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Curious about the affects of heating parchment paper with food.

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

I just got back from ordering a couple subs at a place I normally frequent.

 

I decided to try something new, and ordered 2 different subs, 1 philly cheese steak, and as a hot chicken sub.

 

 

I see the girl at the grill get out some new meat, and noticed they were wrapped in what I believe was parchment paper.  I then see her quickly remove them from the meat, and then throw them away.  I noticed, however, she forgot one, and it was left on the grill, under the meat.  She came back quickly, noticed it, and disposed of it.  The material was in contact with the grill for around 5-10 seconds, maybe more, but it kind of made me feel unpleasant.

 

 

I am curious 2 things.

 

 

1.  Is there any risk of eating my food?  What is the affects of heating parchment paper, or possibly something else, to hot enough temps to grill philly cheese steaks in a few mins.

 

 

 I am not sure which of the 2 subs it was, it looked more like the philly to me, and she also had a couple of each kind going, so I'm not sure if it was mine, as I didn't watch her the entire time, as I had to check out.

 

 

2.  Should I have said something when I saw it? I was just kind of sketched out by the idea, but didn't think to say anything until my food was basically ready, and wasn't even sure if it was mine, or which one it was, so wasting 2 subs isn't something I really wanted to do, on the assumption it could be bad.

 

 

Overall, It seems some people here are very for "things being right," and even if it isn't something to worry about, me being displeased was something that should be mentioned, but maybe others think it isn't a big deal?

 

 

I'm curious from you, as chefs, as well as patrons, how would you feel about seeing a chef/food-prepper leave something on the stove, that shouldn't be on there, for a bunch of seconds, and what would you have done/what should I have done?

 

 

Also, from a chef point of view, what material is the meat be stored between? The material is meant to separate the food right?  The same with cheese(is that parchment paper also)?

 

It seems the most common are parchment paper, and wax paper, but it seems parchment is preferred, and safer, but I would like the opinions of the pros on this.

 

Maybe I'm just paranoid, maybe not, any advice is appreciated, thanks.

post #2 of 22

Is this a trick question?

 

I mean, what ELSE is parchment used for but to heat food? I use it all the time. To line cake tins, to line roasting pans when I'm roasting vegetables, under the pastry when I bake gallettes, to wrap fish and vegetables en papiotte. I go through rolls and rolls of the stuff.

 

I'm really not getting what the issue is here.

post #3 of 22

If it was parchment paper you're fine.  If it was wax paper you're fine.  If it was aluminum foil you're fine.  If it was newspaper you're toast.

 

Really, you should be fine.  It happens.  Parchment paper is meant to be cooked. 

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

Reply

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

Reply
post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the answers.

 

 

 

and no, it isn't a trick question...  I understand taht it's used to cook food, but I've been reading things about certain temps involved, i..e, don't use it above 400F...

 

I'm just curious how hot the grill used in these establishments are.  I'm sure it's some sort of standard flat surfaced meat cooking grill, but not sure what temp is used for cooking chicken and steak for cheese steaks.

 

 

I just wanted to make sure that those temps werent too high to melt or cause some sort of reacting that could be harmful, due to the above mention of above 400 degrees.

 

 

I also heard about heating bleached parchment paper, and that you should use unbleached, but that might be one of the fear mongerers just posting stuff, because I did see stuff about foil use, which is a debated topic a lot.

 

 

I actually saw sourkraut react with aluminum foil and it was like a layer in the kraut...  Gross but yeah lol.

 

As for Wax Paper...  I hear it releases stuff and that parchment is better, any comments on the wax paper comments?

 

 

Thanks for the info.

post #5 of 22

I've got a sourdough recipe telling me I can use parchment paper to line the baking sheet my loaves go onto, baking in the oven at 425 F.

post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by foody518 View Post
 

I've got a sourdough recipe telling me I can use parchment paper to line the baking sheet my loaves go onto, baking in the oven at 425 F.

 

Thanks.  I wonder what temps will start to become an issue, and what temps these grills get to...

 

Probably not going to be a huge deal, but awaitng someone who has worked with one of the flat surface grills, or has experience with what temps would be useful for cheese steaks or similar meat to be cooked within a few minutes for a patron.

 

 

I know I've put jerky in the oven to about 400, and it would take a few mins to warm up, so I'm assuming these grills are super hot, kind of like stir fry with woks, where it's fast cooking, on high heat..

post #7 of 22

I use it under roasting vegetables at 425f or 450f ALL THE TIME.  I've baked baguettes on it at at well over 400f. Pizzas higher than that. Galettes and croustadas at 400. Puff pastry at 400+.  This is what parchment is for. Sometimes the edges char, if I'm not careful with trimming it but that is all. Muffin/cupcake papers are basically pre-formed parchment cups. Have you ever worried about those? Parchment is an entirely food-safe product. The bakers on The Fresh Loaf baking site routinely heat parchment to 500F or higher. It's paper, for heaven's sake. Usually impregnated with silicone. Silpats are safe to 480f or so.

 

Foil reacting with sour kraut is an entirely different thing. Foil is aluminum. Sour kraut is highly acidic. They react. That is to be expected.

post #8 of 22

What is it exactly that you thing would happen?

post #9 of 22
At "one place..." We used parchment to line the sheet pans we baked rolls, bread, etc in at 475+. There is no danger. At all.

I'm curious to what you think would happen after a certain temperature. It would just char. You don't have anything to worry about. Hope you enjoyed your subs!
post #10 of 22

You are essentially creating a worry where there isn't one. The grills used for sandwiches, etc. are typically at about 350 degrees. As everyone here has told you, parchment paper is designed for food use and presents no problem. The grills aren't hot enough to cause a problem. 

I don't know what you've been reading but I'll suggest you stop reading it. It seems to be making you fearful, not informed. Being informed should make you the opposite of fearful. 

post #11 of 22

I use it sometimes when making pizza. I crank up the oven to 500 and let the stone get blistering hot. Slide the parchment with the pizza directly on the stone when I don't feel like using cornmeal or flour as a base. 

 

I think it might have been Pete that suggested it. I've done it numerous times. It's cellulose product. They put cellulose products in already grated parmesan cheese. Paper pulp. Ever eat paper as a kid? Cooking it just adds a depth of flavor.

post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks a lot all.  

 

 

i wasn't sure what it would do to me, I haven't really be reading anything, but lately I have had bad experiences with food establishments, i.e., finding stuff in my food, that I shouldn't.  For example, plastic wrap from American Cheese (probably the Kraft kind), on a sandwhich I ordered (they gave me the wrong cheese too, which pissed me off even more)..  It has just made me more "aware" of my food eating out experience (also buying foods too), so I get sketched out at these sorts of things.

 

 

The only thing I read was googling high temps of parchment paper, or "parchment paper dangers" were talking about temps over 400F, and unbleached parchment, but this might be fear mongering, so I like to ask, just to make sure.

 

 

Also, to the claims of it being paper, I had checked out Wiki for info, and this is what they say


 

Quote:
 

Parchment paper[edit]


The manufacturing process for parchment paper is costly and harmful to the environment. Bakers try to get more than one use out of it for cost reasons. The paper is not made in North America anymore due to environmental issues.[2]Modern parchment paper is made by running sheets of paper pulp through a bath of sulfuric acid[1] (a method similar to how tracing paper is made) or sometimes zinc chloride. This process partially dissolves or gelatinizes the paper. This treatment forms a sulfurized cross-linked material with high density, stability, and heat resistance, and low surface energy – thereby imparting good non-stick or release properties.[2] The treated paper has an appearance similar to that of traditional parchment, and because of its stability is sometimes used for legal purposes where traditional parchment was used.[3]


Idk about you, but that sounds a bit disgusting, but not sure what is really left after this "process."

 

 

As for "what I thought would happen," I figured that the parchment or w/e might have melted or gotten into the food somehow, or burnt on the grill.

 

 

Thanks Chefwriter about the sandwhich grill, but I think one of us is confused, as I didn't really comment well, but by sandwhich grill, do you mean like a press.

 

 

What I was talking about is something like this I believe.

 

 

https://www.google.com/search?q=meat+grill&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwimiuvGifHMAhUE9h4KHbHBBo0Q_AUIBygB&biw=1745&bih=890#tbm=isch&q=gas+griddle

 

"Gas Griddle"

 

 

 

It essentially was what seemed to be a stainless steel cooking surface that they would cook the meat, onions, peppers, etc, on this grill, then take off and build the sandwiches.

 

Now, this being gas, I would assume it's temps could reach might higher, but again it doesn't seem like it would matter at all, according to what people here are saying, and that I Should be fine, regardless.  I didn't see any charring on the sheet itself (byut I was far away), so I guess everything is good, if nothing actually would have melted off.


Edited by LasagnaBurrito - 5/23/16 at 2:26pm
post #13 of 22
You never cooked anything en papillote?
post #14 of 22
And what scares you about neutralized sulfuric acid? Or trace amounts of zinc chloride? Better be scared of mouthwash too, there's more in there than parchment paper.

Anything can be made sound scary to the uninformed. You were on the right track before about fear mongering.
post #15 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MillionsKnives View Post

And what scares you about neutralized sulfuric acid? Or trace amounts of zinc chloride? Better be scared of mouthwash too, there's more in there than parchment paper.

Anything can be made sound scary to the uninformed. You were on the right track before about fear mongering.

 

Nothing really, as I don't know what exactly that stuff is, just the comments about environmental concerns were interesting, so I figured I would post it.

 

I don't use mouthwash :D...

 

Yeah, there are a lot of fear mongering out there, but that's why I just wanted to ask, and make sure, from people who use the stuff more than I do.

 

 

 

I know parchment is used for cooking, and all that, but just wanted to make sure that there aren't any issues with using it above a certain temp.  There are a lot of things that are "okay" at x-temp, but when you go too high, it could be bad.

Thanks

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MillionsKnives View Post

You never cooked anything en papillote?

 

:confused::chef: 

post #16 of 22

Interesting. The quote you posted is the same as a number I've found with a cursory two minute google search. Only it left out the following : 

 

"This process partially dissolves or gelatinizes the paper, [a process which is reversed by washing the chemicals off followed by drying.]" 

 

What happens to the sulfuric acid or the water afterwards is another story. 

post #17 of 22
The source is selling silicone baking sheets so take it with a few grains of salt. They have an agenda.

And someone earlier was afraid of eating the residue off sharpening stones. Wash your knife after sharpening; it's common sense stuff.

I was a biochemist in a previous career. I'll tell you parchment paper is safe. You can lick it all day if you want.
post #18 of 22

Yes, those are the grills I was referring to. They generally heat to about 350 degrees. Could they go higher, being gas? Possibly but think about that. Any higher and  the food would burn on the outside before thoroughly cooked. Even pancakes. No one could cook successfully. 350 is a nice temp to get the food cooked in a reasonable amount of time. Gas grills, bbq grills, sandwich presses, almost any cooking surface, general oven temps. I'm not confused, I know exactly what you meant. 

And again, a little common sense and avoiding the fear mongers.  Information found on Google may be quick but is no substitute for thorough research and some critical thinking. 

     When ever you see chemicals mentioned in the production process of anything  or a description of anything, food or otherwise, remember that the entire world is made up of chemicals. All of them are found in various amounts all over the place. Arsenic, nitrogen, carbon, etc. All chemicals have various reactions to different temps both alone and in combination with other chemicals. Otherwise known as science. Just view what you read objectively as information, not a warning or promotion of anything. 

       And on behalf of future food employees you may encounter, things happen. You got a piece of cheese wrap in your sandwich. Sorry about that. You saw the employee remove a piece of parchment. Sorry about that. Given the open nature of many things culinary these days, not to mention the ubiquitous internet,  the public gets to witness many harmless things that are part of food prep. Half and false information abound out there and seem to give everyone license to complain about things they don't understand. Use these experiences, as you are now, to educate yourself and broaden your understanding of the food you eat, not to walk around finding endless reasons you will be sickened and die. Driving on the roads and highways puts you in way more danger every single day than your neighborhood restaurant. 


Edited by chefwriter - 5/23/16 at 9:52pm
post #19 of 22

And, as far as environmental concerns and chemical processes are concerned--have you ever read how cellulose fibers are processed into fabric? (especially rayon and bamboo. disgusting. Which is why it is done now in poor countries with weak environmental laws)

 

Or plain paper? Toilet paper? Other household paper goods?

 

I make handmade paper--a less toxic process than commercial paper-making but it still involves hours and hours of cotton, linen, or various plant fibers being simmered in highly alkaline water. Which is then neutralized by adding an acid, like vinegar. There are chemicals for bleaching, for dying, formation aids to encourage hydrogen bonding of the fibers so that sheets will form, chemical sizing makes the sheets smooth and crisp enough to take ink or pencil.

 

I'm still not sure why you find the description of how baking parchment is produced so troubling. More freaking out for no good reason. 

 

The claim that bakers try to get more than one use out of baking parchment is highly dubious--I'm guessing it was written by someone who has never actually used parchment.

 

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

post #20 of 22

Parchment paper is a pretty generic term. There are probably 50-100 different products under that umbrella.

If you see a box of white sheet paper in a non bakery kitchen, chances are is is not a silicone coated sheet but coated with quilon.

There cheaper and the purchaser probably doesn't know the difference except the quilon is cheaper.

The silicone coated is better for bakeries because it can be baked numerous times.

The paper you probably saw the meat wrapped in was probably butter paper. Very cheap, no real coating. They're usually pop up type and disposable.

Recently, I've been getting more and more customers asking about out usage of bleached paper. There seem to be something building in reference

to being allergic to dioxins. We now keep a few rolls of unbleached in the store, even though it's very unusual for our paper to come in contact with product.

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post #21 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks @chefwriterfor the info, was curious about the devices, and more curious about cooking temps just for myself.  So at 350 you can cook meat fairly fast then?  Is there some sort of chart or graph that will show how much heat applies to how long it would take for x amount of meat?  We also would have to take into account the cooking times for certain meats are different, i.e., Beef vs Chicken, but some might be similar.

 

--------------------------

 

@ChicagoTerry, thanks for the info.  I'm not really freaking out, just thought that info was interesting, and added it to the convo.   

 

You make your own paper?  That's awesome.  How long does it usually take to make, and how much do you usually get when doing that?  Interesting stuff, thanks.

 

 

--------------------------------------

 

@MillionsKnives didn't know about the residue left on the knife afterwards.... *GASP*....  Guess I better get me a honing tool.....  :p.

 

I would assume that the residue would wash off fairly easily, especially since the blade should already be wet (from what I've seen, as I haven't had to sharpen my knife yet).

 

I also heard that bits of knife get stuck in your hand from sharpening, but that it's nothing to worry about, as they are so tiny, but there is soaps that are better for getting it out as well.

 

-----------------------------

 

Thanks all, good discussion.  Essentially it just seems to be the same if you had the parchment on a metal baking sheet, and that was baking at 400 or so, and that parchment is going to get nice and toasty then.

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by panini View Post
 

Parchment paper is a pretty generic term. There are probably 50-100 different products under that umbrella.

If you see a box of white sheet paper in a non bakery kitchen, chances are is is not a silicone coated sheet but coated with quilon.

There cheaper and the purchaser probably doesn't know the difference except the quilon is cheaper.

The silicone coated is better for bakeries because it can be baked numerous times.

The paper you probably saw the meat wrapped in was probably butter paper. Very cheap, no real coating. They're usually pop up type and disposable.

Recently, I've been getting more and more customers asking about out usage of bleached paper. There seem to be something building in reference

to being allergic to dioxins. We now keep a few rolls of unbleached in the store, even though it's very unusual for our paper to come in contact with product.

 

Thanks for the good info @panini

 

Essentially these seems to be prepacked set of meats and it seems that she grabbed a few at a time from each, and just removed the in between paper, but since she was rushing the entire time, she forgot one and tossed it on the grill, with the others, and then after turning around and back she saw she had left one....  IT looked to be white in color, but not sure if that means bleached, or what unbleached would be.  A few of the searches had mentioned toxicitiy with bleached products, but I didn't look at the links, just noted the ittled.

 

IS there anything to actually worry about with bleached parchment, or other products?  It seems going unbleached is best, but not too sure about the science behind it.

 

So, if they were using this "butter paper/Quilon" would that change any context of the conversation above, i.e., are some more or less toxic, or are they all basically the same?:  "Butter Paper" is in reference to the paper that wraps butter, which is also okay to get hot it seems since people sometimes just take the entire stick and spread it, instead of cutting off a bit and letting it melt.

 

IS the coating to prevent items such as baked goods from sticking while baking?  I would assume uncoated would be better, but if there is no toxicity either way, then maybe it doesn't matter? 

 

You said "In a non bakery kitchen" so does that mean that the others are not bake/heat safe, or just that the coating being a non-stick coating, wouldn't work well for baked goods?

 

Thanks for the info :).


Edited by LasagnaBurrito - 5/24/16 at 1:35pm
post #22 of 22
Your safe. Everybody is safe. Nobody got sick. There was never any danger of anybody getting sick.

Stop worrying yourself!
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