Unglazed baking pan
I have a 9" x 9" square, 2 inch deep heavy stoneware? baking pan. It was made by Pampered Chef. (The Family Heritage Collection.) The thing is unglazed, completely free of any coating. How do I use this? WHY do I use this?
It seems to me it will get stained and become saturated with baked grease, oil, etc. Or is that what's *supposed* to happen, to become slick like seasoned cast iron?
It will eventually get "seasoned," although I don't think it will look like your cast iron. Mine just gets darker/stained with use.
You can use it like most any other pan ***BUT*** thermal shock will kill it, so don't put a frozen object in the middle of it, or pour cool liquid into it while it's hot. I also let it sit out overnight before washing it...I had one that cracked in half and the PC girl said that may have been a contributing factor. Wash it like you would cast iron - that is, no soap. It may have come with a little nylon scraper to help remove any baked-on bits.
As for the why...something about the properties of unglazed stoneware in terms of holding heat and moisture. The results for baked goods (cookies, biscuits, bread etc) seem much better than the old metal pans/sheets. They aren't bad for roasting things, although I don't notice much improvement in that regard.
Yes, the instructions that came with my deep dish baker (like yours, but round), instructed to bake refrigerator biscuits or something like that first - so the fat would be absorbed.
I have used mine a lot to make German pancakes (dutch babies, etc... like yorkshire puddings) - melt the butter in the oven before adding the batter. It does get darker over time, and nothing really sticks that's baked in it. If anything does stick, I just soak in water after it cools off, never use soap, and use the little nylon scraper that jzerocsk mentioned. If you don't have one I've seen them around in stores (can't recall where at the moment). Actually I use that scraper for lots of stuff, including my cast iron pans. Really comes in handy.
Hope that helps!