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Does Le Creuset have better enamel?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I have a chance to pick up a Le Creuset 7 1/4 quart dutch oven at a bargain price. $199, new, not a second. I have a Tramontina 6 quart that I've been using for about 3 years and it is stained inside. I cleaned it by soaking in a water/bleach solution (and scrubbing) and on the next use it stained agin immediately. I paid $39 for this dutch oven and it performs extremely well (ranked close to LC in cooks illustrated test, now discontinued).

 

So I guess I'm willing to throw down 2 bills on this Le Creuset, but what I want is better quality enamel with more resistance to staining. I know it's unlikely that anyone will have direct experience with both, but I'd love to hear from Le Creuset owners as to whether or not their interior finish tends to clean up easily and stay nice, or is perpetually stained interior just par for the course with all dutch ovens? Thanks for your experiences and opinions.  

post #2 of 12

At that price point, I'd opt for something in clad stainless before I put money back into enamel.  I personally am not that impressed with enamel as a cooking surface. Stains, chips, cracks... Just avoid it all together.  

 

Amazon has an interesting selection of stainless options as a starting point. Search on clad stainless dutch oven. 

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post #3 of 12
That's a great price for a Le Creuset, but LC will still stain if that is your concern. I have owned a few LCs over the years and all have stained. If you want to avoid that aspect then Staub is your best option. I prefer my Staub for a few reasons beyond the staining (better fitting and heavier lid, prefer the colors and finish, heavier in general, etc). I no longer own any LCs but I would still recomend them, I just have a preference for Staub.
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by phatch View Post
 

At that price point, I'd opt for something in clad stainless before I put money back into enamel.  I personally am not that impressed with enamel as a cooking surface. Stains, chips, cracks... Just avoid it all together.  

 

Amazon has an interesting selection of stainless options as a starting point. Search on clad stainless dutch oven. 

 

I have quite a bit of Tribute clad cookware including an eight quart stock pot. You're right about stainless being durable and easier to maintain, but the enameled cast iron is in a class by itself for certain applications and I see it as an essential piece. My Tramontina 6.5 quart is perfectly functional, so it's not a matter of choosing between types. I'm just trying to justify grabbing this Le Creuset at a bargain price. Stain resistance would be a reason, and I must admit that I find it attractive to own what many believe is the best. 

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bkultra View Post

That's a great price for a Le Creuset, but LC will still stain if that is your concern. I have owned a few LCs over the years and all have stained. If you want to avoid that aspect then Staub is your best option. I prefer my Staub for a few reasons beyond the staining (better fitting and heavier lid, prefer the colors and finish, heavier in general, etc). I no longer own any LCs but I would still recomend them, I just have a preference for Staub.

 

Interesting! I appreciate the insight. I did some googling and see that the Staub is interior is dark. They emphasize that the enamel is a durable matt finish and does not discolor. User comments support that assertion. I'm finding mixed reviews on the current Le Ceuset interior. I know that older ones stained, but what I don't know if whether they've changed the enamel and made it more stain resistant. Some descriptions allude to that but don't elaborate. As much as I hate to pass up a deal, maybe I should think twice.

post #6 of 12

I don't mean to question your preferences, if that's all it is, but I'm wondering why some interior staining of the enamel matters? (My LC hasn't, to any extent that I've noticed, nor has my Denby, nor my Cuisinart - all enameled cast iron pieces). Does it affect something other than looks? If it's just looks and that's a concern, then okay, I can deal with wanting pretty things - I'm just wondering if there's something beyond that. 

post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deputy View Post
 

I don't mean to question your preferences, if that's all it is, but I'm wondering why some interior staining of the enamel matters? (My LC hasn't, to any extent that I've noticed, nor has my Denby, nor my Cuisinart - all enameled cast iron pieces). Does it affect something other than looks? If it's just looks and that's a concern, then okay, I can deal with wanting pretty things - I'm just wondering if there's something beyond that. 

 

No, it's mostly a matter of aesthetics. I am sensitive to aesthetics, maybe even a bit anal sometimes, about some things. It doesn't much bother me that my $39 dutch oven is stained, but if I pony up for the Le Creuset I don't want it to look the same after a few months. It's a lifetime investment and I would prefer that it look nice, which enhances my enjoyment overall. I have a friend who has one that's badly stained and my first thought was, uh, that it is not appetizing. Perhaps in the same spirit with people who enjoy a clean car, or prefer to have no dents in the fender. I'm sure I can't justify it on a purely rational basis. 

post #8 of 12

I can understand that. I just wanted to make sure I understood. 

post #9 of 12

After all this,    Staub sounds good to me.  Le Creuset is good, also.  Now I'll get back to smoking beef jerky in this 32 degree weather.   ....last time that I smoke in this temperature.  **** this weather.......     :laser:  32F


Edited by kokopuffs - 1/24/14 at 11:09pm

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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

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post #10 of 12

My own two cents would be YES, the Le Creuset will stain, but YES you should get the Le Creuset.

 

Cast iron conducts heat superbly and is very durable if treated properly. The enamel finish makes the cleaning and care much easier and is a nice cooking surface. I have two Le Creuset Dutch ovens in the small/medium - medium range. They are very pricey to buy, but if you can get your hands on one - do it. I love them.

 

I also own lots of traditional Lodge cast iron, which is very good quality cast iron - I'm very fond of it. And for breads and baking, it's what I prefer. But straight cast iron does require the additional care that some people don't like. And this can be more of an issue with recipes calling for a Dutch oven style vessel. I did have a Lodge brand enameled cast iron Dutch oven, and while it was generally good, in my own experience, the surface erodes/chips more than Le Creuset.

post #11 of 12
I have never stained my Le creuset. I find that if used properly it won't stain. If you use high heat it will stain and show weird burn marks on the bottom. I have never had the need to go over medium heat with the pan myself. After a few minutes of warming up you can get a perfect sear with the LC on medium. I love it and would buy LC anytime for sale prices.

I did pay $150 for a 4.6L round LC factory defect one. Can't beat that price. I would love to add a larger one, one day.
post #12 of 12


Le Creuset is going to stain eventually. But there's no harm in the stains and some people just treat it as a beautiful patina. If you prefer something that you can't see stain (not that it won't stain, it's just that it's hard for you to seet), Staub is a good choice. I would rate Staub and Le Creuset on the same level but with some differences.

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