Perhaps you tried to bake a pineapple cake yourself in a dutch oven this week. How did it go? Mushy middle? Burnt bottom? Here are some tricks of the trade that will aid you in your cooking…
1) Use an oily paper towel on the bottom. It may sound kinda gross, but putting a paper towel with some vegetable oil on it in the bottom of your d.o can turn a mushy pineapple upside down cake to a thing of beauty. The oily paper towel helps to prevent the bottom from getting crispified, and makes it a heck of a lot easier to take out of the pot. Try it on brownies-it works wonders. You’ll only want to use a paper towel on dishes you’re baking, not stews or other main dishes.
2)Always light extra coals. I’ve seen some people count out the number of coals they will use to make their dish. A 12” dutch oven needs 36 coals, and so on. Be sure to light extra coals when you’re prepping, as it’s far better to have more than you need than less. Sometimes, on particularly windy days, I will add those extra coals on top of my closed, cooking dutch oven, to keep the heat high and steady.
3) Always oil your cast-iron dutch oven when done. This is pretty obvious to anyone who cooks with cast-iron, but you always want to oil your dish to prevent rusting. It’s not the worst thing in the world if it rusts, but it can be a nuisance to deal with. A quick rub with a slightly oily paper towel, and you’re done.
Happy dutch oven cooking! Let me know how it goes!
Photos courtesy of Joslin Fritz.