I do quite a bit of baking nowadays and so does half the nation if GBBO is anything to go by. I don’t watch it personally: reminds me too much of what I can’t eat!
Anyway, I usually use paper liners in metal loaf, cake and muffin tins and wondered if it might be cheaper/easier to buy silicone bakeware instead. And they are SO pretty, too. I decided to look into it a bit.
In summary, it seems that silicone is supposedly an inert substance made from silicon and oxygen bonded together. I am not a chemist but I did read some stuff from someone who is a materials engineer, and they explained that several chemicals can be used to help the production process of creating your mats and muffin cases. I don’t know what those chemicals are. I do know that cheaper versions of the mats etc can contain fillers to bring the production costs down. Apparently, if you twist a silicone product and see white, it most probably has fillers. Again, I don’t know what those fillers are.
People on several corn forums I asked seemed to generally be Ok with it but some had issues like rashes and other reactions.
I have an innate distrust of heating food up in plastics. Those toast cases etc make me nervous. Some users of silicone bakeware report a kind of rubber smell, I have had a couple of people react with headaches and their usual MCS (multiple chemical sensitivity) symptoms etc, but then loads of other people have no issues at all. They know of.
So, for me, people saying silicone bakeware is safe may be declaring it too soon. It doesn’t seem to me that many studies have been done yet and, again, we are being human guinea pigs.
My own decision – albeit I am hyper-sensitive to many foods and substances and truly dislike toxic chemicals in my environment – is to stick with spatulas and possibly mats but not use any silicone that gets heated.
That’s me anyway, what do you reckon? What do you use?