There is a reason why the traditional griddles and bakestones that we make at Oakden are some of the most consistently brilliant cookware items in terms of baking on; they are simple, but sturdy – heavy, but flat – hot, but the heat is sustainable and radiates perfectly – all things a baker needs to bake perfect recipes. Take a little care and these griddles and bakestones will literally last a lifetime.
There really is no substitute to using a traditional thick baking-plate like the ones we make … thin modern cookware (frying-pans, skillets etc.) using light-weight materials always buckle, blacken and bend. They have hot/cold spots that tend to burn the recipes, as the heat is just not consistent enough, and importantly the chemical ‘non-stick’ surface they use eventually comes off, ending up in the food. In essence they just cannot bake foods in the same unique way as a traditional griddle or bakestone.
As with most cookware items found in the kitchen, the same basic principles of care apply here too.
1 Never leave an empty bakestone/griddle unattended on a heat source as this may cause damage.
2. As with all cooking utensils be careful of the heat, always use an oven glove to move the griddle, or it’s handle, as it will also get hot.
3. The traditional griddles and bakestones we make are heavy items, be sure you can grip it tightly before moving it. Do not drop it, the griddle will probably be all right, but not what you drop it on!
4. Avoid using metal utensils that can gouge. However, flat metal scrapers and flippers etc. should cause no harm, we use a wide paint scraper!
5. Always allow the griddles to cool before cleaning in hot soapy water.
6. Do not use scourers or abrasive cleaners. Gently clean the baking plates after use in warm soapy water. It could go in a dish washer, but then you might have to re-season it.
7. Ensure the bakestones/griddles are thoroughly dry before storing away – this can be done by warming in the oven.
8. Some griddle surfaces may need to be conditioned with a little vegetable oil, thinly wiped over, once washed in detergent and rinsed in clean water. This is good advice if the griddle is to be left for a while.
9. If left unused for a while, and rust has bloomed over the surface of the griddle, there is no real problem, just use a metal scourer to clean the plate back down to the bare metal. Wash it. Then re-season.
10. Ensure your griddle or bakestone is the correct material / size / weight for the hob you are cooking on.
11. If your cooker or stove is of a ‘flat’ induction or radient heat variety (ceramic etc.) you might be better off with a griddle that has a handle on it for ease of movement, a flat Welsh bakestone might be a bit awkward to move around on the perfectly flat hob top.