help! my le creuset is ruined!
I thought it wasn't possible. I have a 5 qt french oven bought back in 2001 and that I absolutely love using. The last thing I did was boil penne pasta in it last night, and a few pieces of pasta bits stuck to the bottom and dried a bit. We got lazy and left the dishes for this morning. Hubby let the pot soak a bit in water then scrubbed as usual with dish sponge (scotch brite kitchen sponge). Next thing I knew, there are white spots along the interior bottom which upon closer look was where enamel had been chipped away! I know we've had food stuck on it before that came off with a little light pressure and was cleaned and ready to go. What did we do wrong this time? Is there any remedy or do I have to invest more money in a new one?
First of all, you can certainly use good enamelware with chips in the enamel. So I wouldn't panic. Then, next time, I'd soak it for 24 hours and, if that didn't do the trick, I'd boil it furiously until the bubbles did the trick of lifting away the cooked on food.
Then, if neither of those makes you happy, I'd head to Costco to pick up one of the 8 quart Le Creuset cocottes they have for $159.
I have a 5 quart that's been terribly abused over the years. There are rust stains on the enamel from when I've stored the pot on the lid and bleached out spots on the colored enamel where I tried to soak out the rust stains. There are chips in the enamel too. But I can't ever give it up because it has the flat top that they no longer make that makes a very fine gratin or galette on its own.
I actually think that it is very peculiar that the enamel would have been removed by using the dish sponge to remove some stuck on pasta. I'd be tempted to call LC and ask them about it - I think this stuff has a guarantee etc. I've had mine for a good ten years, lots of gunk stuck on and scrubbed off w/o any difficulty.
Get some oven cleaner or Dawn Power Dissolver. What you have there is pasta residue. Just spray on and let it sit for awhile and then using a mild scrubby like a Scotch Brite or a nylon Dobie scrub gently. This has been used to gently remove burnt on cheese on an LC fondue pot. Unless you are seeing the cast iron (black) no real damage has been done and in any case it is still safe to use. This is nothing like the tin lining wearing off copper cookwear which can be poisonious.
I had the same thing (or similar) happen to me with my 20 year old Le Creuset pot and brought it back to the store where I bought it to ask for an opinion about fixing it...But much to my surprise they handed me a brand new one, saying they have a lifetime guarantee...
I have no suggestion for repair, but for stuck food take dish soap and water, fill it and make it soapy and stick it on medium heat. It's like braising meat, and the stuff falls apart. If you have ever known sailors, you will know that they are inherently lezy in that they will not ever put more effort into a job that is needed to get the results they want. A pot of soapy water on the stove is soon a clean pot, and I learned that on board.