Clay Cooking 101

There’s nothing complicated about cooking in clay, however there are a few things to know and keep in mind before using a clay pot for the first time.

Our clay pots are high-fired terra cotta or clay so they’re quite durable.

All of our terra cotta pots, which is anything in our “for the stovetop” section, can take the heat of a direct flame. We recommend you use a flame tamer or heat diffuser. This isn’t absolutely necessary with gas cooktops, but you’ll probably find you need one to help keep things at a low enough temperature, as once a clay pot heats up, things can sometimes boil too hard. It’s also good insurance against cracking until you’re really comfortable cooking in clay and your pot has become well-seasoned and strong.

Our products in “for the oven” are high-fired and durable as well, but are designed for oven use only.

Please watch the following video or read the instructions and guidelines before using your new cookware for the first time. We want you to love and use your clay pot. When cared for properly, a good clay pot will last a lifetime and give you many memorable meals.

How to Season your New Clay Pot from BramCookware on Vimeo

Seasoning Your Clay Pot

Give your new clay pot love and it will love you back! Cookware that will be used over a direct heat source on the stovetop needs to be seasoned before its first use. This strengthens the pot and prevents it from cracking. It will also make the pot more durable so it can provide you with many years of fantastic cooking. It is not necessary to do this with bakeware that is only intended for oven use, as these items are not exposed to direct intense heat from a flame or a heat diffuser. You can season your pot a couple of ways which are described below. If you have a terra cotta pot, you may use either method. If you have a La Chamba pot from Colombia, we recommend you use the second method in the oven. Enjoy your new pot!

Method One: Immerse your pot in water and soak it for 2 hours. Remove and dry it, and then rub the entire surface with a clove of cut garlic and coat any unglazed surface (normally only the bottom of the pot) with olive oil. Fill the pot 3/4 full with water and place it on a gentle flame with a heat diffuser. Bring the water slowly up to a simmer. Leave the pot to simmer for 2 hours, making sure it doesn’t boil dry. Your pot is now ready to use.

Method Two: Immerse your pot in water and soak it for 2 hours. Rub your pot with a clove of cut garlic and fill it 3/4 full with water. Place the pot in the oven and turn it on to 225 degrees. Bring the pot up to temperature and leave it in the oven for 2 to 3 hours. Turn the oven off and leave the pot in the oven until its cool. Your pot is now ready to use.

Our Clay Cookware Use & Care

Stovetop & Cooktop Safe: Our cookware for the stovetop is also oven safe. For gas cooktops, use a heat diffuser or the lowest heat setting. For electric cooktops, please use only with a heat diffuser.

Microwave Safe: It is microwave safe, but use on lower settings as it can develop hot spots on high settings which can crack the clay.

Cleaning: Clear ceramic glaze provides ease of cleaning. Just use hot water and a gentle abrasive pad. For difficult areas to clean, first soak for a few minutes in hot water and then scrub. It is not necessary to use detergent and if you do, we recommend a natural, vegetable-based surfactant cleanser.

Dishwasher Safe: It is dishwasher safe, but we recommend hand washing to give you and your earthenware the best care. Being that clay is a porous material, it may absorb dishwashing detergent which can then leach back into food that comes in contact with it.

Avoiding Extreme Temperature Changes: Earthenware does not like extreme temperature changes. For example, do not take a cold pot from the refrigerator and place it directly on the stovetop or in an extremely hot oven; it may crack.

Use of Appropriate Temperature Settings to Avoid Cracking

Please keep in mind when cooking in clay, the cookware does not like quick, extreme temperature changes. This is important to remember when you are beginning the cooking process in a clay pot, especially if your pot is new. When you start your cooking with clay pot, the process is opposite of what you would normally do with a metal pan.

With a metal pan, you start the heat high to get up to temperature quickly, then turn the heat down to where you want it. With a clay pot, you start the heat LOW, then gradually increase the temperature over the course of 5 minutes or so to where you want it. The highest temperature you should take your pot on a gas stove without a heat diffuser is medium low. With a diffuser, there is a bit more leeway, but you should never take your pot much above medium heat even with a diffuser. You will find if you do, that things will quickly start to burn. Just be patient when your pot is heating up and you will soon be cooking away!