One of the most convincing reasons to use stoneware for baking and cooking is its ability to conduct heat evenly. Good cooks know that metal pans can create hot spots that overcook meat and cause it to dry out.
Some appealing aspects of the best stoneware set are its resistance to water and its lack of absorption of juices that keep meat and poultry moist and tender.
Taking a beautifully browned loaf of bread, roast or chicken out of the oven is a joy when it has cooked in a stoneware dish.
Preparing a Nutritious Dish
Appearance is an important aspect of any dish, but it is second in significance to flavor and tenderness.
Many nutrients reside in the juices that are released in the cooking process, and retaining them for use in a sauce contributes to taste and the nutritional value of a meal.
Stoneware excels in both areas, producing tender and flavorful dishes that are eye appealing as well.
Tips on Care & Maintenance
A well used stoneware dining ware piece does not retain the beauty that it had when it was new, but the stains are a tribute to the triumphs that is produces. The first thing a good cook does with a stoneware baking dish is to season it by cooking something that has a high fat content.
With the proper preparation, the best stoneware set transforms into the most favored way to bake or roast favorite dishes in the oven. From the earliest days of developing cooking methods to the high technology that produces them today, cooks have understood that a clay-based container is superior to glass or metal.
Temperatures that are used to fire clay vessels are greater than 2200 degrees Farenheit. Therefore, they can easily withstand the highest heat settings in ovens.
But keep in mind that stoneware reacts negatively to abrupt changes in temperature. It can break if a hot dish comes in contact with a wet or cold surface.
Otherwise, it is nearly indestructible in normal use. Lead-free clay that is used in the manufacture of stoneware contains no toxins, preventing the danger of any harmful substance leaching into food.
Anyone who has marveled at the difference in using stoneware in place of any other vessel for cooking is an advocate for using it.
Decorating a Table in Style
Setting a table with stoneware dinnerware provides many advantages that are not available with china. The firing process hardens it to a point that is resistant to breaking and chipping, adding many years to the life of a favorite set of dishes.
The density of the clay that produces stoneware retains heat and adds to the leisurely enjoyment of a nicely prepared meal.
Plates are usually thicker than those made of porcelain or china, adding to their durability and ability to retain heat. Coffee is never hotter than when it is served in a stoneware mug.
Stoneware dining ware adds a comfortable and casual touch to dining. It is appropriate for a family dinner, guests or a snack in front of the television set. Casual dining is popular in most homes today, and it offers a relaxing environment for meals.
The variety of colors and patterns allows the best stoneware sets to compete with the best china dining wares, both in terms of style as well as beauty. You can expect a table setting that combines them creatively is memorable.
Delicate patterns of flowers are as readily available as bold, solid colors, and many patterns use a contrasting color around the rims. Strikingly beautiful and remarkably serviceable, stoneware offers the best combination of practicality and elegance.
Stoneware works perfectly in your conventional oven, microwave and freezer. But do be caution of exposing your stoneware dishes to drastic temperature changes. It is recommended to avoid extreme changes in temperature.
Setting the oven at 225 degrees Farenheit lets your dish adjust to the heat, and then you can advance the setting. Stoneware cannot handle direct heat from a browning element in your microwave or a heating element on your stove, and it is not for use under your broiler. When you warm a leftover in the microwave, use the smallest size piece of stoneware that fits it.
Withstanding the test of time is not always the best measure of the value of any object, but it does prove something where stoneware is concerned.
Many cultures throughout history have used it if for no other reason than that it was the most available and practical choice. Cooks today choose it from many other options for the reason that it is the best way to bake or cook oven creations and to serve them attractively.
Photo courtesy of Alpha