From pots and clay crocks to clay baking pans, cooking in clay has many benefits, including adding some minerals into foods and neutralizing the food’s acidity.
Therefore, making it easier to digest and even cooking food quicker than tin or Pyrex baking pans.
To learn more about cooking with clay, baking in a clay baking pan, and how to clean your clay baking pan, continue reading below.
What to Use for Cleaning Your Clay Baking Pan
Clay can soak up the bad tastes of detergents, soaps, and cleaning chemicals, so it is essential always to use non-toxic and unscented versions of all-natural products for both your health and the maintenance of your baking pan.
Instead of store-bought chemicals, the best solution to use for cleaning your clay baking pan is a combination of white vinegar and water.
To create this mixture, add 1 part or Tablespoon of vinegar to about 20 parts or Tablespoons of water to a bowl or bucket.
Soak your clay baking pan in this bowl or bucket for anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes. Then, use a soft sponge to scrub the pan.
If you notice that there are stains or dried-on foods that are not coming off with a gentle sponge, consider adding a few drops of dish soap into your vinegar and water mixture.
Then, use a slightly harsher scrubbing sponge to treat the problem spots on your clay baking pan.
Also read: How to Get Melted Plastic Off Pans
Best Clay Baking Pan Cleaning Practices
Even though some people agree that putting strong clay baking trays in the dishwasher on a low setting is acceptable, it is always best to handwash your baking pans to be sure that they will not experience extreme temperature changes, causing breakage.
One important aspect of clay bakeware is its ability to season foods baked in your pan with an earthy essence.
This is a feature that is enjoyed by many but can also be stripped by dishwashing detergents or tough dishwasher settings.
To observe best cleaning practices for your clay baking pan, consider doing the following:
- After serving, remove all food pieces and residue from your pan.
- Allow your baking pan to cool off completely. Refrain from putting it on a cold surface or in the refridgerator.
- Create your water and vinegar mixture in a vessel that is large enough to soak in your pan. Option to add a few drops of gentle, unscented dish soap.
- Scrub your clay baking pan with a gentle sponge after soaking.
- Soak again if needed for at least 15 minutes.
- Scrub with a slightly more abrasive sponge until dried food is removed.
- For food stain removal, continue to clean by sprinkling salt across the bottom of your pan or where the most stains exist.
- Rinse the baking pan with warm water.
- If the stains persist, use a mixture of light baking soda and water to scrub again.
- Rinse with warm water again and let the pan air dry.
- For very stubborn stains and burnt patches, you may pour a little bit of boiling water into the pan after drying.
- Let the baking pan air dry a second time, then store it properly.
The Most Difficult Foods to Clean from Your Baking Pan
Now you know the best ways to clean your dirty, stained, and caked-on clay baking pan.
Next, we’ll talk about which foods are likely to cause the most difficult stains and burnt-on messes.
This will help you know when to bring out heavy-duty clay pan cleaners like scrubber sponges, vinegar, baking soda, and dish soap.
The most difficult and strenuous foods to clean from clay baking pans that tend to burn and stain include:
- Anything containing cheese. This includes macaroni, dairy-heavy casseroles, cheesy pasta bakes, and lasagna.
- Anything containing juicy meat or animal fats such as burgers, meatloaf, sausages, meat casseroles, ham bakes, or meatloaf.
- Quiche dishes that combine flour, eggs, tomato sauce, and cheese. These foods tend to burn easily, especially on the bottom or on the edges. These burns take a lot of effort to remove from clay.
- Food containing turmeric or beats. These two foods are some of the most naturally colorful and easily leach into porous baking pans and cookware like clay or porcelain ceramics.
- Oatmeal crumbles and bakes. These starch-heavy dishes dry like a thick paste and can take on a very hard concrete-like texture if being burnt onto clay, making them challenging to soften and get rid of.
Storing Your Clay Baking Pan to Keep it Clean
After cleaning your clay baking pan, it is important to store it properly so that it remains clean and sanitary for the next use.
To store it well, consider doing so with the baking pan lid inverted. It should be wrapped in a clean dish towel or even in clean paper towels.
Make sure your lid and clay baking pan are completely dry and at room temperature before storing them away.
If you put them away slightly damp or live in a humid climate, mold may likely form on your clay bakeware.
To avoid this happening, you can always store your clay baking pan on an open shelf in an area of your kitchen that receives as much direct sunlight as possible.
The sunlight exposure will help keep your claypan and lid dry while also reducing the number of bacteria that can form on the surface in between baking sessions.
Cooking Responsibly with Your Clay Cookware
To make sure that you can quickly and efficiently clean your clay baking pan, you need to cook responsibly.
This means preparing your clay cookware correctly and for the right amount of time to avoid difficult stains and bad burns or cracks in your baking pan.
Preparing Your Clay Baking Pan for Cooking
To properly prepare your clay baking pan for cooking, the best thing to do is to soak it in water.
The water that you use for your pan should be warm or at room temperature.
Then, you should have the pan soak for at least an hour.
Upon removing the pan from the water before cooking, leave it to air dry completely.
The clay now will be somewhat less porous, and less likely to soak up smells or flavors that later make your clay baking pan harder to clean.
You should repeat this step with the lid of your clay pan.
Using the Right Temperature for Your Clay Baking Pan
Another way to ensure that your clay baking pan can be cleaned without difficulty is always to use the appropriate temperature when using your pan.
This is because if the wrong temperature is used, it can end up cracking and absorbing the food that is being cooked in it, making it extremely difficult to clean.
Since clay is a material that retains smells, tastes, flavors, colors, and food residues quite quickly, the following tips will ensure that your clay baking pan repels these things as much as possible for a shorter cleaning process after your meal:
- Do not touch your baking pan to the sides or the top of the oven. If your oven has two shelves, use the shelf that is furthest from the direct heat source if possible.
- Only use medium or low heat, or stay between 190 degrees Celsius or 374 degrees Fahrenheit and 250 degrees Celsius or 482 Fahrenheit.
- Always start your cooking process on low and gradually turn up the heat every 5 to 10 minutes.
- If using a lid, consider removing it for the last 10 to 20 minutes of your cooking process.
- Do not put cold foods or water in your pan, as it will cause the clay to crack.
- Do not place your clay baking pan on a cold surface or in the fridge right after baking.
A Clean Clay Baking Pan Means Delicious Meals Year-Round
Whether you bake for your family every single night, make weekly egg bakes for Sunday morning breakfast, cook in your clay baking pan occasionally for holidays and special guests, or are a professional chef that enjoys bringing their restaurant kitchen baking techniques into the home, keeping your clay baking pan clean is of utmost importance.
By using responsible baking preparation and cooking techniques, purchasing the right tools for cleaning your baking pan, and opting for gentle and toxin-free cleaning solutions of vinegar, water, and soap, you will ensure that your clay baking pan is always clean.
If you always have a clean baking pan on hand, you will always be prepared to cook delicious meals for your friends, family, and loved ones with the special touch of using clay.
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