Bakeware clutter

October 30, 2008

After all these years working as a professional recipe developer, I’ve acquired one of almost every kind of pan. They take up a lot of space and always seem to need to be restacked or organized in some way. Yet, every once in a while I find a recipe that calls for a shape or size I don’t have on my shelf. (Hard to believe when you see these stacks of pans, I know. Even harder to believe when I tell you that I have a shelf half that size again with glass baking dishes on it.)

The good news is that if you paid attention in grade six math class, then you can usually solve most pan problems. Think about it. If you have a 7 x 11-inch pan you can substitute a 9-inch square pan of similar depth. Or, you could use a 10-inch round pan. Confused?

It all comes down to area. A 9-inch square pan is 81 square inches (9×9=81) which is only slightly larger than 77 inches (7 x 11 = 77) which is the area of a 7 x 11 pan. Likewise, 78.5 square inches is the area of a 10-inch round pan (remember πr2? 3.14 x 5 x 5 = 78.5).

So, next time you feel the impulse to pass up on a recipe because you don’t have the correct baking pan, do a little ciphering. Unless the recipe is an angel food cake – which does need a specific pan shape to succeed – you may be able to make that cake after all.

How many different baking pans do you have? Do you find them hard to keep organized?