Most galley ovens are a little smaller than “shore” ovens — I don’t want to call them “home” ovens, since my boat was my home — and thus standard-sized cookie sheets won’t fit in them. And the ones for toaster ovens are so small that they’re often not useful. So what’s a galley slave to use?
When we first moved aboard Que Tal, I flipped my 9×13 pan over and used the bottom or baked on a sheet of aluminum foil. And while both of these will work for occasional use, I was frustrated and wanted a “real” cookie sheet.
Once again, I’ll start by saying that before you buy anything, measure YOUR oven. Any pan you get should have about an inch of airspace on all four sides for airflow. Hot spots are enough of a problem in galley ovens, and restricting the airflow will only make matters worse.
As I detailed in my article on solving galley oven problems, heavy pans will do a lot to lessen hot spots as they’ll distribute the heat more evenly. That’s one reason that baking on a piece of aluminum foil generally isn’t all that satisfactory.
And yes, heavier pans are generally more expensive initially. But I found that “cheap” pans actually cost me more as I had to replace them every couple of years as they’d develop rust spots or other problems. My preference is to have fewer pans (you don’t have much room on the boat anyways!) but to have good ones.
My choice are those made by Chicago Metallic — they’re good and heavy, don’t have problems with rust, come in sizes that work in most boat galleys and aren’t as expensive as some of the “premium” brands. They come in both nonstick and plain — I prefer nonstick so that clean up uses less water, but I know that some people have concerns about the chemicals in nonstick cookware and for them, I also provide links to the plain stainless versions. The Chicago Metallic nonstick is very high quality and scratch-resistant, unlike many cheaper brands which also seem to lose their “nonstick” quality after a year or two.
If you’re wondering about the Baker’s Secret pans that you can find everywhere, my experience — and that of several cruising friends — is that they lose their nonstick properties in a year or two and begin having rust spots even sooner. They also have a lot of little crevices that are hard to really get clean when washing by hand — something you don’t really think about until you’re living aboard with no dishwasher.
I personally prefer a cookie sheet with sides on it — technically a jelly roll pan. I often bake bread on a cookie sheet (baguettes, braided bread) and the sides keep the dough (and egg wash when I use one) from spilling over. It’s also good for things like pizza on the boat — the motion of the boat can otherwise cause sauce and toppings to spill over a bit and the sides make this less likely (not impossible, though!). I also sometimes use the pan to contain messy kitchen projects and the sides help here, too.
Depending on your personal preferences and what size pan you can use, here are my recommendations for a good “cookie sheet.”
- Chicago Metallic Non-Stick Small Jelly Roll Pan, 12-1/4 by 8-3/4 by 1-Inch (my choice, shown at right)
- Chicago Metallic Non-Stick True Jelly Roll Pan, 14-3/4 by 9-3/4-Inch (looks similar, slightly larger)
- Chicago Metallic Commercial II Traditional Uncoated Small Jelly Roll Pan, 12-1/4 by 8-3/4-Inch (shown, best size for most boats)
Uncoated Cookie Sheets
I’m not recommending the Chicago Metallic ones in this category, as I can’t find anywhere that carries them in anything but a full-size, and the full size ones are too large for virtually all boat ovens — they’re more the size that a commercial bakery would use.
Further, I’ve spent several hours looking online for a uncoated cookie sheet without sides in a size that is likely to fit in boat ovens, and I simply can’t find any. Anthing that’s small enough has sides. If anyone reading this HAS found one, please leave a note and I’ll research further.
NOTE: I don’t recommend the air-insulated sheets as I don’t like the way they bake. I’ve had two different ones, and they both were re-purposed as I hated baking with them.
Toaster Oven Size
If you need an even smaller pan, you can get “toaster oven” cookie sheets that are about 7 x 10. There aren’t a lot of choices, but here is one that got good reviews (leaving aside the reviews talking about how small it is):
Anyone who has other recommendations, please leave them in the comments below — I’ll try to add links to products.