Baking is a hobby enjoyed by many around the world. So many would be familiar with the feeling of being right in the middle of preparing a recipe you’ve been thinking about executing for some time then realising that you do not have greaseproof paper. And the heart sinks. Well, not quite but it is an inconvenience familiar to many. Depending on how much time you have before realising that you lack greaseproof paper you do have a few options for substitutes for greaseproof paper. Greaseproof paper has applications beyond baking as it can also be used for wrapping and storage. With that in mind, many substitutes can be identified.
What is Greaseproof Paper?
Greaseproof paper is a thin low-density paper that is impermeable to grease and oil hence its name. The paper tends to be very thin with a weight between 30 to 50 grams per square meter; low compared to bond paper’s 60 to 75 grams per square meter. The paper is made greaseproof by firstly being thin pressed and then taken through a process where the pores are filled with additional starch. The result is a heat resistant and impermeable thin and light sheet of paper that has popular applications in baking and storage. The suitability of a greaseproof paper substitute will depend on the use case for the substitute.
Aluminium foil is a thin pressed aluminium product that is normally sold in rolls or sheets. Advantages of using aluminium foil as a substitute for greaseproof paper are that it does very well in all conditions. So heat is no problem. Even in storage applications foil paper excels because it can lock in freshness and also can be frozen without any problems. Aluminium foil is widely available in supermarkets and affordable. Aluminium foil also comes in varying thickness which can be useful depending on the different applications. As a greaseproof paper substitute aluminium foil has no disadvantages to speak of. It is the perfect substitute and something you are likely to have in your house already.
Wax paper, which is sometimes called paraffin paper is similar to greaseproof paper except that where the greaseproof paper has its pores sealed with starch wax paper is waxed over to make it impermeable to liquids. Wax paper is widely used in cooking because of its non-stick qualities thanks to the wax coating. Wax paper is also highly valued for its impermeability which enables it to keep moisture in and/or out, whichever the desired case is when used for packaging. You can use wax paper for packaging in place of greaseproof paper. When it comes to baking it is not advisable to use wax paper as the wax coating will melt under high temperatures rendering the paper poor at heat resistance.
Silicone Baking Pads
Technology has sure come a long way and the kitchen has thankfully not been spared from the benefits of technological advances. Silicone baking mats or silicone baking paper is simply amazing in that it is reusable and if you can find it you may prefer this option. As the name suggests these are useful for the baking part but not so much for storage. They are made of rubber-like material and are heat resistant and quite durable. All the advantages of aluminium foil in the reusable product. Silicone can be found in other baking forms such as dishes, casseroles, cake tins and more. Perhaps the only disadvantage is that you can’t wrap your cooked food in it though they also happen to be freezer friendly.
Oil Or Butter
Sometimes you just want to prevent the under crust of your pies from sticking to the baking tray. There are of course many other situations that require the same approach. Coating the baking tray, tin, or container with either oil or butter can do the job just as well as using greaseproof paper. The bonus is you’re highly likely to have one or both of those in your house already. There’s one very important thing to pay attention to here. Oil and butter work best when the product being baked is oily or fatty. So they will work great with puff pastry. The same cannot be said for dry recipes such as pizza or shortcrust pastry. You will need something else for those.
If you’re working with dryer recipes like the aforementioned pizza you would prefer to use flour to prevent it from sticking to the baking tray. Pizza is best made with a tray dusted with maize meal or another grain meal but flour is just as good. This is best because flour or meal will not add any extra moisture to the recipe keeping it as it should be. One small disadvantage is that flour or meal can burn. In many cases, you will get a slight browning which is nothing to worry about. However, if the heat is too high it may burn and attach to your recipe which is not exactly desirable. Just think about whether the recipe is dry or oily to choose between flour or oil.
Cooking spray can also be a great substitute for greaseproof paper. Cooking spray is essentially some sort of oil with an emulsifier and propellant that is packed in a pressurised can. While the label lists around a dozen chemicals in it, it is safe. Cooking spray is heralded as being a healthier option than using oil or butter because with the cooking spray you are likely to use less to coat the same area. The spray mechanism allows you to use a thin layer to prevent sticking. Cooking spray is widely available and another product you are likely to already have in your house.
You have a few viable substitutes for greaseproof paper. Which to use will depend on the application. In the majority of application aluminium foil is the best substitute. If you’re not afraid to make the investment silicone baking pads are a better idea though. Other ideas like oil, butter, flour and cooking spray are likely to be present in your house already making them easily accessible.