or Connect
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Food & Equipment Reviews › Cooking Equipment Reviews › Enamel Coated Dutch/French Ovens
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Enamel Coated Dutch/French Ovens

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 
Many years ago I purchased a Le Creuset French Oven, and it's provided great, dependable service for 30 years.  A slightly larger capacity model would be desireable, and while I'm considering Le Creuset, the less expensive models are of interest.  What long-term experiences have you had with these lower- and low-priced models?  Do they last?  How well are they made?  Are they well suited to their tasks?  Browning, braising in the oven, making small batches of soup and sauces would be the required tasks here.

Thanks for any suggestions or comments,

Schmoozer
Edited by Schmoozer - 3/10/10 at 4:12pm
Schmoozer
Reply
Schmoozer
Reply
post #2 of 40
I'd like to know the answer to this question, too!
Moderator Emerita, Welcome Forum
***It is better to ask forgiveness than beg permission.***
Reply
Moderator Emerita, Welcome Forum
***It is better to ask forgiveness than beg permission.***
Reply
post #3 of 40
Most of the other brands haven't been around long enough to compare longevity-wise with the Le Cruset products.

Other than that, there is no reason they shouldn't do the same jobs. They're made the same way.

About a 18 months or so back I got an 8-quart oval Calphalon, and it's served me in good stead. Will it compare to the Le Cruset products we got as a wedding gift more than 40 years ago? Only time will tell.

I get this one on sale at Bed Bath & Beyond. Paid 70 bucks for it. But even its normal price is only about a quarter or a third what a comparable Le Cruset costs.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
Reply
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
Reply
post #4 of 40
Thread Starter 
Well, KY, I'm not sure other brands are all made the same way as Le Creuset.  One of the reasons I asked the question is because I've read that the enamel coating on the items made in China are not quite the same as LC, both in terms of quality and content, and that the cast iron is made differently as well.  Perhaps someone will know about these issues.

Schmoozer
Schmoozer
Reply
Schmoozer
Reply
post #5 of 40
Considering Lodge's standards and customer service as well as their third party testing for their enamel, I think you'd find them quite good and durable and safe. And not particularly expensive.
post #6 of 40
Schmoozer, it's not simply a choice between Chinese-made and Le Cruset. Enamaled cast-iron is made in several countries, including the U.S., Italy, and France (that is, French companies other than Le Cruset).

By "made the same way" I meant the process. As I said, long-term quality is an open question.
As to Chinese cast iron, it runs the gamut from poor to excellent. Any problems, though, are likely to show up on the poor end, because the castings tend to be poreous, and don't cure readily. But that's not an issue if it's been enamaled; the coating fills in any large pores, pits, and occlusions.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
Reply
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
Reply
post #7 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KYHeirloomer View Post

Schmoozer, it's not simply a choice between Chinese-made and Le Cruset. Enamaled cast-iron is made in several countries, including the U.S.


Perhaps you can tell me what cast iron enameled pots are made in the US. I don't know of any. Thanks,
Schmoozer
Reply
Schmoozer
Reply
post #8 of 40
The Lodge enameled cast iron pots you see at places like wally world or some of the kitchen stores are made in China. I guess you just have to ask your self with all of the contaminated products we have seen in the news over the last year or so if you are comfortable trusting your health to a cooking product made there. There could be impurities in the thin cast iron that could lead to early failure but I would be a lot more concerned with the chemicals that were used to color the enamel. I wouldn't want to trust any of the thin Chinese made enamled cast iron pots at temperatures required for a no knead bread recipe. I have read a lot of complaints about the lids on the Chinese Lodge and the Batali lines warping. There's not exactly a lot of over sight in the Chinese manufacturing process so God only knows what kind of metal they are using.
IIR Lodge does make an enameled line in the USA but it is more expensive than Le Creuset or Staub. If it helps I picked up an 8 quart Le Creuset oval at Costco for $160.
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
post #9 of 40
Lodge says on their site that their enameled line is tested by a third party for contaminants.

http://www.lodgemfg.com/use-care-help.asp#14
post #10 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by phatch View Post

Lodge says on their site that their enameled line is tested by a third party for contaminants.

http://www.lodgemfg.com/use-care-help.asp#14
 

That's for lead and cadmium only, not other contaminants.  In addition, numerous reviews of several brands of Chinese made enameled cast iron products complain about the quality and durability of the coatings.  I think that I'll bite the bullet and go with Le Creuset or, maybe, Staub.  It surprises me that so many people and companies are trusting their reputations to questionable Chinese made products.
Schmoozer
Reply
Schmoozer
Reply
post #11 of 40
I'm a Le Crueset fan all the way.  If you've had one for this long and been happy with how it performs and it's durability, why go with anything else?

I have used Lodge and been reasonably happy with it, but not as happy as I am with LC.  And Staub seems to have the quality of LC, IMO, but I've never bought one because they are even heavier than LC.  And nobody has the color and size choices offered by LC (did you know they have eight colors now????)

And let's be honest.  Don't you like it when your guests look at your cookware and recognize it from The Food Network and know it's what Julia Child used to use?  :)

I did a post recently on my blog to help people determine what size dutch oven they should buy, and what shape would work best for them. I hope you enjoy it and find it valuable.

Enjoy your new cookware!
Edited by jkgourmet - 3/2/10 at 11:16am
post #12 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkgourmet View Post

I'm a Le Crueset fan all the way.  If you've had one for this long and been happy with how it performs and it's durability, why go with anything else?

I have used Lodge and been reasonably happy with it, but not as happy as I am with LC.  And Staub seems to have the quality of LC, IMO, but I've never bought one because they are even heavier than LC.  And nobody has the color and size choices offered by LC (did you know they have eight colors now????)

And let's be honest.  Don't you like it when your guests look at your cookware and recognize it from The Food Network and know it's what Julia Child used to use?  :)

I did a post recently on my blog to help people determine what size dutch oven they should buy, and what shape would work best for them. I hope you enjoy it and find it valuable.

Enjoy your new cookware!
 


I really can't disagree with you, and, since yesterday, decided that LC is the way to go.  I am most interested in reading your comments about size.  Thanks!
Schmoozer
Reply
Schmoozer
Reply
post #13 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkgourmet View Post


I did a post recently on my blog to help people determine what size dutch oven they should buy, and what shape would work best for them. I hope you enjoy it and find it valuable.

 

Seems like one needs a user name and password to get access to your site.  I guess I can't get your information.  Sheesh!
Schmoozer
Reply
Schmoozer
Reply
post #14 of 40
I am SO very sorry - I evidently gave you a bad link!  My apolgies.  Here is the correct link:   WHAT SIZE DUTCH OVEN SHOULD I BUY
post #15 of 40
I have the Lodge L series large dutch oven and I love it.  I used to covet it while watching I think it was Dave Lieberman (?) on the Food Network.  It's that apple green with the metal (L?) on top (so I've no problems with knobs).  When I went to buy it, I liked it a lot better than the Lodge Color Series which is much easier to find and is the type most people find at your local Target (I wasn't impressed with that line too much).  My L Series weighs a ton so it always sits on my range.  I've owned it for a few years now and used it often and it's been great. I also coveted the Le Creuset, but for the size, I couldn't afford one and I really have been happy with this one.  I've never seen these in stores, but bought mine off of Amazon when there was a special price....
post #16 of 40
Thread Starter 
Today I bought a Le Creuset.  After thinking about for a while, getting feedback here and other places, reading reviews and comments, and remembering how much I like my first Le Creuset, and how many times I've bought a cheaper model or brand of something and have ultimately been disappointed, I decided to buy another.  I got 20% off at BB&B, and will pick up the pot in a few days.  The local store didn't have one in stock so it's being hand carried over from San Francisco.

FWIW, I got the Black Onyx  http://iweb.cooking.com/images/products/enlarge/218237e.jpg  it looks great and is not a color that's usually seen.

Thanks for everyone's input.  And my thanks also to Theresa at BB&B.  She called the SF store and made sure the pot was inspected and was free of any defects, scratches, blemishes, and the like, before being sent over. 
Edited by Schmoozer - 3/6/10 at 4:00pm
Schmoozer
Reply
Schmoozer
Reply
post #17 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkgourmet View Post

I have used Lodge and been reasonably happy with it, but not as happy as I am with LC.  And Staub seems to have the quality of LC, IMO, but I've never bought one because they are even heavier than LC.  And nobody has the color and size choices offered by LC (did you know they have eight colors now????)

And let's be honest.  Don't you like it when your guests look at your cookware and recognize it from The Food Network and know it's what Julia Child used to use?  :)

Enjoy your new cookware!
 

The main, and perhaps the only, reason I'm reluctant to go with Staub is that they have a black interior.  That makes it difficult to see how the food is cooking - how onions may be browning, what the fond looks like, how dark a sauce or stock may be getting.  At least for me it does.  The white LC interior makes it easier to see the progress of the food, and easier to see how well the pot is cleaning up.

I doubt my quests would be that savvy about the cookware - well, maybe a few would be (my friend Chrissy would, that's for sure )
Edited by Schmoozer - 3/7/10 at 7:40am
Schmoozer
Reply
Schmoozer
Reply
post #18 of 40
Schmoozer,

I'm sure you'll be happy with your LC, if it wasn't for the ungodly price I'd get one too.  As I posted today on another thread, I had an inexpensive, presumably Chinese knock-off, market by Martha Stewart.  The enamel has begun to separate.  There are a couple of brands listed above that I'll look into but so far, with the exception of LC, they all have experienced similar problems.  Even Lodge has their enamel done in China.

Happy braising,
Rich
post #19 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CaboSailor View Post

Schmoozer,

I'm sure you'll be happy with your LC, if it wasn't for the ungodly price I'd get one too.  As I posted today on another thread, I had an inexpensive, presumably Chinese knock-off, market by Martha Stewart.  The enamel has begun to separate.  There are a couple of brands listed above that I'll look into but so far, with the exception of LC, they all have experienced similar problems.  Even Lodge has their enamel done in China.

Happy braising,
Rich

Hey, Rich ... I picked up the LC this afternoon.  My, what a nice looking piece - Black Onyx with an almond interior.  I can't wait to break it in.  One unusual, but very nice, thing about this pot is that it came with the stainless steel knob, not the standard phenolic one.  Theresa did say she'd have a surprise for me.

Like you, it would have been nice to save some money and get a less expensive brand, but like you, I have heard too many stories about the enamel chipping and, in some cases, peeling, off.  Plus, getting the pot at BB&B means never having to be concerned about returning or exchanging gthe item should there be any problem.  No need to spend extra money for shipping to and from the manufacturer and waiting for them to determine if I'll get a refund or replacement item.  That's worth something.  And the staff is so very nice and friendly.  It's a pleasure doing business with them.
Schmoozer
Reply
Schmoozer
Reply
post #20 of 40
so glad that you got the LC, Schmoozer.  And I hope the information on my blog was of some use to you.  BTW - GREAT point on the black interior on the Staub.  Never thought of that, but you can be sure that I will mention it on the blog sometime soon.

I've got two pieces in the black onyx and I like them. Perhaps the least 'pretty' of the colors, but certainly the most serviceable.  and since we bring our largest Le Creuset Dutch Oven with us when we go away for the summer, the black just seems to go with everything more easily.
post #21 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkgourmet View Post

so glad that you got the LC, Schmoozer.  And I hope the information on my blog was of some use to you.  BTW - GREAT point on the black interior on the Staub.  Never thought of that, but you can be sure that I will mention it on the blog sometime soon.

I've got two pieces in the black onyx and I like them. Perhaps the least 'pretty' of the colors, but certainly the most serviceable.  and since we bring our largest Le Creuset Dutch Oven with us when we go away for the summer, the black just seems to go with everything more easily.
 


I'm glad I got it, too.  If I got a Chinese-made brand, even if it worked out well,  I'd probably always regret it as I really wanted LC.  Sometimes you just gotta get what you want.

The Carribean color is also quite nice, and I may have gotten that one had I not seen, and fell in love with, the black.  Staub has some nice colors as well.  Grenadine (http://www.amazon.com/Staub-4-Quart-Round-Cocotte-Grenadine/dp/B000I7FGHW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1269093165&sr=1-1) is quite appealing. Some people say that the black interior of the Staub is easier to keep clean than the lighter-colored interiors of LC.  There are pros and cons to both.  Staub v LC discussion: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/469551
Edited by Schmoozer - 3/20/10 at 7:09am
Schmoozer
Reply
Schmoozer
Reply
post #22 of 40
I have relatively new Le Crueset and am pleased with the performance. I have reviewed a number of blogs and threads on the comparison  between LC and Staub.  The main thing that stands out is the reported difference in non-stick performance.  Several have reported that the LC tends to stick more as it ages whereas the Staub appears to get better with age. The LC has the smoother enamel finish and the Staub has a rougher black enamel interior which reportedly gets smoother with age.
Has anyone experienced this?
post #23 of 40

On Friday, I called Sur La Table and asked them to hold a 5.5 qt Le Creuset  French Oven in white for me and I would be there Saturday (it is a 2 hour ride to that store for me).  When I got there, the piece was a damaged piece. They offered to reduce it but I am anal about such things.  I considered going to the 7.25 size. The 2 pieces they had there were also damaged.  They offered to order it on their website for me, free shipping. My husband was with me and he said he was not impressed with the appearance of the line as compared to Lodge.  He said, by appearance, they appear very similar.

 

I didn't order it.

 

I was also interested in the Le Creuset 3qt casserole/braiser @ $199

 

When I got home I did a search and found a Lodge 3qt  casserole on sale for $43

 

I didn't order it.

 

I have a set of Viking cookware which really cooks and cleans very well and one 6qt Dutch Oven, enameled cast iron, from Lodge, which I seldom use.  However, I want to braise more and make more one-pot meals . Whenever I do use the Lodge, I never have any issues and the food always comes out good.  If you soak it, cleaning is not an issue at all.

 

Previously, I purchased the All-Clad braiser from Chef's for $199.  It was gorgeous. When I washed it with a soft sponge and hot soapy water as instructed, I noted there were scratch marks BENEATH the surface of the lid.  Chef's told me to return it.

 

Viking has a 6qt casserole on sale for $299

 

unnamed.jpgI'm so confused


Edited by missyjean - 11/21/10 at 9:23am
post #24 of 40

I've got several LC pots -- never had any problem with the enamel chipping or bubbling. The inside of one has gotten a bit discolored though -- probably due to cooking with red wine -- but that hasn't affected the cooking properties. There is a method ofr removing most of the discoloration, but I read that it is hard on the pot, so I don't do it very often.

 

TJMaxx sometimes carries LC.

post #25 of 40
post #26 of 40

I have two Tramontina dutch ovens 3½ ($30) and 6½ qt ($40) versions, prices reflect sale prices.  I have also bought them for five friends and family members.  I use the smaller one for no-knead bread and the larger for soups and stews.  Aside from having to wrap the knob in tinfoil to protect it from 500 degree ovens, all have performed extremely well.  I don't have any Le Creuset to compare them with, but I do have Staub and all perform equally.  I purchased the Staub only because it had sizes that were not available in Tramontina.  I knwo America's test kitchen tested the Tramontina againist Le Creuset and named it best buy with no significant difference between the two brands.

post #27 of 40

I did read that review.  ATK chose the Tramontina over the Lodge because Tramontina was larger and cost less.  From what I understood in their review, the 3 brands were comparable.

 

I value their reviews.  I own a 6 qt Lodge.  I used it this morning to boil chicken for my dogs.  

 

I was planning to order the LC french oven this morning but now I am really confused because I really want a few pieces (7.25, 5.5 and casserole) but can only order one today. However, I can order the 3 qt and casserole version in Lodge for $100 total and have $170 left over,  which I didn't spend on the one piece....

 

I'm confused.

 

My husband said to splurge because it is a birthday gift but I am a little more practical than he

 

Has any of the people who own LC and another brand, such as Lodge, compared how they both cook and can actually see a difference?

 

BTW, I love white and have everything I could in white in my kitchen.  The Lodge 6 qt is brown which matches the rest of my house. It is rustic looking and I have rustic decor.  Either would match. The one thing in favor of the Lodge, beside price, is that I would not live in fear of ruining it

post #28 of 40

I have just purchased an enameled cast iron Le Creuset braiser - 3.5 quart.  Even though I will eventually use it for braising once I read some recipes on how to do this, I am interested at this time to cook stir frys, curries, rice, etc. I have just been looking through my Indian cookbook and see that a lot of the instructions say to use medium-high heat.  I have heard that to protect the braiser it is best to stay on low to medium heat.  Will this still work because the pot will heat up quite a bit even on medium?  Also, what is a good cookbook for braising?  I am a bit apprehensive at getting started because of the heat issue.  Is this braiser good for cooking rice?  Would love to hear from you.

 

Ruby June

post #29 of 40

I would not use for stir fry, as this requires a great amount of concentrated heat. As far as rice thats ok

. Usually these type pans and pots are great for home use, but do not hold up to the everyday vigors of  commercial kitchen, but they are pretty.       As far as a book for braising, I do not know of a specific text. Since the procedure of braising is almost the same in all applications(except for the type of  liquid added)

  I should think any procedure or recipe would be done in same manner as boiling is to boiling, and baking is to baking.

Problem with these pans is you really cant scrub them because you would scratch outside finish

. I like them for stews, curries and long cookng sauces.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
post #30 of 40

I would never buy another LC again. 

My generous husband bought me a 5.5Qt round Dutch oven in DUNE, similar to the Martha Stewart line (prior to unfortunate mix up) and that SOB is so heavy, hard to clean, and temperamental.  My new electric range top doesn't have a low enough setting to keep a simmer in it and therefore scorches the bottom.  I have to put in the oven at very low setting to simmer. 

But, it sure is pretty sitting on top of my black range. 

I think I would consider the cast iron-enameled pot recommended by CI/Americas Test Kitchen,

I can't seem to remember the name of it, dang, and it cost only like around $50...

from ...

My kitchen in the middle of the desert

A Hui Hou (until we met), ALOHA!

Reply

from ...

My kitchen in the middle of the desert

A Hui Hou (until we met), ALOHA!

Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cooking Equipment Reviews
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Food & Equipment Reviews › Cooking Equipment Reviews › Enamel Coated Dutch/French Ovens