No matter how current the design of your kitchen is, it should have at least one cooking pot made of clay.
Your diet will not only become higher quality and more nutritious as a result of this, but you will also find that cooking will become less stressful and more enjoyable.
The use of clay pots for food preparation has recently become popular once again, not only in private homes’ kitchens but also in upscale dining establishments.
Because the method of cooking is somewhat distinct from more conventional techniques, you are going to need to be familiar with how to properly use clay cooking pans.
Let’s get started!
- Preparing a Clay Pan before First Use
- Seasoning a Clay Pan
- Cooking in Clay Pans
- Cooking Tips and Techniques for Clay Pans
- What You Can Cook in a Clay Pan
- How to Clean a Clay Cooking Pots/Pans
- Storing Your Clay Cooking Pans
Preparing a Clay Pan before First Use
Unglazed clay pans require some preparation before you use them. Follow these steps:
- At least one hour should be spent with your clay pot submerged in a bucket of clean water.
- You are free to keep it in the sink overnight, provided that it is completely submerged in water.
- Remove the pan from the water and ensure that it is completely dry.
Seasoning a Clay Pan
You need to season your clay pan on a consistent basis if you want to continue to have food that has a unique flavor and the greatest nutritious content for a long time.
The straightforward process of making the pan more crack-resistant and hardened results in an increase in its longevity.
In addition to this, it assists in getting rid of the first clay smell, which some users find to be off-putting.
Before using the pan for the first time, you need to wipe out any portions of the pan that are not glazed and then coat it with a very thin coating of vegetable or olive oil.
After that, add clean water to the pan until it is three quarters full and cover it with a lid. Put it in the oven and turn the temperature up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit when you turn it on.
It should be baked for at least two and up to three hours before the heat is turned off. It is necessary to let the pan to room temperature before using it again.
After that, you should wash it with clean water and then keep it in a dry, cold location.
Cooking in Clay Pans
Cooking pans that have not been glazed are not hazardous to use in ovens or microwaves.
There are labels clearly shown on the ones that can only be used for cooking on the grill or on the cooktop.
Before you purchase a clay pan, it is essential that you ensure you give the instructions that come with the product careful attention.
On the package itself, you’ll also find instructions on how to clean and maintain the pan in the event that you misplace them.
When you cook with clay pots or pans, you have to adhere to a certain set of guidelines.
Before You Start Cooking
It is necessary to submerge the clay cooking pan and its lid in water for a period of fifteen minutes before beginning the preparation of the meal.
Be certain that it is completely submerged in water so that the unglazed, porous pan can take in the maximum amount of moisture possible.
When you first begin to warm the pan over a low flame, clay will begin to release steam. This is an indication that your food has started to cook at a low temperature. The food is protected from drying out thanks to the steam.
When using a clay pan for cooking, you are able to keep the natural juices and flavors of the food you are preparing while also preserving all of the vital nutrients and vitamins.
When using a clay pan to cook, it is essential to ensure that the appropriate temperature is maintained throughout the process. The likelihood of the pan cracking is increased whenever there is a rapid change in the temperature.
If you are using an oven, you should always make sure to keep your clay pan in the middle of the oven so that it can heat up gradually alongside the oven. Never bring the pan into contact with the oven’s walls under any circumstances.
Clay pots and pans, on the other hand, should never be heated any higher than a medium or low flame when used for cooking. This is one of the most significant differences between cooking with clay cookware and conventional cookware. To achieve the best results, it is best to begin with a low heat and then gradually raise the temperature over the course of five to ten minutes.
Clay cooking pans should be baked at an oven temperature between 190 and 250 degrees Celsius, according to recommendations. You are free to pick the temperature that works best for the recipe.
You need to be prepared to compensate for the additional time it will take for the oven to heat up due to the fact that clay baking pans do not heat up as fast or as much as metal baking pans do.
You will probably need to extend the cooking time by 20 to 30 minutes beyond what is typical.
When dealing with clay pans, the temperature of the oven should be set on average 40 degrees Celsius higher than what it is normally set at. This is to ensure that the clay doesn’t burn throughout the baking process.
Consider reducing the temperature if the dish needs a longer period of time to cook.
On the other hand, if you want your food to turn out brown and crisp, consider removing the cover for the last 10–20 minutes of cooking time. This will give your food a chance to brown.
Warning: Under NO circumstances can ice water be added to a clay pot that has already been heated.
The surface of the pan will get crazed as a result of this. If you find that you need to add water to the pan while you are cooking, make sure that the water you add is warm so that there is not a sudden and significant shift in the temperature.
When you have finished preparing the meal,
After the meal has finished cooking, you need to remove the clay cooking pan from the oven in a cautious manner.
For your own protection and the protection of others around you, you should never handle the pan or remove it from the oven without first donning oven gloves or baker’s pads.
After removing the pan from the oven, place it on a heat-resistant trivet or wooden board so that it may continue to radiate heat. After removing it from the oven, you should never put it in the sink to wash.
Even if you plan to put it on a different surface, you should still make sure that it is not cold or wet.
Carefully removing the lid will prevent you from being scalded by the steam as it builds up inside the pot.
Cooking Tips and Techniques for Clay Pans
- Before using the pan, it must first be soaked in cold water for ten to fifteen minutes.
- To avoid the pan breaking as a result of the sudden change in temperature, DO NOT place it in an oven that has been warmed.
- Baking anything at high temperatures, between 400 and 450 degrees Fahrenheit, will gradually turn the moisture into steam.
- When using clay bowls, pots, and pans for cooking, additional fats are not required. In the event that you plan on preparing meals using a microwave, you might season them with additional fats.
- On top of the stove, clay pots and pans should never be used to prepare food.
- During the cooking process, avoid adding excessive amounts of liquids in order to prevent the pot from being overfilled. This is because the food itself will release liquids as it cooks.
- If you want to avoid the pan splitting, you shouldn’t put a hot pan on a cold surface.
- The clay pot or pan will continue to cook even after you have finished the cooking process and removed it from the oven since clay is an excellent heat retainer. Either include this into the total amount of time you plan to spend cooking the meal, or remove it as soon as the pan is removed from the oven.
What You Can Cook in a Clay Pan
Taking into consideration that food is prepared in a clay pan using steam and high temperatures, certain dishes lend themselves particularly well to this style of cooking.
The following is a short list of dishes that are suitable for cooking in a clay pot.
- Baked potatoes
- Stews and casseroles
- Turkeys, chickens, and ducks together with their internal organs and veggies
- Vegetable ragouts with ratatouille
- puddings made with bread
- Bread made with whole grains
- Baked cheese
A clay pan has the tendency to absorb the flavors of the food being cooked in it due to the porous nature of the clay and its high absorption capacity. Therefore, if you are going to be cooking fish or anything else that has a robust flavor, make sure that you soak the pan for a longer period of time after you are finished cooking.
How to Clean a Clay Cooking Pots/Pans
It is advised that you wash a clay pan by hand, despite the fact that some people think that you can use a dishwasher to clean a clay pan.
Clay cookware may have its seasoning worn off if it is subjected to strong detergents and temperatures that are too high. This can cause the surface to become damaged.
When you have finished cooking with your pan, remove it from the oven and set it on a surface that can withstand heat for a few minutes before moving it to a cool surface at room temperature.
Once it has reached its final temperature, place it in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes so that any food residue or baked-on particles may be removed.
If you believe that the food stains will not come out easily, you could want to try cleaning them with hot water that does not include any detergent and a soft abrasive pad.
After cooking, if potent odors of food are left behind, you can get rid of them by pouring warm water into the pan and then adding two tablespoons of baking soda to it. This should do the trick. Put it to the side and let it at least 15 minutes to soak in the liquid before you return to it.
In addition, you can give earthenware clay cooking pans a thorough cleaning as well as a general cleaning by soaking them in warm water mixed with baking soda for an entire night.
Baking soda should be added at the rate of three teaspoons for every liter of water. Scrubbing the surface of the pan with a bristly, soft brush or a pad made of a material other than metal is one option.
To prevent the pores from becoming clogged, DO NOT use any cleaning powders that include abrasives.
Use of salt as a non-toxic cleaning option is preferable to the use of chemical cleaners wherever possible.
To clean the surface of the pan quickly and easily, just sprinkle some salt on it and then scrape it lightly with a scouring pad. After giving it a last rinse in some warm water, let it air dry.
In the event that you discover mold development on your stored clay pan, sprinkle some baking soda over it and then wash it in warm water to remove the baking soda. Scrubbing with a soft brush in a gentle manner will make it easier to remove the mold.
In addition, if you notice that the pores of your earthenware cooking pans have become clogged, you should place the pan in a pot of boiling water and cook it for thirty minutes.
Clay cookware should never be cleaned with soap or detergent because the pores in the clay will allow the soap to be absorbed.
Detergents have a soapy taste and an unpleasant flavor that may linger behind on your pan. This is the case the majority of the time.
Because of this, the food that you cook in a clay pot the next time will smell and taste somewhat like soap.
Aside from this, kindly take into consideration the possibility that your clay pan will become darker with use, thereby retaining stains and scorch marks. However, this should not affect its qualities as a cooking ingredient.
Storing Your Clay Cooking Pans
After you have finished using a clay pan for cooking and cleaning it, you need to ensure that it is completely dry in order to avoid mold from growing within the pan.
When storing your clay pan, the lid must remain off at all times in order to provide the freest possible flow of air.
You also have the option of turning the lid upside down and inserting a clean paper towel in the space between the cover and the pan in order to prevent the surface from chipping.
It is advised that you keep your clay cookware in places that are dry and have enough ventilation.
Clay pots and pans make it far simpler to not only prepare food but also clean up afterward as compared to more traditional metal and nonstick cookware.
You don’t need to worry about food sticking to the surface of clay pots and pans because they are naturally non-stick. This frees you up to focus on preparing delicious meals. Y
You only need to be aware of how they should be used, and your time spent in the kitchen will be transformed as a result.
Can all clay pots be used for cooking?
Therefore, the cookware ought to be made of unadulterated clay. An evaluation of the product’s purity must be carried out both before and after the manufacturing process. Earthenware made from unfired pure clay that has not been glazed can be used without risk. When you do cook food inside of them, however, there are a lot of companies that make glazed clay cookware to help reduce the amount of leaking that occurs.
Can you cook with clay pots on stove?
On the top of the stove, clay pots should not be used at any time. When adding liquids to the pot, do it with caution since any meal you prepare may release liquids, and you do not want the pot to get full. Clay is an excellent heat insulator, which means that if you remove a pot from the oven, it will continue to cook even after you remove it.
Is it healthy to cook in clay pots?
Because clay is naturally alkaline, it reacts with the acidity of the meal to neutralize the pH balance and make it healthier. This process also makes the food more flavorful. Because they can withstand high temperatures and the meal takes a long time to cook, ingredients like vegetables allow for less oil to be used.
How do you clean clay pots after cooking?
At a minimum of 15 minutes, the cookware should be allowed to soak. Put the clay pot in the sink overnight with some water that has been combined with baking soda for a thorough cleaning on a general and deeper level. Baking soda should be added at a rate of 3 teaspoons per liter of boiling water. Clean it with a brush with soft bristles or a scrubbing pad made of a material other than metal.
What is the disadvantage of earthenware?
Clay pots provide a unique challenge when it comes to temperature control because of their porous nature. They are susceptible to breaking if there is an abrupt shift in temperature. Therefore, while cooking with them, you need to gradually increase the temperature until it reaches the desired level. Due to the fact that clay is a porous material, cleaning a clay pot with detergent is not recommended.