Parchment paper, or vegetable parchment, is a cellulose-based composite that has been processed to give it additional properties like non-stick, grease resistance, resistance to the humid state. It is commonly used as a greaseproof paper in baking as a disposable non-stick, grease resistant surface. It should not be confused with wax paper or waxed paper, which is paper that has been coated in wax.
Parchmentization of paper
Vegetable parchment paper is made by running sheets of paper pulp through a bath of sulfuric acid (a method similar to the way tracing paper is made) or sometimes zinc chloride. This process partially dissolves or gelatinizes the paper. This treatment forms a sulfurized cross-linked material, with high density, stability, heat resistance, grease resistance, water resistance, no loose fibers as well as low surface energy — thereby imparting good non-stick or release properties. The treated paper has an appearance similar to that of parchment and, because of its strength, is sometimes used in legal documents for which parchment was traditionally used. (However, parchment paper is manufactured with acid, and has a low pH, making it inappropriate for archival documents where acid-free paper is the better choice.)
Applications in cooking and baking
A common use is to eliminate the need to grease sheet pans and the like, allowing very rapid turn-around of batches of baked goods with minimal clean up. Parchment paper is also used to cook en papillote, a technique where food is steamed or cooked within closed pouches made from parchment paper.
Other bakery release papers
The non-stick properties can be also achieved by employing a coated paper, for which a suitable release agent—a coating with a low surface energy and capability to withstand the temperatures involved in the baking or roasting process—is deposited onto the paper's surface; silicone (cured with a suitable catalyst) is frequently used.
Parchment paper also has relevant properties for other industries. In the textile tube industry, an outer layer of parchment confers the necessary resistance to abrasion, heat and oil. In other industries, parchment is used as a processing aid due to its release properties, whether for furniture laminate manufacturing and rubber vulcanization.
End of life
Parchment paper is composed of cellulosic fibers and therefore is considered compostable both in an Industrial setting (EN13432) and at home.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Baking paper.|
- Mayer, Ferdinand F (May 1860). "Technical Intelligence—Vegetable Parchment—Papyrene". The American Journal of Science and Arts. XXIX (LXXXVI): 278.
- "Silicone Coated Baking Sheets | Sierra Coating". Sierra Coating. Retrieved 2016-02-19.
- "Blank Parchment Paper 135 GSM (Pack of 50)". Archived from the original on 2011-04-10.
- "Parchment Paper vs. Wax Paper". Martha Stewart. Retrieved 2016-02-19.