Cooking tools abound for cooks of all experience levels. A company that caters to all types of cooks, and even non-cooks, is The Pampered Chef. One of their signature tool lines is their Family Heritage Stoneware that it has been selling since the company began. The key to using stoneware is to properly take care of it to prevent it from cracking and breaking. Properly cared for stoneware will provide years of use for preparing endless amounts of delicious food.
If you're not familiar with The Pampered Chef, it is a direct sales company that has been selling cooking and entertaining tools since 1980. The Pampered Chef's stoneware is made from clay fired at temperatures over 2000 degrees F to create a flavor absorbing surface that evenly bakes food that burns less and tastes delicious.
The Pampered Chef recommends that you cook a high-fat food when you use your stoneware for the first time. Throw a batch of chocolate chip cookies in the oven and you are on your way. As you continue to use the stoneware, you'll notice its color darken. This is a good thing and it means that your stoneware is getting better with each use. You are slowly seasoning it to be a stick-resistant cooking and baking tool. Be sure to also apply a light coating of vegetable oil to the surface of the stoneware to prevent food from sticking.
Cooking and Baking Guidelines
Stoneware can be frozen, refrigerated, cooked in microwave and convection ovens but not used under a broiler or on the stove top. Despite its range of usability, avoid extreme temperature changes. Bring a frozen or refrigerated stoneware to room temperature before placing it in a preheated oven. Follow the same advice in reverse.
The natural makeup of stoneware affects cooking times. It takes longer to heat up so look to add at least a minute or two to cook times and after you remove the stoneware from the oven it will continue to cook the food because it takes longer to cool down as well.
A metal-edged cutting tool will not damage your stone so you can cut your food on it. Anoter suggestion is to protect your hands and kitchen surfaces with heavy heat-resistant pads as stoneware becomes extremely hot and holds high temperatures longer than other cooking pans.
Let your stoneware cool completely before you clean it. You may balk at this, but don't use soap on stoneware or put it in the dishwasher. The reason for this is the soap can change the stone's seasoning. Clean only with hot water and a scraper to remove the excess food. You can soak the stoneware to remove hard baked-on food.
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