From baking cookies, bread, pizza to broiling or grilling turkey, parchment paper is used almost everywhere nowadays. This non-sticky and heat-resistant paper allows us to bake, grill, broil and reheat food conveniently.
Professional bakers have been using it for years. And now it has become accessible to home cooks too. Chances are you have already used this paper in your kitchen or are considering buying a roll.
But do you know what this useful paper is made of? Have you wondered if it is safe for humans and the environment?
Well, it’s good to be curious about the stuff we are using every day. ‘Is parchment paper safe?’ If so, what type?
And to fulfill your curiosity we have answered all the questions about parchment papers in this article.
So, read on to find out everything you need to know about parchment papers. And make informed decisions using the knowledge you gain.
A Brief About Parchment Paper
Parchment paper is one of those kitchen staples that all of us are familiar with. But what is it made of?
It is basically a thin sheet of paper that's coated with sulfuric acid. The acid changes paper fiber into a gelatinous structure. This turns normal paper into a more stable and sturdy one.
Then a silicone coating is applied on parchment paper to make it non-stick. Silicone also adds heat, moisture, and oil-resistant capability.
You'll mainly see two types of parchment paper in the market. They are:
1. Unbleached Parchment Paper
Unbleached parchment paper doesn't go through any chlorine treatment. Therefore, it's brown in color. This type of parchment is considered much safer than the bleached version.
If you are concerned with having chemicals mixed with food, then go for unbleached papers. However, like all products marketed as healthier, unbleached parchment paper tends to be more expensive than bleached ones.
2. Bleached Parchment Paper
The bleached parchment papers are treated with a chlorine solution. This results in the white color.
A chemical called dioxin can leach into the food from bleached parchment when it's heated. Even though the small amount of dioxin leached from parchment paper won't harm you immediately, it's better to limit the use of bleached parchment.
Also know: Parchment paper and wax paper details.
Is Parchment Paper Toxic?
This depends on the type of parchment paper you are using.
The bleached parchment papers contain more chemicals. They can leak a harmful chemical called dioxin into your food. It is a by-product of the bleaching solution and can stay in the human body for up to 7 years. And when consumed in large quantities, it’s toxic to humans.
However, the unbleached version doesn't contain such chemicals. So, they are not toxic, hence safe to use for cooking.
Is Parchment Paper Safe To Use?
The unbleached parchment paper is safe to use. This is basically paper covered with silicone. And the silicone coating stops it from interacting with food elements. So, it’s safe to use parchment paper as long as you are using the unbleached version.
Another thing to keep in mind is using it at the recommended temperature. If you use parchment paper at a higher temperature than rated on its package, it may burn. Also, never use this over open flame as it’ll catch fire.
Is it Safe For The Environment?
We use parchment paper almost every day in the kitchen. So, it's important to know if this paper is eco-friendly or not.
The answer to this question depends on the type of parchment paper you are using. Also, how the paper is being manufactured.
For starters, bleached parchment paper is not eco-friendly. Chlorine solutions are used to bleach the brown paper into white. This chemical is bad for the environment.
Moreover, bleached parchment paper is neither recyclable nor compostable. So, if you don't dispose of it properly, it will stay in the soil for a long time and release harmful gases.
On the other hand, unbleached parchment papers don't include harmful chemicals. It only contains paper and silicone, both of which are biodegradable. This type of parchment is compostable too. As a result, they are termed safe for the environment.
If the unbleached parchment paper is made using recyclable material such as sugarcane, rags, papers, and non-fiber sources, it is eco-friendly. Also, the wood pulp used should be sourced from properly managed forests.
However, if a lot of chemicals are released into the environment during the production process it's bad for the environment. And cutting fresh trees to get wood pulp also harms the environment.
Uses Of Parchment Paper
Once you start using parchment paper, it'll become your best friend in the kitchen. You'll be amazed to know there are tons of amazing uses of parchment paper.
Let's discover some of the popular uses of this kitchen goodie.
1. Baking Sheet Liner
The most common use of parchment paper is using it as a liner on the baking sheet or cake pan. Just cut the paper and place it on the pan. This will prevent the cookie or cake from sticking to the pan.
Moreover, you won't have to spray extra oil or grease on the pan. And cleaning the sheet would be a breeze too.
2. Storing Sticky Food
Finished baking? You can keep the cookies from sticking together just by placing a piece of parchment paper between the layers. You can even store candy and cake using parchment paper.
What's more, you can even reuse it for baking after you are done storing the sticky foods.
3. Wrapping Baked Goods
You can wrap and decorate your baked snacks with parchment paper. This will add an aesthetic touch to home-baked foods. Learn different wrapping methods to surprise loved ones with delicately decorated baked goodies.
4. Covering The Counter
Cooking, especially baking, can be a messy task. Be it cake, bread, pizzas, pies, or even cookies, your kitchen counter will be covered in flour, oil, and accidental egg splashes by the time you are done baking.
To prevent this, cover your kitchen counter with parchment paper. Tape the sides to keep them from moving. After you are done mixing batter or making the dough simply take off the parchment paper, and voila! Your counter is clean!
5. Rolling Cooking Dough
You can also use parchment paper for rolling pie or cooking dough. Place the dough between two sheets of parchment. Then roll over the sheet. This will result in an even layer of dough.
6. Make A Piping Bag
Need to decorate a cookie or cake but don’t have piping bags? Don't worry. You can create an emergency piping cornet with parchment paper. Just cut the paper in a triangle and roll it.
This impromptu icing bag can even hold melted chocolate. So, anyone can get creative decorating with parchment paper.
7. Reheating Food
You can use parchment paper for reheating food. It's a safe alternative to aluminum foil boxes. And you don't even have to wash extra dishes. That's not all, pizza will stay crispy if you heat it over parchment paper.
Can you Put Parchment Paper In The Oven?
All parchment paper comes with a recommended temperature level. As long as you don't use it over that temperature, you can put parchment paper in the oven.
Nowadays, most oven safe parchment paper can be used at 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Some users claim you can use this paper for baking pizza or broiling turkey at over 500 degrees.
However, parchment paper can brown, brittle, or even catch fire at such temperatures. So, we wouldn't recommend experimenting with higher temperatures.
Here are some factors you need to keep in mind while using parchment paper in different types of ovens.
1. Microwave Oven
Parchment paper is transparent to microwave radiation. This means that this paper won't heat up when you put it in the microwave oven nor will it prevent the radiation from reaching the food.
So, it is ideal for reheating and defrosting food. Moreover, you can use parchment paper for packet cooking in the microwave oven. Lastly, make sure the parchment is wrapped tightly around the container to prevent it from blowing off.
2. Electric Oven
You need to be cautious while using parchment paper for broiling or grilling food in the electric oven. Make sure the paper isn't very near to the heating walls. If you are not careful, parchment paper can catch fire while broiling at high temperatures.
3. Toaster Oven
As toaster ovens are smaller, you should cut the parchment paper properly before putting it in. This is important because if the paper touches the oven walls, it will brown and burn. You can use precut sheets of parchment paper for more convenience.
How To Dispose Of Parchment Paper?
Parchment paper has a silicone coating on top that makes it non-stick. That’s why you cannot put it in the recycle bin. So, to dispose of your used parchment paper, put it in the trash can.
As you use only unbleached parchment paper for cooking, you can also put this in your compost bin.
Can I Compost Parchment Paper?
We use compost as fertilizers. For something to be used as fertilizer, it needs to break down and decay first. And only biodegradable items are compostable.
Parchment paper is biodegradable meaning it will disintegrate and decay when microorganisms attack them. So, you can compost parchment paper.
However, you cannot compost bleached parchment paper because the bleaching process includes a lot of chemicals that can ruin the compost. Only unbleached parchment paper is compostable.
So, how to compost parchment paper? The steps are below-
- Cut the unbleached parchment into smaller pieces.
- Then soak them in warm water.
- Now add the paper to your compost bin. Soaking them will remove the cooking residue and fasten the decomposition process.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can You Reuse Parchment Paper?
Have you been wondering if you can reuse the parchment paper you used for baking cookies or reheating pizza?
The answer to that question is yes. You can reuse the same parchment paper as long as it's clean from grease and oil. For dry cooking, like baking cookies, reheating bread, or pizza, you can use the same sheet of paper a couple of times.
Another thing to remember is that you should not reuse parchment paper that's burned or brittle around the edges. The heat resistance of the paper decreases with every use. So, you won't be able to reuse it for grilling at 450 degrees but at a lower temperature, one sheet can be used many times.
2. Can is use Parchment Paper For everyday Cooking?
Answer: Yes, unbleached parchment paper is safe for cooking. You can safely cook both on the stovetop and oven using this type of parchment paper. If you warried to use it then use these alternative Instead of parchment paper.
3. Does Parchment Paper Burn?
Answer: No, parchment paper will not burn or catch fire if you use it at the recommended temperature. However, it'll turn brown and brittle when used for a long time at 450 to 500 degrees.
4. Does Parchment Paper Leach Chemicals Into Food?
Answer: No, unbleached parchment papers don't leach chemicals into food. The silicon in them doesn't react with food even at high temperatures. However, bleached ones can leach chemicals into food.
5. Is Bleached Parchment Paper Safe To Cook With?
Answer: Parchment papers are bleached using chlorine. There is concern that a chemical called Dioxin may leak into the food at high temperatures from bleached parchment.
This chemical in higher quantities is harmful to humans. So, bleached parchment papers are not entirely safe to cook with.
6. Is Parchment Paper Recyclable?
Answer: Parchment paper has a silicone coating that is difficult to break down. Also, the oil & grease on the parchment can ruin the recycling pulp. Therefore, parchment paper is not recyclable.
Wrapping It Up
Parchment paper has become a staple for bakers and home cooks. There is a wide range of things you can use it for. And it's natural to have queries about the thing we are using almost daily in the kitchen.
Hopefully, this article has answered all your queries. Now, you know everything about parchment papers from ‘is parchment paper safe’, to various uses of it, and even how to dispose of used paper.
So, get your hands on a roll of parchment paper and start cooking delicious food. And compost the used parchment paper to fertilize your plants.