Cooking with stoneware is easy and enjoyable. Create fabulous cakes, loaves, muffins, and savory dishes that are simply delicious. However the first few times you cook with stoneware, you should make an effort to thoroughly season the pan.
‘Seasoning’ means creating a non-stick layer on uncoated stoneware baking dishes that’s built up gradually over time.
This reduces the risk of foods sticking to exposed areas of stone which don’t have their own natural non-stick properties.
There are really two ways to season stoneware pans
- through deliberate seasoning
- as a byproduct of everyday baking.
Combining both methods is an excellent way to ensure that cooking with stoneware is simple, and to make sure your baked products slide out of the pan effortlessly.
Step-by-Step Guide to Seasoning Bakeware
Seasoning stoneware is very simple, and by choosing the right products and techniques, you can easily begin to build up that all-important non-stick layer on your stoneware baking dishes.
- Before getting started, wash your new stoneware pans with hot, soapy water. Although many types of stoneware bakeware is uncoated, it may be shipped from the manufacturer with a very thin coating to protect the stone during transit. You don’t know what chemicals are in that coating – we want it gone!
- Dry the pan thoroughly and apply a thin layer of oil to any part of the dish that may come into contact with food. The type of oil you choose is very important here. Note: It’s best to opt for an oil that has a high smoke point, as you’ll be heating the oil to a high temperature. Avocado oil, palm oil, hazelnut oil, and sesame oil all have high smoke points. Take into account the taste. You want something quite neutral. Coconut oil is a good choice, along with canola, vegetable shortening, or lard – a professional cook’s favorite.
- Use a clean, cotton cloth to gently wipe the pan and remove any excess oil, or any pools of oil. This excess is unnecessary and will actually increase the smoke output when the oil is heated. Never use paper towels for this. They’ll leave small tissue fibers on the stoneware that will become a part of the seasoning.
- Place the pan into an oven that’s been heated to 200 degrees celsius, or 400 degrees fahrenheit. Leave in the oven for 30 minutes, resisting any temptation to open the door and peek. After 30 minutes, remove from the oven and allow to cool.
- Repeat the process 3 more times. This process will build up a good non-stick layer and make cooking with stoneware enjoyable.
What to Cook in Stoneware Dishes?
Of course, the beauty of stoneware pans is that they’re incredibly versatile and you can bake practically anything at all in them. However, when cooking with stoneware for the first few times, it’s important to opt to make foods that are a little on the greasy side, as this will help build up the non-stick coating on the pan.
If you have a stone muffin pan, be creative and try making a savory muffin filled with chorizo sausage – or anything that will release oils and fats when cooked.
The same goes for a loaf pan (try a bacon bread), a cake pan (add nuts with a high fat content), and a roasting dish (oven-cooked fries). Once you’ve successfully built up a non-stick layer, you can begin to branch out in terms of what you cook in your stoneware.
Both home cooks and professional chefs love cooking with stoneware because it’s so simple and produces such amazing results each and every time.
But an uncoated or poorly coated dish is going to cause problems – everything will stick, and your poor cakes will have no bottoms! Seasoning stoneware pans, and looking after that seasoning is very important in looking after this bakeware. Never wash with soaps that can strip the oils, just hot water is all that’s needed,
Remember, if cooking with stoneware is a hassle, then you’re doing it wrong!