Preheat Your Cast Iron Bakeware for Better Results

Once you master how to use cast iron, your food becomes infinitely better. Steaks always have a delicious sear, stir-fried veggies are crisper than before, and eggs slide out like a dream. On the other hand, your baked items may still be suffering. Depending on what you’re making, you may not need to preheat your cast iron bakeware.

Preheating the cast iron is recommended for goods like quickbreads, pizza, and biscuits. Not only is the crispness integral to these dishes, but the higher temperatures are beneficial, as well. For biscuits, the high heat cooks them quickly, giving them their signature flaky layers and fluffy center. With pizza, preheating the cast iron is similar to pre-baking the crust. Preheating is also necessary for quickbread, ensuring an evenly-cooked crust.

You can also preheat for dishes with ready-to-eat components. With peach cobbler, for example, peaches can be eaten straight from the can, so there’s no need to worry about them being undercooked. What you do need to worry about is whether the cobbler will fall apart. By preheating the pan, the exterior of the cobbler will develop a delicious crisp that holds the peaches together. The same goes for apple crisps, which rely on the crunchy coating to live up to its name. Preheating a cast iron isn’t necessary for pasta bakes, but if you prefer it with a crisp crust, then go ahead. Plus, preheating will help dry up any excess moisture left from boiling the pasta.

When to avoid preheating your cast iron

Various cast iron cookwares

While preheating may be something you hear constantly as a tip for cooking with cast iron and the step is helpful if you’re sauteing or stir-frying, it isn’t the best thing to do when baking moist desserts like cakes, brownies, and pies.

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The crisping effect that cast iron gives off translates to desserts that are too hard on the outside. Additionally, the higher heat touching the outside of the cake or brownies may cause it to cook quickly while the interior is still undercooked.

If you’re not preheating your cast iron, you’ll still need to do some prep work so the food doesn’t stick. A simple tip for ensuring baked goods don’t stick to your cast iron is to add a layer of flour to the pan. After brushing the pan with oil, sprinkle in some flour. The layer is another barrier between your food and the pan, allowing the baked goods to easily slip out.

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