HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >

Discussion

Need some glass bakeware: is all glass the same?

Simple question: is glassware simply glassware or is there degrees of quality, or other qualities i should look for?

Im just looking for a 9x13 general purpose dish to do lasagnas, casseroles, brownies/cakes, etc.

Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. There has been a lot written about glass bakeware made in the US at the present time. The current version of "pyrex" which was sold off from Corning is made of soda lime glass. This type of glass will only tolerate a difference of temperature within the glass of about 100F degrees or even less. You can imagine if you take a dish out of 350F oven and part of the dish cools you could easily have that difference. There have been many reports of dishes shattering. Corning used to make clear PYREX out of borosilicate glass which tolerated about 300F difference. They also made opaque, mostly white PYREX that was made of soda lime glass. They still make PYREX with borosilicate in Europe. I use some of the older stuff especially pie pans but I would never buy the new stuff unless you could get the borosilicate stuff. Determining exactly what is borosilicate in the older stuff is not always 100%.
    Note the difference in trademarks of current products.
    Most other brands have been soda lime glass for awhile. I would not even consider new glass unless it is labeled borosilicate.
    If I were buying now I would avoid glass altogether.

    1. Check out the HIC Porcelain Lasagna Pan

      http://www.amazon.com/HIC-Porcelain-L...

      It came out highly rated in America's Test Kitchen and is what I use today. The older Pyrex was great for things like this but, the good glass is long gone.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Sid Post

        Stoneware is a great replacement for glass. I've been replacing all of my old glass bakeware with LC and Emile Henry stoneware, and also USA Pans.

        A little oil makes the stoneware nonstick and it cleans easier than my glassware did. Most stuff rinses right out. What doesn't comes off easily after a short soak.

        USA Pans have a silicone coating that makes them incredibly nonstick, no butter or oil is needed, ever. They rinse or wipe clean, seriously. http://www.chefscatalog.com/product/2...

      2. Interesting discussion. Here's some info from Consumer Reports testing: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/ma...

        1. I use old corning wear and new and old pyrex, never had a problem (knock on wood) and I use them a lot. Rather have glass then coated metal.

          5 Replies
          1. re: daislander

            <i use old corning ware...>

            I was pleased to learn (Thanks, ellabee) that vintage Corningware isn't just "glass", it's Pyroceram, and is able to withstand sudden temperature changes of over 800ºF. Of course I'm probably one of the last people on the planet to twig to this happy fact, but I mention it because I think it might help the OP.

            Vintage Corningware could be just what she's seeking.

            1. re: DuffyH

              I agree -- and there is a great Corningware lasagna pan.

              like this one:
              http://www.replacements.com/webquote/...

              Keep your eyes open at yard sales and you will find Corningware -- it seems to be going out of style, but it is great for both oven and microwave.

              1. re: DuffyH

                Just picked up a smallish Corningware French White roasting pan to replace a pyrex casserole dish that broke. (I love it already -- looks just like my favorite lasagna pan but smaller.)

                No, the pyrex did not shatter when it was hot out of the oven -- my husband dropped it when it was cool out of the cupboard! We'd had it for 30 years or more.

                  1. re: DuffyH

                    Yes, I think so, too. I kinda miss that dish, though -- it had been around longer than two out of three of my kids.

            2. It appears the choice should be based on whether you're more likely to subject your glassware to bumping and dropping or thermal shock. It seems to me that thermal shock is something that you can plan ahead to prevent.

              12 Replies
              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                I regularly bring my dishes from a 350F oven into room temperature air so thermal shock would be my primary concern. Posters here report shattering even when the dish was wrapped in a towel. The big handles on the newer "pyrex" would tend to cool quicker and increase the chance of creating a temperature differential of greater than 100 degrees. I'm not sure how you can plan to avoid it other than use it in situations where you do not vary the temperature more than 100 degrees as in refrigerated items or very low temperature cooking. I have never dropped a dish in 50 years of cooking so for me that would be a rare occurrence. I wonder how they tested impact resistance. Did they drop it from 3 inches or 3 feet? There would eventually be a height where they both break.

                1. re: wekick

                  thermal shock will not occur letting a oven temp dish come to room temp. it is likely to occur if it is placed on a cold countertop, or in water just out of the oven or while fairly hot. it is the drastic RANGE of any temperature change that will cause the shock. (in my layman's understanding).

                  i use old pyrex and corning ware. i love french white by corning ware, it is nice looking, dishwasher safe, always looks perfect, and you can serve in it at the table.

                  1. re: alkapal

                    The dish does not know if it is cooling on a countertop or not. It only can react to physical laws. Drastic is a subjective term. I would look at the actual temperatures involved. Some people consider the 100F degree differential of soda lime glass(modern pyrex) to be narrow when compared to 300F for borosilicate glass of old clear PYREX.

                    1. re: wekick

                      hot oven hot dish, cold countertop. i'd venture that is in the realm of "drastic" for a poor little glass baking dish filled with hot food.

                      1. re: alkapal

                        Again, that would depend on the physical properties of the glass and oven temperatures. The article by consumer reports linked above did some testing and you can see how the different types of glass react in different situations.

                        1. re: wekick

                          I exploded a room temperature pyrex pan with a refrigerator temp pork loin roast by (Foolishlly) putting in on my 350 degree pizza stone. . Boom! And this was my late grandmother's pyrex, the "old" stuff.

                          I miss that pan. . .

                          1. re: autumm

                            There can be some things happen to glass that will weaken the structure and result in shattering. It might get nicks or scratches so it is advisable to inspect Pyrex you use and discard it if you see any. A dish might also survive an impact but the glass structure is weakened and is subject to shatter without further provocation. It can be sitting on a shelf and shatter. This you cannot see in advance.

                    2. re: alkapal

                      I still believe the higher the percentage of contact the higher chance of breakage. For example, if you place a glass dish hot from the oven directly onto cool or even room temp stone countertops, with 100% contact, there is a better chance of cracking rather than placing it on a gas grate with only say 10% contact. That's not to say cold water dripped onto a steaming hot glass dish won't shatter it.

                      1. re: Jerseygirl111

                        Actually it's the opposite, the gas grate would cool only small areas of the glass causing those areas to expand while the hot areas are still contracted causing it to be more likely to shatter. If the glass cools or heats at an even rate it will all expand or contract at the same rate. It is safest to place it on a dry towel on the counter. Many cases of exploding Pyrex seem to have in common being placed on top of a stove grate. Also older formica countertops don't hold the cold or heat the way newer countertop surfaces like granite do.

                        1. re: Vicky123

                          Hmm. Never thought of it that way. I would think that the small amount of contact would have such a negligable effect on the temperature of the overall surface of the dish that it wouldn't factor at all. Of course you wouldn't be placing the dish on a grate just removed from the freezer or anything, just room temp or slightly warmed from the ambient heat of the oven below.

                          1. re: Jerseygirl111

                            The problem is that it can be unpredictable. You might do what you feel is safe, or has not resulted in breakage but it is outside of the tolerances of the glass. Add to that tiny chips or previous impacts that might allow the glass to become unstable. It is a good thing to be aware of the risks so you can make an informed decision about what you use in the kitchen.

                  2. i recommend using metal, unless the pan you want cannot be obtained except in glass.

                    If you go glass, be sure to read the instructions that come with your pan and follow them to the letter. Pyrex has been known to burst, crack, explode. I prefer to use metal for this reason. Although, I have unable to find a really big flat metal pan, and so I am forced to use Pyrex for this one baking application. But I am extremely careful. If you can find a metal pan that works for you, then I'd advise to go metal.

                    Of course you can also find good ceramic bakers.

                    1. Anchor-Hocking and US-made Pyrex glass bakeware are comparable and both require careful handling to avoid thermal shock. I allow mine to cool partially in the oven before removing them.

                      1. For ten to twenty dollars, you can go on the online auction site and get pristine Corning Ware bakers, the original Pyroceram kind that can withstand sharp temperature changes. They really can go from freezer to oven, and many are attractive enough to serve in. Some have glass cooking lids and close-fitting plastic lids for storage, which eliminate the need for foil and plastic wrap.

                        Millions and millions of these were made in the US between 1958 and the early 1990s, and they're so durable that it's a shame not to take advantage of the already-expended energy and resources embodies in them.

                        For a lasagna pan, consider the French White F-4-B shallow baker or the A-21 roaster (P-21 before 1972).

                        The freezer-to-oven capability also comes in especially handy for the pie (P-309) and quiche (F-3) pans.

                        14 Replies
                        1. re: ellabee

                          Hi ellabee,

                          Is there a way to distinguish the older Corningware from new? Aside from patterns that are no longer in production, that is. I'm thinking specifically of French White. Is there a difference?

                          1. re: DuffyH

                            In "real" Corning Ware, the bottoms are completely smooth and slick. The new (stoneware) pieces have a ring of exposed, rougher ceramic on the base.

                            There are also subtle but detectable differences in the shape and form of the rim and ridges on the outside, but the base is the key. Here's a page with explanations and images noting the difference between original Pyroceram Corning Ware French White and the new stoneware stuff: http://corningware411.blogspot.com/20...

                            Speaking of French White, I got the part number wrong on the quiche pan above; it's F-3-B. There's also a smaller, 8" version F-8-B, not seen quite as often.

                            1. re: ellabee

                              Thanks, ellabee. I remember those smooth finishes on old Corningware (who doesn't?). I'm glad to know it's easy to spot the vintage stuff.

                              BTW - for the OP, check thrift stores. My local Salvation Army store gets lots of Corningware. Most of it goes for $4-6 per piece.

                              1. re: DuffyH

                                I agree that the Goodwill gets Corning ware, Pyrex mixing bowls and odd Corning lids. So if someone is missing a lid, I'd check the Goodwill for a few weeks to see if what you need is there.

                                However, as an owner of a French White piece of Corning Ware, probably about 25 years old, I have to say that I have found it not really optimal. I have the round lidded baker. The lid chipped almost immediately, and there are no handles on the sides. It is a lovely pan. I use it infrequently, but I don't like handling it when it is hot. Just my experience.

                                I think the original Corning Ware with the cornflower motif is just ugly, and always have. And tough to keep clean if you use for baking.

                                1. re: sueatmo

                                  Hi Sue,

                                  I've been struggling to find just the right size/shape baking dish for most of my needs. Most of the LC and EH stuff is too big or too small. Today we dropped off some donations at our local SA. While inside I found a French White in size F-12, with lid. At 1.8L, it's like baby bear, just right. $10. It had some scuff marks around the base, but a little baking soda cleaned that right up. It's in the DW now.

                                  I think most Corningware is pretty ugly. Trefoil doesn't suck. I guess it's one of those "eye of the beholder" things. Most of it is just too country for me. I learned today that there's also French Black, which could be kind of cool, I think.

                                   
                                  1. re: DuffyH

                                    That looks like a nice 'score" Duffy. One of these days I hope I get lucky at the Salvation Army or Goodwill but, so far I haven't found what I was looking for when I went looking.

                                    1. re: Sid Post

                                      Hi Sid,

                                      In 3 years, I think I've found fewer than 5 kitchen items there. But they've all been gems.

                                    2. re: DuffyH

                                      I like your baker. If it works for you, then I think it is perfect. I do use mine, a taller souffle type dish, infrequently. I do think it needs some sort of handle on the sides.

                                      1. re: sueatmo

                                        <I do think it needs some sort of handle on the sides.>

                                        You could very well be right on that. I always seem to find a way to stick my thumbs into my bakers with handles, maybe this one will force me to stop that. Or I need to stop making my lasagne so tall. ;-)

                                    3. re: sueatmo

                                      Agree, the French White F-4-B has less to hold onto when removing hot from the oven, or manipulating on the stovetop for deglazing etc.

                                      I too am not a fan of any of the Corning Ware patterns except the black trefoil. Plain white goes with everything and is unobtrusive.

                                      The open roaster A-21 is available in plain white, and has a flange-type rim all around that makes it easier to handle.

                                      The tab handles on the similarly sized A-21-B-N make it also more manageable than the French White. It's also often found in plain white.

                                      1. re: ellabee

                                        Yeah, white's a good color. And it matches most porcelain perfectly, which works really well for me.

                                        ellabee, I really want to thank you for mentioning vintage Corningware. I had some, long, long ago, just a few small pieces, but had no idea it was any more heat-proof than Pyrex until you brought it up. Since I've been phasing out my glass bakeware, I've been focused exclusively on LC and EH, because of their durability. As I mentioned above, most of it is just too big. I've been pleased to learn that Corning made a lot of smallish items, perfect for me. I'll be searching out more as time goes on.

                              2. re: ellabee

                                I scored this beauty at the local church thrift shop for only a dollar. 2.5 liter, a nice size. I didn't really need it but LOVED the design...no idea what it's called.

                                 
                                1. re: coll

                                  It's called 'Callaway'. My favorite of the larger-scale Corning Ware patterns.

                                  That size and the 3 qt (same diam, slightly taller) are very useful for storing braising liquid in the fridge after doing a braise or stew -- the steep sides/relatively small top surface area makes it easy to defat. Also handy for doing lemon curd and fruit jams in the microwave; there the steep sides handle boil-up.

                                  I inherited a 2.5 qt from my mother that I only began using regularly in the last year. She got it in 1971 with S&H green stamps that the Esso station gave away with fill-ups. Took a while to accumulate enough, as the car we were filling up was a VW bug <g>.

                                  Enjoy your new/old pot!

                                  1. re: ellabee

                                    Thanks for the info. It did remind me of St Paddys Day which is why I bought it, but the size is very useful too. The rest of my Corningware, from when I got married in the mid '70s, is all that blue cornflower design. Boring!

                                    Thanks for the tip on microwave jam, something I want to delve into this summer.

                              3. anyone else remember corning's "Visions"? i hated that. not sure why, now.

                                19 Replies
                                1. re: alkapal

                                  Because, like all glass and ceramic stovetop ware, it takes forever to heat up, and slow to respond to heat changes. Without any of the thermal-shock virtues of Corning Ware.

                                  1. re: alkapal

                                    I have one Vision skillet. I don't hate it. It gets used once in awhile, but not often. It's useful for a dish containing liquid which needs only heating on the stovetop, not cooking, and it cleans up easily in the dishwasher. The pans I would use as an alternative I wash by hand.

                                    1. re: alkapal

                                      You hated it because it did not work well. It heated badly and you scorched things easily. Regular old Corning Ware was awful on the top of the stove too. I had the old cornflower stuff with a detachable handle many years ago, and I did not like cooking on the stove with it.

                                      1. re: sueatmo

                                        <I had the old cornflower stuff with a detachable handle many years ago, and I did not like cooking on the stove with it.>

                                        I had one or two of those, too! Don't have them anymore; that about tells the tale.

                                        1. re: DuffyH

                                          The very thing Corning Ware was most promoted for -- stovetop cooking -- is what it's worst at. Yet it CAN be used on the burner if need be (at medium heat or below only, to avoid scorching).

                                          That means it can take advantage of the whole array of appliances to be found in many kitchens: stove, oven, broiler, fridge, freezer, microwave, sink (even while still hot) and dishwasher. Pretty useful, especially for the rock-bottom prices it goes for at yard sales and flea markets.

                                          1. re: ellabee

                                            <Pretty useful, especially for the rock-bottom prices it goes for at yard sales and flea markets.>

                                            Yes. Emile Henry can do the same, but at 2-3x the price or more.

                                              1. re: DuffyH

                                                Emily Henry stoneware is tougher than most, but don't try pouring tepid or cool water in it when it's hot. They claim it can go straight from freezer to oven, but I'd never have the nerve to risk an entire already assembled casserole plus the dish.

                                                1. re: ellabee

                                                  <Emily Henry stoneware is tougher than most, but don't try pouring tepid or cool water in it when it's hot.>

                                                  You're right. I was mistaken about EH. On reading their use and care instructions, we're warned not to add cold water to a hot dish, so it won't go from oven to cold water, as classic Corningware can. Why anyone would want to do that is beyond me, but we can. Warnings about adding cold water make sense.

                                                  But it CAN go from freezer to hot oven. Would you do it with vintage Corningware?

                                                  1. re: DuffyH

                                                    Yes. It has 800-degree tolerance.

                                                    1. re: ellabee

                                                      But not with EH, even though it's specifically listed among it's features? "Emile Henry dishes can be taken directly from the freezer to a heated oven. This is wonderful for reheating frozen left-overs."

                                                      Well, ok. I don't do it, either, but only because 1) I rarely make anything even remotely casserole-ish and 2) I don't have room in my freezer for a casserole dish.

                                                      ETA - I just realized, 800º is great, but we're really only talking about half that. Even 400º-32º only equals 368º.

                                                      1. re: ellabee

                                                        You guys are welcome to all the Corning Ware you can find. I honestly don't like the stuff.

                                                        I do use Pyrex, but not for baking except in the one case where I have an extremely large baking dish that I could not find anywhere else. I use the measuring cups, including the largest one, and some containers for food storage with plastic lids.

                                                        I prefer baking in metal, actually. But I do have some nice ceramic or porcelain lidded containers that I like to bake in too. I just don't see the need for Corning Ware. And to me is is ugly and hard to clean. But I'd use that in preference to Pyrex for baking.

                                                        You know, I do have an old Corning Ware pie pan that was a wedding gift in 1970. I do still use it, actually. The other pieces I had are long gone and not mourned.

                                                        1. re: sueatmo

                                                          Hey, Sue

                                                          I'm a fickle baker. I like metal (love, love, love my USA Pans), but stoneware floats my boat, too. Not for loaves of bread, but it's great for brownies, cornbread and such. Super easy to clean, too.

                                              1. re: sueatmo

                                                Hi, Sue:

                                                I'd always wanted a Visions skillet, just to prove that it's the worst material for a skillet on the planet.

                                                I had a large one in my hand at a garage sale yesterday, but just couldn't bring myself to do it, even for $1.

                                                Aloha,
                                                Kaleo

                                                1. re: kaleokahu

                                                  Aw.'cmon, K, not even to make a scorch print? It could always find a home as a, um, hell, I don't know... a saucer for a clay pot? Be creative, man!

                                                  I know! Saw it in half so we can see what the layers are! Yeah, that would be fun. It would make a grand addition to your cutaway collection. :-D

                                                  1. re: DuffyH

                                                    a dipper for the huge bag of elephant food! THAT's its best use.

                                                    1. re: DuffyH

                                                      Hi, Duffy:

                                                      Well, ever since I was enlightened that there's no difference in pans for those (actually, that one) who know how to cook...

                                                      I'm sure I'll find one and do a scorchprint just for you. But don't believe those who use the empirical method and materials science. That's only for recipe readers.

                                                      Aloha,
                                                      Kaleo

                                                      1. re: kaleokahu

                                                        I know, K. I know. And to my everlasting shame, I must admit (full disclosure and all that) that I have read a recipe. In fact, I've done it this year. I know! I know! I feel badly enough for both of us.

                                                        Just please, please, please don't tell the mods. They'll take away my decoder ring. :-(

                                              2. If it's glass Pyrex you're looking for, you can pick up the older stuff pretty much 100% of the time at Goodwill or whatever other thrift shop. Look for the logo on the bottom to say PYREX in all caps, not pyrex in lower case. If it's a little grubby, clean it with oven cleaner and it's good to go.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: Nyleve

                                                  This is generally true for clear colorless PYREX but if the PYREX is opaque it is soda lime glass. This most often is white but can be other colors. There is also PYREX marked "flameware" that made for stove top use. You can cut your risk but you cannot eliminate it. Some other things to avoid would be older PYREX with needle cut decoration that can weaken the dish. I would also avoid any Pyrex that has a green cast.

                                                  1. re: Nyleve

                                                    The problem with this advice is how does one know when the pieces were made. Just because they are older, does not mean they are not soda lime glass. This change was made a number of years ago. I had an older pie plate crack some years ago after coming out of the oven. It is much safer to simply use metal or ceramic.

                                                    1. re: sueatmo

                                                      Yes, and just because it's survived to make it to the thrift shop does not mean it is free of internal stresses, abrasions, and tiny chips which can make it even more prone to shattering. The failure modalities are several, little-understood, and entirely unpredictable.

                                                      There are better, safer choices for not much money.

                                                  2. Like cancer induced in lab rats these are extreme test conditions. If you use common sense and handle with care you shouldn't have a problem. I cook in both new Pyrex & Anchor Hocking without incident. If you take a hot dish out of the oven put on something like a wood cutting board or a towel and let it cool a bit. Of course you don't put it on a cold stone counter.

                                                    9 Replies
                                                    1. re: zackly

                                                      I don't think bringing a dish from a 350F oven to room temp is extreme. Many people do handle with care, using hot pads and towels and do have a problem. Search Pyrex on this forum and Pyrex shattering on google. Some very severe injuries have occurred.

                                                      1. re: wekick

                                                        The temperature is not my issue with the testing. It's placing it on a cold, wet granite counter.I've been cooking with Pyrex for decades without breakage. My rule#1 has always been "handle with extreme care".When it's hot you need to protect against both thermal & mechanical shock.The Consumer Reports testing was at a minimum of 400 degrees unless I'm missing something.

                                                        1. re: zackly

                                                          To be fair, the only time a Pyrex dish broke on me I put it on a tile counter that, unbeknownst to me, had a little water on it. Just a bit was all it took. Bear in mind that I had set the same dish on that counter many times without mishap.

                                                          30 years ago I wasn't aware of the danger in what I was doing. I'm much more careful now than I was then, but a lot of what I practice is hard-won knowledge. I'll continue swapping out Pyrex for more shock-resistant bakeware.

                                                          1. re: DuffyH

                                                            Me too. Why have stuff in your kitchen that has to be treated so carefully, and would be hazardous with one mistake?

                                                            It isn't as if glass is a wonderful conductor of heat or anything.

                                                            1. re: sueatmo

                                                              <It isn't as if glass is a wonderful conductor of heat or anything.>

                                                              Nor is it particularly lovely, unless it's holding a trifle.

                                                              1. re: DuffyH

                                                                <It isn't as if glass is a wonderful conductor of heat or anything.>

                                                                I prefer the opaque white ceramic to cook and bake. I started buying a lot more clear Pyrex to store refrigerated foods instead of plastic.

                                                                1. re: DuffyH

                                                                  Oh trifle. I haven't had or made one of these in ages. And I do have in my possession a lovely trifle bowl which my mom gave me years, and years ago. I should make one of these with local strawberries.

                                                                  1. re: sueatmo

                                                                    i'd love a strawberry trifle just now! how refreshing.

                                                                2. re: sueatmo

                                                                  If it were a "wonderful conductor of heat," it might burn the pie crust. My pumpkin pies turn out right and that's what matters.