All about bakeware

My rule of thumb has always been that you get what you pay for. This applies equally to bakeware. Twenty one years ago I was lucky enough to acquire a set of high quality stainless steel bakeware and cooking pots. To this day they look and perform as well as they did all those years ago. I bake quite regularly. I have everything from pyrex and corningware to stoneware to silicone and cheap aluminum, some of which are at least as old as the stainless steel. I must tell you that the others look much older. The silicone does not impress me despite its claims. Pastry is useless (not nice and crisp) but muffins are OK. I even bought the silicone oven mitts but find them awkward and inflexible. However the silicone baking mats are a great invention.

If one intends to bake desserts on a regular basis, this is a list of what you will need.

cake pans, 9 inch rounds, at least three if you want to make layer cakes.
square pans, both 8 and 9 inch sizes for squares and snacking cakes
large rectangular pan (9×13) for larger sheet cakes and squares (feeding a crowd)
springform pans: you will need 8, 9 and 10 inch pans if you bake a lot. Cheesecakes usually require these types of pans
tart pans with removable bottoms, 7 and 9 inch rounds come in very handy though many sizes and shapes are available
bundt pans with scalloped edges make a great presentation for a pound cake
muffin tins
mini tart tins
baking sheets for cookies, buns, meringues etc
cooling racks
bread tins, glass pyrex ones work best
pie tins, 9 inch size works well
pizza pans

for baking casseroles, I prefer stoneware as it is more presentable at the table, bakes with even heat, retains its heat and comes in many sizes and shapes.

for roasting, I prefer stainless steel pans which are versatile, sturdy, long lasting, can go in the dishwasher and will not stain if using tomatoes.

I do not use aluminum baking pans anymore with the exception of the 7 and 8 inch square pans which I line with foil if making squares. Aluminum is not safe to use with acidic ingredients such as tomatoes and rhubarb. If you have ever made a tomato sauce in an aluminum pan and noticed that the pan afterward looked quite shiny, well this is not a good thing, believe me. Where do you think the stuff went?