The number one rule with stoneware baking pans is: Never wash them with soap! The stoneware is extremely porous, so if you wash it with soap, it will flavor anything you cook on it after that with soap. Just run hot water over it and scrape food residue off with a pot brush or plastic scraper. And always remember to allow the stone to cool completely before washing so it doesn't crack. You do not not necessarily need to pre heat the stone when you cook with it, in fact that would do bad things to the outcomes of some recipes. Also, the first few times you cook on it, remember to either cook things with very high fat content or grease liberally, no matter what you are cooking. This will aid the stone in becoming a non- stick surface; over time, you won't ever need to grease it. I highly recommend checking out http://www.pamperedchef.com The Pampered Chef not only makes the best stone cookware, they also sell great recipe books using the stoneware. (05/25/2005)
Actually, I put a non-preheated baking stone into a pre-heated oven and it cracked within a few minutes. I had been told to always preheat, and was negligent that time. I definitely recommend preheating the stone! (05/25/2005)
Chickpea, if the stone that cracked was Pampered Chef they will replace it.I think when my daughter cracked mine she preheated the stone and put a frozen pizza on it. I personally never preheat my stone,but I use it mostly for biscuits or a taco ring so there's no guarantee that someday it won't. If you have as much as a piece of it you've kept they will replace it.I had my two pieces and got a brand new stone.They sell little brown plastic scrapers for about $1,to get off the cheese,etc,and I just rinse it off. I really do love their products. (05/25/2005)
Actually, what I had said was that you do not (i)necessarily(/i) have to preheat a stone.
Sometimes it is necessary, most times it is not. Especially if you are going to be putting food that is cold to start with on it. Basically you want to avoid extreme temperature changes to avoid cracking, just like with glass bakeware.
I would not recommend making cookies on a stone. With cookies, you're usually cooking several batches and so you've got to pull the stone out of the oven, get the cookies off, and put it back in. The stone stays hot for a long time, so when you pull the first batch out, the cookies won't cool! You'll probably have quite a time getting the hot gooey cookies off the hot stone. Then when you start putting the next batch of dough on, you'll notice the cookies starting to melt before it's even back in the oven! That's because the stone is still so hot, and that will make your cookies flatter. I cook my cookies on an aluminum or steel cookie sheet, sometimes with parchment paper. In between batches I rinse off the sheet to cool it. See http://www.well.com/~vard/cookies.html for some good cookie tips.
And about the greasy substance, make sure you're not using soap. Read the other posts about that. (01/04/2007)
Before first using a stone, do you soak in cold water for 45 minutes? (06/19/2007)
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