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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.
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.
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!
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