Kitchen Essentials- Cookware and Bakeware

Kitchen-Essentials-Heavy-Guage-Cookware-and-Bakeware-spread-heat-evenlyKitchen Essentials: Cookware and Bakeware

All pots and pans have common traits and basic functions. They may look different and tagged in a wide range of prices, but the good ones have something in common. Cookware and bakeware may look so basic but they are those whose characteristics are a little complicated and pricey. The materials used to make these vary, click here to learn more.

What to look for in a good pan?

Heavy-gauge materials are way better than the thin ones. The heavy-gauge materials spread heat evenly while the thin ones are hottest in the middle where the flame could be concentrated and not as much on the sides. Also, the bottoms of thin-gauge materials would dent out quickly.

The dent will cause food to concentrate in the middle, where there is high temperature, so this will result in burning at one part of the pan. When the bottom of your pans dent out, it becomes difficult for it to sit and balance on top of your electric stoves; so it can cause accidents and you can end up hurt.  Heavy-gauge pans and pots deliver even heat inside, and this would mean evenly cooked food.

For you to know if the pan is heavy enough, you lift it up and look at the walls and base, rap the sides and base with your knuckles; listen carefully if you hear a light ping sound or a dull thud. It is the dull thud that you are looking for.

Good pans manage heat better, that is why they are worth the price. A heavy gauge and a good conductor are two features of good cookware.

Characteristics of a Good Cookware

They are made from metals that are good heat conductors. They are very responsive to high temperatures. They do what the heat source tells them to do, by the changes in temperature which they are sensitive to. You can warm them up or cool them down, almost instantly. Just like when you sauté garlic you would want your pan to be on the right heat when you drop the garlic. When the garlic is in the right spot, you would want to cool it down immediately to avoid burning it. Mere lifting the pan off the stove would immediately bring the temperature of the pan down; hence, avoiding burnt sautéed garlic.

They allow fast heat flow. This happens when you use a pan made of a good heat conductor material; this assures that temperature on the cooking surface will equalize quickly. Websites such as https://www.scienceofcooking.com/how-is-heat-transferred-in-cooking.html discuss the science of cooking which helps an individual decide which method to use in cooking.

A thicker pan allows for even heat diffusion. The distance between the source of heat and the cooking surface is more when you use a thick pan rather than when a thin one is used. This will lead to an even diffusion of heat on the cooking surface.

Higher temperature. Thick pans mean more mass, so it holds more heat. Higher temperatures would mean better browning, hotter frying, and faster reducing.

Strong handles, sturdy lid, heatproof and secure. Panhandles are either welded or screwed or riveted. Welded handles can easily break off if the welding is not of the quality or in the wrong spot. Some may advise not to buy welded handles because of the potential easy breakage, but some would also advise for welded ones compared to riveted handles. Riveted handles make it possible to collect residue around the rivet, this can be unsanitary.

Different-Materials-Used-to-Make-Pans-and-PotsDifferent Materials Used to Make Pans and Pots 

Stainless steel – this is a poor heat conductor if used by itself but a peerless surface that is easy to clean; it is durable, shiny, and is totally non-reactive.

Copper – is a superheat conductor and if kept polished, radiates visual warmth also. If used on its own, copper is very highly reactive to food, so if pans are made out of copper, it is the bottom layer that must be copper. Just for better conduction.

Aluminum – is a very good heat conductor, it is very much lighter than the other metals and easier to handle, but it is also highly reactive. Therefore, if used to create pots and pans, it is used in the core or bottom layer.

Cast iron – this is an excellent heat conductor and works great with high temperature, but the retainer of heat. Most heirloom cookware is made of cast iron. It just needs to be oiled regularly to avoid corrosion.

But enameled coating for cast iron pans solves the issue of maintenance. This coating does not affect the healing benefits, but it is also important to understand that the enamel coating can eventually chip off with wear and abrasion.

Choose the right cookware and bakeware to add to your kitchen outfit. While a lot of factors need to be considered, safety should always come first.

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5 Must-Haves In Your Kitchen

Everybody needs to eat. This is a fact of life, even though it can be an annoying one. Unfortunately, cooking and prepping food itself can be a hassle, especially if you have to work full time and have limited hours to buy groceries, clean and cut food, and then get it cooking. If you worry about feeding yourself and your family and want a fully stocked kitchen, make sure you have these five must-haves to keep everyone happy, healthy, and fed with ease.

Non-Stick Pots and Pans

Non-stick-pans-are-great-for-easy-cleanup
Source: Pinterest Non-stick pans are great for easy cleanup

These devices are a blessing since they cut down on the inconvenience of needing to soak or over scrub regular pots and pans that end up with too much food burning or sticking to them. There are even green, environmentally friendly options without toxic chemicals to keep your family safe and fed. These pots and pans seem to physically repel food, meaning there are fewer burnt bottoms and edges that need to be carefully peeled away with the steel wool, errant spatula, or the dreaded kitchen sponge. Most even come in sets, so you don’t have to about having mismatched pieces.

Oven Mitts

Arent-these-the-cutest-oven-mitts-there-is--a-great-tutorial
Source: Pinterest Arent these the cutest oven mitts, there’s a great tutorial

Oven mitts are a necessity because they protect your hands from burns when working with hot dishes. Many a young adult has found out the hard way that a folded dish towel just isn’t the same as having a special mitt to take pans and casserole dishes out of the oven. Oven mitts can even be an excellent creative outlet and provide a wonderful pop of color to even the blandest of kitchens by expressing a little personality. If none at the store appeal to you, making your own can be an easy project for you and the family. Just remember to use heat-resistant fabric!

Sharp Knives

Knowing-which-knives-for-a-project-do-you-have-all-of-these
Source: Pinterest Knowing which knives for a project, do you have all of these?

Most people do not take good care of their knives, and this is a problem. A dull knife does not cut well and can actually be dangerous since the blade is more to slipping and breaking. Nobody wants to be sliced up while trying to prepare some chicken for dinner, especially because of the hazards of germs and potential infection! Invest in a knife sharpener to make prep work simple and easy, and also consider having a designated place to store knives so little hands don’t grab them. Most kitchens function well with a few good, sharp knives and a convenient storage block.

Storage Space

A-kitchen-cart-is a-great-way-of-adding-extra-storage-and-organization
Source: Pinterest A kitchen cart is a great way of adding extra storage and organization

Not everyone can afford a large dream kitchen, especially if you live in the city or an apartment. What are you supposed to do when you have nowhere to put your dishes or dry foods?

Instead of cluttering up counters, invest in some extra storage space like hanging or floating cabinets, pantry bins, or organizers that cling to the insides of doors. These materials will keep unnecessary items off of your counter and help you keep track of items like dried pasta, cooking utensils, and dishes. The storage space will also mean you have enough room for the final significant thing to have in your kitchen: an area for food preparation.

Prep Space

Wouldn't-it-be-nice-for-a-prep-area-with-hidden-receptacle-for-refuse
Source: Pinterest Wouldn’t it be nice for a prep area with a hidden receptacle for scraps

This should go without saying, but there should always be a place for you to prepare and cook food for meals and snacks. Most people don’t leave themselves enough counter space to cook, and this can be a major problem. Instead of storing food, dishes, and papers on the countertop, invest instead in more cabinets and leave a designated area open, clean, and sanitized for food prep. The standard rule is to have enough space for a cutting board, cooking utensils, and a couple of bowls that can be set aside with spices and ingredients. Your family and stomach will thank you in the long run when you can have dinner ready in no time.

Conclusion

These five must-haves seem basic, but you would be surprised how many people neglect their kitchens by failing to have one or even more of these items. Too many people rely upon ancient dishes, cluttered counters, and precariously stacked food that can easily spill from the lack of space. If you think something might be missing from your cooking area, check off each of the items on this list and make sure you have everything you need to keep life functioning smoothly.

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The Proper Use of Whetstones Makes for Sharper Cutting Tools

The Proper Use of Whetstones Makes for Sharper Cutting Tools Most cutting tools like knives, scissors, and others are made of steel and other hard materials. The cutting is enabled because the cutting edges have been sharpened and tempered to a point, where their tapered edges are able to cut the softer materials that they are required to. After constant use, these edges will lose their sharpness and require to be sharpened again with whetstones, or other sharpening devices that have constantly been undergoing development.

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The use of a whetstone allows knives and the cutting edges of scissors to be kept in the best of shape and condition so that these tools can remain active and perform the tasks for which they are used. A whetstone is basically a fine-grained stone that has been in use for sharpening tools for centuries, ever since humans discovered the use of metals and learned how to work them to make cutting implements. These sharpening stones come in a wide range of sizes and shapes and can be composed of different materials. These stones will generally be flat, though some may have complex edges that are useful for sharpening special tools used in woodturning. They come in various grades which are differentiated by the size of the grit that makes up the abrasive material. This size is denoted by a number that gives an indication of the density of the particles that can cause the required abrasion. High numbers mean the particles are smaller and will give a finer finish to the metal that is being honed or sharpened on the whetstone.  
In earlier times, natural stones were used for this sharpening, but their use though not completely stopped, has been reduced because of the high quality of readily and easily available artificial whetstones. Modern whetstones that are synthetic have a consistent size of the abrading materials and this allows for a superior performance in sharpening. Natural whetstones have now become more common as collector’s items that are often prized for their appearance and beauty. Artificial whetstones are made of silicon carbide or aluminum oxide that are bonded together, and these bonded abrasive surfaces provide a cutting action that is faster than what you can achieve with a natural stone whetstone. Some of these whetstones come with two cutting surfaces, one with a coarse grit on one side, and a fine grit on the other. This allows the cutting edges to be first brought roughly to the required degree of sharpness with the coarser side, and the final finishing is done with the finer side.

Most whetstones use water to give the required lubrication that helps in the sharpening process where the cutting edge is rubbed over the whetstones. Some stones also use oil as a lubricant. Whetstones can also have diamonds as the abrasive material, while ceramic stones are fast cutting stones that leave a consistent pattern, and are widely used for finishing the sharpening process. Whetstones can be mounted on workbenches or other locations but must be firmly anchored so that they do not move while the abrading is in progress. You can also place whetstones on flat surfaces where you have access to water, and at a height where it is convenient to create the required pressure that will allow the cutting edges to be finished to the required degree of sharpness.

Whetstones are superior sharpening tools because they create the sharpening edges gradually and do not take away too much of the metal from the cutting tool. The use of a  whetstone does not require too much of expertise but does need you to know the correct way of using it. It is a skill that can be easily mastered with practice and can be cost-effective and save you time because of the simple process that its use involves. It is an action that has an average difficulty and may not require more than a few minutes.

Place the whetstone on a firm surface like a countertop or worktable, and see that it will remain immovable during the sharpening process. You can do this by placing a wet paper towel or cloth below the whetstone. If you have a two-sided whetstone, you need to start the sharpening process with having the rougher side upwards. Hold the knife, scissors, or other tool cutting edge with one hand so that it comes to the stone at an angle of approximately twenty degrees. Use the other hand to control the movement of the tool being sharpened as it comes to the surface of the whetstone. Exert moderate pressure while you slide the entire length of the blade, while you ensure that the blade has a consistent angle with the stone. This abrading action that ensures the necessary friction can be repeated a number of times, ten times if you want, and then the cutting edge flipped over to perform the same number of operations on the other side. Test the blade to see if it is now sharp enough, otherwise repeat the procedure, until you are satisfied with the sharpness. You can now repeat the process after flipping over the stone for it to display it fine grit side. You can use water to allow for easier sliding of the edges being sharpened. Using a  whetstone in a dry condition is the best way of using it, as water or oil can allow the metal particles to be trapped in the liquid, and this can lead to your blade getting damaged.

It is important that when you are sharpening the edges you always use the same direction in all movements as this will allow the surface to be even and smooth. Rinse the cutting edge of the tool and the whetstone ad wipe them both down with a dry and clean towel. All cutting tools have tempered edges that have a particular depth. Sharpening is only advisable as long as you are in this tempered zone. Once you go into the normal area of the cutting edge, sharpening further will not give you the desired results as edges will wear out much faster. At this stage, you may need to buy a new knife, or scissors or other tools.

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The Top Five Dutch Ovens you should have in 2018

The Dutch oven is certainly a delight of traditional culture fused with modern day ingenuity. In fact, for many, the Dutch oven is considered the workhorse of the kitchen. One can use it to make almost any dish! From oven-baked casseroles to stovetop soups; it is only limited to one’s imagination.

Certainly, these large, hefty pots are worth every penny! So today, we’ll be taking a closer look at them.

Describing a Dutch oven

So what is a Dutch oven? For starters, it’s not an oven at all. In fact, a Dutch oven is any large, heavy pot that is designed for oven use as well as stovetop cooking. Hmm, so maybe that deep 7-quart stockpot could be a Dutch oven! That is, as long as it comes with an oven-safe lid. Plus it’s got to be resilient enough to go into the oven even after coming from the stove.

Today, however, the talk about Dutch ovens has been centralized around dense enameled cast iron pots; with a majority being typified as either the Staub or the Le Creuset. Such pots are a match-made in heaven when it comes to preparing braises, as well as slow-simmering soups. Though other hearty meals are indeed not out of the question!

That being said, here are the top 5 Dutch Ovens that should be in every household while prepping for any scrumptious meal.

Le Creuset-3.5 Quart Wide Oval French Oven

Coming in at a modest size compared to a plethora of ovens out there, the Le Creuset has a deep extra-wide base to allow one to brown the meat right in the middle. Moreover, one can add a hearty serving of tomatoes to create a rich, thick stew. Le Creuset Signature Oval French Oven

Lodge 6-Quart- The Lodge Color Enamel Dutch Oven

If ever there was a massive pot at an affordable price, then this right here is the epitome. Moreover, the Enamel Dutch Oven is ideal for preparing dishes such as breads, soups, braises, stews, plus so much more. Blue Colored Cast Iron Enamel Dutch Ovens

Staub 4 ¼ – Quart Dutch Oven-The Quart Oval is one of the most enjoyable ovens out there. Firstly, because it shape demonstrates an elegant design; plus it also happens to cradle a roast chicken seamlessly! Though Staub Dutch ovens prices are by far on the steep-end of the price spectrum, they are honestly worth the dough. Not only do they clean up beautifully, but also get the job done in the kitchen!

Emily Henry Round 7-Quart Dutch Oven- Looking for a massive Dutch oven? Then this particular oven is definitely worth the buy. A product of Emile Henry, one is guaranteed that the product will be top-notch.

With these Dutch ovens as part of one’s cooking arsenal, there are numerous recipes online that can be made fast and easy at home!

5.5 Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven-A Food Network product, the 5.5 Quart Dutch oven is pretty affordable, despite its strong affiliation with one of the most successful Recipe networks in the world.
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