Dutch Oven Basics
The Dutch oven has been used as a reliable piece of cooking equipment for hundreds of years. The earliest kind were clay pots that came with lids which were placed in heated coals in the same manner that people can cook with Dutch ovens today.
During the colonial period, the Dutch oven was a valued family heirloom, passed from one generation to the next, since during those times, it was illegal for people in the colonies to make iron objects.
Items like Dutch ovens, or any article made from metal, had to be brought from England, and these items often cost a lot of money. Because of this, cooking equipment, like the varying types of Dutch ovens, were typically inherited by family members.
The popularity of the Dutch oven and other cast-iron cooking equipment waned following the introduction of lightweight, more advanced materials in the 1940s. From the manufacture of cookware, the non-stick finish was introduced. Luckily, cast-iron cooking has returned as people once again begin to take notice of the advantages of a good Dutch oven.
Contemporary Dutch ovens can be put on a stove in the same manner as a stockpot or it can be used as a baking dish in the oven. The equipment’s ceramic or heavy-gauge metal material can endure a broader range of temperatures and cooking techniques.
Nearly any cooking method can be carried out in the Dutch oven. They are ideal for making stews and soups due to the thicker structure, shape and size. The ceramic or heavy-metal composition is capable of properly conducting heat, and it can keep food warm for an extended amount of time; this is beneficial for simmering beans, soups or stews.
Dutch ovens can conduct heat and transmit it to the food being cooked from every direction. The capability of the equipment to contain this heat signifies that minimal energy will be needed for extended slow-cooking. The ovenproof lids keep moisture in and prevents foods from drying out over the course of extended periods of cooking.
For deep-frying, the Dutch oven’s ability to conduct heat is once again an asset for this kind of cooking. It is capable of uniformly heating oil and it lets the cook closely manage the oil’s temperature. There are enameled Dutch ovens which must not be used with high temperatures though, so make sure to follow manufacturer’s recommendations.
The Dutch oven has been used to bake bread and create other baked goodies. Radiant heat works in the same manner as a stone hearth used for making pizza or bread. In addition, the lid contains the steam and moisture, which, in turn, produces a deliciously crispy crust.
This is one type of cookware that can be transferred from the stove to the oven; therefore, it makes a good vessel for casseroles. Meats and other ingredients can be sautéed in the Dutch oven on the stove and then it be baked in the oven with other ingredients such as vegetables, herbs and spices.
There are two types of Dutch ovens: the enameled and the bare cast iron. The bare cast iron works excellently in heat conduction and is the favored cookware for many chefs and home cooks. The metal is capable of enduring significantly high temperatures without being prone to damage; hence, its appropriateness for numerous cooking styles.
However, it requires specific, thorough care and maintenance in order to uphold the iron’s integrity. A quality cast- iron Dutch oven will last for a long time if properly taken care of. The cast-iron kind is also ideal for camping since it can be positioned over an open flame.
The enameled kind, meanwhile, can either feature a ceramic, cast iron or aluminum core. Ceramic can conduct heat well and is often used in Dutch ovens. The enameled kind does not need specific cleaning methods, which is beneficial for those who are after convenience.
Even though the enameled kind is durable, there are some which will not tolerate significantly high temperatures, so carefully read the specifications of the products you are looking to buy.
Dutch ovens are again gaining ground, and they can be bought in department stores, home retailers, kitchen stores and online shops. There are many Dutch oven brands available in a broad selection of prices.
A quality model must have a significantly heavy feel, which means it has a solid construction and heat conducting abilities. It should have fairly thick walls and a lid that securely fits. Lastly, the hardware it includes must be safe to use in ovens and are all securely fastened.