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A burn-prone baker asks: What are your favorite oven mitts?

I'm in the market for some new kitchen mitts. I have thick cloth mitten-like mitts and silicone hot spot squares. I prefer the cloth ones because they protect my whole hand and wrist... but they seem to shrink a bit more every time I wash them. I like that the silicone squares can go in the dishwasher but I find them too slippery and I've burned myself too many times. I really need something that covers my whole hand (and based on the scars, I'd say to mid forearm!).

When I tried on silicone "orkas" at the store I thought they might not give enough control. The "ove" gloves look interesting, but do they work?

I'd love to know what works (or doesn't work for you). Thanks!

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  1. I prefer a simple bakers rag,http://www.bakedeco.com/dept.asp?ID=61, but they take time to get used to and it doesn't do much good if you forget.

    The Ov-glove works very well. Its made from Nomex and Kevlar and will protect you from any temp that is going to be found in the residential kitchen. If you choose the Ov-glove, make sure you buy a set, as they are sold individually.

      1. I've always used the low-brow square/rectangular pocket hotpads with a double layer of thick terry-cloth on either side of the hand pocket. (At Target, $3.99) They wash well, and I find them easier to use than something with a discrete thumb formation, as in the mitt type. Different hands, different preferences, I guess.

        Or, I just use a towel from the stack.

        2 Replies
        1. re: cayjohan

          I buy the same sort from Ritz. I like not having the thumb bit. They are very sturdy and last a long time.

          1. re: Candy

            I like this same kind as well as a frequent burner myself! I like the little loops too because I hang them on the back of my cabinet doors on tiny stick-on hooks. I always seem to burn myself with the towel method... I must not have the folding method down.

        2. We found some extra-long oven mitts at some discount place. These have turned out to be godsends for me because I'm also burn prone. If you can find them, they come halfway up the forearms and are made of padded cotton so they're flexible, washable and easy to use.

          If you're really nervous about being burnt, look for foundry gloves. We have these for our wood stove. They're fireproof, literally. You can put a log into a hot stove right into the flames without harm. They're heavy, thick and huge. Steven Raichlen in his bbq TV series, always uses these. They are the safest gloves around.

          1. I think it was in I'm Just Here for the Food that Alton Brown recommended going to a hardware store and buying welding gloves. Sounded like a great idea to me and I've had it in mind to check it out.

            1 Reply
            1. re: JoanN

              I have a couple pair of welding gloves that go back and forth from the kitchen to the grill and smoker. My only complaint is that the fingers lose flexibility with use, since I inevitably get something wet on them or have to clean them off. I also have a pair of lined, high-temp rubber gauntlets, but these are bulky to the point of losing dexterity.

            2. I know that Cooks Illustrated is really down on the Orkas, saying that they are too big and cumbersome for most. However, I have really small hands and they have always worked wonderfully for me. Being a very clumsy/burn-prone cook, the Orka has been a godsend. And I like that they are easy to clean.

              1 Reply
              1. re: nicolars

                I like them too. As you say, they're easy to clean. And they won't lose their heat-resistance like a dirty cloth mitt will (I say this having recently suffering a nasty burn taking a cast-iron pan out of the oven with an old mitt). And I know I've said it before, but I also like that I can take my canning jars out of the boiling water bath with them.

              2. I bought thick square terry ones from Pampered Chef a few years ago that have a slit in on side to slip your wrist through, making them both trivets and potholders. I love them to death and couldn't live without them.

                I do think they're discontinued now, as I only see the "glove" type for sale by them, but if you find them somewhere, jump on them.

                1. I never use a glove. I use heavy cloth or silicone pot holders.

                  When it's a matter of getting something big and heavy out of the oven, I pull the rack all the way out and grip from the sides with my whole hand.

                  The silicone pot holders are easier to use if you cut them down to sizes that suit you. I cut them in half and have long rectangles to wrap around the sides and in quarters to have small flexible holders for handles and casserole "ears". They are very easily cut with a straight edge and a rotary cutter or X-acto.

                  1. I just use my regular old thick terrycloth kitchen towels, folded into fourths. Potholders & oven gloves somehow always lose their insulating capacity after repeated washings.

                    1. I have a dozen pot holders created by Girl Scouts on the old metal loom, still work great!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: HillJ

                        I used to make those when I was a girl scout. I know my grandmother still has some.... I'll have to try one next time I'm there.

                      2. As someone with scars up my arm, I appreciate the need to find a long glove. I got a set of Kool-tek oven mitts two years ago, and I think they are the greatest things ever. I must admit that I have never washed them (ewww), so I don't know if they shrink.
                        The set I have is 15 inches long, but now I can only find the 12 inch ones (such as at cooking.com http://www.cooking.com/products/shpro...
                        ) but if you have shorter arms, 12 inches may be plenty.
                        *edited to add - The 15 inch are stil available http://www.cooking.com/products/shpro...

                        My only problem now is remembering to put them on before I pick up hot things. . .

                        1. I've been using the terrycloth- or quilted-on-the-outside with silver teflon coating on the inside oven mitts ever since I've been cooking. The usual "brand name" is NOW Designs. They don't seem to have a website - I usually find them in Sur la Table (used to find them in Kitchen Etc.).

                          1. The Ov-Glove works. Too well... can't tell if what you're holding is hot or not. But they don't go up to mid-forearm.