 years) was whether there is a real benefit to getting oneself a Silpat for baking. So I did my own home experiment.

To honor my science instructors and professors, I’m presenting this old-school style — following The Scientific Method. Haha.

Disclaimer: Joy is not responsible and/or liable for an purchases you make as a direct or indirect result of the experiment. [Sign Here.]

Proceed…

I. Question
To Silpat or Not to Silpat? What’s up with all the praises for Silpat? Does it make a difference?

II. Observation
Silpat is something I’ve avoided for years because of its price tag, and I couldn’t really justify buying this so-called “baker’s best friend” just for use once or twice a year. That has changed and instead of spending money on clothes, it has gone to kitchenware. [Hard to believe, I know!]

III. Hypothesis
1. Cookies turn out better when you use a Silpat mat on top of your cookie sheet.
2. Last month’s $25 expense at Williams-Sonoma was well worth it.

IV. Experiment
While I was making the Sunflower Butter Cookies, I thought it would be a great opportunity to test the Silpat vs. non-Silpat.

For the baking sheet, I used a large insulated cookie sheet.1 My Silpat doesn’t cover the entire sheet, so I dropped batter balls directly on the sheet as well. The two cookies you see below were baked from the same batch. They started with the same shape and thickness. The only difference is the baking surface: LEFT Cookie was on the Silpat surface; RIGHT Cookie was on the sheet surface.

The Shape Test


The cookie baked on the Silpat sheet did not spread and thin out too much, where as the other became considerably bigger and flatter/tapered at the edges. The Silpat cookie retained its shape, and it produced a rounded edge.

The Browning Test

Silpat-cookie was evenly baked from top to bottom, no browning. The other cookie had considerable browning.

The Bite Test
The Silpat-baked cookie has just the right balance of crunchiness and chewiness. The other cookie was very crunchy. [And I love my cookie a li’l solid yet chewy, nice texture when I bite but not too crumbly.]


V. Conclusion
The Silpat cookie has considerable difference from a non-Silpat cookie. From the shape, to the browning, to the taste, Silpat has proved that you can make better cookies with it. And I’m a happy and satisfied shopper!

VI. Recommendations
You can also buy Silpat sheets at Amazon.com for insanely good prices:
Silpat 11-5/8-by-16-1/2-Inch Nonstick Silicone Baking Mat (USD$12.99)
Demarle Silpat 11-3/4-by-8-1/4-Inch Nonstick Silicone Baking Mat (USD$12.39)

1 Love it, love it. It occupies the whole area of our oven rack. It’s pain to clean if it doesn’t fit in your dishwasher, like ours. A great buy if you bake a lot of cookies.

Leave a Reply