December 04, 2015

Using Your Handcrafted Pots in the Oven

Once you start using handcrafted dinnerware and other products made by man, it can be difficult to avoid the desire to incorporate other artisan pieces into your kitchen ensemble. That helps to explain why manmade pottery dishes are not the only handcrafted kitchen items that are enjoying a period of resurgence in popularity. Clay pots are also drawing new attention, as more and more people report on just how useful they are for their kitchen adventures. Many are now even using them in their baking efforts, but others have some concerns about putting clay in the oven. The fact is that there are a few things you should know about using your handcrafted pots in the oven.


The first thing to know is that cooking with clay pots, roasters, and casserole dishes is safe. For some who are unfamiliar with these cooking tools, the notion that you could bake something in a container made by hand might seem somewhat dangerous from a health standpoint. Keep in mind, however, that mankind has been cooking with these pots and pans for many centuries. Moreover, you can put them in the oven regardless of whether or not they are glazed!


Of course, there is also the concern about the high heat in an oven. Many people who are fairly unfamiliar with how pottery is made might find it counterintuitive to place a kiln-fired piece of pottery back into a high-heat environment. After all, they might ask, won’t that simply cause the pot to collapse and lose its form – or shatter?


While that might make sense in some respects, the fact is that the heat in your home oven doesn’t even begin to approach the temperatures used in kilns. These pottery pieces are typically fired at temperatures in excess of 1,000 degrees! As a result, they can easily handle the much lower heat contained within your oven.


With that said, there are always risks associated with any handmade items. For example, you never want to take a handcrafted dish directly from the refrigerator and place it in a preheated oven. The sudden and dramatic change in temperature can cause the pot to crack. Instead, do one of two things:

  1. Allow the dish to come to room temperature before placing it in a preheated oven (something that is usually not possible when the dish contains cold food; or

  2. Place the refrigerated dish in the oven before you turn it on and allow it to warm up as the oven warms. Simply add another ten minutes or so to your timer.

Clay cookware offers a variety of benefits that other materials can’t even begin to match. Food tends to warm more evenly, and stays moister than it will when cooked in a metal dish. The best part is that using these oven dishes is far simpler than most people imagine. That makes them a great complement to anyone who owns handcrafted dinnerware that includes plates, cups, bowls, and other products like those contained in the Gaia Collection.