Yesterday Andrew and I almost poisoned ourselves trying to bake homemade flatbread pizza. Sound dramatic? It was.
I was SO hungry, I kinda demanded that he start helping with dough preparations the minute he walked through the door. Yoga previous to this hadn't chilled me out- nope made me MORE hungry. As I'm kneading the oily flatbread dough I keep thinking: this is gonna make an awesome blog post!
Then we realized we were out of parchment paper- an essential component.
It's ok though, I had bought Andrew a fancy silicone baking mat last Yulemas (as in 13 months ago) and we had never tried it. Perfect opportunity! The box said it was good up to 480F and the pizza was a 450F job. Good to go.
Within two minutes of baking Andrew looks at me: "Do you smell that?" We lean in towards the oven, he opens the door and a cloud of chemical filled smoke wafts up and outward. So bad that we both start coughing immediately and the fire alarm actually goes off. Note that our fire alarm is about 14 feet high and has NEVER gone off (even though we've burned plenty things while cooking).
The smell was so bad that both our eyes watered, I got dizzy and despite a fan and three open windows it took a full day for the chemical scent to disappear.
Ummm.... who said that silicone was food safe?? We ended up opening the oven to let the chemicals dissipate and we made nachos instead. They tasted a bit weird, but we were so hungry we pretended we didn't notice.
So is silicone really safe? Silicone is typically made up of polymers that include silicon (a chemical element found in sand and dust particles), carbon, hydrogen and oxygen it's a synthetic product. Although previous articles have deemed it Food Safe, recent articles are popping up revealing that the actual safety research is scanty at best (Ecoholic Home 2009 p.63, Ask Umbra December 2011). Umbra points out that experts are indicating that the compounds in silicone bioaccumulate and can present health hazards. Health Canada also doesn't recommend baking with silicone above 220 Celcius (428F) or it will start to melt. Ahhh- that explains the 450F issue.
Would you really like to be the living guinea pig for toxins leaching into your food at high heat? Pas moi, especially after smelling that nasty disgusting-ness first hand.
Parchment paper: Unfortunately, many parchment papers are coated with silicone as well. Including If You Care's "environmentally friendly" version. Ugh.
Spray Greasing Agent (like Pam): Anything that has an exploding symbol on the can (and that comes in a can) isn't on my list of top uses. Typically cooking spray has oil and a propellant such as alcohol, nitrous oxide, propane or carbon dioxide (wtf?).
As I've never been a fan of silicone muffin or bread moulds or oven mitts anyway, I don't think we're going to miss silicone in our lives. We generally use butter or olive oil to grease everything (mmm). As for the flatbread pizza, I guess we'll just have to see what happens if we place it directly on the pizza stone or a buttered pan.
article copyright of EcoYogini at ecoyogini.blogspot.com