Kitchen Basics: What Is Parchment Paper?

One simple tool in your kitchen arsenal can save you a ton of cleanup time in the cooking and baking departments. Keep parchment paper around and watch the magic happen. It's just very thin grease and moisture-resistant paper, but having that layer between a baking sheet and your baked goods makes a big difference.

Lining baking sheets with parchment paper before loading on your goods to be baked prevents them from sticking or over-browning on the bottom (a frequent pitfall for less-experienced bakers, like us). Cleaning those pans is as easy as lifting off the paper and throwing it away, which will also help prolong the life of one of the most important items in your kitchen. Ever seen a chronically burned baking sheet whose owner just keeps sending it back to the mines? Don't be that person.

The other cool thing you can do with parchment paper is a French technique called en papillote, or, "wrapping paper." Fold vegetables and/or quick-cooking protein like chicken breast, seafood in parchment paper packets the same way you'd do with foil for a classier presentation and no metallic off-taste. Go ahead, use all the reactive citrus under the sun.

Ready to get baking? Try these pastrami and cheddar scones.

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