The idea for using fired clay for baking and cooking is ancient. The Chinese used to take slabs of clay and heat them in a kiln of around 2000 degrees. The result is what we now call stoneware.
There are several advantages to using stoneware:
*It is safe to use in the microwave, oven or freezer.
*Over time it develops a non-stick surface.
*It’s long lasting if you care for it properly.
However, stoneware must be cared for properly. It also needs to be re-seasoned from time to time. You cannot put stoneware in the dishwasher as the finish will be ruined. However, stoneware is so durable that it can last for generations. Easily, the lasting quality of stoneware outweighs the initial investment.
The First Rule of Stoneware: Never Soak Your Stoneware
Before the first use, you should put your stoneware under running water. However, soaking stoneware weakens it and will cause it to break more easily. It will also ruin the non-stick finish.
The first time you use it, you should cook something that is higher in fat. You should also season the stoneware with cooking spray. As the dish cooks, the fat and oils will be ‘soaked’ into the stoneware and this will cause a non-stick surface to slowly develop. The more you use your stoneware, the more the color will change to a darker brown. The more the color changes, the less oil your dishes will need in order to be ‘non-stick’.
Important Tips for Cleaning Stoneware
Stoneware should never be washed with soapy water. Soap will deteriorate the non-stick surface and ruin the stoneware. What’s worse is the next time you use the stoneware, your food will taste like detergent.
Instead, use a nylon scraper. Usually these come with a stoneware product when you purchase it. However, if you happen to have a piece of stoneware bakeware without the nylon scraper, you can easily pick one up at a store that sells stoneware.
To clean your stoneware, use the scraper to scrape off any stuck on food. Use warm running water and a non-abrasive wash cloth to clean the stoneware. Completely dry before storing.
Again, properly caring for your stoneware is an important step to being able to enjoy it for a long time to come.
Things to Bake in Your Stoneware: