Pros: Cooks great, easy to use, 3 year warranty
Cons: Heavy, can break
I'm a big fan of cooking on stoneware and my very first piece of stoneware from Pampered Chef was their Large Round Stone. While I use my large round stone quite often, I decided to pick up this Medium or Classic stone too. Reason being, that when you cook on stoneware you should choose a stone that best matches what you are cooking so that the food covers most of its surface. Sometimes, the large stone is just that, large. For when I need a smaller cooking surface I pull out my Medium stone.
About the Pampered Chef Medium Round Stone
This Medium (previously called Classic) stone is circular stone with a 13 inch diameter. It is just the perfect size for a frozen pizza from the grocery store or other smaller foods. If I am cooking something specifically for the kids like their nuggets and french fries and the quantity is too much for my Small Bar Pan but too little for the Large Round Stone, this medium stone is the perfect size. It is sort of like Goldilocks.. this one is "just right".
Pampered Chef sells this stone for $19 though I picked it up for $15 during one of their 20 percent off of stoneware sales that they run once or twice a year. You can purchase this from the Pampered Chef website, through a Pampered Chef consultant, or at a PC home party. When your first purchase your stone it is a light tan color and will require a bit of love and care. The first couple of uses you should spray it with non-stick spray or cook 'greasier' foods like Pillsbury crescent rolls on it. As you use it more and more it develops its own non-stick surface so that greasing no longer is required. It also will lose its pristine tan color and take on a life of its own, called 'seasoning'. Mine is now more of golden brown color and is completely non-stick. That's right, nothing sticks to this - not even cookies or foods where you would absolutely grease the pan first. I cut food on mine all the time, mostly pizzas with my Pizza Cutter and it hasn't ruined the non-stick surface, though I can see a few lines here or there on it. I've long accepted that this stoneware isn't "pretty", it is functional bakeware that is essentially a work in progress. The more you use it, the more you cook on it - the more seasoned it gets. One of my friends had this same stone and hers had turned almost a chocolate brown color she had used it so much! Our friend who is a consultant told her that she could soak it in baking soda and use a scrub brush if she wanted to safely lighten it, but it would also remove some of the non-stick coating, so why mess with a good thing?
If you are new to cooking with stoneware, you should know that there are special cleaning instructions to follow. It is as simple as never using soap when you clean it. That's right - no soap. The stone is porous and it will absorb the soap and then when you cook it will taste soapy. As long as you clean it with very hot water and use the little brown scraper tool that they give you when you purchase it, you will keep your stone clean. If you lose your scraper they sell a replacement set of 3 for something like $5, but you can use any plastic scraper (I have one that I got at the dollar store, of all places). I let it air-dry and then I stick it back into my pantry cupboard on its side, it takes up virtually no space.
Also because this is a stone, it gets very hot and also quite heavy. You do have to be careful with regard to extreme temperature changes because it can cause the stoneware to crack or even break. You definitely would not want to immediately wash it in cold water if you have just cooked on it. This is not a big deal to me because I don't ever do the dishes until after our meal has been eaten so it has had plenty of time to cool down. If yours should break within 3 years, Pampered Chef will replace it under warranty. I had that happen with a different stone and it was replaced at no cost to me - I simply sent them back one of the smaller broken pieces to prove it was broken. FYI - you can use stoneware in a toaster oven, or in the microwave but never under the broiler nor put it in the dishwasher.
Food cooked on my Pampered Chef Medium stone comes out tasty and evenly cooked. The size of this stone fits most of my needs except for when I want to make larger quantities and then I use my Large one. For most of my cooking, I've found the medium size to be sufficient.
More Pampered Chef Reviews by Moi
Large Round Stone
Small Bar Pan
Cut 'n Seal