Schlimertoph- German Baking Clay
(Jefferson City, TN)
Many years ago my aunt bought me a terrific gift for my birthday, one I still use today. She knew I loved cooking and bought me a smaller version of something my uncle, a tremendous cook, loves to use.
German baking clay! It is a homey unfinished clay baking vessel with a top and bottom used for baking meats and vegetables. The outside is decorated beautifully with raised images of vegetables, decorative twining ropes as well as the word Schlimertoph. But do not let that fool you into thinking this is a look at only piece of cookware.
This simple hardy clay vessel makes chicken so juicy, so tender it literally pours juices out from every slice of meat. The word I would use, the word most people use, to describe my chicken is fluffy. Somehow the retained moistness and gentle cooking method helps the meat to keep a soft yielding texture. Not to forget the veggies either!
After their lovely gentle cooking and being bathed in the juices that ran off the meat, the potatoes are always so tender and velvety, the carrots perfectly sweet and the celery melting soft.
I especially love that each vegetable retains its' own flavor unlike other cooking methods where everything comes out soggy and tasting like veggie mush.
I believe this is accomplished by the fact that the two piece clay system, with tight fitting lid, creates the optimal baking environment. The baking dish itself holds up extremely well to the usual wear with the top and bottom being both chip resistant and hard waring.
This is very sturdy cookware, but it is not without a little extra care and work needed. Being made to last and keep well means that it is quite heavy for its' size and care must be taken when handling, let us say I would hate to drop it, even empty, on my toe!
The inside lower portion of clay is sealed and shiny preventing stains and stuck-on foods, but the lid is unsealed so it can be discolored by fat. The lid also requires you to soak it, fully submersed in water for at least twenty minutes prior to using each and every time. It is also best not to use much or any detergent when cleansing. But follow these simple rules and you will be rewarded with beautiful, flavorful, tender food.