Achieve better baking results with the right tray or rack
Trays and a rack are typically supplied with the oven. Advanced bakers and professionals also treat themselves to a baking stone (or corresponding stone oven) and perforated trays for optimal results. Thanks to clever selection, you can achieve both a crisp crust on your bread and a wonderfully fluffy, soft sponge cake. But those who have the choice also have the agony.
Which base is best suited for which type of pastry?
For all baked goods in a mold such as a Bundt cake, it is ideal to use the rack as a base, as this allows the hot air to reach the mold from all sides and prevents heat from building up. The rack is also suitable for baking ready-made rolls.
The following applies to all pastries that are baked directly on/in the tray: the airier and lighter you want a pastry to be, the more suitable a baking tray with holes is. The hot air can circulate much better and push the pastry upwards. A useful side effect: the baking time is usually reduced by a few minutes. For example, a perforated tray is wonderfully suitable for delicate yeast pastries, airy rolls or fluffy biscuits. However, for very soft or even liquid dough such as sponge cake, you should use baking paper as a base so that nothing can run through the holes.
This also applies to crispbread that is baked without leavening agents. Perforated sheets are the first choice for this because they allow for faster drying. Perforated trays are also well suited for making your own bread chips (i.e. dried bread slices).
What about bread?
When it comes to bread, it depends on what type of bread it is: Light, airy bread with lots of “holes” such as ciabatta and yeast bread can also be baked well on a perforated tray. However, for firm sourdough wholemeal bread, many bakers prefer a baking stone. This has the advantage that it stores the heat and can give it to the bread over a longer period of time. It also gives off a lot of heat to the bread very quickly right at the beginning and ensures that it bakes well in the oven. A normal household oven cannot reheat that quickly to compensate for the heat loss caused by the still cold bread dough and the opening of the door. However, the baking stone also has some disadvantages: The stored heat must first be supplied through long preheating of at least an hour. So more energy is required and additional costs arise. In addition, a brick is quite heavy and cumbersome and must be stored when not in use.
And what about pizza?
In good pizzerias, the round delicacy comes from the stone oven. This is not only because it would generally be a better baking surface, but also because a lot of pizzas have to be baked there in a short time, which means that very high heat has to be available again very quickly. This can be achieved better with stones than with just hot air like in a conventional oven. At home you can also achieve very good results with pizza on a perforated tray, thus saving the very long heating times for the stone.
All in all, perforated trays are a hot tip for ambitious bakers who want to achieve even better results with a comparatively small investment.