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Oct 24, 2011 03:55 PM

Vintage Wagner Ware Magnalite Dutch Oven Roaster

I inherited the old dutch oven and want to bake sourdough bread in it. I read that the black nob on the lid is safe to 350 degrees, but will the sourdough damage the inner finish? Is aluminum safe to cook in?
thanks, Bakki

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  1. Hi, Bakki:

    Those roasters are 'WAY cool--like cooking in a miniature Airstream trailer!

    I have never (yet) had one, but I have handled many at antique stores, and never *ever* seen one with a melted/burned/missing knob. So I'd say 350F is a very conservative max number.

    Why would you be concerned that flour, water, starter and yeast would damage the finish? I have an all-aluminum Bundt pan, and there are probably 20 million aluminum cake pans in USA, that have endured baking and escaped unscathed.

    Yes, aluminum is safe to cook in. Can 95% of all restaurants (and those who regulate/inspect them) be that wrong? Not only is it *safe*, it's a great material for pans.

    Hang onto that Magnalite DO--its a good piece (no wonder you were bequeathed it).


    2 Replies
    1. re: kaleokahu


      Are you writing from Hawaii? Thank thank you! Bakki

      1. re: Bakki

        Hi, Bakki:

        'Ole, noho au in Seattle.


    2. Not being anodized these roasters give off a little more aluminum that newer cookware. If that's not an issue for you then enjoy. However, I would probably draw the line at any food that is acidic or alkaline since aluminum is amphoteric.

      The knobs are bakelite one of the earliest phenolic resin based plastics.

      3 Replies
      1. re: RichardM

        Hi, Richard M:

        Thanks for the info. You sound very well-informed.

        Please educate me further. Isn't aluminum less reactive than steel in the range of pH 4 to 10? I can't think of a food >9, and few (other than very acidic fruits) <4.


        1. re: kaleokahu

          Hi -

          Without the composition of the alloy it's pretty hard to identify a range but in general the rate at which aluminum dissolves in the food substance increases the farther you are from pH 7.

          These pans fell out of favor in the '60s with home cooks because of the 'aluminum' scare. Not unlike the concern over BPA and teflon today.

          FYI - There were two sizes of the roaster, at least one frying pan and a set of matching sauce pans.

          1. re: RichardM

            Hi, RichardM:

            Thanks. The graphs I've seen plotting this amphotericity show that the reaction of aluminum (alloy unspecified) stays below steel's to a point well past 9 and down to 4; only at both extreme ends of the scale does it spike up into a crooked smile..

            So within that range, say pH 4-10, are you saying aluminum cookware is dissolving in the food? If so, I'd appreciate a study citation on that point, better yet to one that quantifies the amount put into foods.

            Thanks Again,