Choice of cookware for enameled cast iron cookware
When choosing cookware for enameled cast iron cookware, it is important to understand the nature of enamel that makes it different from ordinary cast iron pots and pans. Standard cast iron can have non-stick properties and make cleaning easier if seasoned with hot oil or fat. The baking oil in the high-heat pan forms a bond that reduces the likelihood of oxidation and iron entering the food, and also makes it relatively non-stick and easier to clean.
Enamel is also a way to create a barrier between food and the iron base, and enameled cookware is fairly easy to clean and possesses an acceptable degree of non-stick properties, although you should try to avoid burning food on the bottom or the sides of the pan. . However, if you do, the enamel is quite resistant to scratching, much more so than cast iron, stainless steel or non-stick Teflon surfaces. Therefore, it can tolerate scrubbing better than these other surfaces, but it is very sensitive to bumps and bumps that can dislodge the enamel from the base.
Enamel is not baked on paint, as many think, but rather is silica or glass that mixes with pigments and then melts onto the iron surface. The process creates a bond that, while strong enough for normal handling, can chip if it receives strong shocks. Dropping enameled cookware on a hard floor, for example, is likely to chip, but not if you stir the contents with a metal spoon.
However, although you can use stainless steel and other metal cookware with enamelled cast iron cookware, it is recommended not to do so and to try to use wood, plastic or silicone. Silicone is a form of plastic that has been cured and cross-linked to make it resistant to heat, a property that ordinary plastic kitchen utensils lack.
Wood is best for any type of cookware, but most people have a set of wooden spoons in their kitchen arsenal, and perhaps a wooden spatula, but very little else. You can get a wider range online, but scooped buckets and grabs tend to be very small compared to their metal or plastic alternatives.
Plastic is great for protecting your cookware, but it can be soft, and it can get even softer when hot. Not only that, forget about taking it out of the pot when you cook and you will have given a whole new meaning to plastic food! The same goes for a plastic spatula or a slice of fish – these cookware rarely last long without showing signs of some burns. Which brings us to silicone cookware.
Silicone cookware is rated for heat, and some are rated up to 900 degrees, so they won’t soften or melt in the same way as regular plastic. There is also a good variety of silicone implements, such as turkey lifters, fish slices, spatulas, and cooking spoons, but there aren’t as many as available in stainless steel yet.
The problem with stainless steel is not that it scratches the enamel, because it doesn’t as long as you don’t try hard to do it, but if you hit the pan with a heavy stainless steel implement, it could chip. However, it is possible to use stainless steel cookware for enameled cast iron cookware as long as you are careful not to hit or drop any implements in the pan.
From a general point of view, when choosing cookware for enameled cast iron cookware, we probably recommend that you use wood or silicone where you can, especially for stirring spoons and the like, and stainless steel where necessary. That’s a reasonable compromise, but if you prefer to have a battery of tools hanging from the shelves on your kitchen wall, then stainless steel looks great, but be very careful when using them.