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Vintage bakeware

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mookster Oct 19, 2006 05:01 AM

Has anyone had any experience using vintage bakeware? I've recently realized that a bulk of my bakeware is quite old & bought on the fly (right before I needed it, too little time to do any research on the purchase). Now that I need a good amt. of items I had the idea of going on ebay & getting some vintage bakeware. Any thoughts - is it a stupid idea, are there types that may be good quality & some that aren't? Thanks!

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    niki rothman Oct 20, 2006 05:13 PM

    I have a casserole dish that I bought recently in a thrift store that is fabulous. It says it is Tuscan on the bottom, made out of brown earthenware, very heavy, with a brown and black dipped glaze, round with a big fat handle sticking out of one side, maybe a foot across. It makes the best mac n' cheese and baked ziti - that sort of thing. It is beautiful & does not scorch or rubberize the part of the food in contact with it, everything I make in it comes out better than any other casserole I have ever used. So if you see something like this snap it up.

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      MakingSense Oct 20, 2006 03:23 AM

      I'd be careful buying pieces you can't see in person. The glaze on pottery and ceramics can craze making it unsafe for food use. Sometimes that's hard to see when a piece is dry.
      I use old and heirloom pieces every day and many are far superior to what's generally available today at any price. My daughters are already laying claim to them.
      I haunt estate and rummage sales for choice pieces. It's worth the time and effort. Many can be had for a song. But I want to see them!!!

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        rainey Oct 19, 2006 07:33 PM

        I have a fantastic Emil Henri rectangular baker that I got 20 or so years ago. It's got a boring pale grey glaze over red clay. It's heavy as hell. But I've done anything you can imagine in a kitchen with it over 2 decades and it's still with me. Meanwhile, every more contemporary piece of Emil Henri I've bought is either full of cracks or long tossed out when it split in two on me (sometimes with the contents spilled all over the oven floor!).

        This thing isn't pretty but I wish when I got it I had bought all the various sizes. If you ever see Emil Henri with a pale grey glaze over red clay, skap it up and you'll always be glad you did!

        NB: The colorful contemporary stuff is temperamental and shouldn't go under broilers or be exposed to heat over 350. Whimpy, whimpy, whimpy!

        1 Reply
        1. re: rainey
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          mookster Oct 19, 2006 10:11 PM

          Great information, thanks! I love the idea that there are, indeed, these tough, workhorse pieces out there.

        2. MikeG Oct 19, 2006 07:18 PM

          FWIW, I know Desco made enamelled iron things, but I think they were making ceramics too, whereas I think LeCreuset only started making ceramicware relatively recently (so you won't find much in the way of "vintage" there.) Emile Henry is another name that's been around for a while now, at least.

          On Ebay, I'd stick to listings where the seller actually says it's good for baking before paying anything like real money, rather than the more generic "estate sale" things where people are moving a lot of stuff they don't know much about.

          1. MikeG Oct 19, 2006 07:11 PM

            If you specifically like a particular item, that makes sense. And then reliably good quality ceramicware has gotten expensive, so that's another factor.

            I was just thinking that overall, heavy/commercial-grade stuff is more readily available these days than it was 25-30 years ago and high-tech features are usually pointless. The only really important thing to look for IMHO is heavy pans made from tinned steel or aluminium - beyond that, shape is the only thing that matters. Un-clad stainless is really notorious for uneven heating, and clad stainless is, IMHO, pointlessly extravagant for the purpose. Thinner weight pans warp and are more of a PITA to move in and out of the oven.

            1. MikeG Oct 19, 2006 12:40 PM

              Do you have anything specific in mind? Assuming you don't mean "appliances" and aren't thinking about esthetics (appearance) I really can't think of anything that's not currently available that would be worth buying used, unless it's unusually cheap (like at a garage sale or some thrift shops.)

              2 Replies
              1. re: MikeG
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                mookster Oct 19, 2006 01:47 PM

                I was thinking along the lines of ceramic loaf & baking pans. I kind of like the esthetic (the peach & blue colors) and these pieces seem nice & heavy (although I know there are new ceramic bakeware that's plenty sturdy). But I do understand your point.

                1. re: mookster
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                  Kelli2006 Oct 19, 2006 06:06 PM

                  I have used a few and they tend to burn faster than a steel pan that most recipes are written for. doughs also tend to stick more readily to both glazed and unglazed ceramic. I have a few pieces for decoration, but I tend to bake in my steel pans.

                  I love to mix and rise yeast doughs in a ceramic bowl, but I don't like to bake in ceramic cookware. IMVHO.

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