Clay bakeware that is glazed with a hard, nonporous coating. If high-fired, the earthenware is hard; lowering produces soft, fragile ware. Because of its inherent ability to release heat slowly, earthenware is favored for dishes requiring lengthy cooking such as baked beans and stews. Care must be taken to cool earthenware slowly and completely before washing in order to prevent the glaze from cracking. Once the glaze cracks, the exposed surfaces can adversely affect the flavor of foods cooked in the container.