We've all been there: The oven is preheated, all of the ingredients are already in the mixing bowl, and that's when you make the unfortunate realization that you're all out of parchment paper. If you bake or cook often, you know that parchment paper is essential for many recipes. It creates a barrier between the food and the pan, preventing sticking while also making cleanup a breeze. Without parchment paper, you may think you'll have to resort to aluminum foil, which isn't ideal for certain foods, or a heavier layer of oil, but there's actually a better alternative -- coffee filters.
Though designed to filter coffee grounds when brewing coffee, they perform a lot like parchment paper when used in baking. They're a bit more limiting in terms of size, but if you're using a round cake pan, a large basket-style coffee filter will fit in perfectly. All you have to do is flatten it out and bake your recipe as normal.
Read more: 8 Baking Sheet Mistakes You Want To Avoid
Are Coffee Filters The Same Material As Parchment Paper?
Since they both have a papery texture and can be effectively used to line a baking pan, you might assume that parchment paper and coffee filters are the same material. But while they may be similar, there are a few differences worth noting. Coffee filters are made out of cellulose fiber and contain tiny perforations to allow water to pass through. Some may also contain wood pulp and binders. Parchment paper on the other hand is typically made out of either cotton fiber or wood pulp, or a combination of the two. Unlike coffee filters, parchment paper also features a thin layer of silicone. This not only gives parchment paper its nonstick qualities, it also allows it to repel heat and water, promoting even baking.
Because coffee filters do not have a silicone coating, they aren't quite as nonstick as parchment paper. To make up for this, you'll simply need to brush or spray the filter with oil before pouring in your batter or adding your food onto the lined baking pan.
When You Shouldn't Use A Coffee Filter In The Oven
One of the reasons parchment paper is so versatile is that it's oven-safe up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Coffee filters, however, are technically meant to be used for brewing coffee, and the boiling point of water is only 212 degrees Fahrenheit. There's plenty of anecdotal evidence that supports that coffee filters can withstand temperatures higher than that without burning, for example when baking cakes or cupcakes. However, if your recipe involves broiling or calls for a very high oven temperature, you may want to avoid using a coffee filter as a parchment paper replacement.
If you just want something to line your pan with and you don't want to resort to oil, coffee filters can definitely do the job well in a pinch. But since they don't have heat or water-resistant properties, it's best to reserve them for those few times when you're actually out of parchment paper, rather than consider them a permanent replacement.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.