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The Big Secret About Parchment Paper

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Every week, baking expert Alice Medrich will be going rogue on Food52 -- with shortcuts, hacks, and game-changing recipes.

Today: Never rip parchment paper from a roll again.

The Big Secret About Parchment on Food52

If you are an avid baker, you probably love parchment paper as much as I do -- for lining cake pans and cookie sheets, as a landing place for sifted flour, to make paper cornets for piping, cut stencils, and so on. Nothing more need be said, right? 

But if you are a new baker or occasional baker, maybe you've had a rocky time with parchment. After struggling to tear a sheet neatly (yeah, sure) from the roll and wrestling it onto a cookie a sheet, only to have it roll up and shoot across the room, you may wonder why we love the ornery stuff.

More: Crispy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. Cleanup made easier, by parchment.

The Big Secret About Parchment on Food52

The big secret is this: You have to buy parchment in sheets or rounds! Professionals take this for granted. Pre-cut sheets and rounds are a dream, rolls a nightmare. I'd choose water torture rather than be forced to use parchment off of a roll.

Sheets lie flat in or on pans, there is no need to chase them (across the room), weight them, or trick them into submission and never a need to grease the pan to glue them down. You can order 12x16-inch sheets (perfect for half sheet pans and cookie sheets) online or at a baking supply store, or cajole a friendly local baker to sell you handful of commercial sized sheets (16x24-inch) which can be cut in half: fold several sheets in half at once, crease the fold, then slip a knife into the crease and cut through the sheets.

Store a stack of sheets flat in a rimmed baking sheet. If you don't have drawer or shelf space for a baking sheet, clip your parchment sheets to an old-fashioned clip board and hang it on the inside of a cupboard, pantry, or closet door. There is no excuse not to keep parchment sheets instead of rolls!

The Big Secret About Parchment on Food52

Alice's most recent book, Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts, doles out delicious dessert recipes that don't take hours of prep (a lot of them don't even require turning on the oven) -- everything from lattice-free linzer to one-bowl French chocolate torte.


Photos by James Ransom

Tags: baking, parchment paper, tips

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Comments (27)


3 months ago Ken Krone

Does anyone have any suggestion for brands to look for in restaurant supply stores for the sheets? There seems to be different quality levels, based on reading reviews on amazon for smaller quantities... Thanks


8 months ago Daniel Rensing

We are partial to The Smart Baker's Perfect Parchment! http://www.thesmartbaker...


over 1 year ago shelagh

It is very easy to make parchment fit any pan by running it under water and crumpling it into a ball. It doesn't tear, and can be pushed very easily into corners or round pans. Try it -you will be amazed how much easier is to position in the pan.


over 1 year ago Luvtocook

I'll stick to using parchment paper from a roll. Easy to line round cake pans, what?, once every other month or so since I seldom bake layer cakes; even easier with square/rectangular bakeware. Parchment paper is great stuff!


over 1 year ago Rhonda35

Over the years, I've been able to collect quite a bit of Silpat or similar products (almost exclusively in discount places such as TJ Maxx, etc.) and have fitted them to my various baking sheets, cake pans, etc. The initial cost is more than a roll of parchment paper, but they've had a lot of use and paid for themselves threefold. It works great, the clean-up is a cinch and I'm not adding anything to the landfills of the world. (Except the occasional baking flop!)


over 1 year ago Grayce

Guffaw........... yes, always use parchment paper....... don't be so foolish as to buy the 3 0r 4 sheet packs. I buy a roll at a time and it lasts. The inconvenience of dealing with the rolled paper is minimal. Fold it once, in the middle and it will lie flat, especially after you have placed your dough on it


over 1 year ago ArtoriusRex

I think I'd still rather use a roll, that has many more uses and is cheaper, than buy a single-use, more expensive item.

This is my inner Alton Brown talking.


over 1 year ago carswell

I like the idea of the bulldog clip on the inside of the cupboard door. I store my baking sheets upright along with other trays, my baking stone and muffin pans so laying parchment in them as storage isn't an option.


over 1 year ago GardenStater

Totally agree with this. King Arthur Flour had a sale a few weeks back on parchment paper, and I bought a ton of it. It's so much easier to deal with than those pesky rolls! But seeing these comments, I think I'll check out the local restaurant-supply place next time. I might save money.


almost 2 years ago Nancy Mck

Kirkland parchment from Costco is heavier than other brands and tears perfectly every time. (They also have the best plastic wrap.)


almost 2 years ago SapphireIce

I agree! I started using them 4 years ago, and won't use anything else now. They're far superior to "Name Brands" in the stores. I have no problem with them, and if the parchment is a bit rolly, I just roll it up lightly the opposite way and it lays down fine.


almost 2 years ago Alice Medrich

I usually do cut my 8 and 9 inch rounds and square from sheets. I buy sheets from restaurant or bakery supply shops, probably a 1000 16X24" sheets for less than the price of 100 sheets from Amazon, and a fraction of the cost of rolls as well. I find it worth doing, even if you have to share a box with a couple of other baking friends! All that being said, if something is working perfectly for you, that is what counts


almost 2 years ago tstar

i bought myself a hug stack of sheets and it's made my baking life so much better. next purchase is for the round pre-cut ones for my cake pans.


almost 2 years ago MissNewEngland

That was pretty silly, actually. I buy rolls of parchment and have never had a problem. It's easy enough to pre-cut a few sheets and rounds and keep them right inside the round pans and the cookie sheets. I don't like wasting money better spent elsewhere.


almost 2 years ago starface80

This will change my life! Great tip!


almost 2 years ago cookbookchick

King Arthur has parchment paper pre-cut in various shapes: kingarthurflour.com


almost 2 years ago Hilarybee

If you live in the midwest, Gordon Food Service is a restaurant supply that is open to the public. They have a fantastic price for commercial sheets of parchment. 50 full size sheets (100 sheets if you half them) for 3.99.


almost 2 years ago GreenChef

Just priced the Parchment Paper Pan Liner - 12" x 16", 100 Pack at Amazon.ca. The price of $45.99 has driven me back to the rip and tear routine with parchment. The rounds are a much better price.


over 1 year ago Alice Medrich

Talk a local baker(y) into ordering a box of full sheets for you and you will get 1000 sheets that are double the size of the 12 x 16 sheets (thus 2000 sheets) at less cost than the 100 pack from amazon. Share with a few friends and you will not have to by parchment again for years.


about 2 years ago Alice Medrich

I have to admit, I can't deal with crumpled or creased parchment, I want it lying flat flat flat on the pan! But if it's working for you, what can I say, right!?


about 2 years ago Leith Devine

To flatten out parchment paper from the roll, cut off a sheet, crumple it in a ball, then smooth it out onto the baking sheet. Works every time.


about 2 years ago Rhonda35

Brilliant! I crease mine, but crumpling it is way better. Thanks for sharing.


almost 2 years ago fhp

I can't wait to crumble up the ornery little critter....and to think I always had to cajole the willful thing to make it lie down.


about 2 years ago Rhonda35

Although I've never had a difficult time with parchment paper, I really like this idea. I never thought about it before, but it makes sense that someone manufactures these for bakeries, etc.