No kitchen should be without a rimmed baking sheet and a matching wire rack. Is a plastic lid essential, too?
Published Jan. 1, 2019.
Few pieces of equipment get more use in the test kitchen than rimmed baking sheets. They're indispensable for roasting, baking, and all kinds of kitchen prep work. When we learned that our favorite model, the Nordic Ware Baker's Half Sheet, had a lid, we were intrigued. After all, we often wrap trays in plastic wrap or aluminum foil when preparing food to cook later, transporting dishes to a party, or storing leftovers. A good lid would be a handy alternative. And if the plastic was sturdy enough, we could stack things on top of it, maximizing space in a crowded refrigerator. We purchased several copies of the lid and started testing.
First things first: Does the lid keep food fresh? To find out, we sliced eggplants into planks and divided them among three rimmed baking sheets. We covered each one with a different material—the lid, plastic wrap, or aluminum foil—and then stored them in the refrigerator overnight. We performed a similar test with fresh fruit, stored in the freezer for a week. In both cases, the lid performed similarly to our usual disposable wraps. The eggplant didn't discolor or dry out. The fruit was also in good form.
We did two additional food tests to gauge the height and sturdiness of the lid. First, we baked a sheet cake, frosted it, placed a lid on the sheet, and stacked 10 pounds of cans and bowls on top. We left it for 24 hours, periodically jostling those heavy items. Although the lid sagged a bit in the middle, it didn't touch the top of the cake, and the plastic didn't crack or look damaged afterward. The cake was still tender, too. Next, we proofed two balls of pizza dough in a covered baking sheet in the refrigerator for three days. They fit neatly and turned out perfectly soft and tender. We typically proof pizza dough balls in medium bowls covered with plastic wrap, which hog space in the refrigerator. The baking sheet took up much less room, and we liked that we could stack things on top of it.
In addition to allowing stacking, the lid had another advantage over the wraps: It was easier to use. Rimmed baking sheets are fairly bulky, and covering them often requires multiple, overlapping sheets of foil or plastic. It was a breeze to snap the lid into place. We liked that we could quickly remove and replace the lid instead of peeling back plastic or aluminum and then trying to smooth it into place again. The lid was also easy to wash. Even when we deliberately stained it with oil, curry powder, and garlic, it cleaned up quickly. It emerged from 10 rounds in the dishwasher looking like new.
That said, we do have one criticism. The ...
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Kate is a deputy editor for ATK Reviews. She's a culinary school graduate and former line cook and cheesemonger.