Determining what is the best pan coating for a bakery application depends on many short-term and long-term factors.
According to one pan manufacturer, 90% of the pans used in the U.S. baking industry are silicon glazed and 10% of the pans are coated with nonstick fluoropolymer materials such as Teflon®. These numbers flip flop when you look at bakeries outside of the United States, which almost exclusively use some type of fluoropolymer non-stick coating.
30 years ago, such a discrepancy in global baking could be expected. However, today's global business environment has installed a level of standardization in all manufacturing processes. Although there are undeniable differences in baking in Germany as opposed to baking in Fargo, N.D., one would not expect the subject of pan coatings to be so widely nonconforming.
In the U.S. baking industry, silicon glazes dominate the pan coating industry. Depending on the application, typical silicon glazes last 400 to 600 baking cycles. The popularity of these pan coatings can be attributed to their solid track record in the baking industry.
However, bakers should consider all of their pan coating options before ordering their next shipment of baking pans. One option, non-stick fluoropolymer coatings, provide bakers with a pan coating that lasts between 3,500 and 5,000 baking cycles. Besides lasting longer than silicon-glazes, fluoropolymer coatings also can eliminate the use of pan oils and greases, which reduces costs and assists in keeping a bakery clean.
These benefits alone cause one to wonder why more bakeries don't use fluoropolymer coatings. The main reason, according to one manufacturer, is the upfront costs of fluoropolymer coatings. The initial cost of a fluoropolymer coated pan is about $22 compared to about $1.50 for a silicon-glazed pan. However, the costs of both coatings even out as the pan is used. According to a study from DuPont, Teflon®-coated pans save bakers more than $44,000 over a life span of 5,000 cycles. The study bases its cost savings on a silicon-glazed pan that needs to be reglazed after 300 cycles.
Location represents another factor in pan coating options. According to one manufacturer, there are more than five times as many silicon reglazing facilities compared to fluoropolymer recoating facilities. However, fluoropolymer-coated pans last longer than siliconglazed pans. All of these variables require bakers to look at their individual production lines to determine the best coating system.