Difference Between Parchment Paper and Wax Paper

When the days of the baking season start to approach, everyone must be wondering about the difference between parchment paper and wax paper and if one can be used if the other is not available. Both these kitchen papers are excellent for cleaning up, wrapping food, and separating layers of food while storing them.

Parchment Paper v/s Wax Paper

The main difference between Parchment paper and Wax paper is that parchment paper is an excellent resistant to grease and moisture, due to which it is specially used in oven baking whereas, on the wax paper, there is a thin layer of wax on both sides which makes it non-stick and a cheap substitute for parchment paper.

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Parchment paper is a compound that goes through various processes to gain additional properties such as non-stickiness, moisture, grease, and humidity resistance. The most common use of parchment paper is acting as a disposable and non-stick material that prevents the food from sticking to the pan or tray and covering food to separate the layers in between them.

Wax paper or also known as paraffin paper, is a paper-like material that is made moisture resistant by applying wax on both sides. The oiling or waxing of paper for making it moisture resistant and semi-translucent is being practiced since the Middle Ages and was used on a large scale in the 19th century.

Comparison Table Between Parchment Paper and Wax Paper

Parameters of ComparisonParchment PaperWax Paper
Coated withParchment Paper is covered with a silicon coating.Wax Paper is covered with wax coating on both sides.
PropertiesParchment paper is greatly resistant to heat, grease, moisture and is non-stick.Wax paper is only moisture-resistant and non-stick.
CostParchment paper is expensive.Wax paper is affordable or cheap.
DurabilityParchment paper is durable and can be used again.Wax paper is thin due to which it can’t be used again after being used once.
UsageParchment paper is used in baking and cooking.Wax paper is used for wrapping food while storing or cooking in the microwave and covering countertops and tables.

What is Parchment Paper?

Parchment paper is a cellulose compound found in both bleached and unbleached forms. This paper is coated with a layer of silicon which makes the paper non-stick, as well as heat, moisture, and grease resistance, due to which it is greatly used while baking or cooking, and this layer is known as the greatest difference between parchment paper and wax paper. When you have a roll of parchment paper inside your kitchen cabinet, there is no end to the list of things that need parchment paper.

The most common use in this list is lining the paper in baking trays or cake pans. Placing the parchment paper on the trays or molds acts as a non-stick surface that does not need any greasing and, the cookies or food can easily slide off the surface. And if you are baking cookies in multiple batches, you can use the same paper again. Another great use of parchment paper is layering it between the cookies and candies to prevent them from sticking.

This paper also plays a vital role for the culinary students, especially for the ones who are learning to bake as these students are required to specialize in the art of creating decorations with chocolates that are used as a garnish on pastries or piping letters on customized cakes. Parchment paper also helps in keeping the counter clean. All you need to do is stick the paper all above the countertop and forget about the hardship of cleaning stains.

What is Wax Paper?

Wax paper or paraffin paper is made moisture resistant by the application of wax on both sides of the paper. The practice of applying wax or oiling the surface of the paper to make it moisture-proof and partially translucent is being exercised since the middle ages. This paper filled or layered with filtered beeswax was greatly used in the 19th century to retain or block moisture or to wrap the fragrant things.

In 1851, Gustave Le Gray introduced waxed papers for the negatives of photographs. Other than that, this paper is commonly used while cooking as it is non-stick in nature which prevents the food from sticking or wrapping food to keep the moisture out. Even though the wax paper is greatly used while cooking, it is not recommended for baking in oven purposes, as it can get heated very quickly and burn, and can explode too.

Wax papers are used in microwaves to avoid the food being splashed by covering the pan in microwave cooking. Since wax paper remains unaffected by the heat of microwaves, it will not heat to the extent of burning under the heating temperature of the microwave. This property of wax paper keeps it ahead of the plastic wraps, which are more likely to burn in microwaves, or aluminum foil, which is considered dangerous for most microwave ovens.

Main Differences Between Parchment Paper and Wax Paper

  1. Parchment paper has a layer of silicon on both sides whereas, the wax paper has a layer of wax on each side.
  2. Parchment paper is heat resistant, whereas wax paper is not heat resistant.
  3. Parchment paper is specially created for oven use and is grease and moisture-proof whereas, wax paper can be used in microwaves and is moisture resistant.  
  4. Parchment paper is used for lining trays and cake molds or wrapping meat, fish, etc. whereas, wax paper is used for covering kitchen cabinets and countertops.
  5. Parchment paper is expensive, while wax paper is cheaper.
  6. Parchment papers are capable of being used again, while the wax paper is not durable enough to be reused.

Conclusion

In conclusion, both Parchment paper and wax paper are a great help in cooking and baking, especially for the culinary students, as these papers make the work a little easier. Parchment paper is covered with a silicon layer, which makes it non-sticky while the wax paper is covered in wax.

Both the papers are used to layer the tray or cover food for storing, but only parchment paper can be used while baking in the oven as it is heat resistant. On the other hand, using wax paper while baking in the oven is not recommended as it is not a heat resistant paper cancan quickly catch fire and may explode; due to that, wax paper is limited to microwaves.

References

  1. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/mrs-online-proceedings-library-archive/article/lasertreated-parchment-paper-an-inexpensive-microfluidic-platform/04181CE73B749ACFAFFED1E670D5FB14
  2. https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/0960-1317/23/11/114016/meta
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