Cooking Well: The Benefits of Soapstone Cookware
Soapstone, or steatite, is a naturally occurring, dense yet soft stone that is composed largely of the mineral talc and is very rich in magnesium. Its unique composition gives it the odd combination of characteristics that, though it is hard and dense like a rock, it has a softness to its surface that allows it to be scratched by just your finger nail. However, soapstone has a few additional qualities that make it more than just an oddity. For ages, soapstone has earned itself a place in our kitchens due to not only its beauty as cookware but also for its remarkable heat retention. To first prepare you soapstone piece for its life-long time in your kitchen, and to reveal its true beauty, you must season or cure it with oil and heat. To do so, follow these simple steps:
- Begin by rinsing your soapstone cookware in hot water and wiping it clean with a non-abrasive cloth or sponge.
- Once dry, generously grease all surfaces of the stone with your preferred choice of cooking oil. We recommend olive oil and remind you to use caution when handling the oiled pieces.
- Once your cookware is oiled, you’ll need to set in in a warm location for about 24 hours, allowing the oil to absorb completely into the stone. It should feel almost dry after this period.
- Now your cookware is ready for the final step. When curing stone pans, grills, and lids, your next step will be to place in a cool oven and set the temperature to 350 degrees. Turn the oven off after 15 minutes and allow the pieces to cool before removing. If curing stoneware pots, fill them with water place on your stovetop. Slowly raise the heat of your burner to medium-high and once the water boils, allow it to do so for 30 minutes. Let cool and remove.
Once your soapstone cookware is seasoned, it will have a smooth non-stick finish. But, you will also notice, that the curing process brings out different natural variations in the stones color and reveals its natural marbling. Conveniently beautiful, soapstone has the ability to play both the role of cookware and serve-ware. Once you remove it from the oven and allow it time to cool, there is no need to transition your food to another platter or tray before taking it to the table.
As for its remarkable heat retention, it comes in handy here as well. While it should be cool enough to touch before it’s used to serve, its retention of warmth will help to keep your food warmer for longer as well. This isn’t the only reason, however, that soapstone’s heat-holding properties are so beneficial. It’s quintessential stone qualities of thickness and density, allow it to retain heat up to twice as long as conventional metal cookware, and as a result, it cooks very evenly and drastically reduces the time it takes to cook your meal. While this is a major benefit to the cook, it is also a bonus for the environment, as it conserves energy as well as time.
We love our line of soapstone cookware, accented with copper hardware, because of its beauty, convenience, and eco-conscious properties, and we think you will love it just the same. If you’re feeling inspired to try your hand at soapstone cooking, we recommend starting off with an easy and delicious classic, like pizza. Click here for a quick and easy stone baked pizza recipe that will get you started off on the right foot. Enjoy!