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Stoneware

Chefs both amateur and professional extol the virtues of certain metal or glass cookware. Recipes likewise often call for alterations or adjustments when using dark or light pans or baking sheets, different sizes of glass dishes, and so on. Too often unremarked upon is stoneware, which offers a different experience from either glass or metal.

History

Stoneware is an ancient art; people have been using it for thousands of years, for art as well as for cooking. Various forms of stoneware have featured large in Chinese, Native American and other cultures, and continue to be in use, especially in baking. While it’s totally possible to cook with antique stoneware dishes and vessels, there’s no need to go hunting for them; new stoneware bakeware hits the market every day.

Seasoning

Much like cast iron or mineral iron, your stoneware baking stones or other stoneware will need seasoning. Doing this properly will result in a long life and perhaps a surprising amount of nonstick capability. This isn’t a difficult or mystical process; you can find tutorials quite easily, so that caring for your stoneware doesn’t become an unpleasant chore. It’s much more durable than you might worry!

Great Baking

Stoneware heats evenly, unlike some modern pans with multi-metal cores or layered coatings. You’ve probably heard of pizza stones or other baking stones for bread and similar; if you’ve never wondered why those are so popular, it’s because of the fantastic finish they put on a crust. If you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, and especially baking, then treating yourself to some stoneware could up your bread and pastry game.

Care and Maintenance

You might think it’s difficult to keep stoneware dishes properly clean after something messy or sticky, like a casserole. It’s really not! If you’ve ever cared for an iron skillet, they’re very much the same, and you won’t have to spend loads of effort as long as you make sure to do it right. Good stoneware won’t absorb bacteria that cause sickness or odours, though it still needs cleaning. However, you should check to make sure that your dishes use lead-free clay, as that can indeed be a health hazard. Otherwise, there’s no need to feel intimidated!

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