Stoneware is siliceous paste, containing silica, fired at a high temperature to form hard pottery that can be used in cooking. The material is heavier and darker than porcelain or terra-cotta cookware. The unique combination of a nonporous surface and the ability to withstand high temperatures makes stoneware baking pans or other kitchen products ideal for cooking and serving.
Stoneware is made from textured white clay that is stronger than regular clay used in porcelain or other ceramics. It is coated with a glaze and fired at extreme temperatures to create a glazed cooking pan. It can withstand high oven temperatures and is sturdy and chip resistant. Stoneware can handle a wide range of temperature changes and can be used in the refrigerator, microwave or dishwasher. Refrigerated foods in stoneware baking pans can be placed directly from the refrigerator into the oven. While stoneware is extremely durable, it will break if dropped.
Easy to Clean
Because glazed stoneware is nonporous and coated with an enameled surface, it is easy to clean -- food does not stick to the surface -- and it does not scratch. The enameled surface also ensures that it will not retain stains or absorb moisture, which can cause pans to smell. Unlike coated cooking pans, stoneware pans can be cleaned using scrubbing brushes.
Stoneware cooking pans do not absorb flavors from foods, which can affect other types of ingredients flavors. Food flavors are unaltered when using stoneware-baking pans. This allows the natural food flavors to mix while cooking without being affected by the cookware.
Stoneware is made from clay and comes in many bright colors. The clay itself tends toward the gray color, but it can be glazed in many colors including white. It is an opaque material and cannot be made into a transparent baking dish. Stoneware baking dishes come in all shapes and sizes, from round baking pans to oblong baking dishes with easy-grip handles.
Safe Cooking Material
Glazed stoneware baking pans made in the United States and Canada do not use glazes that contain lead, cadmium or other harmful substances, which makes it a safe cooking material. It does not outgas -- or release into the air -- any harmful substances like some coated nonstick pans do when heated in the oven. Always follow the manufacturer's recommended use and handling instructions.
Article written by Caroline Thompson at LiveStrong.com, May 11, 2011