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There are some major differences between baking in a restaurant and in a home kitchen, from the fast-paced environment to sending dirty dishes to the dish pit (oh how I miss that!) The most obvious difference, however, is the tools we use in restaurants. While there is some overlap, there are certain tools in a restaurant kitchen that just don’t make sense when used at home and vice versa. The most relied-upon kitchen tool in bakeries and the pastry section of restaurants is a silpat: a reusable silicone mat that is used in place of parchment paper.
The problem with these coveted silicone sheets? They get grimy and are hard to store. They wind up getting piled atop sheet trays on the rack, or else sloppily rolled into bins, but no matter where they are kept, the silpats always seem to take up extra space. So, when I stumbled across an adorable and more compact version of the beloved silpat designed for smaller home kitchens, I was elated. It was no surprise to me that this reusable mat was developed by one of our favorite kitchen tool brands, GIR.
The GIR Baking Mat is thin, flexible, and above all, cute. Constructed with the same BPA- and BPS-free, pharmaceutical-grade silicone as all of their other helpful kitchen tools, the mat comes in two sizes, ideal for both half sheet trays and 9×13″ baking pans. However, if you find yourself constantly baking (or even cooking, as these sheets work wonders for roasting veggies, chicken, or fish) in a smaller pan, you can cut the mat to the correct dimensions. I’m planning on ordering a few more so I can have permanent cake round mats for all my treat-making adventures.
These baking buddies come in six cute colorways, including some fun patterns like Barcelona and Sprinkles. My Vincent mat has been used for many rounds of cookie-making, but its most impressive use thus far was in baking my weekly batch of granola. Making granola on parchment paper can be a pain. It’s sticky, and once it cools, the sugars can harden onto or seep below the paper. With my GIR Mat, however, I let the granola cool on the sheet tray, then pick it up by the baking mat, using the mat to break the nuts and oats into large, crunchy chunks. I’ll seriously never go back to using parchment paper.
The best part about these mats is that they are reusable, saving not only the planet, but my wallet. As soon as I’m done with my baking mat, I just throw it into the dishwasher, and it’s as good as new. Even a whole pile of these slim mats would take up less space than a box of parchment paper in my kitchen drawer.