The Romertopf Clay Baker is a very versatile and forgiving cookware piece. Whether you’re a novice cook or a seasoned chef, Romertopf Clay Cookware makes preparing gourmet meals easy and delightful.
These tips and cooking techniques answer some common questions we’ve had over the years and are the result of our frequent use of various clay baker styles and models in the Romertopf family of products. We hope they will answer questions you may have about cooking in the Romertopf.
Tip & Cooking Technique # 1: Don’t be afraid to experiment with your Romertopf Clay Baker. Time cooking according to your own preference and oven. Tastes and ovens vary, so time your dishes according to the way you want them and don't hesitate to vary the recipe slightly. Recipes can usually be converted for clay pots by increasing cooking temperature about 100˚ Fahrenheit and deducting 1/2-1 hour of cooking time.
Tip & Cooking Technique # 2: If you are unsure about cooking time for certain types of meat or poultry, simply pick up a meat thermometer at any kitchen supply store. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat making sure it does not touch a bone (in poultry this is the thigh area). Cooking meats to the recommended safe temperature will ensure that your meal is completely cooked through which is important with poultry and pork. A general rule for chicken and turkey is an internal temperature of 165˚F and pork to 145˚F (the meat will continue to cook as it rests). Various cuts of beef should be timed according to your own preference. Using a meat thermometer is a great way to get to know how your Romertopf will perform in your oven as many times meals are done sooner than the recipe states. You will eventually know whether dishes will require longer or shorter cooking times.
Tip & Cooking Technique # 3: Purchase a Romertopf Clay Fish Baker if you tend to cook a lot of fish. This clay baker has a glazed interior which avoids the porous clay from absorbing any “fishy” odors. In addition, it is longer than traditional clay bakers so the entire fish can be laid across the bottom, not to mention its unique design makes a lovely presentation. (sorry, the Romertopf Fish Baker is now sold out and discontinued)
Tip& Cooking Technique # 4: If you have more than one Romertopf Clay Baker (aren’t you smart!) you can easily prepare main dishes, desserts, side dishes and more all at the same time. Just remember to put each clay baker into a COLD oven and set the oven temperature about 100˚F more than the recipe states. Time the dishes as you normally would as if cooking in one clay baker. There is no need to raise the oven temperature or extend the cooking time. (this tip applies to standard ovens, not microwave ovens. We recommend you follow the microwave oven’s manufacturer guidelines for cooking times)
Tip & Cooking Technique # 5: When the Romertopf is not is use, keep it in a place where the air circulates. Place a piece of paper towel between the base and the lid to absorb any moisture.
Tip & Cooking Technique # 6: Don't use the Romertopf on an open flame or hot cooking plate. The Romertopf is designed for oven use, so don't put it on an open flame, a hot cooking plate, or use it on top of the stove.
Tip& Cooking Technique #7: Don't put a hot Romertopf on a cold surface straight from the oven (such as marble) or a cold Romertopf on a hot one. Sudden changes in temperature should be avoided. When you take a hot Romertopf out of the oven, place it on a folded dishcloth, pad, towel, or wooden board. Also, do not add very cold liquids once the Romertopf has been heated up.
Tip & Cooking Technique #8: Never scour the Romertopf with powder or metal. Using a scouring powder or metal scouring pads may block some of the pores of the clay,
reducing water absorption. To clean your baker, simply soak in lukewarm water for about an hour. A little baking soda or vinegar will cut any grease.
Tip & Cooking Technique #9: Do not tilt the lid when cooking in your Romertopf. Cover the pot so the lid and base “sit” together. The two to four millimeters wide gap between lower and upper part is not an error, but regulates the pressure in a closed pot and can pull off excess steam.
Tip & Cooking Technique #10: Wait for your clay baker to cool down to room temperature before cleaning. NEVER put a hot baker in cold water. (or a cold one in hot water).
Tip #11: Do not use your Romertopf on a grill whether gas or charcoal. Grill temperatures vary greatly and can heat up quickly and unevenly. This can create hot spots within the clay baker and the potential for damage.
Tip #12: When baking bread or “sticky” dishes such as macaroni and cheese or casseroles in the Romertopf whether it has a glazed or unglazed interior, we recommend spraying the interior with a little cooking spray. This helps the food release easily from both types of bakers and provides easier clean-up. We prefer cooking spray to oils.
Tip & Cooking Technique #13: We have found some bread recipes may stick to the glazed Romertopf bread baker after cooking is complete. In this case, we use butter knife and slide it between the baker and the loaf, completely running it around the loaf to loosen the bread from the sides of the baker. This helps the loaf release easily. Also removing the bread from the baker immediately after to cooking reduces the “stick” factor. Placing a piece of parchment paper in the baker is a great way to ensure your loaf removes easily.
Tip & Cooking Technique #14: If you have a Romertopf bread baker (without lid) and a regular clay baker (with a lid), we use the lid (or base) as a “dome” over the bread baker when baking yeast breads. This creates a moist environment while baking the bread and produces results similar to hearth-baking. (remember to soak all bakers/lids)
Tip & Cooking Technique #15: When a crisp topping or golden-brown result is desired, simply remove the baker lid about 15 minutes before cooking is complete.
Tip & Cooking Technique #16: Glazed Romertopf Clay Bakers have a glazed bottom interior which does not require soaking prior to use. The lid is unglazed for superior water absorption and needs to be soaked prior to use as this maintains the properties of adding moisture back into the food.
Tip & Cooking Technique #17: In addition to providing exceptionally tender results, this moisture released during cooking helps regulate the temperature within the Romertopf which avoids burning unless you excessively overstay the cooking time.
Tip & Cooking Technique #18: Don’t limit your Romertopf meals to just roast meats and poultry. The Romertopf clay baker is extremely versatile and can be used for a variety of dishes including casseroles, side dishes, vegetables, and even desserts!
Tip & Cooking Technique #19: Clay Cooking Pots enhance the flavors of any dish. If your palate is sensitive to strong seasonings or flavors, use the smallest amount of spices, herbs or other seasonings called for in the recipes.
Tip & Cooking Technique #20: When cooking recipes with pastas, rice, lentils or beans, place these ingredients in the bottom of the baker before adding the other ingredients.
Tip & Cooking Technique #21: Romertopf Clay Bakers can be used in any type of oven, whether gas, electric or convection and are oven safe up to 500° Fahrenheit. The ideal temperature for cooking in the Romertopf is between 375° and 500° Fahrenheit. Dishes with a very long cooking time require a lower temperature than those which cook quickly. Convection ovens should be set to about 40°F less than gas or electric ovens.
Tip & Cooking Technique #22: Contrary to popular belief, most clay pots are dishwasher safe. While we don't recommend using the dishwasher every time to clean your clay baker, it is okay to use this method occasionally. Use the basic cleaning cycle (not the pots and pans cycle) and be sure to place your clay pot securely in the racks to avoid potential damage from contact with other items. We recommend using the top rack if possible.
We hope these tips and cooking techniques will add to your cooking pleasure. We feel confident you will be delighted with the superb results from the Romertopf Clay Baker. Happy Cooking!