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How To Cook With Ceramic Flameware Stovetop Cookware

Cooking in clay pots results in better tasting food.  But traditionally, stoneware pots could only be used in the oven.  When Paula Wolfert started working on her book “Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking” she was looking for a US Flameware Spanish Cazuela by Clay Coyote Potterypotter to make stoneware that would also go on a direct flame stovetop.  She put us in touch with Bill Sax who was extremely generous with his knowledge and experience with this type of ware.

We’ve worked well over 2 years now developing, perfecting and testing a stoneware based, ceramic stovetop cookware that will take a direct flame.  In doing this, we’ve learned a lot about how to best use this somewhat new type of skillets, pans, casseroles and specialty cookware.

It’s fairly well established, if not scientifically, that food tastes better when cooked in clay.  Actually, way back when,  the concept of cooking foods and combining ingredients, was essentially made possible by the discovery of clay as a material from which to make cookware.

Today there is a lot of cookware available made from lower fired earthenware based pottery.  Some of it is capable of  use on a stovetop.  Much of this is imported to the US from Mediterranean countries, Japan, Mexico and China.

What I’m talking about in this post is a relatively new (25 or so years) type of clay similar to stoneware, but formulated to withstand the thermal shock of use on a direct flame without any flame spreader or other protection.  So here we go:

Flameware_Saucepan_OatmealThe biggest single thing that makes flameware different is that it is an insulator compared to any other cooking utensils.  Glass is the  only thing close.  This insulating attribute is what separates it from other cookware and what requires some different handling and procedures.

WHEN HEAT IS PUT IN…It goes all the way through.  With a metal pan, you typically turn the flame up to get the pan hot, then turn it down for cooking.  The pan loses heat almost immediately.  With flameware, you go directly to the cooking temperature.  If you turn the flame high to start with, that heat will go “thru” the pot and probably burn the food.

TURN HEAT DOWN OR OFF EARLY…the heat capacity of ceramic pots means they hold heat for several minutes.  If you need to reduce heat, do so a couple of minutes early.  If you are turning the heat off, do so before the dish is done, or remove it from the pan.

HANDLES WON”T GET HOT…unless you put flame directly on them or put the pot in the oven.

NO NEED TO PRE-TREAT  or SEASON FLAMEWARE POTS…With most earthenware pots (especially unglazed)  pre-treatment is needed, either to prepare for cooking (typically soaking) or before cooking (seasoning).  A little oil for cooking is all that’s needed.

FLAMEWARE WORKS ON ALL TYPES OF STOVES…gas, conventional electric burner, glass top (both coil and halogen) and all ovens.  To use it on an induction stove, you will need a metal induction heat source.  You will NOT need a flame spreader or diffuser on any of these although you certainly can use one.

The reason for using a diffuser is that, being an insulator, the heat comes through the flameware in a more localized pattern and can, if the food isn’t stirred regularly, burn the dish.

CLEAN UP IS EASY…soak in water for a while and most food will scrub away.  It’s not quite non-stick, but it is easy clean.  If you burn something on, we’ve found the easiest clean-up is a spray with E-Z Off oven cleaner, let it sit a half hour and wipe clean.  You can use any green scrubby, Brillo pad or scouring pad.  Dishwasher cleaning is fine.

GO FROM STOVE TO OVEN TO TABLE…no need to dirty an extra pan to Alforno 3combine sauteed ingredients with sauces, vegetables and meats.  Do it all in one!  Saute first, add other ingredients, liquids and cover and cook on the stovetop (ala a tagine) or slip into the oven to finish cooking.

Once you get used to cooking with flameware, you’ll find yourself reaching for it more and more.

About claycoyote

Full time potter for 15 years. Previously advertising and marketing. Our focus is on practical handmade pottery.

Comments

  1. My mother and I just purchased Longaberger flameware skillets and have cooked 3 meals in it so far…all three have burned and stuck to the bottom of the skillet. One was sausage links, another was fried eggs and the third was potatoes. Any helpful hints would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    • I’ve nevercooked on the Longaburger pieces, and don’t know the specific clay body and glazes they use, but, on our flameware, the people who have had burning problems, are using too high a flame to start with. Refer to our article on Cooking with Flmeware, for my tips from 6 years of testing while we developed Flameware.

  2. Sorry for the long delay. The old Corningware was almost pure glass. When glass (silica) is in a crystal form as it is in most ceramic cookware, it expands and contracts with heating and cooling. When it is fully melted (amorphous) and has been properly cooled (tempered or annealed) it no longer does that. You can’t completely get rid of expansion, but you can get it so low, it will take direct heat and sudden cooling. Even Corningware had to be treated with some care. While they never released how it was done, the technology would suggest it’s a combination of the glass formulation and how it was melted.
    The flameware clay body has more alumina in it which is why it is opaque (claylike). The melting agent in this body is a combination of spodumene, custer feldspar and iron oxide. Together they turn almost all the silica into amorphous glass.

  3. Terrence Boring says:

    Could you say something about the differences between your Flameware and the old Corningware (they called it Pyroceram)? I mean in cooking efficiency or quality. I have many clay pots and some Corningware from long ago, but your products look very interesting. Thanks.

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  1. FLAMEWARE! says:

    [...] it comes, new CERAMIC FLAMEWARE from Clay Coyote Pottery. It’s ceramic cookware for stovetop cooking! We’ve spent nearly [...]

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