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A biscuit pan is a pan with typically six to eight insets, for baking biscuits. Many people love the biscuit pan because it cuts out one of the more annoying steps of making biscuits: rolling out the dough and cutting the biscuits. The biscuit pan has long been popular because it could be used to make biscuits over a campfire and skip the work of finding a clean place on which to roll out and cut dough. Sometimes the biscuits on the campfire are flipped halfway through the cooking process so they brown evenly on the top and the bottom.
A person might ask what the point of the biscuit pan is, given the many muffin pans available. There are definitely several differences between the two types of pans, although some rectangular biscuit pans may closely resemble muffin tins. First, a biscuit pan is most likely to be made from cast iron, though a few are now made in coated metals. The cast iron adds extra crust to the biscuit, which can be very desirable.
Second, a biscuit pan usually has cups that are the same width on top and bottom. Muffin pans, conversely, usually are narrower on the bottom than the top. So if you made biscuits in a muffin pan, you wouldn’t have uniform round biscuits. You do actually see many muffins now made in biscuit pans to produce a rounder more uniform muffin. If you don’t use papers for your muffins, you may want to start if you’re using a biscuit pan, since most varieties are not non-stick, and the muffins may be harder to get out of the pan. Alternately, you can butter or use non-stick spray on the cups to remove the muffins easier.
The butter, lard or shortening in biscuits usually means they won’t stick to a biscuit pan, even if it is ungreased. You may need to prepare the pan before you start baking biscuits. If the pan is cast iron, you will probably need to season the pan first by greasing the cups with oil or butter, and baking them empty for about 30 to 60 minutes in the oven. You can also purchase a seasoned biscuit pan where this step has already been performed.
With seasoned pans, if you wash them in the dishwasher, you’ll have to re-season them in order to maintain the non-stick coating. Instead, washing with a little light soap and warm water can maintain the seasoning on the pan. Some merely suggest that you wipe out the biscuit pan with a wet cloth.
You can usually use any drop biscuit recipe in a biscuit pan. Yet if you do use any kind of grated cheese in your recipe, it may stick to the pan. In this case, it’s a good idea to grease the pan a bit first to avoid a huge cleaning mess afterwards. Of course, you don’t need a biscuit pan. Drop biscuits can be just as easily made on a cookie sheet. They may not provide the aesthetic pleasure of perfectly round biscuits, but they do taste just as good.
I make biscuits with a swiss or Jarlesberg cheese (1:1 cup ratio cheese to flour), and they never stick for me. I don't grease the baking sheet, either.
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