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Italian Cooking Article

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Cooking With A Dutch Oven

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Dutch ovens are used to make long, slow cooked dishes such as roasts, stews, and casseroles. There are two basic types one for use over a campfire, and one that can be used over a traditional stove or oven.

The camping version of a Dutch oven has three legs, a wire handle, and a slightly convex lid so that coals can rest on top and bottom for uniform heating like an oven. These kinds of ovens are made out of cast iron or aluminum. Stove top ovens are flat on bottom and have two handles. These ovens are made of bare or enameled cast iron, aluminum or ceramic.

Dutch ovens are best used for long, slow cooking like for roasts, stews and casseroles. However, over a campfire Dutch ovens can properly bake biscuits, breads, cakes, pies and pizzas. These containers can be stacked for five or six high.

Dutch ovens can be challenging to regulate the temperature especially over a campfire. A general rule to use is that individuals want the oven to be at about three hundred fifty degrees. One way to estimate that temperature is to take the size of the oven in inches then double that to get the number of briquettes to use. Briquettes should be placed in a circle no less than a half inch from the bottom of the oven. For on top of the oven briquettes should be placed in a checkerboard fashion. For soups and stews place one third of the briquettes on top and two thirds on bottom. For breads, biscuits, and cakes place two thirds on top and one third on bottom. For meats and casseroles split evenly briquettes on top and bottom. Be careful with heating individuals can always add more, but once food is burned it is burned.

There are several tools that individuals need for using Dutch ovens. The first is wooden spoons. Metal utensils can scratch the protective coating and plastic ones will melt from the heat. Having camp or welders gloves will be beneficial to have. Charcoal starters make starting a fire easier because they do not require lighter fluid just newspapers and a match. Long handled tongs make moving the briquettes easier and safer. Lifters or hooks make lifting and handling the lid easier. A lid stand is handy to place lids on while individuals are stirring food. A whisk broom keeps ashes away from the food. Cooking table allows an individualís Dutch oven to be off the ground. A dust cover protects the Dutch oven when it is not in use.


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