I saw some really innovative collapsing silicone pans from Nautical Scout when I was at the Annapolis Boat Show. Nautical Scout gave me a couple to use to provide feedback to them and also to review.
I received one all-silicone pan for use in the oven or microwave, and one with a metal bottom for use on the stove top. Both collapse to about 20% of their full size and are very heavy and sturdy silicone.
MULTI-OVEN ALL-SILICONE PAN
These pans are intended to be used in either a conventional oven or microwave. The multi-oven line comes in round, oval and rectangular shapes; I have the small rectangular shape that I use most often for bread. Unlike many other silicone pans that I’ve used in the past, it’s not flimsy. Even with batter breads such as beer bread, zucchini bread and streusel coffee cake, it is rigid enough that you can carry it with just one hand and not even wonder if the batter will spill.
The pans come with a lid for casseroles and also a steamer insert for microwave use.
The small size is good for a single meal for two people. I’ve had to downsize my bread recipes and casseroles, but it’s nice not to always have leftovers or else a thin layer in a larger pan. The large rectangle is just a slight bit larger than a standard 8×4 loaf pan and a good replacement for it.
I love that it collapses for storage and also doesn’t clank – in fact, I store it between a couple of metal pans to pad them and keep them quiet.
After I’d used my pan just a few times, it developed a split along one of the fold lines. I contacted the owner of Nautical Scout, Craig Emigh, and he said he’d never seen that happen before and replaced it immediately. My new pan hasn’t had any sort of a problem (I’ve used it a lot) and thus I recommend these.
METAL BOTTOM STOVE TOP PANS
The metal bottom “stove top” pans captured everyone’s attention at the boat show – finally, silicone pans that could be used on the stove top! (One note: The pans cannot be used in the oven – the plastic handles on the pan will melt.)
Like the multi-oven pans, they’re very heavy silicone with a reinforced rim around the top. I never have the feeling that anything will spill out. And it collapses down to a fraction of its full size.
I’ve been using the 2-quart size for almost three months, and it’s great for what it’s designed for . . . but it doesn’t work for everything. What I’ve discovered is that the pan is good for “watery” things – say, boiling pasta, making thin soups or broth, or heating dish water. It’s not as good for thicker foods that can scorch.
The four quart pan is better for these things than the two quart due to the lid design. The two-quart pan has a silicone lid with a recessed place to grasp it. I discovered that I could not pick it up using a pot holder . . . and without a pot holder, I scalded my fingers on the steam vents next to the “handle.” I ended up using a fork to lift one side of the lid so that I can grasp it with a pot holder. The four-quart pan has a metal lid with au upside-down “U” handle which does not have this problem.
So why do I like the pan more for watery foods? It’s sort of the nature of a collapsible pan: so that it will collapse, it’s narrower at the bottom. Additionally, the bottom also has grooves in it.
Well, the combination of the V shape and the grooves in the bottom makes it so that thicker foods – spaghetti sauce, gumbo, unstuffed cabbage, stew, chili, and cream soups for example – scorch if you are not very attentive to stirring. The grooves/ridges in the bottom also make it a little harder to keep food from sticking and burning even as you’re stirring – I found that using a narrow silicone scraper worked well to get down between the ridges so that everything is mixed. Using my flame tamer (see the one I have on Amazon) also helped with the scorching problem. The botttom line, though, is that the pan just isn’t designed to cook “non-watery” foods.Foods that can’t be stirred as they cook – such as rice – should not be cooked in this pan. And due to the smaller bottom and ridges, the pan didn’t work well recipes where I first browned meat, then added other ingredients for a one-pan meal.
Depending on your style of cooking, it may be a great pan for you or not. The pan itself is well made and innovative; it’s just a question of the type of things that you cook.