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What's the difference in French Oven and Dutch oven?

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  • Tela T. Sep 23, 2004 12:32 PM
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O.K., I'm looking to buy le creuset set - and I'm comparison pricing - anyone know what the difference between a french oven and a dutch oven is - or are the dealers just trying to confuse folks?

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  1. They are the same thing.

    1. i have a no-name french oven and it is the same thing as a le crueset dutch oven. the only difference is that there is no knob handle on the lid, and it was significantly less expensive than it's le crueset comparison.

      1. Well, in modern parlance, they are normally equivalent, but French ovens may be oval (which I prefer) or round.

        Historically, though, a true Dutch oven had a cover that allowed you to mound hot embers or coals over it.

        Some ovens have surfaces on the underside of the cover that are designed to wick condensation back into the cooking pot, rather than slide down along the edges.

        1. Someone posted here last year about the specials on Le Creuset at the Caplan Duval web site. I got some at amazing prices. You have to kind of poke around the web site -- look at the specials and overstocks as well as the Le Creuset section. (Although I use my round ones more often than the oval ones, the oval ones are very useful for braising elongated cuts of meat or whole poultry.)

          Link: http://www.caplanduval.com/

          1 Reply
          1. re: GretchenS

            I've bought a bunch of new Le Creseut on ebay and been very happy with the prices and quality. Just be sure to check out in advance caplan duval, amazon and other places to get a sense of prices and then find a reliable seller on ebay. don't forget that shipping costs when comparing offers. amazon sometimes has free shipping

          2. I have seen them called "Casserole pots", too. All the same.

            1. I've seen the answer from Le Creuset:
              http://cookware.lecreuset.com/cookwar....

              5 Replies
              1. re: MarryKay

                Is less weight really a better feature? Personally, I'll take the thicker heavier of the two given a choice most of the time. If it's non-acidic, it's properly seasoned cast iron for me though I won't give up my enameled cookware either.

                1. re: MarryKay

                  If the OP didn't find an answer in the 9 years since posting, I'm confident s/he won't be elucidated further.

                  1. re: kaleokahu

                    Old posts can still offer some valuable insight. I'd rather see an old thread revived then see the same question asked again.

                    1. re: Sid Post

                      Other than your post, this thread isn't archive-worthy. I haven't searched, but I bet there are already repeats of this question.

                  2. re: MarryKay

                    I am confident that these are the not the correct definition. LC is making stuff up.

                  3. I think the difference is that "Dutch oven" is a traditional term, whereas "French oven" is a term coined by Le Creuset's advertising department.

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: Miss Priss

                      <whereas "French oven" is a term coined by Le Creuset's advertising department.>

                      I think you are right.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        But Staub also uses the term "French oven." It is curious though, because often when a nationality is identified with a dish, and perhaps a pot as well, it's often applied by someone else. No Canadians eat Canadian bacon, for example--peameal bacon yes. Do Dutch refer to Dutch ovens?

                        1. re: VitalForce

                          I believe Staub follows Le Cresuet. Dutch oven is a historical term. French oven is more of a market term to try to distinguish themselves from Dutch.

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            But does "Dutch Oven" actually refer to the Netherlands, or is it more like "Deutsch" as in Pennsylvanian Dutch? Do the British or other Europeans say "Dutch Oven" or is it more a fanciful American term?

                            1. re: VitalForce

                              <Do the British or other Europeans say "Dutch Oven" >

                              Most believe this term was started by Englishman Abraham Darby.

                              I see plenty uk websites use this term, so I assume they use the same term.

                              http://www.dutchovens.co.uk/
                              http://www.thebushcraftstore.co.uk/45...

                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                That's interesting, and they are very nice looking pots, for a campfire. But did the Dutch use them historically? The only people I've known to use such pots (other than North American happy campers) have been from the general Balkans area for big get-togethers. Or, perhaps north of there in that traditional zone between east and west.

                                1. re: VitalForce

                                  In Australia these camp fire pots are known as camp ovens or Bedourie oven. 'Dutch oven' has different Australian slang meaning. (Bedourie is a lighter, tougher steel pot http://www.southernmetalspinners.com.... )

                                  Potjie is the Dutch, or rather Afrikaans term.

                                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_oven traces the name to a Dutch method of casting iron. Notice that this article barely mentions the enameled cast iron pots.

                                  The linked French article is for Cocotte.

                                  http://www.lecreuset.fr/Nouveau/Mate-...
                                  lecreuset.fr also uses Cocotte.

                                  Given the stink that many foodies make about pronouncing Italian and French cooking terms correctly, I'm surprised that we don't seen 'cocotte' used more.

                                  LC traces their history back to 1925, where as the Dutch/English/American version goes back to 1700.

                                  In the modern cookwares business, 'dutch oven' can be any material (e.g. stainless steel), differing from a sauce pan in that it has 2 loop handles, and is wider than tall. In other words, a covered pot that is designed to be as useful in the oven as the stove top.
                                  http://www.amazon.com/Calphalon-Conte...

                                2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                  Hi, I have never heard anyone say "Dutch oven" here in the uk. It looks like they exist in the camping world though. I should go camping more!

                                  We call the "French/dutch ovens" ... casseroles.

                                3. re: VitalForce

                                  99% of us Brits would just say "casserole", with "casserole pot/dish" or "stew pot" as altenatives. Often preceeded by Pyrex, earthenware, cast iron etc.

                                  The sites Chem has referenced are very niche. Most of the camping community in the UK is very budget minded, and will have a small propane stove with utensils from home.

                                  Edit: Just seen Fumet's post. Duh.

                                  1. re: Robin Joy

                                    Most Americans don't do that kind of cooking when camping either. But there are enthusiasts and organized groups, such as
                                    http://www.idos.com/
                                    International Dutch Oven Society.

                                    If there are British Chili competitions, and German Western reenactors, I'm not surprised that there would also be British dutch oven fans.

                                    Overlaping this, in the USA, is Chuck Wagon events and caters. http://www.americanchuckwagon.org/
                                    The dutch (camp) oven is their primary cooking pot.

                                    http://www.camp-cook.com/forum/
                                    is a forum with a lot of talk about this form of cooking. Claims to be the Home of the REAL iron chefs!

                        2. And what do the English say?

                          Oh my.

                          Food is good. Cook on.
                          (Yes, I am aware that this is an old thread....)

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: pedalfaster

                            Hi, pedalfaster:

                            "And what do the English say?" And what of the Benelux? Und in der Schweitz, wie so den?

                            This is now getting silly. Obviously, the French Cast Iron Axis has a huge commercial interest in distinguishing itself from "Dutch" ovens. But despite 100s of thousands of marketing Euros, it remains a distinction without a difference. They are all marmites.

                            You are on very firm ground postulating that "Dutch" has more to do with Pennsylvania than it does the Low Countries. Anyone wishing to understand this needs to learn about the explosion of iron casting that overtook N. America starting in about 1830. France and Holland lagged behind.

                            To this day, there are afficianados of "Dutch" ovens who contend the term subsumes 3 legs, a bail, and a rimmed lid for coals. Historically, they are correct, and the lineage passes neither through France or Holland.

                            IOW, they're marketing ourselves TO ourselves.

                            Aloha,
                            Kaleo

                          2. The are the same thing. Before you settle on LC take a look at Staub (pronounced Sto-long "o"b. Staub. Also made in France. Heavy enameled cast iron and gorgeous. The colors are rich and deep. I am sorry I did not know about it until recently. I would go for it in a heartbeat. Maybe I could sell my LC and find some way to replace it with Staub.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Candy

                              Hi, Candy:

                              Do what I did: If you can't recoup a % on your investment, LC casts well in concrete for boat and buoy anchors.

                              There is a vintage, special-edition, floral-painted Cousances saucepan on eBay.fr right now in which you might be interested. Beautiful...

                              Aloha,
                              Kaleo