You’ve been cleaning baking trays WRONG! Chef reveals top tips to keep them hygienic and rust free
When it comes to baking or cooking up that delicious new recipe, it’s not usually the baking tray that causes anxiety.
But as well as making sure the oven is the right temperature, the food isn’t over or underdone, or the panic when the timer hasn’t actually been on, it turns out we should all be paying much more attention to the humble metal trays we use so frequently.
The way baking trays are cleaned and even stored are the secret to retaining their longevity and getting better value for money out of a purchase.
Rather than getting out the big guns and using heavy chemicals to lift those stubborn food scraps, chefs are now recommending households to take a more gentle approach for better results.
Here are the golden rules for how to treat baking trays with the respect they deserve.
The way baking trays are cleaned and even stored are the secret to retaining their longevity and getting better value for money out of a purchase
Store baking trays vertically
Once used, baking trays should be cleaned, dried and then stored vertically with plenty of room
Chef Elise Smith told Today that baking trays should be stored vertically, and not horizontally.
She advises giving the trays plenty of space to avoid them becoming contaminated with rust or mold.
Ms Smith says that stacking trays on top of one another can cause them to warp and become less balanced, meaning they need replacing more quickly and are less stable to handle.
Don’t put them in the dishwasher
Chef Elise Smith advises not to clean baking trays in the dishwasher as it can warp them
This might come as a surprise to many UK households, but Ms Smith advises not to clean baking trays in the dishwasher.
‘It becomes this dense, hot pocket because it’s in the dishwasher,’ she explained.
‘It can degrade the integrity of the pan over time. Also, you’re likely not to be able to wash the rest of your things effectively, because they have jets and those pans block the jets.’
Use natural cleaning substances
Although it can be tempting to opt for the bottle which promises to blitz trays clean, resist and instead use natural cleaning products
The chef’s number one rule is to avoid any heavy chemicals when cleaning baking trays.
Although it can be tempting to opt for the product which promises to blitz trays clean, she is a believer in ‘good ol’ soap and water’.
She said: ‘I would never use any harsh chemicals. It’s something that you’re cooking with, [so] you want to keep things pretty natural.’
Baking trays should be cleaned with natural combinations such as baking soda and vinegar, or gentle soap bars.
They should also be allowed to rest for a while in order to avoid difficult scrubbing.
Rinse and dry properly
Once the trays have rested, Ms Smith says to use warm water to rinse them clean, as cold can ‘shock’ the metal.
Messes will also come away more easily with hot water than cold.
They should then either be dried with a soft cloth or left to air-dry before being put away.