Stoneware - why?
I didn't discover stoneware until 5 years ago, when I began my business as a Pampered Chef consultant. Let me save you the heartache of overdone edges and underdone middles on your brownies and lasagna; cookies that look done on top but are burnt on the bottom; and biscuits that could double as hockey pucks!
Posted by: THE PAMPERED CHEF LTD. on February 19, 2006 at 8:57 PM - Permalink
Family Heritage Stoneware from The Pampered Chef is fired at temperatures over 2000 (yes, 2000) degrees farenheit which makes the stone safe to use with any food. Many of the pizza or baking stones you find at discount retailers cannot be used to make high fat foods such as cookies, crescent rolls, biscuits, etc. So, what I share with you here applies ONLY to Pampered Chef stoneware. Do not use these tips with other stones you might have. Refer to your manufacturers' guidelines.
Because stones absorb and retain heat evenly from the beginning of the cook time, the result is more evenly baked foods. Stoneware produces crisp crusts with less risk of burning, baked goods with moist interiors, and juicy, flavorful meats.
While the oven should be pre-heated before baking foods, never pre-heat a Pampered Chef stone empty as it may cause the stone to crack or break. Another "threat" to your stone is use over a direct heat source or flame or under the broiler.
Pampered Chef stones do not require seasoning before use. It is recommended that for the first few uses, you bake high fat items such as dinner rolls or crescent rolls or a batch of cookies on the stone. Alternatively, you can give the stone a light coat of cooking oil (vegetable, olive, canola - whatever you use) by drizzling it on then brushing with a pastry brush or spread it around with a paper towel. NEVER use non-stick cooking sprays. The aerosols in the spray leave the surface of a stone tacky after cooking and you'll have ruined the non-stick property of the stone. You only need to oil the stone lightly the first 3 or 4 times you use it. After that, just place the food on the stone and put it in your pre-heated oven.
Frozen, pre-cooked foods such as pizza, chicken nuggets, french fries, fish sticks, etc. can be placed directly on the stone - no thawing necessary and no turning required during cooking! Thick dense frozen foods such as chicken pieces, fish fillets or pork chops should be thawed completely before baking.
Use the same baking times and temperatures with stones as you would with other bakeware. Foods that require a short baking time (10 mins or less) may need an extra 1 to 2 minutes.
Stones are microwave safe and can be used in a convection over as well.
Stones become extremely hot in the oven and stay hot for a longer period of time than other bakeware. This is great when you're going back for the second slice of pizza as the stone has kept it hot, but do use caution around the stone.
Foods may be cut and served directly from stones. Knives or other metal edges will not harm the surface.
Cleaning stones is easy. Once the stone has cooled completely, rinse under hot running water and scrape off any excess food using the nylon pan scraper (supplied with our stones) or kitchen brush. Never use soap! If necessary, to freshen your stone, make a paste of 1 tablespoon of baking soda and warm water, the use this to wash the stone with a white wash cloth or kitchen brush.
My favorite, all purpose stone is my Stoneware Bar Pan - essentially sized like a jelly roll pan (10" x 15 1/2") with a 1 inch high edge the whole way around. It's perfect as a cookie sheet, but because it has sides, I can also use it for brownies and bar cookies. I can also use it to create one-dish meals such as chicken breasts and roasted veggies or for pizza. It's also perfect for "baking" pancakes with no flipping or turning needed (yes, in the oven, at 350 degrees for about 20 mins - everyone has a hot, square pancake after cutting at the same time) and bacon (no more messy cooktops and walls for me to clean after making bacon on the cooktop).
I can share tons of ideas with you on how best to choose the right size piece of stoneware and simple to make, looks like you fussed recipes.