Pampered Chef Stoneware is something I never would have used prior to becoming a consultant. As a matter of fact, when I attended my first Pampered Chef show in 1998, I remember hearing the consultant (a perky and petite little blonde woman) talk on and on about “stoneware this” and “stoneware that” and all I could think was, “Yeah right lady, I’m gonna cook on rocks!” I had perforated pizza pans and Airbake cookie sheets, I had metal baking pans and glass baking pans and non-stick baking pans. Why would I buy or use stones to cook on?
Well, when I got my kit and there was a piece of stoneware in the box, I had to try it. How would I tell anyone “stoneware this” and “stoneware that” with a straight face if I had never used it in my own kitchen? So I tried it, and by golly, that little blonde woman was right! I decided to test her claim that it would not transfer flavors from one dish to the next (even though you should never use soap to clean it). So on a Friday night, I made garlic roasted potatoes in my baker and used the scraper that came with the stone and hot water to clean it once it was cooled (I just followed the directions). And the next morning I made cinnamon rolls for my family for breakfast in the same stone. And there was not a hint of garlicky flavor in those rolls! I became a believer.
To use stoneware, just replace your metal or glass baking pan with a stone. If you have a hard time with this change in your kitchen and keep reaching for that old stand-by metal baking pan, put those metal pans away, like hide them under your bed. When you need to bake something and the only thing in your kitchen is your stoneware, you’ll pull it out and use it. And eventually, you’ll find those pans under your bed collecting dust bunnies. When you first take your brand new stone out of the box, you will find the Use & Care Instructions and a little brown Pan Scraper.
These scrapers clean crusty bits of food off your stone with hot water and a little scraping. You can get your own set of three pan scrapers separately if you like. They also do about a zillion other things, but that’s another blog post.
So, yes, you did read that right. You clean the stone with a little scraper and hot water. And that’s it. No you don’t use soap or put it in the dishwasher. Why? Well, because dish soap has ingredients that are surfactants and they will cling to the pores on the surface of your stone as well as the seasoning on the surface and then the soap can get into your food. You do not want to eat soap. It will be a very bad thing, trust me. But what about the food? What about meat or bacteria or germs?! Oh my! Here’s why you don’t need to worry. Everything that you cook on a stone comes out cooked. Right? Hopefully, you used common sense and a thermometer to make sure something like raw chicken that went into the oven to bake (or into the microwave) is at 165⁰ when it comes out of the oven. If the chicken is cooked to temperature and is safe enough to eat then everything on the stone is cooked and there are no “raw” chicken residues to worry about.
This is true for Pampered Chef Stoneware, although it may not be true for other stones you can find. I have heard of so called “pizza stones” that are so porous that the juices from meats can soak into the stone. Once they’re in the stone, how do you get them out? Those juices can become rancid. Then they can cook and bubble up into your food the next time you use them. That’s really gross. Pampered Chef stoneware has very tiny pores and they are only on the surface. The stone is solid and cannot absorb your food or juices from meats. This is really important. There are also other types of stone or clay bakers that have to be soaked in water (again a porous texture) before you can bake with them. That is not needed nor helpful with Pampered Chef stoneware. Reading the Use & Care instructions that come with your stone (inside every box) will help with all of the details.
Natural Cleaners – For those who like to have things squeaky clean and that hot water thing just isn’t working for you, there are 4 natural cleaners (probably in your kitchen right now) that can be used. White Vinegar is the first. You have heard of it being used for other things. It does a nice job of getting greasy or sticky foods off your stones too. Lemon Juice will do the same thing. If you are using a fresh lemon, cut the lemon in half and just rub the cut side on the stoneware. If you have something stuck on, dip the cut lemon in some coarse or Kosher Salt first. Or you can rub the salt against the stone with your hand or a scrub brush (but you might set aside that brush for stoneware only so it doesn’t have soap on it). The fourth thing you can use is Baking Soda. Same thing as with the salt, it is an abrasive but will not remove the seasoning on your stone’s surface.
Finally, if you are still not feeling like your stone is clean and you want to make really sure, go ahead and bake it again in the oven. Bake the bare stone for about 10 minutes at 350⁰ and you will for sure have the cleanest stone you can have and the seasoning on the stone won’t be removed. If you want to enhance the seasoning at this point, rub a little cooking oil or shortening on the cooking surface before baking the stone bare – you’ll have a seasoned stone much sooner.
Remember that as the stone seasons, it will darken (sometimes in irregular patches) and eventually become very dark brown or even black. This is when your stone is like gold! Just like grandma’s cast iron skillet. And it will become non-stick as it seasons as well. This is one of the best things about stoneware – you won’t have to grease the pan, or use extra fats or oils to keep your food from sticking. The seasoning process occurs when some of the fats and oils from your food adhere to the pores on the surface. This is another reason you don’t want to use soap – you want that seasoning to build up over time. Don’t try to remove the darkening spots on the stone or you will have to start the seasoning process all over. The first few times you use the stone, you can rub some cooking oil or shortening over the cooking surface to begin the seasoning. Or, cooking something very high in fat for the first few uses also will help. Crescent rolls and bacon are in the “very high in fat” category and are great things to start with. Just be sure to only use bacon in a stone that has sides on it – the grease will run off the edge of a flat stone.
Lastly, there are our glazed stones. This Large White Round Stone with Handles is very versatile and it’s such a beautiful serving piece as well. Speaking of serving, when you cook on a stone, the stone holds the heat long after you take it out of the oven. This means that your food will stay nice and warm on the stone for quite a while. You can actually eat your first slice of pizza and when you come back for seconds, the pizza will still be hot! With glazed stones, there can be some discoloration that occurs on the glaze from foods that get baked on. There’s a certain bald guy’s magical scrubbing thingy that can erase those spots, if you know what I mean.
So, of course, now I have a ton of Pampered Chef stoneware in my kitchen and gave away almost all of my metal and glass baking pans. PC stones have changed how I bake and how I cook in the microwave (yes, they’re microwave safe). If you’d like to start or add to your stoneware collection, I would love to help you do that! You can shop here or contact me here to host a show and earn your stoneware at a discount or even get some for free. And the best part is, if it’s not as great as I’ve told you, stoneware comes with a three year guarantee so you can return it. I’m sure though, once you try it, you’ll find out like I did that the little blonde lady was right after all.
Ready to start cooking on stoneware or add another piece to your collection? Click HERE to shop now.
Happy Stoneware Cooking,