Sheet pans are a commercial kitchen necessity. They make cooking in any kitchen easier, more comfortable, and yield better results, than cooking in regular pans. Their low edges allow the heat to uniformly circulate around the ingredients. Their width allows numerous items to be cooked at once. Sheet pans are also useful trays to hold food items that will not be cooked. Tarts, chocolates, garnishes, bruschettas, and many other foods that are in high demand in event catering, can be easily stored, ready to serve, in a commercial kitchen, by filling the sheet pans and storing them on a sheet pan rack. The material a sheet pan is made of is less influential than in pizza pans, cutting boards, pots, and other restaurant equipment, especially since the sheet pan is usually covered with aluminum foil or parchment paper before food is place on it. Aluminum sheet pans are not the best choice however, as they can add a metallic flavor to food items. With sheet pans, the shape is more defining than the material.
Differences in Sheet Pans
Different types of sheet pans lend themselves to preparing different foods. A cookie sheet pan has edges that are almost flat, allowing finished batches of cookies to be easily slid off the baking sheet and a new batch to be added, allowing quick preparation of high volume. This is especially important in a commercial kitchen, where volume is the key to profits. In a home kitchen, a baking sheet with low edges can be used to prepare cookies and baked goods as well. The lower the edges, the better, as in baking, even heat distribution to all sides of the food item is crucial to a perfect outcome. Sheet pans with more defined edges are great for roasting ingredients that will let out some, but not huge amounts, of juice. A cookie sheet pan is not a good choice for roasting, since the low edges will cause juice to spill. In a commercial kitchen, employees need to work quickly to meet customer demand, so using sheet pans with high edges, for roasting, will make food preparation a lot easier.
A sheet pan with low edges is the most versatile type, because it can be used as a baking sheet, allowing proper heat circulation around the food item, and hold in small amounts of juices when roasting ingredients. When a sheet pan with low edges is removed from the oven, even with a small shift of the food it hold, it will not make a mess. Sheet pans are also useful for placing under items in the oven which might spill over. When preparing gratins, meats, cakes, and tarts, there is a risk of the liquid spilling over the edges of the container when it heats and bubbles. Placing a sheet pan underneath these items will keep the oven clean and ready for use immediately after the current item is done cooking. No commercial kitchen or restaurant equipment store is complete without sheet pans and having at least one basic sheet pan will make a home cook’s life a lot easier as well.