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Section 6: Avoiding cracks in your clay cooking pot

Uneven heat, extreme temperature changes & water logged pots

I loaned my pot to a friend who used it (with a diffuser) on a faulty glass-top stove burner. I repaired the pot according to Miriam’s instructions and thankfully the pot is fine.

Miriam’s clay is very thick, strong & forgiving. If you do something you shouldn’t, you’ll probably be fine. If you do get a crack, it can usually be easily repaired.

If necessary, use a diffuser

CookingDiffuser required
Electric stove-tops, e.g. coil, glass or ceramicYes
Gas stove – cooking time longer than one hour or pot not yet well seasoned (first 6 uses)Yes
Gas stove – cooking time less than one hour & pot well seasonedNo
OvenNo

See When and Why do I need to use a Heat Diffuser? (MEC) and Diffusers.

Don’t let your pot dry out

Quickly dry saute

Dry saute nuts and spices for only a few minutes. They cook faster in clay.

Avoid dry cooking

Dry cooking is when there are no liquids in the pot and the food inside dried out too much. Be sure to have enough liquid in the pot.

Be careful in a dry climate or location

Storing an unseasoned pot in the basement where the dehumidifier is running to keep the basement very dry – below what is typically recommended. If this does produce a crack, it is a trivial hairline crack which can simply be ignored.

Don’t start cooking in a water logged pot

If your pot is water logged, don’t use it to start cooking a new recipe. The process of heating it (with food in it) will push the water that is in the clay to the outside of the pot, and if this happens too fast, cracks can develop.

See Water logged pot

Avoid sudden temperature changes

Sudden temperature changes can occur in many ways – sometimes you don’t even think of them as sudden temperature changes.

Adding to the pot (or sudden emptying)

  • If oil sauteing in the pot [the pot is hot] and then adding liquid, add liquid slowly – about the rate you would drink water.
  • If you suddenly empty the hot contents of a pot, add one cup of room temperature water to the pot to help absorb some of the heat – this also makes the pot easier to clean.

Refrigerator to stove (or visa versa)

  • When taking the pot out of the refrigerator, let it come close to room temperature before heating it on the stove.
  • Let the pot (and contents) cool down to room temperature before putting the pot into the refrigerator.

Malfunctioning burner

Use correct heat settings

Stove-top

Never go above medium heat

Most recipes start on low (~5 minutes), go to medium and end on low (~5-10 minutes).

See Heat settings

Oven

Never to above 450°F

Start at 250°F, after 10 minutes increase as necessary.

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