Saturday, October 25, 2008

Natural parchment paper

Our neighbor Chef Maurizio never uses silicone bakeware because, he says, "It's just plastic, really, and no matter how much I wash it, it always has this greasy feel." Instead, Maurizio uses parchment paper to keep his dough from sticking. But buyer beware: Conventional parchment papers are treated with silicone! Here are some greener choices:

*All-vegetable parchment paper. This is the kind of simple paper butter comes wrapped in, but it can be heated without burning up to 450 degrees F. I just made a nice pear tart on top of a round of Regency all-vegetable parchment paper laid on a stainless steel cookie sheet (greased with butter). Bought it at Whole Foods for $1.77 a roll. The tart baked at 375 degrees, and the pears and sugar got the perfect caramel patina, but the paper emerged fresh enough to be reused after brown edges were trimmed off (see below for how).

*Maurizio recommends Beyond Gourmet Unbleached Parchment Paper: It's certified by the reputable non-profit Green Seal of approval because it's made without environmentally destructive chlorine bleaching, which releases cancer-causing dioxins into waterways. And it is Star-K certified kosher. It can also be bought at Whole Foods.

* Patapar all-vegetable parchment papers are kosher-certified. Note: While the kosher kashrus standards give top ratings to genuine vegetable parchment paper and do not approve of quilon, a DuPont coating used on some parchment papers, kashrus does not formally object to silicone coatings. If You Care unbleached parchment paper is advertised as quilon-free.

Another use (or reuse) for parchment paper: Rewrap cheese in it, after taking off the PVC (and phthalate-leaching) deli wrap most supermarket cheeses are sold in. Toxic chemicals leach most readily from fatty foods like cheese, or when heated (hence never microwave food in plastic).

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1 comment:

GEMsMommy said...

Don't know whether you're still following this post, but I am searching for silicone-free parchment paper. The beyond gourmet paper IS silicone-coated, still awaiting a reply from Regency - do you know of any? Please reply by email: