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Will it break? What's safe to put in a toaster oven?

r
redbeanbun Nov 5, 2011 06:50 PM

Greetings Hounders. We recently replaced our toaster oven with one of those fancy Breville compact smart ovens. Then I read on the internet that putting oven safe glassware like pyrex or anchor hocking isn't recommend for risk of breaking even though it is considered "oven safe" up to 450 degrees. This is disappointing since it would be convenient to pull these containers out of the fridge and pop it in the toaster oven to re-heat leftovers. Since the internet is the un-disputed authority on dissenting opinions, I was wondering if any Chowhounders had actual experience popping some non-metal pan in their toaster oven and had it survive or break. So far, I've baked a pie in the Breville oven in a $5 stoneware pie dish purchased from TJMaxx and not only have it survive, but turn out a surprisingly beautiful looking pie.

So, based on your experience...did it break? Please specify if you were cooking or re-heating.
1) Oven-safe glass such as Pyrex or Anchor Hocking
2) Ceramic or stoneware
3) Terracotta

Thanks,
Redbeanbun

  1. m
    mpalmer6c Nov 11, 2011 10:13 PM

    Never put cold glass or ceramic in a preheated oven.
    It's very likely to break. It probably will be OK if started in
    a cold oven. Personally, I always follow manufacturer's directions
    in such matters.

    1. greygarious Nov 6, 2011 01:07 PM

      You can always put your containers onto a metal baking sheet, or into an aluminum foil nest, before heating in a toaster oven. If the pan/dish does bread, the contents won't burn onto the coils or the oven floor.

      I have a set of Glass-lock storage containers that is recommended for freezer and microwave, but not oven. This struck me as extreme. I use them when dividing up casserole, crisp, etc., recipes before baking, so as to freeze them in smaller amounts. I put them onto a sheet pan before filling and let them stay there until they cool down enough after baking (full size oven) to handle. Have done this dozens of times with, knock wood, no damage to date. Only once did I use one of these in the toaster oven without remembering to put it onto a pan. It was fine, but then again, the contents and dish were room temp going into the preheated toaster oven. If you are in a hurry to take the chill off a frozen dish, put a wire rack into a pan of tepid water and set the frozen/refrigerated container atop the rack. You'll be surprised how fast the rack and water pull the cold out of the container and its contents.

      2 Replies
      1. re: greygarious
        al b. darned Nov 6, 2011 02:05 PM

        >>>
        You'll be surprised how fast the rack and water pull the cold out of the container and its contents.
        <<<

        Not to pick nits, or anything, but...
        Second Law of Thermodynamics: "Heat travels from hot to cold. The greater the difference in temperature the greater the rate of transfer."

        So you are actually warming up the container/contents, not cooling the water.

        (Sorry, I'm a mechanical engineer.)

        1. re: al b. darned
          Chemicalkinetics Nov 6, 2011 02:12 PM

          "Not to pick nits, or anything, but...
          Second Law of Thermodynamics: "Heat travels from hot to cold. The greater the difference in temperature the greater the rate of transfer.""

          That depends if you like quantify "nothingness" or coldness"

          "you are actually warming up the container/contents, not cooling the water."

          Actually both. :)

      2. al b. darned Nov 6, 2011 11:38 AM

        From Pyrex.com:
        http://www.pyrexware.com/index.asp?pageId=28

        WARNING: FAILURE TO FOLLOW THE WARNINGS BELOW MAY RESULT IN PERSONAL INJURY OR PROPERTY DAMAGE, OR MAY CAUSE YOUR GLASSWARE TO BREAK OR SHATTER IMMEDIATELY OR LATER.

        ...
        * DO NOT use on or under a flame or other direct heat source, including on a stovetop, under a broiler, on a grill or in a toaster oven.

        From Anchorhocking.com
        http://www.anchorhocking.com/care_use...

        How to Care for Your Bakeware

        1. HEAT IN OVEN ONLY. Use your Anchor Hocking Bakeware in gas or electric ovens up to 425°F or microwave ovens without browning element. Not for stovetop, broiler or toaster oven use. Do not use an alcohol or Canned Heat burner as a direct heat source.

        2 Replies
        1. re: al b. darned
          paulj Nov 6, 2011 12:31 PM

          In other words, they don't want you to use direct or radiant heat sources that can heat one part of the pan but not another.

          1. re: paulj
            al b. darned Nov 6, 2011 02:26 PM

            Yes. In a toaster oven the elements are close enough to the dish and could cause enough uneven heating to stress the glass, causing it to shatter.

            I, too, had used my Pyrex baking dish in my toaster ovens for years with no problems, but with all the recent publicity I actually read the warnings and decided to heed them.

        2. paulj Nov 6, 2011 08:11 AM

          A major difference between a toaster oven and a regular one is the distance between heating elements and the pan. I suspect that using a toaster oven, especially at high heat like 400, is similar to placing the pan a few inches under the broiler element of a big oven. If the pan warns against use under a broiler, I would be extra cautious when using it in the toaster oven.

          The broiler problem has to do with uneven heat, and resulting thermal stresses. Parts of the pan (handles, rim) can get quite hot, while other parts have barely warmed.

          2 Replies
          1. re: paulj
            j
            justicenow Nov 6, 2011 09:20 AM

            That does make sense. I would think then that having some liquid, and a fuller glass dish is safer than say roasting a couple of double thick pork chops.

            1. re: paulj
              s
              sueatmo Nov 6, 2011 02:20 PM

              If the mfg. warns against this, OK. If not, I would just go ahead. I haven't had any problems with hand thrown stoneware or commercial stoneware in my oven. I've been baking in it for a couple of years now.

              I will mention this though. If you ping handmade pottery with your finger and the vessel doesn't ring, but makes soft sort of thud, it has a crack. Use a vessel like this carefully. Just my opinion.

            2. j
              justicenow Nov 5, 2011 09:08 PM

              I have not heard of there being any difference between a regular and toaster oven regarding glass ovenware. I use mine a lot in the summer to avoid heating up the house with the A/C on.

               
              2 Replies
              1. re: justicenow
                r
                redbeanbun Nov 5, 2011 09:21 PM

                oh sweet..is that a slab of bacon cooking in your toaster oven? i'm thoroughly impressed.

                1. re: redbeanbun
                  j
                  justicenow Nov 5, 2011 09:29 PM

                  Pork belly sitting on root vegies. The parsnips were like candy. I have one chunk of belly left in the freezer. Looking at the pics make me want to get it out.

                   
              2. e
                escondido123 Nov 5, 2011 08:29 PM

                It is all about the temperature difference. If you let a dish come to room temp before putting in toaster oven it should be fine. Or, if you put something out of frig into toaster oven and then put it on to bake you should be fine because it will warm up as the toaster oven does.
                But to take something out of the freezer and push it under the broiler may well mean breakage.

                2 Replies
                1. re: escondido123
                  r
                  redbeanbun Nov 5, 2011 09:00 PM

                  you guys must really blast your leftovers. i've taken the anchor hocking out of the fridge and warmed up leftovers in the regular oven at 250-300 degrees for 10-15 min just before serving and so far no problems. Sometimes it does sit out on the counter for a while until I'm ready to stick it in the oven. As far as I'm concerned, leftovers just need to be re-heated, not scaldingly overcooked. it makes me wonder though about folks who pull these containers from the fridge and microwave them.

                  Sueatmo - I've already been to several mfg websites and they don't address the use of their products in toaster ovens so there's no info there.
                  One of the comments I've seen out there regarding oven-safe glass, ceramic, and stoneware in the toaster oven is that it isn't "recommended" due to the proximity to the heating elements, rather than the temperature itself. Yet, there are also contradictory comments.

                  REDbeanbun (you know who you are)

                  1. re: redbeanbun
                    s
                    sueatmo Nov 6, 2011 02:15 PM

                    There shouldn't be any difference, which is what I tried to express in my earlier post. Toaster ovens bake. Regular ovens bake.

                    I wouldn't take a cold glass OR ceramic container straight out of the fridge and put it into a hot oven. However pottery or ceramic ovenware has been fired at a high temp, and should be OK in a pre heated oven, assuming it hasn't just been taken out of the fridge or freezer. Glass seems to be a marginally safe product. There have been lengthy discussions on this forum about this issue. Consumer Reports has written about this issue. Some folks have had bad experiences with shattering or exploding Pyrex. I have had an old Pyrex shatter after taking from the oven. The mfg. seems to say that "bruised" glass can shatter. I won't use the stuff for conventional baking. The Pyrex issue is well known.

                2. s
                  sueatmo Nov 5, 2011 08:18 PM

                  Yes, I had a pie plate that I had used for years come out of my regular oven, and break. You can search this forum for discussions about this issue.

                  I would never take a cold glass container of food and pop it right into a hot oven. That is asking for trouble. This goes for Anchor Hocking, Corningware, or Pyrex.

                  If the ceramic or pottery is oven safe, it should be safe in your toaster oven. You would have to follow the mfg. directions on how to handle it, if it is going from the fridge to the oven. I have some handmade pottery which I do use in my toaster convection oven with no fear or problem. After all, pottery or stoneware is fired at a very high temperature in a kiln before being used. If the pottery or stoneware item is glazed, you should be sure that the glaze is lead free.

                  Really there is no difference between what you put in your toaster convection oven and what you would put in your regular oven. The biggest concern for me was finding pans that fit.

                  I hope you enjoy your new oven. I really use mine.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: sueatmo
                    d
                    Dave5440 Nov 5, 2011 08:28 PM

                    It's true that pottery,stoneware,glass and ceramics are fired at high temp, but thermal shock is their biggest enemy so going from a 38f fridge to a 450 oven is asking for it, but you could put a cold(from the fridge) pan into a cold oven and let them heat up together , toaster ovens heat up way faster but it reduces the thermal shock.

                    1. re: sueatmo
                      Chemicalkinetics Nov 5, 2011 08:44 PM

                      I somewhat agree with Dave too. You are absolutely correct that ceramic and pottery are made at fired at very high temperatures, but if I am correct, glassware are also made from very high temperatures. Thermal shock is the biggest challenge for these bakeware.

                      The problem I see for reheating a cold bakeware with food in an oven is that the interior surface contacting the food remains very cold. Yet, the exterior is being heated by the oven. Long story short, this is putting much more stress than heating the empty bakeware.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                        d
                        Dave5440 Nov 5, 2011 10:01 PM

                        yes glass is fired/melted high temp but there is variations that are low temp throught the additions of hold your breath lead oxide, pyrex is made from the most thermal shock resistant glass available or used to be

                        1. re: Dave5440
                          Chemicalkinetics Nov 5, 2011 10:19 PM

                          :) Agree. Not all glasses are the same.

                          The original Pyrex glasswares were made from borosilicate which is one of the most thermal shock resistant glassware. The current Pyrex *labwares*are still made by borosilicate glassware.

                          ***
                          However, most of North America Pyrex bakeware are now made from tempered soda lime glass – after Corning sold this brand to World Kitchen. Tempered soda lime glass is physically stronger, but has weaker resistance against thermal shock. You may find this video interesting:

                          http://www.popsci.com/science/article...

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                            d
                            Dave5440 Nov 5, 2011 11:45 PM

                            Great read, I love the comments below

                            1. re: Dave5440
                              Chemicalkinetics Nov 6, 2011 06:08 AM

                              I didn't read the comments until you bought it up. Man, people get very passionate about the crack industry. :)

                    2. pikawicca Nov 5, 2011 07:28 PM

                      Taking Pyrex out of the fridge and putting it directly into any oven is a recipe for disaster. I use stoneware in my Breville all the time. I do not put Pyrex in there, however, as there are too many breakage issues with current-generation Pyrex.

                      1. Chemicalkinetics Nov 5, 2011 06:58 PM

                        Greenbeanbun,

                        In my experience, these oven safe glassware did not break. However, keep in mind that it is all about chances and different people have different tolerance of chances.

                        "pull these containers out of the fridge and pop it in the toaster oven to re-heat leftovers"

                        Even I am not against of using these glassware for baking. I wonder if putting something so cold with cold content inside a hot oven is a good idea. I can see this put a lot of stress for the glassware.

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