For some time now there is a clear return to food cooked slowly, if a few years ago the queen of our kitchen was the pressure cooker, now it competes for the first place with heavy pans that cook food differently and as they did. our grandmothers. That is why in many places related to gastronomy we are hearing the word “dutch oven” to use it in our kitchen, and today we are going to know what it is exactly and how to treat it so that it will last us for many years.
Dutch ovens are a cylindrical iron or ceramic pots with or without enamel and with an airtight lid that have the particularity of providing and distributing the heat in a constant and uniform way to the food cooked in them, and that can also be used in multiple heat sources, be it fire, gas and even withstand very high temperatures such as those inside an oven, which is why almost any culinary preparation can be made in a Dutch oven.
But the Dutch ovens they are not a pot of recent birth if not that they have their history and already for a few centuries. It is believed that it was the Englishman Abraham Darby when in 1704 he went to Holland to see how the Dutch had improved their production of cast iron, being so impressed with his work that when he arrived in England he began to manufacture his own “Dutch ovens”. hence its name.
Dutch cast iron became famous especially in the early American colonies, becoming a essential element of kitchenware. The first versions had a lid in their upper part, a flat or convex area depending on the model, where the cook threw hot embers to provide heat from the upper part, thus allowing to bake bread, cookies and even bake cakes, a very important detail in these times when domestic ovens did not exist.
Nowadays, the fashion of baking homemade bread has returned, many of the artisan bakers they make quick breads in this type of pots since they act in a similar way to a stone fireplace of a wood-fired bread oven, in addition its hermetic lid retains moisture and steam creating a very appetizing crunchy crust. But they are also used to make stews, roast meat, soups and even fry.
Types of Dutch ovens
We can find basically two types when we go to choose our model.
Cast iron: Excellent conductor of heat and highly sought after by great cooks. This material withstands very high temperatures without degrading and is therefore the one that offers the greatest advantages when using it for many preparations. Against it it has to be enameled, it needs cleaning and special care to avoid oxidation and it can last for many years.
Enameled: The core would be made of cast iron, ceramic or another metal such as aluminum but covered by a resistant layer of enamel. As it does not require specific care, they are the ideal model for those looking for comfort in the kitchen. But it is always advisable before subjecting them to high temperatures to consult the manufacturer’s instructions.
How to prepare my Dutch oven before starting to use it
When we get a unglazed dutch oven we can’t open the box and start using it over our fire or oven, needs preparation to prevent further deterioration, although at present some already come prepared with what is called pre-seasoned.
To prepare it we will need remove a thick layer of wax that they bring from the factory, for this we will wash it and later we will dry them very well with kitchen paper placing it in the oven at 250 degrees with two trays, one on a wire rack where the pot will be placed upside down and another flat tray on the lower floor where it will be It will collect any excess wax that may fall, keeping it for fifteen minutes but with the door open to allow moisture to escape.
Once the time has passed, we take it out of the oven with protective gloves and when it cools, we wash it well with soap and water. being this the first and only time detergent will be applied to our Dutch oven.
To season it, we will use margarine, vegetable oil, olive oil or commercial conditioners with a lint-free cloth. Ideally, extra virgin olive oil is less likely to stale between use. Later we would have to put the pot back in the oven in the same way as before and leave it for an hour, repeating this operation three times, that is, adding three layers of olive oil between each baking.
In this way the surface will be perfectly sealed and non-stick, being able to enjoy our Dutch oven in good condition for many years. After each use, clean the remains of food with water and a soft sponge, dry very well and apply a thin layer of oil until its new use.
Well now that we have learned more thoroughly what a Dutch oven is, you must assess if you like the “slow food” and make your own homemade breadIf it has a place in your kitchen, they are generally high-priced products. To me since they gave me my cocotte It has become an essential part of my cooking pots and I think I could no longer do without it for many of my preparations.
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