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Old 01-15-2009, 10:44 AM   #1
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My parchment paper burned while baking pate a choux

Ok so I went through the trouble of making pate a choux last night. I used a pastry bag to lay out small ball sized shapes onto a cookie tray lined with parchment paper.


About 10 minutes into the baking (at ~410 degrees) the parchment paper started burn, specifically the portion that extended past the edge of the tray and touched up against the inside wall of the oven.


I took out the tray and sniped it off with a scissor, and placed it back in. However a few minutes later I noticed that the underside of the pastries were now dark brown and burning, while the tops were still white. Somehow the parchment paper or the bottom of the pate a choux was burning.


The tray was on the bottom rack in the oven, and I did apply egg wash to all the pastries, perhaps a bit too much that may have dripped down the sides of each pastry and settled around its underside.


The other thing I forgot to do was add 1/2 cup of water to the batter/paste. I only used 1/2 cup of milk. I'm not sure if that means that they dried out too much, but the paste was silky when I applied it, so I would be surprised if that was the answer.


The recipe called to line the tray with either parchment paper or buttered wax paper. What is the story here? Why would parchment paper burn, and would I have better luck with wax paper? Forgive my ignorance, but wouldn't the wax melt and get all over the pastries? And wouldn't it eventually burn too?

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Old 01-15-2009, 10:54 AM   #2
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Have you checked your oven temperature?

Parchment paper often darkens a lot but mine has never actually burned except right along the edges.

The fact that your pastry was dark on the bottom yet undercooked says to me that the oven was too hot.
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Old 01-15-2009, 10:58 AM   #3
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I've never had parchment paper ignite, but I don't think I have ever used it at temps much above 375F. Even the newest ovens can be off - several years ago, I bought a beautiful, expensive range with two ovens, one up and one down. After checking with an oven thermometer, I found that both of them were 50F too hot, so I just adjusted for that.
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Old 01-15-2009, 11:01 AM   #4
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And shouldn't the tray be on the middle rack of the oven versus the bottom rack? That could be another reason the undersides burned.
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Old 01-15-2009, 11:27 AM   #5
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I make NYT bread all the time using parchment paper baked at 450F for 45 minutes, and have never had it burn. I buy my parchment paper from a restaurant supply in full sheets, so that may be factor as well. I have never used the rolls that tear off like waxed paper that you buy in the grocery store. That stuff is just too expensive per square foot. Most likely it's the oven temp, but it also could be the quality of the paper. Oh, and I never bake anything on the bottom shelf in my oven.
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Old 01-15-2009, 11:32 AM   #6
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Yeah I used a thermometer but even it is off I believe. I will try again, this time using a double cookie sheet, putting it on the middle rack, and being more careful with the egg wash, as well as lowering the temp ~25-30 degrees. I'll also make sure to add the 1/2 cup water to the paste, it may have dried a bit on the bottom.

Also, just to be clear, the paper didn't ignite, but rather darkened so much that it started to smell in the house of burned paper and burned past a choux.

Thanks for all the tips, it seems this oven does need to have its temperature recalibrated.
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Old 01-15-2009, 11:34 AM   #7
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If you don't cut the paper to the appropriate size, it with burn/brown and put off an odd smell. Run a pairing knife along the inside edge of the baking sheet to trim it.

I don't bake, but the same exact thing happened to the DW once. She couldn't find the right width paper at the store and bought the real wide package instead.
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Old 01-15-2009, 12:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MexicoKaren View Post
I've never had parchment paper ignite, but I don't think I have ever used it at temps much above 375F. Even the newest ovens can be off - several years ago, I bought a beautiful, expensive range with two ovens, one up and one down. After checking with an oven thermometer, I found that both of them were 50F too hot, so I just adjusted for that.
Thx for this suggestion. Just a clarification, the paper did not ignite into flames. It just browned and sort of burned from the heat I think.
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Old 01-15-2009, 06:11 PM   #9
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Middle rack and fitting to size would be my answer.
I've never had a problem, but then I don't think I've ever used my bottom rack for anything.
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Old 01-15-2009, 06:14 PM   #10
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I concur with others. I think part of the problem was putting the tray on the bottom rack. That's just too close to the heating element.
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