Over the years, the world of cookware and bakeware has seen unprecedented growth. Not all that long ago, home kitchens across the United States were largely equipped with cast iron pans, wooden spoons, and ceramic bowls, and cooks’ repertoires didn’t expand far beyond those basic staples. That’s no longer the case. New products are constantly entering the cookware market, each of which claims to be the next best thing. Obviously, not all of them live up to their claims, leading to countless dashed hopes and disastrous cooking experiences.
Enter Stone Cookware
Stone cookware is one of the most recent options to gain attention in the realm of cooking. It boasts a long list of potential benefits, and many chefs, both professional and home-based, swear by these pots and pans. Are they really all they’re cracked up to be, though? Do they really lead to better results in the kitchen? Do their true benefits justify their cost? Let’s take a closer look at stone frying pans and other cookware to answer those questions and many others people may have about this realm of the kitchen equipment sector.
Looking Back Through History
In all honesty, stone cookware isn’t a new concept. It actually dates back thousands of years. Early humans are said to have used stones for cooking long before actual cookware was invented. Once people discovered stone’s ability to retain heat, the evolution of this material and its role in the kitchen was inevitable. Historians say it took centuries for humans to develop distinct cookware made of various types of stone.
Many of the stoneware products on the market today offer a blend of new and time-tested materials for optimal advantages in the kitchen. Because of that, experts warn chefs to conduct ample research before buying. Some products that claim to be stoneware may not really qualify for this category of cookware at all. Read on to learn more about today’s stoneware and why it may be just the tool cooks need to expand their culinary horizons.
What Is Stoneware?
Today, the category of stoneware includes several types of cookware and bakeware. Some are made of metal with some type of mineral coating. They’re often composed of aluminum cores coated with ceramic or porcelain. Their surfaces may also contain stone particles depending on the manufacturer. Certain pots and pans are solely made of fired clay. All these products certainly qualify as stoneware due to their composition. As such, they provide many of the benefits this type of cookware has become famous for.
As noted, the category of stoneware has greatly expanded over time. Many of the products currently gaining acclaim follow the previously mentioned manufacturing process. They begin as standard aluminum or stainless-steel pans. From there, they’re given a stone finish. This is often made of granite particles though other minerals can be used as well. If designed properly with the highest level of quality in mind, they can serve chefs just as well as their counterparts.
Why Use Stone Cookware?
That brings us to the question on many people’s minds: Why use stone cookware? With so many options on the market, what makes stone cookware stand out? People who have already brought these pots and pans into their kitchens rave about their many strong suits. They can offer a variety of culinary benefits. Consider some of the reasons stone cookware has gained so much acclaim.
Even heating is one of the main advantages of stone cookware. Many pots and pans have specific hot and cool spots with the former often being directly in the center. That means they may burn the meats and veggies near the center of the pan while those around the edges remain undercooked. That center hot spot tends to be the area where foods stick as well. With the right technique, stone cookware doesn’t pose that problem. Foods cook evenly inside and out.
This benefit extends beyond pots and frying pans. A range of stone bakeware is also available. Even heating can be particularly helpful when baking cakes, cookies, and breads. Few issues are more frustrating than putting a great deal of time and effort into creating baked goods only to have them bake unevenly. Cakes, breads, and other baked treats that are burned around the edges and undercooked in the center make for less-than-optimal results. That applies to taste, texture, and appearance.
Food doesn’t stick to stone cookware and bakeware the way it can to other pots and pans, either. Countless chefs have experienced the horrors of trying to pry delicate foods off of cookware, tearing it to shreds in the process. Let’s not overlook the frustrations of cake layers falling apart when trying to turn them out of their pans as well. On top of all that, when foods stick while cooking or baking, it can ruin the pots and pans as much as the dishes themselves.
Keep in mind, like many other products, stoneware requires a certain amount of seasoning to maximize its non-stick nature. That entails coating the cookware with some type of fat and heating it for a time. Multiple seasonings may be required for the best results even if the cookware claims to be pre-seasoned. This takes a little time and effort, but it’s well worth it in the long run.
Stone cookware is also incredibly durable. Many non-stick pots and pans only last a short time before succumbing to damage or wear and tear. Having flecks of non-stick coating separate from a pan and become embedded in food can be disconcerting. It’s not exactly safe, either. People don’t have to worry about that with stone cookware. Though it may begin to chip after several years of use, it won’t scrape off the pots and pans and make its way into users’ meals.
Equipping a Kitchen with Stoneware
Stone bakeware and cookware can give chefs the upper hand in the kitchen. It’s extremely versatile in terms of different uses and the range of products on the market. It lasts for years and helps to avoid the common problem of sticking to name a few of its benefits. Though stone cookware requires a bit of care and maintenance, it’s certainly rising to the tops of the popularity charts where it was long before the cookware market reached its current status.