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Because honestly, I wouldn't be nearly so in love with my dutch oven without the advice I got on this site. And I really believe in getting one good lifetime tool, rather than a bunch of cheap ones.

I'm kind of creeped out by Teflon, and will probably skip coatings. I've read here that baking with the silicone cup-type things isn't necessarily any better than a metal pan.

Are there any metal types or finishes that give better baking results?

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Muffins are very forgiving to pan material, you don't have to select it by heating properties. Just go for whatever is easiest to handle. I love my silicone cups, they are low maintenance and function perfectly. –  rumtscho Apr 28 '11 at 13:24

2 Answers 2

I've had very good results with this pan:

http://www.centralrestaurant.com/Large-Crown-Muffin-Pan---12-Cup-Capacity-c78p14727.html

It's made from aluminized steel and in our experience has a few things going for it:

  • It's very heavy and holds its temperature well - haven't had uneven cooking that occurs in some older thin muffin pans we have.

  • It doesn't have the dark metallic finish that can sometimes cause things to brown faster than you might like.

  • It makes 20 nice sized muffins, so depending on your recipe, you may be able to get the full batch cooked in one shot and with one pan

  • It includes a recess at the top of each muffin so you get the nice looking muffin top that everyone loves - because awesome muffins are the whole point anyway, right?

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Looks lovely, thanks! –  Kara Marfia Apr 28 '11 at 19:05

In general, the darker the color of the metal of the muffin tin the more it will brown its contents. You also want to look for a thick, durable metal as this will aid in even cooking. Finally, look for a tin with large, wide handles; the last thing you want to be doing is sticking your thumbs into a muffin when trying to insert/remove the tin from the oven! Most muffin tins these days are non-stick, so it may be hard to find one that is not. With that said, non-stick technology has advanced a bit since the Teflon-only days. For example, many modern non-stick pans/tins instead use other metals and ceramics that are not known to be harmful. Furthermore, some modern muffin tins are marketed as "metal-safe", meaning that one can use a metal utensil on them (e.g., to extract the muffins from the tin) without damaging the non-stick coating. Finally, muffin tins will likely never be heated to the temperatures at which the "dangerous" non-stick coatings release harmful gasses.

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Ceramics? That perks my ears. I'll have to read into that and "metal safe" - thanks for the info, and useful terms to research. –  Kara Marfia Apr 28 '11 at 19:05
    
Please explain science behind "the darker the color of the metal of the muffin tin the more it will brown its contents" in relation to being in a domestic oven? –  TFD Apr 28 '11 at 22:25
    
@TFD: I'm not sure about the science, but that's what Cooks Illustrated concluded as a result of their "experiments". –  ESultanik Apr 28 '11 at 23:04

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