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Parchment vs Wax paper


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#1 stefanyb

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Posted 07 December 2002 - 10:44 AM

Pretty straightforward question. So?

#2 Schielke

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Posted 07 December 2002 - 10:45 AM

I have always wondered this too! Good question.

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#3 Jaymes

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Posted 07 December 2002 - 10:49 AM

I'm sure there will be smarter folks than I offering more in depth analysis than this, but the first thing that comes to my mind is that I use parchment paper to bake things in - fish, tomato slices, etc.

I'm sure that the wax from the waxed paper would immediately transfer itself to my fish and tomatoes as soon as the oven got hot.

Other than that, beats me... I turn out my caramel corn and pralines onto waxed paper, and have never tried it with parchment, but since it costs much more, would probably not be interested in trying it. :blink:

#4 nightscotsman

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Posted 07 December 2002 - 11:02 AM

I'm sure that the wax from the waxed paper would immediately transfer itself to my fish and tomatoes as soon as the oven got hot.

I believe this is exactly correct. Waxed paper is, as the name implies, paper coated with food-grade wax. As we all know wax melts at a fairly low temperature and therefore some of it will transfer to your food when used for cooking. Parchment paper, at least the modern variety intended for food preparation, is paper impregnated with silicone. Silcone will not melt at temperatures up to 500 F (I think) or higher. Therefore it will not combine with food cooked in it or on it and is much more "non-stick" than wax which, when it cools, might bond the paper to the food. In general I also think that parchment paper is sturdier and more durable than waxed paper and can hold up to more manipulation and rough treatment.

In short, they are not interchangeable, but waxed paper may be used in many instances as long as you take into consideration what happens to wax when it is heated.

#5 stefanyb

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Posted 07 December 2002 - 11:06 AM

Say, for instance, that a recipe for a cake specified buttering the pan, lining the bottom of the pan with parchment and then buttereing it- then adding the batter and baking. Could waxed paper be substituted in that case?

Edited by stefanyb, 07 December 2002 - 11:17 AM.


#6 Rhea_S

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Posted 07 December 2002 - 11:09 AM

I only use waxed paper in the kitchen for wrapping cooked items or to place peels and other odd bits while I'm chopping. However, my mom did use to line pans with waxed paper and I saw someone do this on a cooking program last week. I can't remember who it was at the moment, but that person said that you can use the wax paper as long as it is completely covered with batter. I have silpat and I get parchment quite cheap from the local restaurant supply store, so I don't think I'll be experimenting.

#7 Jaymes

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Posted 07 December 2002 - 11:12 AM

Well, when I was a girl cooking in the kitchen with my grandmother, she always lined the bottom of the cake pan with waxed paper, especially when she was making some sort of layer cake that required nice even bottoms. So that blows my theory, I guess - unless it's got something to do with what Rhea says about the paper being completely covered with batter.

Which, of course, it would be in the case of baking a cake.

Edited by Jaymes, 07 December 2002 - 05:53 PM.


#8 mamster

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Posted 07 December 2002 - 11:13 AM

One thing to keep in mind is that parchment paper isn't particularly nonstick until after it's been heated. If you're wrapping something sticky and not then baking it, waxed paper makes more sense. I use waxed paper for wrapping cheese, for example.
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#9 CathyL

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Posted 07 December 2002 - 11:13 AM

I began using parchment several years ago, mainly because I was seduced by the look and feel of the unbleached kind (very pleasant to work with). Before that, I used wax paper to line cake pans. I never noticed an off taste in the finished product.

So, Stef, go for it.

#10 nightscotsman

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Posted 07 December 2002 - 11:33 AM

On a related note has anyone else tried the new "Release" non-stick aluminum foil from Reynolds? I've been working with it for a couple weeks now and I have to say I think it's awsome. I wouldn't line a cake pan with it, but for baking or cooling stuff on cookie sheets it rocks. On the Reynolds site they don't say exactly what the coating is other than "It is a proprietary food-safe coating that is both effective as a non-stick surface and safe for food contact". I just wish it came in sizes larger than 12" wide.

#11 Bux

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Posted 07 December 2002 - 02:39 PM

We have always used waxed paper to line pans and molds and to cover the top of foods that are braising, until someone suggested we might be eating the melted wax. Although waxed paper seems to have been the standard for what we were doing, we didn't have a definitive answer and in spite of many years of not having a problem with it, we switched to parchment paper--and have lived to tell our tale,
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#12 mamster

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Posted 07 December 2002 - 02:47 PM

There's nothing harmful about eating a little melted wax; it's basically fat, although psychologically the thought isn't very pleasant. If the food tastes okay, it's okay.

Although (warning: random scientific fact) one of the ingredients in food grade wax, triethanolamine, is used as a fruit fly anaesthetic.
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#13 Priscilla

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Posted 07 December 2002 - 02:51 PM

One thing to keep in mind is that parchment paper isn't particularly nonstick until after it's been heated.  If you're wrapping something sticky and not then baking it, waxed paper makes more sense.  I use waxed paper for wrapping cheese, for example.

Mamster, this is a very important distinction, I think.

Letting bread or pizza rest on parchment, for instance, little nonstickness is apparent before baking. But after even a little exposure to heat, movement is easy.

Is it because the silicone gets activated when heat is applied? Or is it the dough sealing up or something?

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#14 stefanyb

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Posted 07 December 2002 - 03:09 PM

Lets say, hypothetically, I used waxed paper in the bottom of a cake pan. The cake comes out of the oven and cools on a rack. When cool, the cake is inverted on a platter and the waxed paper is removed from the bottom. Hasn't the wax, upon cooling, somehow reattached itself to the paper and when the paper is removed, stay with the paper and not the cake? Thats what I think happens. Wouldn't the wax firm up before the cake was totally cooled?

#15 cakewalk

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Posted 07 December 2002 - 05:10 PM

Although (warning: random scientific fact) one of the ingredients in food grade wax, triethanolamine, is used as a fruit fly anaesthetic.

Why would anyone anaesthesize a fruit fly? For goodness sake, just swat the bugger!

But seriously -- this is an incredibly informative thread. Thank you.

#16 Stephanie

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Posted 07 December 2002 - 05:20 PM

I wish I had posed this question a couple of weeks ago when I was baking my cake. I was trying to find parchment paper to line my cake pans and failed; had I known I could have used waxed paper, I would have & the cake layers wouldn't have stuck to the pans (even with the buttering & flouring, which is all the recipe said I had to do).

#17 Nick

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Posted 07 December 2002 - 06:03 PM

A few hours ago after seeing this thread, I brought some water to a boil and let some wax paper (Cut-Rite) into it and pulled it out after 15-20 seconds. Then I put the pot with water in the woodshed to cool and checked the paper. Wax on the paper pretty well gone. Just checked the water after cooling - wax floating on surface and caked up on sides of pan. Anal? Yes, but I just had to find out.

I've never used wax paper around heat, my mother never did, and my grandmother never did. I think it's safe to say I never will.

#18 Jinmyo

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Posted 07 December 2002 - 06:28 PM

I agree, Nick. Bad bad idea. I remember letting some tuiles rest on wax paper. Ruined.
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#19 mamster

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Posted 07 December 2002 - 07:18 PM

Although (warning: random scientific fact) one of the ingredients in food grade wax, triethanolamine, is used as a fruit fly anaesthetic.

Why would anyone anaesthesize a fruit fly? For goodness sake, just swat the bugger!

You know, now that I think about it, the fly anaesthetic is triethylamine, not triethanolamine. And nobody corrected me!
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#20 Jaymes

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Posted 07 December 2002 - 07:20 PM

Although (warning: random scientific fact) one of the ingredients in food grade wax, triethanolamine, is used as a fruit fly anaesthetic.

Why would anyone anaesthesize a fruit fly? For goodness sake, just swat the bugger!

You know, now that I think about it, the fly anaesthetic is triethylamine, not triethanolamine. And nobody corrected me!

It is positively apalling what this crowd doesn't know about fly anaesthetic!!!

#21 Jinmyo

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Posted 07 December 2002 - 07:23 PM

Although (warning: random scientific fact) one of the ingredients in food grade wax, triethanolamine, is used as a fruit fly anaesthetic.

Why would anyone anaesthesize a fruit fly? For goodness sake, just swat the bugger!

You know, now that I think about it, the fly anaesthetic is triethylamine, not triethanolamine. And nobody corrected me!

It is positively apalling what this crowd doesn't know about fly anaesthetic!!!

We were just having him on.
"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

#22 CathyL

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Posted 07 December 2002 - 08:08 PM

From www.reynoldskitchens.com:

Can I use Reynolds® Cut-Rite® Wax Paper in the oven?
Cut-Rite® Wax Paper may be used as a liner in baking cakes, quick breads, muffins or any baked food in which the batter completely covers the wax paper lining. Wax paper should never be directly exposed to the heat of an oven.


#23 stefanyb

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Posted 07 December 2002 - 08:39 PM

From www.reynoldskitchens.com:

Can I use Reynolds® Cut-Rite® Wax Paper in the oven?
Cut-Rite® Wax Paper may be used as a liner in baking cakes, quick breads, muffins or any baked food in which the batter completely covers the wax paper lining. Wax paper should never be directly exposed to the heat of an oven.

Thanks Cathy, that makes sense. BTW wax paper worked well for me today. The cake came out of the pan clean as a whistle. Only a little wax stayed on the cake for flavor as well as for aenesthetizing the coming fruitflies :laugh:

#24 Jaymes

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Posted 07 December 2002 - 08:42 PM

Only a little wax stayed on the cake for flavor as well as for aenesthetizing the coming fruitflies :laugh:

:laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

#25 Bux

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Posted 07 December 2002 - 08:53 PM

A few hours ago after seeing this thread, I brought some water to a boil and let some wax paper (Cut-Rite) into it and pulled it out after 15-20 seconds. Then I put the pot with water in the woodshed to cool and checked the paper. Wax on the paper pretty well gone. Just checked the water after cooling - wax floating on surface and caked up on sides of pan. Anal? Yes, but I just had to find out.

Damn, why didn't I ever think of that. This is worth the price of today's log on all by itself. You are our lab guy from now. :biggrin:
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#26 stefanyb

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Posted 07 December 2002 - 09:06 PM

A few hours ago after seeing this thread, I brought some water to a boil and let some wax paper (Cut-Rite) into it and pulled it out after 15-20 seconds. Then I put the pot with water in the woodshed to cool and checked the paper. Wax on the paper pretty well gone. Just checked the water after cooling - wax floating on surface and caked up on sides of pan. Anal? Yes, but I just had to find out.

Damn, why didn't I ever think of that. This is worth the price of today's log on all by itself. You are our lab guy from now. :biggrin:

Knowledge I have from working with wax in the studio tells me that boiling the wax paper in water and baking it buttered at the bottom of a cake pan are two entirely different things. Wax reacts to fat, or oil, in one way and to water in another. A painter cannot mix wax with water-based paints but it will work well with oils.

Maybe Nick should try his experiment with oil. The wax will still firm up in the shed faster than the oil will.

#27 Nick

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Posted 07 December 2002 - 09:36 PM

Maybe Nick should try his experiment with oil.  The wax will still firm up in the shed faster than the oil will.

Stefany, I've done my part. You carry on in our quest for greater scientific understanding. :biggrin:

Edited by Nickn, 08 December 2002 - 08:38 AM.


#28 LaurieA-B

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Posted 23 December 2002 - 09:52 AM

Can I use Reynolds® Cut-Rite® Wax Paper in the oven?
Cut-Rite® Wax Paper may be used as a liner in baking cakes, quick breads, muffins or any baked food in which the batter completely covers the wax paper lining. Wax paper should never be directly exposed to the heat of an oven.


We didn't have parchment paper in the house when I was a kid, and when my mom baked Cornish pasties she always lined the cookie sheets with wax paper. The edges of the wax paper were directly exposed to heat, thus my smell memory of pasties involves burned wax paper. (One of my pasty assistant jobs was peeling bits of burnt paper off the bottom of the pasties. It always came off and never left a waxy residue.) When Matthew and I get around to making pasties ourselves, I think we'll use parchment.

The Reynolds parchment paper is a great product--not too expensive, and wide (15 inches).

nightscotsman, I am puzzled about the usefulness of the new nonstick aluminum foil. I don't recall ever having a problem with foil sticking to food. How do you use it for "baking or cooling stuff on cookie sheets"?
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#29 Suvir Saran

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Posted 23 December 2002 - 03:37 PM

Ok, I heated oil, in which I put a cutting of wax paper.
I allowed it to stay in heated oil, not cooking, since I did not want to do that just yet. Removed the sheet 5 minutes later. Trashed it. Cooled the oil, and it did not show any trace of wax. :shock:

Then I took some oil, heated it, added the paper, removed the paper after 5 minutes, taking a risk, I sprinkled 1 teaspoon of water into the oil. It sizzled, it was not the right thing to do. But this time around, when I cooled the oil, it did have wax floating on the surface. :shock:

So, I am sure wax is added into whatever you cook lined with wax paper. Some gets transferred into the item being cooked and some remains on the sheet.

If one has parchment, why would one want to use wax paper? Not sure.

And yes I tried using wax paper whilst making meringue earlier this year, and the paper would not come off and would break the meringue. Steve Klc helped me understand that I could not use wax paper instead of parchment, and when I followed the same recipe using parchment instead, it worked perfectly and the meringues became a treat to make.

Parchment also works well when poaching fruit. Wax paper does not work. You will have wax floating on the surface of the poaching liquid when cooled. Not a good thing to see. Makes you wonder what flavor has been added as well.

But I know family members of some friends that have only ever used wax paper. And they bake a lot and well.

#30 Nick

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Posted 23 December 2002 - 04:08 PM

Suvir, You certainly took my earlier experiment with boiling water to a higher level. That was a great piece of work in our quest to understand wax paper. :biggrin: Really, it was great.

I just got out a box of Cut-rite (by Reynolds) and found a number of things on the box.

"Tops for microwave."

"Easy to remove.. Won't stick to food or dishes like some plastic wraps can."

"Line countertops when mixing, measuring, grating, or breading."

"Separate meats for freezing with wax paper."

No mention or suggestion that it should be used around heat other than microwave.