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Best enameled cast iron cookware?

a
ahdarah Nov 22, 2006 03:18 PM

Le Creuset, Staub, Mario Batali, etc. Does one brand perform better than another? If so, Why?

  1. b
    burgeoningfoodie Jan 9, 2012 07:43 AM

    Question: If I have come into having a dutch oven (cast iron enamel) but the edges of the cover and the bottom are not seasoned. What is the best way to season it or prevent rust on it? Do I have to season the whole item?

    19 Replies
    1. re: burgeoningfoodie
      Jay F Jan 9, 2012 08:31 AM

      You don't season enameled cast iron. The black parts may or may not rust. Le Creuset didn't always enamel these parts, but apparently they do now. Do you have any pictures?

      If it's going to rust, don't get those parts wet.

      1. re: burgeoningfoodie
        r
        rasputina Jan 9, 2012 08:49 AM

        I don't bother seasoning them. I just wipe them dry after cleaning. You can rub a little lard on them if you really want to I suppose.

        1. re: burgeoningfoodie
          e
          ellabee Jan 9, 2012 09:03 AM

          The next time you are going to use the DO in the oven, rub some oil or shortening on the uncoated areas before you start cooking. Not a lot; wipe it down, you just want a thin film. The heat will do the rest.

          The main thing is to make sure these areas are thoroughly dry after washing the pot, and not to let the pot sit in a damp area (sink, wet counter).

          1. re: ellabee
            Jay F Jan 9, 2012 09:26 AM

            I urge you not to wipe oil on them. The longer you cook, the more the oil is going to overheat and stink.

            1. re: Jay F
              e
              ellabee Jan 9, 2012 04:53 PM

              A lot depends on what the uncoated surface is. My experience is with machined bare cast iron bases of the Copco casseroles, and waffle-cut bare cast iron bases of mid-1970s Descoware.

              In both cases, very light, rubbed-in applications of oil darkened and seasoned the bottoms of the pans without any stink. It didn't need to be repeated once the iron turned dark (as long as they were fully dried after washing).

              If burgeoningfoodie is just talking about the exposed ridge on an enameled base, a la early Descoware and much Le Creuset, then there's probably no need to do anything, as those relatively small areas will darken over time just from ambient grease and heat.

              Any bare iron benefits from a light, rubbed-in application of oil to prevent rusting. Mauviel and Falk both recommend it for the cast iron handles of their pots.

              1. re: Jay F
                s
                surfereddie Jan 10, 2012 05:27 AM

                What you are stating is that all cast iron non enameled cookware "stinks". This is simply not true.
                Wipe a little lard on if you must but mine as well as yours should season from use. Just don't scrub vigorously in these areas.

                1. re: surfereddie
                  Jay F Jan 10, 2012 05:33 AM

                  No, what I am stating is that applying oil to cast iron and then heating said oiled cast iron in the oven stinks. You may like the smell. I hate it.

                  1. re: Jay F
                    s
                    surfereddie Jan 10, 2012 06:21 AM

                    Most DO cooking is done under 350F and most oils break down above this temp. So with the tiny amount of oil around the rim being seasoned into the rim, not burning, because the temp is usually under 350F will not stink. I have a cast iron griddle which I use to cook large amounts of bacon in the oven not 1 of over 1000 people has ever, EVER complained about that "oiled cast iron in the oven" smelling or stinking. Actually they salivate like dogs.
                    So your first post was an error and another error for trying to salvage your first.

                    1. re: surfereddie
                      Jay F Jan 10, 2012 06:50 AM

                      I misspoke. You're right. You wouldn't notice the stink of oil while food is being cooked. What I was remembering is the smell of *seasoning* my cast iron pans, not the smell of food being cooked (who hates the smell of bacon?) in them.

                      I had a cast-iron omelet pan that worked fine for years, never needing to be re-seasoned, so when a life change necessitated the purchase of new cookware, I bought a few pans by Lodge.

                      The seasoning never seemed to take the way it had on my omelet pan, and I was forever re-seasoning them. I became so sick of the smell of the heated oil, I gave the pans away.

                      I'm so grateful to you for catching me in my errors, eddie. The internet is a better place today for your having put me in my place.

                      1. re: Jay F
                        n
                        navanax Aug 25, 2012 07:04 PM

                        eddie- If something smells bad to Jay, then it smells bad to Jay. Telling him his olfactory lobe is faulty because he has a sensitivity doesn't fix his problem. A lot of people are sensitive to a lot of different smells, from rancid oil t o patchouli to hairspray.

                        Cooks Illustrated recently had an article about using flax oil to season cast iron. Because it has a very low smoke point, it breaks down at lower temps and polymerizes faster and cleaner than many other oils. You don't need to heat it as high to get the flax oil to seal the pan.

                        Perhaps that would fix your odor issues. Well, not yours, you know what I mean.

              2. re: ellabee
                yayadave Jan 11, 2012 06:44 AM

                The easiest thing to do is to wash them, dry them, and put them back in a warm oven for a little while. That gets rid of any moisture. With or without oil.

              3. re: burgeoningfoodie
                Chemicalkinetics Jan 9, 2012 09:09 AM

                "If I have come into having a dutch oven (cast iron enamel) but the edges of the cover and the bottom are not seasoned."

                It may be black matte enamel, and not bare cast iron.

                1. re: burgeoningfoodie
                  b
                  burgeoningfoodie Jan 10, 2012 09:41 AM

                  What I have is a 6.5 qt Tramontina. The edges of which are black/dark grey and rougher than the enameled parts. I think it is bare metal. Just don't want it to rust. I'm good with the towel drying it immediately upon washing it. So now the debate is up as to whether to rub those exposed areas with some form of fat or not. I do plan to use it to make bread so it may get up past 350 degrees. Hope that helps to clarify some.

                  1. re: burgeoningfoodie
                    s
                    surfereddie Jan 10, 2012 10:25 AM

                    OK, I actually got up from my desk to check my red 6.5 qt Tramontina, purchased from Sams Club, same as the one from Walmart for rust. There is no rust and I never seasoned it. However, I do remember it rusting in the beginning. It makes chili, stews, soups, gumbos and basically functions as a crock pot cooker as well. On top of that I replaced the top handle with a metal cabinet knob and it bakes the famous no kneed bread, minimum every other week.
                    I would do nothing and I'm sure it will self season with use. If it does rust it will be superficial and not harm it in any way.
                    BTW the inside bottom of mine has hairline cracks that are visible due to the discoloration. They all discolor and can be bleached white but don't leave bleach in the pot to long or it will ruin the finish. It is chipped at the lid and lip when it fell off the table. Those chips have not grown in over 2 years so its good quality stuff.

                    1. re: surfereddie
                      b
                      blondelle Jan 11, 2012 07:01 AM

                      All you have to do it take a bit of oil on your finger and run it around the rim if you're concerned. Takes a few seconds.

                    2. re: burgeoningfoodie
                      e
                      ellabee Jan 10, 2012 12:20 PM

                      Just a very light coat (rub off any excess, in fact rub well; you only need the thinnest film) on the bare part before you cook with it next. If it still looks grey rather than dark after you're done and it's washed and dried, repeat before the next outing. You won't need to do it many more times if at all, as it will quickly darken.

                      Jay F is reacting to a bad experience with seasoning an expanse of bare cast iron, empty. Your situation's quite different.

                    3. re: burgeoningfoodie
                      b
                      burgeoningfoodie Jan 12, 2012 12:59 PM

                      Gracias everyone.

                      1. re: burgeoningfoodie
                        SWISSAIRE Mar 2, 2012 12:06 AM

                        Having collected five different varieties of these pots over the years (Staub, Chassuer,etc) we have found the Rösle Bräter model as best for our family. Why ?

                        First it is heavy, very well made Teknika stainless steel, with an alu core inside and up the wall of the pot. The lid is also heavy, and seats deep, well-fitted onto the pot.

                        Second, it includes a stainless steaming tray insert. We steam vegetables and fish 3 times per week using this tool, which allows quite a lot of cooking space inside. Take a little water, garlic, and garden herbes, and the dishes are cooked very well.

                        Third, is the speed of cooking. It is quite fast to steam, and used inside the oven or indirectly in a BBQ, it can take a great amount of heat for a long time. For our Christmas, we did a glazed ham, followed by a small goose, on after the other, continously, without problems. Induction, gas, electric, ceramic, and oven. We do nothing more than spraying a little mist of olive oil and rubbing it onto the cooking surface. Nothing burns as a result and they look mirror-finished at all times.

                        Fourth, is cleaning. It all cleans easily, and is dishwasher approved.

                        As the Chowhound audience is primarily North American, I can assure you that you are correct that these pots and pans are not common there. There are however many online stores selling them here, with international shipping to North America. They can be purchased easily on EBAY.DE, CH, and .AT for as little as 50 Euros. My first was the smaller-depth 91112 model which was purchased new for that price, in 1994. My most recent the larger 91114 model is now 7 years old, purchased for 110 CHF also looks new.

                         
                         
                         
                         
                        1. re: SWISSAIRE
                          SWISSAIRE Mar 2, 2012 03:14 PM

                          Better photos of the insides of the high and low version of the pan.

                          The advert measurements are for the deeper pan, currently sold as the set. I might add that both came in a nice lidded,wooden box with braided handles. We do not store them that way in the kitchen, but it does make a nice travel box for the pan set when visiting relatives or friends with a previously cooked meal.

                           
                           
                           
                    4. a
                      arevir Oct 12, 2011 06:01 AM

                      so you get that extra flavor you get with a good seasoned iron pan using and enamel one?
                      I was about to order one of this but now came across this thread about enamel
                      http://www.amazon.com/Buyer-Pancake-C...

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: arevir
                        a
                        aregularjoe Nov 10, 2011 09:29 AM

                        Their is no flavor that come from the pan ( unless you are using something reactive (an acid) like vinegar in it, in which case you will taste iron). The seasoning of a non enameled cast iron pan, over many uses, and with proper cleaning, creates a great cooking surface.

                        The flavor comes from the even heating of cast iron, allowing you to brown food easily ( color is flavor) without burning it, and assuming you have not crowded the pan and cooled it. Well seasoned plain cast iron should be almost non stick if you are using the pan properly.

                        Enamel coating of cast iron simply makes clean up easier.

                        Many people mistakenly leave food on their cast iron pans and that is nothing but a health hazard. I use a natural bristle brush to clean my un-enameled cast iron. Many recommend using coarse salt and a paper towel. With enamel you can just use dish soap.

                        1. re: arevir
                          s
                          surfereddie Jan 9, 2012 08:51 AM

                          Your link is to "blue steel" pans that are much like using a wok. Carbon steel is seasoned to provide a non-stick surface. Like another poster states "extra" flavor is browning and fond. The enameled covered cast cookware give the same excellent heat distribution as the regular cast. Enamel is better for clean up and the ability to cook acidic foods such as tomatoes. Color and taste will be off if you try to use cast iron to cook. If you are iron deficient then you should cook with cast iron non-enameled.
                          You can season the edges of enameled cookware I never set out to but constant use has done it on its own.

                        2. a
                          aregularjoe Oct 8, 2011 03:22 PM

                          Anyone ever heard of Outset enameled cast iron? Found a casserole with lid at a yard sale for $1. Seems as solid as my LC stuff. Never heard of it and can't find a website...

                          1. b
                            burgeoningfoodie Sep 19, 2011 06:50 AM

                            I just saw a Costco brand (Kirkland) 6qt Enamel Cast Iron with metal knob. Does anyone know who actually makes these and if they are any good?

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: burgeoningfoodie
                              b
                              bmccommon Sep 19, 2011 07:04 AM

                              I have conflicting reports on these, some say Costco works to develop their own, others say Tramontina. Regardless, if the lid fits tight and there aren't any chips or flaws, I would think it would be ok. So open the box and look. I see the reviews on their website are all 5 stars. Look at the box and see where it was made and under the lid, look for dimples and kind of handle, that can be a clue too. Good luck. Oh if anyone is worried about lead, there are test kits you can buy to see if there is any in your pan. According to Cornell, the heat to put on the enamel will burn off any lead on cast. Not so much on pottery like a crock pot though. I guess we need to be more worried about those in the past.

                              1. re: bmccommon
                                b
                                burgeoningfoodie Sep 19, 2011 07:22 AM

                                Gotcha. Well considering the cost is about the same as the Lodge from Target or maybe more than the Tromontina. May go with those and just switch out the handle when the time comes that I actually need one.

                                1. re: bmccommon
                                  t
                                  tman Sep 19, 2011 07:24 AM

                                  I bought a couple of the 6.5qt French-made Costco cast irons you guys are talking about as gifts for friends. There are a few dimples on the lid interior. The enamel did not seem 100% uniform (some thicker spots) on some of the pots in the store but not sure this will be problem. Costco has a very liberal return policy which is another consideration.

                                2. re: burgeoningfoodie
                                  katcancook Oct 11, 2011 06:18 PM

                                  I saw the Costco dutch oven this past week. The box states that it's made in France (if that helps).

                                3. b
                                  bmccommon Sep 18, 2011 11:41 AM

                                  I have a Le Creuset and Tramontina and to be honest, I can't tell the difference, except for price. As far as worrying about lead because the Tramontina is made in China and isn't advertised lead free, I don't. I did some research and the FDA along with studies by Cornell and Univ. of Michigan has deemed them free of lead and safe to cook with. If I was afraid of things that aren't safe I wouldn't be driving a car or using a computer. IMHO, Les Creuset is overpriced, we're paying for the marketing. I would have purchased Lodge if I would have found one too. I guess what I'm saying is buy what you can afford, like and don't be scared by the lead thing

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: bmccommon
                                    m
                                    Mother of four Sep 18, 2011 05:10 PM

                                    I too have the Tramontina and also Lodge. Both have served me very well. I have no intention of paying the prices for LC. I also have the Tramontina stainless steel 18/ cookware from Walmart online....great cookware..have All Clad that my kids gave me, can't tell the difference except in the price.

                                    1. re: Mother of four
                                      b
                                      bmccommon Sep 18, 2011 06:12 PM

                                      I've been thinking about getting some stainless Tramontina stainless too. I'm trying to decide how big of fry pan and sauce pan I want. I have a set of hard anodized that I love but there are times I want stainless, like to deglaze and mashed potatoes.

                                      1. re: Mother of four
                                        b
                                        blondelle Sep 19, 2011 05:10 PM

                                        If you shop carefully you can find awesome deals on LC. Just a few weeks ago the Citron color was available at smartbargains.com for $119-$129 for 5-7 qt. first quality ovens and $149 for the 9.5 qt. oval. Free shipping too! It's a pretty, soft, shaded lemon yellow. Better than second quality outlet prices.

                                    2. e
                                      EnricoMiguel Aug 10, 2011 08:44 AM

                                      Hello all,

                                      Has anyone purchased cast iron cookware through www.creativecookware.com? It offers cast iron cookware at discounted prices. My concerns with the website are that it has no physical address, no company history or long standing reputation. Some of the brands it carries include Le Creuset, Staub, etc. I'm wondering how they are able to discount so deeply. Should I be concerned about imitations?

                                      10 Replies
                                      1. re: EnricoMiguel
                                        m
                                        mikie Aug 10, 2011 09:52 AM

                                        Prices on most if not all the items they sell are very well controled by the manufacturer, if they are an authorized dealer they are unable to deeply discount these items. I checked the website and their Staub prices are the same as prices on e-bay and most of the Staub on e-bay is all the same "list" price as it comes from authorized dealers. I think there are two prices, full retail and a discount, below which is not allowed. Given what I've seen, they use the same discount price other mass market sellers are using. Check out other websites like cooks.com and metrokitchen for prices on the same items, e-bay as well.

                                        1. re: mikie
                                          e
                                          EnricoMiguel Aug 10, 2011 12:46 PM

                                          Thank you Mikie!

                                          1. re: mikie
                                            yayadave Aug 10, 2011 05:22 PM

                                            I think you called it about two "list" prices. For a while, Caplan Duval was selling Le Creuset for well below "discount list" and then, suddenly, they no longer carried the line. Go figure!

                                            1. re: yayadave
                                              Jay F Aug 11, 2011 05:53 AM

                                              Does Caplan-Duval even exist any longer?

                                              1. re: Jay F
                                                yayadave Aug 11, 2011 07:27 AM

                                                I think not. I was merely commenting that it seems that there are ONLY two "list" prices on Le Creuset and that is rigorously enforced. It seems that if you have other pricing in mind, you don't sell Le Creuset any more!

                                                1. re: yayadave
                                                  e
                                                  EnricoMiguel Aug 11, 2011 07:37 AM

                                                  The other concern I have are with sites like www.creativecookware.com. It does not have a physical address nor an "about us" link. Has anyone encountered any problems with sites that seem like buying an expensive item from "a person in the street"?

                                                  1. re: yayadave
                                                    m
                                                    mikie Aug 11, 2011 08:59 AM

                                                    This seems to be the way manufacturers hold market pricing. Wasserstrom (restaurant supply) was selling Wusthof knives at a discount, well below WS or even most e-bay sellers. I bought a 10" chefs knife from them because they had the best price. But now, and this is just a few months latter, their prices are back up to "list", or at least discounted list. I'm sure they were told to clean up their act. Weber is the same way with their grills, there is no shopping around for a good pirce.

                                                    The only way to get a truely good deal on these items is to catch them on clearance from a store that is no longer going to carry that brand or that line. I bought our Staub cocottes for something like 40% off of 25% off when Dillards decided to no longer handle that brand. I also picked up some Henckels Four Star knives and recently some Emile Henry bakeware for 40% off 50% off. The $42 pie plate was under $15.

                                                    1. re: mikie
                                                      t
                                                      tman Aug 11, 2011 02:24 PM

                                                      My experience concurs with Mikie's. We got our cast iron pot from the Calphalon outlet for $40 or so (7qt) because the paint color was slightly off and had a many percent off store wide sale. I've never found Wasserstrom too much cheaper than Chefknives.com, though. I usually just buy my glassware from Wasserstrom (e.g. Reidel Restaurant Series).

                                            2. re: EnricoMiguel
                                              t
                                              tman Aug 10, 2011 11:56 AM

                                              I just got 15 year gift from my employer. Most gifts were $80-200 but Le Creuset had 5-piece set so I checked many sites on internet for the value. Lists for $450 but available $350-380 many sites on internet- I think even Amazon. www.creativecookware.com has same pricing so doesn't look like they are lower than the standard discounted prices.

                                              1. re: tman
                                                e
                                                EnricoMiguel Aug 10, 2011 12:47 PM

                                                Thank you Tman!

                                            3. c
                                              cookware junkie Mar 29, 2011 10:15 PM

                                              I've only used Staub, and I picked it because I loved the matte black finish inside and out. I got one of the small scaled "cocottes" aka dutch ovens, so it isn't too heavy, just right for making a meal for two or three people. It has survived being forgotten on the burner several times, lol, and still looks and works great...cleans up easily, and because the matte black is really enamel I can just soak it if something cooks onto the surface (I'm such an absent-minded professor in the kitchen...).
                                              I use it more than any other pot in the kitchen. I added a square grill pan to my collection, but in retrospect I feel it is a bit too heavy and awkwardly shaped compared to the compactly designed cocotte.

                                              When it comes to colors, if I did get colored enamel for the kitchen, I like Staub colors the most and have done so for the last few years, with the possible exception of that fresh green LC. LC seems to have mostly cheerful, Easter Egg colors these days, don't they? Staub's colors are deeper and more jewel-toned, for the most part.

                                              1. m
                                                ML8000 Feb 23, 2011 08:40 PM

                                                FYI: someone in my family gave everyone one of these, Costco Kirkland 6-qt Enamel Dutch Oven. http://reviews.costco.com/2070/115889...

                                                I've used it twice and it's very nice but I haven't done anything to test its properties/ virtures. It looks like a well-made pot but also very tank like. If you follow the instructions, it will probably be a durable product. Google says it's $60. Also they give you 4 plastic spacer/clips to keep the lid and pot from scratching.

                                                1. t
                                                  tman Feb 23, 2011 06:54 PM

                                                  Hi! I have the Calphalon 8qt and it has served us very well. We have made some chicken in it and few other items but it gets tremendous use when my wife makes biryanis. The problem we have is people always wanting to borrow our pot and sometimes not getting it back in time for our own use. We bought the Calphalon for $40 when they had a sale at the outlet a few years back. Wanted to buy friends their own cast iron to diminish their dependence on us, but the prices seem to be much higher now. The question is what is a good brand that is relatively low price but good quality. I've read the comments below but am looking for other options. Noticed Oster and Cuisinart recently came out with their own 7qt. The Oster is about $70 on sale. Anyone with experience with that brand?

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: tman
                                                    g
                                                    GiGiofRVA Aug 15, 2011 08:45 AM

                                                    Save your pennies and buy a Le Creuset. Sometimes they have them at Home Goods, Marshalls and TJ Maxx, but only rarely. I have the 2-1/2 qt. French Oval Oven that I got for a gift and it was $89. You have it for the rest of your life. A quick wipe and it's clean.
                                                    The advantages I see are that the food tastes like it has been in the fridge and melding for a day right after you cook it. Spaghetti and meatballs, soups, stews.....it's the best.
                                                    A friend has Lodge and she is happy with it. There is another one sold at Walmart that is about $40. Don't buy it. It pits and burns easily. Don't remember the name.

                                                    1. re: GiGiofRVA
                                                      t
                                                      tman Aug 15, 2011 02:11 PM

                                                      Thanks but Le Creusset 6.5-7qt is too expensive for me to give as a gift.
                                                      IMainly will use it for making and serving biryani for large dinner parties so needs to be LARGE.
                                                      I think I will go with the French-made Kirkland 6.5Qt at Costco for $70 in store.

                                                      I own some Le Creussets myself and prefer their build quality and enamel colors to my other cast irons (Calphalon, Cousances).

                                                      1. re: tman
                                                        breadchick Dec 26, 2011 09:59 AM

                                                        I have a Cousances 24 white enameled quiche pan, which I bought over 25 years ago. I can't find anyone selling that brand. Love the quiche pan and wanted to find another to give to my sister - no luck. It's very heavy and the crusts come out perfectly browned and crisp. I know they're made in France - pretty much all I can find out about the brand.

                                                  2. n
                                                    NCVeggie Nov 7, 2010 11:04 AM

                                                    I LOVE my Cuisinart enameled cast iron pots- have a 3 qt, 5 qt and 7qt. The most I paid for any of them was $40 or so- look for them at TJ MAXX or similar stores (check to make sure the enamel is not flaking inside the pot). Lodge is good too, and I would imagine the Rachel Ray/ Mario Batali lines are fine. I had a no-name pot that pretty much exploded on my stove top once. Just make sure it is at least a company that you have heard of.

                                                    1. n
                                                      Need2KnoBasis Apr 10, 2010 04:19 PM

                                                      I'm from the UK & it's just recently that i've started researching about cast iron dishes. i really would love to buy one (at least 6 quart - BIG FAM)
                                                      however every dish worth buying is expensive. I came across this forum several weeks ago and found several names i've never heard of. I've been searching and searching and for some reason all the good reasonably priced dutch ovens and casserole dishes are outside of UK and cant be shipped over!
                                                      I am so frustrated.
                                                      LC are so expensive, i've bidded on several off ebay but its out of my price range.
                                                      Even Staub are rare here and the ones that are available are well over £100.
                                                      i love the sound of Mario batali ovens but they arent avaiable at all in England/UK. or at least i cant seem to find them.
                                                      Lodge, which are the most affordable for me arent available either and they wont ship to the UK. i've tried ebay and amazon. the actual sites are pricey.
                                                      it's so Infuriating!
                                                      I've no idea what i'm going to do!

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Need2KnoBasis
                                                        Ambimom Apr 11, 2010 08:01 AM

                                                        Amazon.co.uk has lots of cast iron cookware, including Lodge.

                                                      2. t
                                                        tonka11_99 Mar 3, 2010 05:39 AM

                                                        America's test Kitchen and Cook's Illustrated did some testing of enameled cast iron dutch ovens. They recommended Lodge because of the costs.

                                                        Bottom line.... Industry knows how to make a cast iron pot and then coat it with enamel. There is nothing new about this technology so I don't think paying a french company $200 for what you can pay $60 for is necessary.

                                                        12 Replies
                                                        1. re: tonka11_99
                                                          b
                                                          blondelle Mar 3, 2010 08:19 AM

                                                          The technology might be similar but there is a vast difference in the quality of the enamel. They might look the same the start but the difference in quality soon becomes apparent when the cheap ones chip for no reason, and enamel pops off when it shouldn't and food stains it right from the start. That's why companies such as Lodge use different French enamel, more coats, and a better manufacturing process for their premium line which is more than twice as much.

                                                          Buy a cheap one and you will quickly see the difference for yourself.

                                                          1. re: blondelle
                                                            grnidkjun Mar 3, 2010 08:41 AM

                                                            I saw the difference..

                                                            I had purchased one Chantal as my first enamel cast iron pot to see how I liked it before investing in others.. that one (so far) is holding up quite well. I used it this past weekend along side my LC.

                                                            After the luck with the Chantal, I bought the Cuisinart ones to save money.. wrapped them carefully.. they chipped and flaked up day one. I wouldn't recommend this line to anyone. Promptly took them right back to the store and saved up for a LC second.

                                                            1. re: blondelle
                                                              t
                                                              tonka11_99 Mar 3, 2010 09:40 PM

                                                              I have 2 le creuset french ovens. They stained almost immediately as all the other french/dutch ovens I have ever seen. As far as chipping, it seems to me what is going to cause chipping on any dutch oven is mistreatment like dropping the pot or dropping a pan into it. I admit I have not tested the 2 brands side by side but Cook's Illustrated did and recommended saving the money and going with the cheaper brand. I wonder if you have tested them side by side. The difference n cost is even more than twice as much. It is more like 4 times as much for something that may be 20% better. I am not trying to offend you but when I paid the big bucks for Le creuet, I think I was wrong. I think I should have bought the cheaper pot.

                                                              1. re: tonka11_99
                                                                andytee Mar 4, 2010 06:49 AM

                                                                I"ve never cooked with a Lodge enameled pan, but I've seen them in stores and thought they looked a lot better than most of the cheap enameled cast iron on the market. And the Cook's Illustrated endorsement means something too. Perhaps they are a lot better than the other affordable brands?

                                                                I'd be curious to hear more stories from people using the Lodge ovens. As you can see on this thread, almost no-one with a Le Creuset complains about it, except on cost basis. They are pretty generally agreed to be an excellent product. Staub sounds pretty good too, and then there are a lot of stories about people buying something cheaper and regretting it. So clearly not all pots are equal.

                                                                Still, it sounds like Lodge might provide the quality of a higher end pot for a pretty fair price. That would be great, and I'd love to hear more stories from users to confirm it.

                                                                1. re: tonka11_99
                                                                  grnidkjun Mar 4, 2010 10:07 AM

                                                                  no criticism taken. I did not ever cook with the Cuisinart as they were chipping before even getting to be used. No abuse was given as I was very careful to make sure they were transported carefully.. so just simply picking them up and moving them should not cause chipping.

                                                                  I did also buy one other cheaper enameled cast iron pot made by chantal (talavera) made in china. I have used it side by side and have had no issues with it chipping yet. I've had this one since last spring.

                                                                  1. re: grnidkjun
                                                                    t
                                                                    tonka11_99 Mar 5, 2010 07:32 AM

                                                                    As an engineer, I would love to do some destructive testing on several brands.

                                                                    How would I set that up? Start by multiple rapid heat up and cool down sessions to see if i could encourage chipping.

                                                                    Then boiling water over a tight flame to see if I could see the flame pattern in the bubbles.

                                                                    Then for the really destructive stuff. Cut them in half at the base and at the walls and measure thickness of the cast iron as well as the enamel.

                                                                    What would that cost? Probably up to a $1000. Oh well. Not on my budget, but I would like to try.

                                                                    1. re: tonka11_99
                                                                      hobbybaker Mar 5, 2010 10:26 AM

                                                                      Hi, tonka. Please do your testing. Your project might be even funded by CI if you negotiate. There are so many people, who are interested in your tests. You know, I have even another project lining up for you. Do the same things for All-Clad SS and All-Clad D5. I am really really eager to know the diff and hope CI or Chow will do some tests on it as they as a organization must have more funding than we individuals :) Anyway, email and make a prrposal to CI :) If your test is published in the magazine, I will buy it. If you are on TV, you are a one of cooking world celeb! Not a bad deal!

                                                                  2. re: tonka11_99
                                                                    b
                                                                    blondelle Mar 5, 2010 09:47 AM

                                                                    People have Le Creuset for 10-20-30 years of more that are unstained. Usually the staining is caused by using too high heat, or abrasive cleaning methods which make the enamel more porous. It should not have stained that early on with proper cleaning and cooking methods. All you have to do is go to a dept. store and you will see the samples displayed of the lesser brands are all chipped where the LC's aren't. I had the cheaper Lodge and did not drop it or knock it about and it still had small chips all over it. With proper care the LC should not stain or stain very little over the years.

                                                                    People have complained about the brand that CI recommended as staining and chipping. If the LC pot did not survive your cooking methods and stained right from the start, the cheaper pot would have fared a lot worse. I'm sorry but I think your heat was just too high for it to do that when almost new.

                                                                    1. re: blondelle
                                                                      MandalayVA Mar 5, 2010 10:31 AM

                                                                      My Lodge has two small chips--one on the handle, the other on the bottom ring. I blame myself for both because of rough handling. As far as staining goes I haven't had a problem yet; I was actually surprised at how easily it cleans up. I did the Cook's Illustrated French chicken in a pot where it's encouraged to nearly burn the fond but with a few scrubs it came up easily.

                                                                      1. re: MandalayVA
                                                                        m
                                                                        Mother of four Mar 7, 2010 05:30 PM

                                                                        Love my Lodge. No complaints on chipping or discoloration. I paid $48 for it and it's worth every penny.
                                                                        LC is not in my budget, nor will it ever be, I could replace my Lodge more then six times!

                                                                        1. re: Mother of four
                                                                          s
                                                                          Santa Maria Apr 3, 2010 03:20 PM

                                                                          I have a kitchenaid 3.5 quart and 5.5 quart to bake no knead bread and I used the larger cast iron pot to braise and have a bit of a stain on the lid. $30 for the smaller pot and $50 for the larger pot at Canadian Tire--on sale of course.

                                                                          I was looking for an enameled cast iron fry pan and saw a Well Equipped Kitchen brand. Has anyone heard or tried this brand. Not sure where it's made as print was too small on the tag.

                                                                          1. re: Santa Maria
                                                                            n
                                                                            nikey Apr 10, 2010 09:14 AM

                                                                            Pretty certain will be purchasing a Staub sometime soon - trying to find a sale or ebay buy. Anyway, purchased an Ikea oval dutch oven more than a few years ago on clearance for $35 and been happy with it. Flipped it over last week to see where made and discovered France. The underside of lid has rounded nubs, and the interior is a black porous finish that required initial seasoning with oil and milk, of all things. At same time purchased their clearance priced cast iron fondue set for $12 also made in France with exact same materials as the dutch oven. Anyone have any idea which company constructed these items? Anyway, no chipping, dutch oven is amazing and sears wonderfully, lid fits well and no knobs, lid is one fused piece with handles flared out to the side. Will be interesting to compare it to a Staub when I make the purchase.

                                                              2. a
                                                                AnyaTika Feb 23, 2010 10:24 AM

                                                                I've inherited amongst many other things, a Descoware Dutch oven. I Googled the make and it seems to have a kind of cult following? I'll chalk that up to the line being Julia's favorite in the kitchen, even surpassing the LC with their trendy colors and aggressive marketing campaign. Eventually Le Creuset won and Descoware went out of business. I'm proud to own mine and just can't bare to spend that much money on Le Creuset. I will be purchasing a few more pieces on eBay to round out my humble collection!

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: AnyaTika
                                                                  p
                                                                  pianojan Mar 3, 2010 12:13 AM

                                                                  I have a 6.5 quart enameled cast iron Dutch oven from Sam's Club........Member's Mark..............lifetime guaranteed! I've been using it on top of the stove several times a week, and sometimes in the oven for over 18 months and I LOVE IT!!! They just came out with a smaller one and a skillet.........and they are all a beautiful dark red color.

                                                                  1. re: pianojan
                                                                    b
                                                                    bdskees Sep 24, 2010 04:09 PM

                                                                    I noticed that they've recenty changed the knob on these from the phenolic (like Lodge and LC have) to stainless steel.

                                                                  2. re: AnyaTika
                                                                    gulfcoastgal Nov 21, 2010 02:39 AM

                                                                    We found several small Descoware pieces that we use a lot oatmeL
                                                                    Brie and roasted garlic the small pieces are in better shape probably due to less warsaw
                                                                    Be careful of something that old that looks perfect
                                                                    It may be "enamel sprat paint"

                                                                  3. r
                                                                    Ray Weiss Feb 14, 2010 05:31 PM

                                                                    I was in a Cost Plus World Market the other day and I saw they have there own brand of enameled cast iron cookware. They also carry non-enameled lodge so this may be a lodge product under the cost plus name. Does anyone have information on the Cost Plus brand?

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Ray Weiss
                                                                      jkgourmet Feb 22, 2010 10:16 AM

                                                                      I actually purchased one of those Cost Plus enameled cast iron pieces, hoping that it would be good quality. It chipped the first time I used it, did not hold the heat well, and I suspect wasn't conducting the heat evenly. I didn't even review it on my cookware blog as I like Cost Plus for some items.

                                                                      Le Creuset all the way!

                                                                      Jeanette
                                                                      www.AnythingGoesGourmet.com

                                                                      1. re: jkgourmet
                                                                        b
                                                                        bdskees Sep 24, 2010 04:07 PM

                                                                        I bought one of their 1 quart multifunction pots (looks like a very small version of the LC multifunction pot) and like it well enough that I went back and got some for gifts. At $20, I figured I couldn't go wrong. Months later, it is holding up very well and I use it a lot.

                                                                    2. l
                                                                      lasagne Jan 28, 2010 11:16 AM

                                                                      I bought a Martha Stewart dutch oven a year ago b/c of the great price and assumed MS would make a great product. Assumption wrong! I have used the pot under 20 times in the year and of course always hand wash it. Last night while I was scrubbing it with a pot brush the enamel flaked off in 2 pieces. Of course no it is ruined and it is not under limited warranty after one year. I just destroyed my box last month and tossed the receipt since I was over one year and had no problems. I loved the pot !

                                                                      I just sucked up the price, and bought a 3.5 quart Le Crueset for $118 at Tuesday Morning. I never hear anyone complain about Le Crueset except for price. Sometimes you really do get what you pay for........Lesson Learned......

                                                                      1. HerbyN Dec 26, 2009 05:36 AM

                                                                        any recommendations for the best retail and the best online sources for enameled cast iron casseroles? best selections and best value?

                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                        1. re: HerbyN
                                                                          b
                                                                          burgeoningfoodie Dec 28, 2009 05:50 AM

                                                                          I'm looking into the Lodge's at Target. I don't know if I'll be using it often as initially I just want something to make a crispy bread in without having to worry about misting the oven.

                                                                          1. re: burgeoningfoodie
                                                                            MandalayVA Dec 30, 2009 07:02 AM

                                                                            I used my Amazon gift certificates that I got for Xmas to buy myself a Lodge 6 quart Dutch oven (and a Le Creuset replacement knob). I plan to keep it on my stove top--it's a nice shade of blue that matches my kitchen and it should greatly cut down on opportunities to chip. I make soups and stews all year round so I can't wait to take this for a test drive.

                                                                            1. re: MandalayVA
                                                                              k
                                                                              koigirl Jan 6, 2010 12:21 PM

                                                                              Just received my anniversary gift, a Staub coq au vin pot in pesto color, and boy, is it beautiful! Can't wait to try it out Friday night making braised short ribs for DH - I've been lusting for one of these for two years. I've never owned Staub before; I have three pieces of Le Creuset enameled steel and one Chantal dutch oven so I'm interested to compare it with the others. First impressions: I think I will like the dark interior as all of my heavily-used Le Creuset pieces have stained interiors from years of heavy use. The Staub does not seem to be quite as heavy in weight? Exterior enamel finish seems to be very similar to Le Creuset. Thought you'd all appreciate my utter excitement at receiving this as an anniversary gift - many of my non-foodie friends would never understand . . .

                                                                          2. re: HerbyN
                                                                            s
                                                                            surfereddie Jan 7, 2012 09:51 AM

                                                                            I have a Tramontina 6.5qt from Sams club/Walmart made in China, 5 years heavy use. Soups, stews, chilly, no-knead bread, and excellent. No chips until it fell off the table 4 months ago and it is stained on the bottom. I used to leave a bleach solution in the bottom for an hour but stopped as it might be discolored but still performs the same. I also have a lodge pot for less than a year. I use it if its to go on the table. Otherwise I use the work horse. My sister has the LC but I think its too light . I've cooked with it and no difference but 4x the price. If you have arthritis then by all means get the LC. Otherwise save your money.

                                                                            1. re: surfereddie
                                                                              Chemicalkinetics Jan 7, 2012 11:00 AM

                                                                              "No chips until it fell off the table 4 months ago and it is stained on the bottom"

                                                                              See, it chips. :P

                                                                          3. s
                                                                            surfereddie Dec 17, 2009 09:45 PM

                                                                            Here is my take on it. The technology is as old as dirt. Everybody does it the same and I'm willing to bet a lot of them are done at the same factory in China. The premise of cast is heat retention, heat dispersion resulting in even cooking. If you drop ANY of them they will chip. So if you're looking for a 6 quart pot you'd want the heaviest pot because it would have more of the qualities of even cooking than the lighter ones. Thats my thought process.

                                                                            1. cityhopper Dec 13, 2009 05:11 PM

                                                                              I was curious if anyone used KitchenAid's Enameled Dutch Ovens. While I am not happy they are MIC (Made in China), they handle for the lid is stainless steel and can be gripped. It states its oven safe to 500 degrees.

                                                                              The pricing ranges from $60-$130 (from 3.5 qt to 8qt) and that pricing seems to be on par with the enameled dutch ovens from various celebrity chef lines.

                                                                              Has anyone purchased KA's dutch oven? Thoughts on it?

                                                                              1. t
                                                                                teril Dec 8, 2009 10:58 AM

                                                                                After posting my last entry, I went to the website and could only find a 5 qt, and even though it says the brand name is Denmark, it's actually made in China. I think I'm going with the Fontignac one.

                                                                                1. t
                                                                                  teril Dec 8, 2009 10:44 AM

                                                                                  I was ready to buy the Fontignac 6.5 qt. at BBB when I just read a recommendation in Cooking Light for the "covered dutch oven" by Denmark for $50 at ttustore.com. Any opinion?

                                                                                  1. l
                                                                                    lablovers Dec 2, 2009 05:47 AM

                                                                                    I have Le Creuset (thanks to my wonderful husband and inlaws!!) and love them! But they are so expensive - would also like to find a cheaper version for my son who loves to cook. Any suggestions?

                                                                                    23 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: lablovers
                                                                                      andytee Dec 2, 2009 05:57 AM

                                                                                      i think there are already a lot of comments in this thread addressing other brands many people feel are just as good as le creuset and cheaper. my two cents, though, is that i love le creuset and just think it's the best. i have several pieces and haven't paid full price yet, in face my two most used pans are ones i got at a yard sale and a flea market respectively for under $20 each. that sort of deal is hard to come by, but there is almost always le creuset pieces much cheaper than retail in ebay, and often stores like marshalls or tj maxx will stock them. best of luck!

                                                                                      1. re: lablovers
                                                                                        b
                                                                                        Beckyleach Dec 2, 2009 01:26 PM

                                                                                        Buy it "seconds" from the outlets....scour thrift stores...look around T.J. Maxx....ask on Craig's list....haunt Ebay. I've got 5 dutch ovens, a brasier, two sauce pans, four au gratin dishes, and four skillets (one with a lid), and a terrine, and I never, ever paid anything close to "retail" for any of them.

                                                                                        1. re: Beckyleach
                                                                                          CindyJ Dec 2, 2009 05:24 PM

                                                                                          I just added a 3.75-quart round oven to my LC collection today. With my 35% coupon at the outlet store it cost me $100. AND they gave me a coupon good for the entire month of January 2010 for 40% off any one piece of enameled cast iron.

                                                                                          1. re: CindyJ
                                                                                            andytee Dec 2, 2009 07:00 PM

                                                                                            The thing that makes Le Creuset worth more is their warranty service. They really do expect these things to last forever and will replace or repair them if they don't. I had a wobbly knob, called and got a new one shipped free. One of the pieces I got used had some chipping that got worse over time - I sent it in, got a brand new replacement. Never a hassle or complaint other than the charges to ship something back to them. I don't know if anyone else has similar stories, or experience with other brands, but I don't think you get service like that from the discount brands.

                                                                                            1. re: andytee
                                                                                              CindyJ Dec 3, 2009 04:50 AM

                                                                                              They proved to me that they stand firmly behind their lifetime guarantee. A couple of years ago I emailed them to ask what I could use to remove the discoloration from the inside of a 35 year-old oval French oven. They wrote back promptly, offering to replace my old piece with a brand new one in the color of my choice, at no cost to me (except the cost of mailing the old pot, sans lid, to them). I also asked if I could buy replacement handles for two very old saute pans that had wooden handles. They sent me new ovenproof handles to replace the old ones, again, absolutely free. Does customer service get any better than that?

                                                                                              1. re: CindyJ
                                                                                                c
                                                                                                ctscra Dec 3, 2009 10:44 AM

                                                                                                Hey CindyJ, What is their advice in handling the discoloration inside your pot? Thanks.

                                                                                                1. re: ctscra
                                                                                                  CindyJ Dec 3, 2009 01:38 PM

                                                                                                  They didn't give me any advice -- only a free replacement. However, I was in the LC outlet store yesterday and got into a conversation with another customer there who told me he does the following to get rid of the discoloration: In the pot he mixes one cup of peroxide with one cup of water. He boils it for a short time and lets it cool down in the pot. He claims this removes the discoloration AND, after thorough washing, it leaves no trace.

                                                                                                  1. re: CindyJ
                                                                                                    j
                                                                                                    jeneats Dec 5, 2009 06:02 PM

                                                                                                    The Magic Eraser handles discoloration with ease. No idea how harmful it might be to the finish, but mine still looks great after several years of this treatment (I also tend to boil water in it when stuff gets burned on, but the ME takes care of the last vestiges of discoloration). I don't use the ME on matte wall paint, but almost everything else is fair game in my house.

                                                                                                    1. re: jeneats
                                                                                                      h
                                                                                                      Hungry Celeste Dec 6, 2009 04:10 AM

                                                                                                      I DO use the ME on wall paint...it will take off flat-finish paint, but on thicker, gloss finishes, you can't tell that the ME was ever used.

                                                                                                      1. re: jeneats
                                                                                                        TroyTempest Dec 7, 2009 09:24 AM

                                                                                                        i'd be hesitant to use a ME on anything that my lips ever touched

                                                                                                        1. re: TroyTempest
                                                                                                          h
                                                                                                          Hungry Celeste Dec 7, 2009 10:13 AM

                                                                                                          Why? It has no chemicals, just micro-abrasives. Are you afraid of a Brillo pad, or a green Scotch-Brite pad?

                                                                                                          1. re: Hungry Celeste
                                                                                                            cowboyardee Dec 7, 2009 02:05 PM

                                                                                                            Like most abrasives, a magic eraser most definitely leaves particles of itself behind with use. You've noticed, no doubt that the erasers shrink and wear away (rather quickly, I might add) with use? Where do you think the matter that was in the sponge is going to? Almost all abrasives leave parts of themselves behind.

                                                                                                            Of course, that alone does not imply toxicity.

                                                                                                            A magic eraser is made out of melamine foam. It's a hard, organic compound arranged into a porous matrix similar to fiberglass (matrixwise, i mean). As far as safety goes, I don't know all that much, but there is this:

                                                                                                            "Aside from common commercial uses, melamine became a topic of much discussion in early 2007, when veterinary scientists determined it to be the cause of hundreds of pet deaths, because of pet food contamination. Prior to these reports, melamine had been regarded as non-toxic or minimally toxic. However, because of the unexplained presence of melamine in wheat gluten added to mass-produced dog and cat foods, it is the most likely cause. Pet owners report symptoms that are commonly associated with renal failure, which could be explained by the ammonia that may result from the digestion of the melamine."

                                                                                                            I pulled it from a discussion at wisegeek. http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-melam...

                                                                                                            Most likely the levels of exposure alluded to in that quote were significantly higher than any likely exposure from a magic eraser, especially if rinsed afterward.

                                                                                                            I personally wouldn't sweat using one too much. Anyone else can make up their own mind. But to suggest "it has no chemicals" is incorrect.

                                                                                                            1. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                                              h
                                                                                                              Hungry Celeste Dec 8, 2009 03:35 AM

                                                                                                              Lord have mercy....the very keyboard you're typing on is made of "chemicals", as is the plastic bag or container surrounding the organically grown lettuces at the supermarket. The tiny bit of residue left from the magic eraser (or any other abrasive, for that matter) rinses away. Yes, you might ingest bits of it, if you didn't rinse the dish. Hello!

                                                                                                              1. re: Hungry Celeste
                                                                                                                TroyTempest Dec 8, 2009 08:23 AM

                                                                                                                Ok, i am big enough to admit it when i'm wrong. According to snopes, ME has no chemicals that are harmful to me.
                                                                                                                http://www.snopes.com/medical/toxins/...

                                                                                                                But, i'm still not eating my keyboard.

                                                                                                                1. re: TroyTempest
                                                                                                                  cowboyardee Dec 8, 2009 10:32 AM

                                                                                                                  Troy - that link is a good resource.

                                                                                                                  I must point out however that it was last updated in Feb of 07 and pet foods with melamine were recalled starting in March of 07. Google "melamine pet food recall of 2007" for many results. It seems that pet foods contaminated with melamine were responsible for 8,500 pet deaths (FDAs figures, quoted from wiki). This was a big deal if you had pets at that time, and I remember news stories telling pet owners not to buy Chinese-made pet food. A lot of brands were recalled.

                                                                                                                  Melamine is still only suspected as the causative agent, not proven, and there's some data to suggest melamine is only [highly] toxic when ingested along with cyanuric acid, another contaminant.

                                                                                                                  I still suspect you're safe with the magic eraser based on low exposure levels. But as far as I can tell right now, melamine's toxicity to humans is unknown and pending further research.

                                                                                                                  1. re: TroyTempest
                                                                                                                    yayadave Dec 10, 2009 11:34 AM

                                                                                                                    Probably be OK if you marinated it.

                                                                                            2. re: lablovers
                                                                                              Paulustrious Dec 4, 2009 04:59 AM

                                                                                              Some foodie friends of mine from England have said they will buy Chasseur in the future. They like the quality, finish and price. So I had a scout through amazon.co.uk comparing the reviews of them compared to Le Creuset. Apart from a few anomalies they seem to have a higher satisfaction rating than Le Creuset.

                                                                                              The odd thing is that there are lots of Chasseur products available on amazon.com (ie the US) but very few reviews. Seems like Le Creuset has captured the souls of Americans when it comes to enameled cast iron

                                                                                              1. re: Paulustrious
                                                                                                n
                                                                                                Normandie Dec 5, 2009 08:02 PM

                                                                                                Paul, I went to look it up after reading your post and it looks like Chausseur is made by Paderno? Is that your understanding? I've never used anything made by Paderno, but it seems to me I've heard a lot of positive comments from homecooks and chefs who have used other cookware from Paderno... ????

                                                                                                1. re: Normandie
                                                                                                  Paulustrious Dec 6, 2009 11:48 AM

                                                                                                  It looks as though Invicta owns Chausseur, Paderno is Italian. Paderno make fairly good quality stainless stuff. They used to have a number of retail outfits in Toronto, but I haven't seen one for a while. I have some old Paderno SS baking pans which have lasted well.

                                                                                                  1. re: Paulustrious
                                                                                                    n
                                                                                                    Normandie Dec 7, 2009 07:45 PM

                                                                                                    One needs a pedigree chart to follow some of this stuff. The other day when I looked up the Chasseur, I came across a site that did mention Invicta, but it looked, according to the way it was worded, that Paderno and Invicta were related. I'm going to take your word, instead, though, because it didn't look like a very credible site. Can't even remember the name of it now, or I'd provide a link.

                                                                                                    1. re: Normandie
                                                                                                      Paulustrious Dec 8, 2009 12:11 AM

                                                                                                      I too am relying on a single links. Here is my 'proof'

                                                                                                      Invicta: http://www.invicta-sa.com/pages/produits/culinaire/culinaire.html

                                                                                                      Paderno: http://paderno.it//upload/docs/Company.pdf

                                                                                                      I believe they are still Italian as this press report about a china takeover:

                                                                                                      http://www.monstersandcritics.com/new...

                                                                                                      And I only just realised that the extremely cheap nest of cast iron pots I acquired twelve years ago were made by Invicta.

                                                                                                2. re: Paulustrious
                                                                                                  a
                                                                                                  abgilliam Dec 6, 2009 10:34 AM

                                                                                                  i have lived in the UK and have bought both le creuset and chasseur there. i mostly buy from amazon.co.uk and tk maxx. i can not tell the difference in cooking capabilities of either, although some of the le creuset pots have a different curve to them and are more pleasing aesthetically. i am now in france and just bought a staub oval pot at at steal, and am also pleased with its' cooking properties. it has a black matte interior which doesn't stain, but does seem to attract some white residue. am very happy with hit though, as it has a sweet rabbit on the top handle. all three brands are used heavily and cook very well.

                                                                                                  1. re: abgilliam
                                                                                                    Ambimom Dec 7, 2009 12:36 PM

                                                                                                    I've seen Chasseur pieces at TJ Maxx every so often. Now I'm sorry I didn't buy them.

                                                                                              2. cosmogrrl Nov 23, 2009 06:38 PM

                                                                                                My enameled Target brand 5 qt casserole just got a large chip in the bottom (inside). This is a pot i use probably 3-4 times a week, as I love to make soup. I've had it for 7 years. So I've been reading and searching online for what would be the best pot. Le Creuset is just too expensive for me and I had the same trouble with my mother's LC casserole, it chipped on the inside after a nasty drop on a tile floor. I went to several stores and inspected many models. Here's what I found:

                                                                                                Martha Stewart - Badly made. But inexpensive. All of the floor models had chips in the enamel, especially on the self braising points of the lids. Plus the lids were not even close to "round", they were irregularly shaped. So really it did not instill confidence as far as quality.

                                                                                                Emeril - Again with chipping, also on the self braising knobs. Plus chips in the outer enamel.

                                                                                                I then found at Bed, Bath, and Beyond (aka Blood bath and beyond :) a really nice 6.5 qt casserole for $135!! None of the floor models had any chips, it had a nice "feel" to it. The bottom is nice and flat, and it was very pretty. AND it's made in France, not China, which is a real bonus to me. Turns out the company is associated with Staub too. I bought the pretty green one, they also had red, blue, and yellow.

                                                                                                Seems to work nicely so far, and it even has a pretty fleur de lys pattern on the bottom of the lid.

                                                                                                I couldn't find a Batali pot that I could look at in person, but then again I wanted to avoid something that's made in China, just because I'm concerned about their Quality Control. Also couldn't find a Lodge version to look at either, but I do have one of their skillets and it rocks! Almost as good as my Grandmother's Cast Iron Skillet thats probably from about 1930, which has 75 yrs worth of seasoning.

                                                                                                FYI I never saw a huge difference between the Target casserole and the LC casserole, at least not enough to make any difference in my cooking.

                                                                                                HTH

                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: cosmogrrl
                                                                                                  m
                                                                                                  Miss Priss Nov 24, 2009 03:51 AM

                                                                                                  Sounds like you got one of the very attractive Fontignac (made by Staub) casseroles that BB&B recently started carrying. I was really tempted, but couldn't justify the purchase; have plenty of enameled cast iron already, and no room for more. About 10 years ago I bought a couple of similar Staub casseroles, but with black matte interiors, at HomeGoods. They do just as good a job as my Le Creuset pieces, and have held up very well. Enjoy!

                                                                                                  1. re: Miss Priss
                                                                                                    b
                                                                                                    bsue Nov 27, 2009 01:53 PM

                                                                                                    my mom just bought a martha stewart enameled cast iron dutch oven at macy's and the product info said not to cook or store anything acidic in it. is this just because it is a cheaper brand, or is this true for all? she wants to use it for tomato based foods

                                                                                                    1. re: bsue
                                                                                                      m
                                                                                                      Miss Priss Nov 27, 2009 02:45 PM

                                                                                                      That seems very odd to me, since a principal selling point of enameled cast iron is that it CAN be used for acidic foods; but I don't know anything about that brand of cookware.

                                                                                                    2. re: Miss Priss
                                                                                                      TroyTempest Jan 6, 2010 07:01 AM

                                                                                                      i went to BB&B looking fro these, but could only find the chinese made emeril ones, again the floor models were full of chips. I was in a hurry, so i didn't have time to ask if other brands were available, but i didn't see any. Are these still around?

                                                                                                      1. re: TroyTempest
                                                                                                        m
                                                                                                        Miss Priss Jan 27, 2010 05:39 AM

                                                                                                        Hi, Troy, just saw your question. Last time I was at a BB&B, shortly after New Year's, the Fontignacs were still on display. And they're still offered on the website.

                                                                                                        1. re: Miss Priss
                                                                                                          TroyTempest Apr 19, 2010 11:21 AM

                                                                                                          They are not at every BB&B in my town.
                                                                                                          I just got one for my B-Day the other day. I've made pasta sauce in it, and my wife made some ratitouille. Thus far, looks good, works great.

                                                                                                  2. m
                                                                                                    MissAva Aug 31, 2009 05:29 PM

                                                                                                    I was checking the Lodge website to find out what sizes of enameled cookware they made and their website states that their enameled cookware is made in China. I don't know if that makes a difference to you but I like to know...........

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: MissAva
                                                                                                      TroyTempest Sep 1, 2009 10:41 AM

                                                                                                      FWIW, there is a lot of discussion about this on amazon

                                                                                                    2. VAfoodie Nov 9, 2008 01:42 PM

                                                                                                      Has anyone tried the Rachel Ray Enameled cookware? Just got a 5.2 qt. oval dutch oven at Linens and Things going out of business sale.

                                                                                                      1. j
                                                                                                        jmax Jan 23, 2008 12:40 PM

                                                                                                        Does the number of coated enamel layers matter? Lodge has 2 coat and 4 coat with about a $45 difference in price between the two.

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: jmax
                                                                                                          h
                                                                                                          Hungry Celeste Jan 25, 2008 03:14 AM

                                                                                                          Yes--the additional coats add to the life of the pan, and it's much less likely to chip with a thicker enameling.

                                                                                                        2. javaandjazz Jan 19, 2008 05:27 AM

                                                                                                          One other thing...are the Le Creuset outlets any cheaper than a regular store?

                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: javaandjazz
                                                                                                            w
                                                                                                            warneral Jan 23, 2008 01:01 PM

                                                                                                            I think the enamel gives it a fairly non=stick surface. Not as nonstick as teflon, but definitely more nonstick than a lightly seasoned cast iron pan. The other nice thing about enamel is that you don't have to season it and cleanup is super easy. I just soak my le creuset and it wipes right out.

                                                                                                            Yes the outlet sells seconds for a 20% discount off of - say williams and sonoma prices. And if you join their mailing list you will learn of sales where you can get an additional 20 to 30% off on top of that. They had a sale between thanksgiving and Christmas and I ended up getting 4 pieces at about 50% off of w&s prices! Plus sometimes they also give mailing list people a free shipping offer as well so you can call around to any outlet.

                                                                                                            Call an outlet and ask to get on their mailing list and they should put you on - that's what I did. You could also ask for their brochure which has all the store locations and phone#'s on it

                                                                                                            1. re: warneral
                                                                                                              javaandjazz Jan 23, 2008 01:25 PM

                                                                                                              Thanks! I actually went online and bought a Lodge enameled cast iron dutch oven from Walmart(I know, I had a gift card I had to use). It was only around $50.00

                                                                                                            2. re: javaandjazz
                                                                                                              C. Hamster Jan 23, 2008 01:06 PM

                                                                                                              YES. If you buy the "cosmetic seconds," which usually look perfect.

                                                                                                              1. re: javaandjazz
                                                                                                                Jay F Oct 11, 2010 02:27 PM

                                                                                                                I just spoke with someone at my nearest LC outlet store, and found out that if I buy a 4.5 qt and 5.5 round oven, I'll pay $240 for both. I don't recall the price of each, but they're having a special sale: an extra 35% off any purchase over $300.

                                                                                                                A first-quality 5.5 qt. oven sells for $235; a 4.5 qt., $210.

                                                                                                                1. re: Jay F
                                                                                                                  m
                                                                                                                  Mother of four Oct 13, 2010 01:58 PM

                                                                                                                  Wow, go for it...a super price!

                                                                                                              2. javaandjazz Jan 19, 2008 05:06 AM

                                                                                                                Does the enameling make it easier for cooking or cleaning or does an uncoated surface work just as well.

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: javaandjazz
                                                                                                                  h
                                                                                                                  Hungry Celeste Jan 25, 2008 03:13 AM

                                                                                                                  The enameling makes cleaning WAY easier, & it eliminates the need for seasoning, drying, re-oiling, etc required for uncoated cast iron.

                                                                                                                2. g
                                                                                                                  GUNTHERBADOU Jan 18, 2008 01:04 PM

                                                                                                                  I just had to return an LC (my fault) the lid was warped and I didn't notice it when I bought it. My wife spotted it when I got it home. I guess I was too excited at the price when I picked it up. $170 for a 7 1/4 Qt. Now I'm on the hunt for another. Anyone have an idea for this in the Montreal area? Or even another comparable Dutch Oven,enamel on cast iron (same size)

                                                                                                                  1. n
                                                                                                                    niki rothman Jul 11, 2007 11:18 AM

                                                                                                                    Avoid the Staub. Am I the only person who sees trouble with the sharp, almost 90 degree angle, at the corner where the side meets the bottom? Food is going to stick in there and burn - just to difficult to stir into that tight space - bad, bad design.

                                                                                                                    I love LC - the only issue when choosing your pot or pan is knowing it's much better to buy a bigger one than you think you need, rather than find out when it's too late that you wish you had bought a larger one. Leftovers rule! Freeze 'em for those nights you don't feel like cooking.

                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: niki rothman
                                                                                                                      gulfcoastgal Jan 19, 2010 10:39 AM

                                                                                                                      Have 3 Staubs and 2 are used daily sometimes twice a day The interior is amazing and does not stick Clean up is a dream and is often much much easier than cleaning my LC
                                                                                                                      The 2.5 qts go from stove to oven to table to icebox and are in constant use Usually they do not even have to be soaked - just a nylon scrubbie( tawashi) from ETSY does the trick on either the LC or Staub The interior of the Staub is enamel but somehow is very different than my LC

                                                                                                                      1. re: gulfcoastgal
                                                                                                                        beauxgoris Feb 15, 2010 01:16 PM

                                                                                                                        gulfcoastgal- I agree 100 percent. I have both LC and Staub, but the interior of my Staubs are much different from the LC. The interior of my Staub keeps getting better and better - my LC, not so much.....

                                                                                                                    2. andytee Feb 21, 2007 04:30 PM

                                                                                                                      I've only used Le Creuset, so I can't speak on the other brands. I have three pieces, and didn't pay full price for any of them. They are hard to find used, but if you can, buy them, regardless of the condition. They do show up very cheap occasionally - or, like they guy in this thread who hated the weight, even get given away.

                                                                                                                      The ones I have, I absolutely love. I wouldn't use them for every dish, but for certain types of cooking they are all that will do. Again, however, this applies to them more generally as enameled cast iron than as a brand.

                                                                                                                      The one thing I can really say about your concerns is that the Le Creuset warranty is an incredible deal, and almost justifies the cost of buying new. On the large dutch oven I bought used, the bakelite knob on the lid had a crack. I made one phone call and got a replacement in the mail a week later, no questions asked. On the smaller saucepan (also bought used) some chips in the enamel that were there when I bought it worsened over time. I called to see if they would cover repair or replacement under warranty and they had me mail it in. A few weeks later a new one arrived in the mail. They are great pots, and should last a lifetime without ever being replaced. With the great warranty coverage, you can rest assured you are buying a heirloom, something your children and perhaps their children will be able to use. And with Le Creuset's history as a company, you can be fairly sure they will still be around to address warranty issues with your grandchildren.

                                                                                                                      1. r
                                                                                                                        Ronin Feb 19, 2007 03:25 PM

                                                                                                                        Is enameled (cast iron) cookware worth the trouble compared to simple cast iron cookware?

                                                                                                                        Aside from being grotesquely overpriced for something that is very simple and not that expensive to manufacture, I have seen warnings (in the product literature) about not cooking a roux or other things with hot oil because of possible damage to the porcelain finish.

                                                                                                                        Is there really that much/any real difference in cooking with porcelain cookware versus a simple cast iron dutch oven such as this? http://www.carolinarustica.com/cart/c...

                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: Ronin
                                                                                                                          HaagenDazs Feb 19, 2007 03:45 PM

                                                                                                                          IMO, there is a significant difference, yes. You don't have to spend $400 and get a huge Le Creuset. I recently bought a 3 piece Staub set with a 5 quart oven, 9 inch roaster and a grill pan for $105 on Amazon.com. It was a special deal, but it goes to show that if you shop smart, they are very affordable. Enameled iron has (obviously) an enameled coating that protects it from whatever ingredients may penetrate or react with an otherwise uncoated cast iron piece. If nothing else, they don't rust. You can fry in them, bake, roast, braise in them - everything - and add vinegar, tomatoes and other acidic ingredients without worry.

                                                                                                                          Is there a "luxury factor" to imported, French enameled cast iron? Absolutely, but I think the advantages are worth the slightly increased cost.

                                                                                                                          1. re: HaagenDazs
                                                                                                                            c
                                                                                                                            claire de lune Jul 11, 2007 11:00 AM

                                                                                                                            Hi HaagenDazs, (fron claire de lune Portland Oregon)

                                                                                                                            I sent a post about Staub grilling pans and you may have the answer. I'm thinking about getting either their square or rectangular grill pans (with removable handles) from.I hadn't been able to find any user reviews so far. Have you used any of these particular pans. I don't want to use the Lodge regular cast iron anymore. Too much maintenance. Do the Staub grill pans sear/char well? I'd appreciate your feedback. Thanks!

                                                                                                                          2. re: Ronin
                                                                                                                            h
                                                                                                                            Hungry Celeste Jan 25, 2008 03:11 AM

                                                                                                                            Hot oil will definitely NOT damage the enamel finish (it's baked on at a way higher temp than edible oils will ever reach in a home kitchen). The diff between enameled & uncoated cast iron is the whole seasoning-upkeep-cleaning regimen you must employ for uncoated cast iron. I have a couple of "regular" cast iron skillets, and each must be tended after every use. My LC gets a quick scrub & put away (or often washed in the dishwasher--don't try that with plain cast iron.

                                                                                                                          3. IndyGirl Jan 4, 2007 12:46 AM

                                                                                                                            Has anyone else seen the line "Well-Equipped Kitchen"? I seem to find it all over the place at TJMaxx stores in different parts of the country. It's a line of enameled cast-iron cookware, and it comes in lots of different colors and shapes. They also have other cookware, like SS and nonstick pans/stockpots, but I haven't tried those either.

                                                                                                                            Anyone seen these or tried them? the price is much better than LC, so I was just curious.

                                                                                                                            1. NYchowcook Dec 16, 2006 12:06 AM

                                                                                                                              I picked up a great enamel baking dish by Cuisinart at Marshall's for less than 20 bucks. Works great and is a beauty.

                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: NYchowcook
                                                                                                                                j
                                                                                                                                jackie57 Sep 18, 2011 07:16 PM

                                                                                                                                i too have a Cuisinart enameled cast iron dutch oven and like it a lot.
                                                                                                                                also have a Berndes, which is not popular, but i have been happy with it.
                                                                                                                                got both at Target.

                                                                                                                                1. re: jackie57
                                                                                                                                  m
                                                                                                                                  Mother of four Oct 12, 2011 12:27 PM

                                                                                                                                  I have never seen the Berndes cast iron, but I have a number of their non stick pots and pans and love them. Most were bought at TJM.

                                                                                                                              2. w
                                                                                                                                Wooderson Dec 13, 2006 11:25 PM

                                                                                                                                For what it's worth Cook's Illustrated (America's Test Kitchen publication) just did an article on Dutch Ovens. The recommended models were:

                                                                                                                                All Clad Stainless 8 qt. $258
                                                                                                                                Le Creuset 7.25 qt. $230
                                                                                                                                Chefmate for Target 5 qt. $40 (earned best buy rating)
                                                                                                                                Mario Batali by Copco 6 qt. $100

                                                                                                                                The two at the bottom of the list were Emerilware and Innova.

                                                                                                                                The ratings were based on performance while cooking french fries, rice, and beef stew.

                                                                                                                                I use a Lodge cast iron that is heavily seasoned and am quite happy but certainly wouldn't mind test driving a Le Creuset.

                                                                                                                                1. c
                                                                                                                                  ctl98 Dec 8, 2006 07:42 PM

                                                                                                                                  I just bought one here in Canada under the brand Le Cuistot. It's a Montreal based company and I got my 5.5 quart one for $50 CAD. I've used it almost daily and I'm very happy. Plus everything is cast iron (the handle, the knob) so I have no fear of putting it in a very hot oven (i.e for the no knead bread). All in all, I am VERY happy!

                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: ctl98
                                                                                                                                    butland Dec 13, 2006 10:19 PM

                                                                                                                                    Where is is this line available? Which stores/chains? Online?

                                                                                                                                    Thanks.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: butland
                                                                                                                                      c
                                                                                                                                      ctl98 Dec 13, 2006 11:15 PM

                                                                                                                                      I bought mine in Homesense.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: ctl98
                                                                                                                                        butland Dec 15, 2006 01:35 PM

                                                                                                                                        Thanks. I googled up their website and it appears to be defunct.

                                                                                                                                        I asked for one for Xmas (and there's a heavy package under the tree) but I'll have a look afterwards if my guess turns out wrong. :)

                                                                                                                                        Thanks again.

                                                                                                                                  2. Father Kitchen Dec 8, 2006 02:14 PM

                                                                                                                                    The Innova pot has an enameled cast iron knob on it.

                                                                                                                                    1. k
                                                                                                                                      krushdnasty Dec 8, 2006 02:53 AM

                                                                                                                                      I have the 6.75 qt flame enameled oval oven from Le Cruset. I bought it about a year ago, and have used it for every thing from making mother sauces like bechamel to duck leg confit to Stews to braised lamb shanks and more. I even use to cook up large batches of roux because there are no hotspots. I can't compare it to other enameled products, cause this is the only one I have. I found it online for a good deal and have been very happy!.

                                                                                                                                      Having said all that, I am very interested in some lower cost options as well and am gonna check out Batali. God I hope Batali products aren't just all hype. That would be soooo disappointing!

                                                                                                                                      1. m
                                                                                                                                        ML8000 Dec 7, 2006 10:04 PM

                                                                                                                                        Any one look at the Ikea models? They're small (3 & 5qt) and but they're cheap. When something is off-sized it might be made by a big manuf with the stipulation of the weird size.

                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: ML8000
                                                                                                                                          tachis Feb 22, 2007 02:31 PM

                                                                                                                                          I bought the 5qt at Ikea this past weekend. No complaints here. Zuni Cafe beef spare ribs in Chimay came out great. I liked that the knob on the lid was metal and that the handles were part of the pot so it was great in the oven. It'll do!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: tachis
                                                                                                                                            Mawrter Feb 24, 2007 04:02 PM

                                                                                                                                            I bought the IKEA enameled cast iron skillet a few weeks ago, mostly for my DH. There is a chip in the enamel already. I have no idea how it got there, and I don't think we've used it a whole ten times yet. It won't affect the performance, and it's still a zillion times cheaper than the others.

                                                                                                                                            Has anyone tried Le Chasseur? I've seen it at overstock dot com but not in person.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Mawrter
                                                                                                                                              a
                                                                                                                                              arangman Jan 25, 2008 02:41 AM

                                                                                                                                              I got it and it looks the same as the LC, and it performs well.

                                                                                                                                        2. m
                                                                                                                                          mr.chorizo Dec 7, 2006 08:55 PM

                                                                                                                                          If you check out the newest (I think) Cook's illustrated mag they actually do a product test for braising/dutch ovens. It was coincidental because I just bought the Batali pot (hasn't arrived yet) but compares LC, the Target model, the Batali and a few others. The LC was graded the best with obvious price reservations, the Batali got a great score and so did the Target model; the latter being significantly cheaper with similar results. Pick up the magazine and take a look when you pass a newstand, it has a blue cover.

                                                                                                                                          1. a
                                                                                                                                            amoncada Dec 7, 2006 08:49 PM

                                                                                                                                            I paid $59.99 for my 6qt Essentials Batali Stock Pot on Amazon.com! I own a 40+ year old 10 quart LeCrueset. The enamel is worn down to the metal so I researched for the best online deal and came up with the Batali Enameled Cookware. It's really cool and jazzy looking and is very good quality. LeCreuset is great but too expensive.

                                                                                                                                            Here's a little secret about the Batali Enameled Cookware; Amazon sells, "used", floor models that are in brand new condition. I think that they're actually brand new but have a barely visible swirl or scratch, etc.

                                                                                                                                            I just used my Batali Enameled Cast Iron Risotto pot last night to make mexican rice...comes out perfect every time.

                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: amoncada
                                                                                                                                              f
                                                                                                                                              flatline Dec 12, 2006 07:22 AM

                                                                                                                                              You might want to see if Le Creuset will replace your old pot.

                                                                                                                                              They have a 99 year warranty and word is they'll often replace pots with worn enamel even when it is a result of normal wear and tear (or abnormal misuse and abuse)

                                                                                                                                              1. re: amoncada
                                                                                                                                                a
                                                                                                                                                arangman Jan 22, 2008 10:40 PM

                                                                                                                                                How do you cook so that rice will not stick?

                                                                                                                                                1. re: arangman
                                                                                                                                                  h
                                                                                                                                                  Hungry Celeste Jan 25, 2008 03:07 AM

                                                                                                                                                  Very very low and slow, no matter what pot you're using (assuming you're cooking rice via the absorbtion method, long-grain, with a rice to water ratio of 1:1.5). Put rice & water into the pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat to the absolute minimum, cook for 20 minutes. Rest for 5, then remove from the pot before it cools. If you allow starchy things to sit around, they're much harded to scrub off of LC.

                                                                                                                                              2. r
                                                                                                                                                rootlesscosmo Dec 7, 2006 08:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                The LC 12-inch skillet is the only item in their product line that I didn't like and eventually traded away (San Francisco is home to a second-hand cookware shop, very useful.) The handle was MUCH too short to get leverage on the very heavy pan, so even lifting it was tricky, and the sauté flipping maneuver was out of the question. But I love the dutch ovens which I see are currently on sale at Broadway Panhandler.

                                                                                                                                                1. a
                                                                                                                                                  allegro805 Dec 7, 2006 07:20 PM

                                                                                                                                                  For the record, I am totally in LOVE with my Le Creuset, and I would collect more if not for the e-x-o-r-b-i-t-a-n-t price.

                                                                                                                                                  1. a
                                                                                                                                                    allegro805 Dec 7, 2006 07:19 PM

                                                                                                                                                    LA Times did a comparison of LC and Staub for braising in 11/2005. The following is from an old Chowhound post:

                                                                                                                                                    "The comparison was in the Los Angeles Times on November 9. Unfortunately, it's now in the archives, where you have to pay to see it. Basically, they said the Le Creuset came out best. The highly touted "nibs" on the bottom of the Staub lid were said to be ineffective."

                                                                                                                                                    1. s
                                                                                                                                                      Sam Harmon Dec 7, 2006 07:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                      I have both LC and Staub. While I give a slight edge to the Staub, they're both exceptional brands. One thing that I have found is that the when baking Lahey bread the smooth, light colored interior of the LC works better. Converseley, for browning and fond developement when braising, I prefer the black, porous interiors on the Staub pieces.

                                                                                                                                                      One area of major difference is that the lid handles on the Staub are either steel or brass which is far superior to the bakelite handles on the LC.

                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Sam Harmon
                                                                                                                                                        j
                                                                                                                                                        jrhsfcm Jan 18, 2008 04:28 PM

                                                                                                                                                        Just as a note of interest, LC now offers replacement nobs in stainless steel.

                                                                                                                                                      2. s
                                                                                                                                                        stonetta Dec 7, 2006 06:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                        Sorry, something happened to my post. Probably my typing. The first part was supposed to read "I found all the comments very interesting. I am trying to find something appropriagte for the no-knead bread recipe that is all over the internet...." and so on.

                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: stonetta
                                                                                                                                                          yayadave Dec 8, 2006 10:03 AM

                                                                                                                                                          For the no-knead bread, un-glased Lodge cast iron works just fine.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: stonetta
                                                                                                                                                            j
                                                                                                                                                            janetxb Jan 20, 2011 12:29 PM

                                                                                                                                                            I've used an old Guardian roaster with the metal lid with great success in making that wonderful no-knead bread. They are no longer made, but available on ebay.

                                                                                                                                                          2. s
                                                                                                                                                            stonetta Dec 7, 2006 06:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                            I found all the commen that is all over the internet. So far I have used my Le Creuset, with aluminum foil wrapped on the lid knob, but I know it is not supposed be used in oven temperatures over 400o. So I was considering Mario Batali's line until I saw it was made in China. I am currently boycotting "made in China" because of the 54,000 and counting dogs brutally slaughtered because of the rabies outbreak. I know, good luck boycotting "made in china" !
                                                                                                                                                            thanks

                                                                                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: stonetta
                                                                                                                                                              Candy Jan 23, 2008 05:30 AM

                                                                                                                                                              Le Creuset sells metal pot lid knobs. I think they are about $8.99

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Candy
                                                                                                                                                                Mawrter Aug 15, 2009 07:20 PM

                                                                                                                                                                Good to know! Thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Candy
                                                                                                                                                                  yayadave Aug 15, 2009 09:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  You can probably go to Lowe's or Home Depot and get a metal or porcelain knob that would fit, too.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: yayadave
                                                                                                                                                                    s
                                                                                                                                                                    sholli Aug 21, 2009 01:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    It's also super easy to unscrew the knob for baking, which is what I do. Just have to make sure not to lose it.

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: stonetta
                                                                                                                                                                  m
                                                                                                                                                                  mlstuart1 Jul 25, 2010 08:20 AM

                                                                                                                                                                  Agreed!

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: stonetta
                                                                                                                                                                    law_doc89 Dec 9, 2012 09:04 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    You can but an oven safe knob for about $12 and replace the one you wrap.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. m
                                                                                                                                                                    mpalmer6c Nov 24, 2006 08:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, Le Creuset is pricey, but think in terms of cost per year. I inherited a much-used LC fry pan that finally gave out at the age of perhaps 35 years when the handle broke off. I was amazed that the interior enamel was still in fine shape.

                                                                                                                                                                    But beware of cast-iron's weight. I have a 12-inch LC frying pan that is manageable, but I bought an LC dutch oven that was so heavy when loaded that I gave it away. Bought a coated an aluminum one that cooks fine.

                                                                                                                                                                    Don't know if you read it, but Marian Burros in the NY Times wrote that she recently tosed her non-stick pans over health concerns and tested several other types to see which worked best with just a light coat of cooking oil. She decided Le Creuset was best.

                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mpalmer6c
                                                                                                                                                                      j
                                                                                                                                                                      Jack_ Nov 25, 2006 08:49 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      yes, she decided Le Creuset was best, but, it was the only cast iron/enaml brand she tested

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mpalmer6c
                                                                                                                                                                        r
                                                                                                                                                                        RGC1982 Jan 25, 2008 05:11 AM

                                                                                                                                                                        You know, I generally agree about the weight and will occasionally decide to use a well-constructed Paderno SS instead of one of my Dutch ovens for something that isn't going to braise for hours, when making soup, for example. But, one big surprise for me over the years is that good copper and stainless steel pots can be just as heavy. I have a couple of Demeyere pots that require quite a bit of muscle to lift for their size, and I can say the same for some of the Mauviel I have. I have even had to remove the lids before lifting just so that they are manageable. I think the key is not to go too crazy getting the really big pots in enameled cast iron. I remember a sale at Tuesday morning where I actually found myself laughing when I had difficulty trying to lift a very large Dutch oven (I think it was 12 qts, or something like that) and placing it into my cart. It was laughable, and I wondered if this size pot was designed for use by body builders only. I couldn't imagine it filled with hot liquid and food. Maybe I'm just not as strong as I used to be...

                                                                                                                                                                      2. f
                                                                                                                                                                        flatline Nov 22, 2006 08:44 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        Is there such a thing as BAD enameled cast iron cookware?

                                                                                                                                                                        I've used both Le Creuset and Staub. The Staub seems to have a little better fit and finish. It shouldn't make too much difference in use other than the Staub seems to loose a little less liquid during cooking. On the other hand I don't like the dark interior on the Staub.

                                                                                                                                                                        Of my 5 enameled cast iron pieces 4 are LC due to a 50% off close out on the traditional blue color a local kitchenware store was having.

                                                                                                                                                                        The Lodge and Batali pans look decent and well-constructed as well.

                                                                                                                                                                        The Le Creuset and Staub are made in France.
                                                                                                                                                                        The Lodge is made in the USA.
                                                                                                                                                                        The Batali is made in China.

                                                                                                                                                                        13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: flatline
                                                                                                                                                                          e
                                                                                                                                                                          EclecticEater Nov 23, 2006 12:56 AM

                                                                                                                                                                          A qualified, "No." Most enameled cookware is heavy and the finish is baked on professionally so it won't crack or peel or be scratched easily. The qualification is the handles; some are wood, some plastic, some metal and some actually part of the pot. I'd always opt for handles that are either metal or part of the pot because one of these days you'll have to put it in the oven for long-term slow cooking, and the heat may be too high for anything else. So Staub, Batali, Lodge, Creuset, Innova, it probably doesn't matter. That's my opinion even though I have Le Creuset that has been used for cooking for over 40 years and is working well, making wonderful braised meats and soups, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: flatline
                                                                                                                                                                            j
                                                                                                                                                                            josh L Dec 11, 2006 07:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            Lodge enameled cast iron cookware is actually made in China.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: josh L
                                                                                                                                                                              f
                                                                                                                                                                              flatline Dec 12, 2006 07:14 AM

                                                                                                                                                                              ... And their web site claims the enameled cast iron cookware is made in France.

                                                                                                                                                                              I suppose I should check the markings on a box next time I'm in a store that sells it.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: flatline
                                                                                                                                                                                j
                                                                                                                                                                                josh L Jan 3, 2007 09:17 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                even his new book is "assembled in china."

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: flatline
                                                                                                                                                                              xnyorkr Feb 21, 2007 05:31 AM

                                                                                                                                                                              I hated my Le Creuset. It was heavy and hard to clean. I gave it away.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: flatline
                                                                                                                                                                                CindyJ Feb 26, 2007 07:52 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                I have several pieces of Le Creuset that I received as a wedding gift over 36 years ago, and they're still as wonderful as the day I received them (signs of use and wear notwithstanding). There's no piece of cookware I'd rather use for braising than my oval French oven, and my 10" fry pan is one of the most versatile pans in my kitchen, even though it has a less-than-desirable wooden handle (I don't think they make them any longer). I love these pieces and I know they'll last forever.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: CindyJ
                                                                                                                                                                                  FrancisdeR Feb 26, 2007 08:34 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm extremely fond of LC as well, but my older braising pots (20-25 years old) are losing their enamel finish. I've been careful to only use wooden spoons when scraping the bottom, but there it is. My questions are (a) is it unsafe to use them (like tin-lined copper where the tin lining wears off), and (b) is re-enameling a viable option?

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: FrancisdeR
                                                                                                                                                                                    andytee Feb 26, 2007 09:12 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                    Chipping or worn enamel presents no danger, what is underneath is a simple cast iron pot, and you can cook in those just fine.

                                                                                                                                                                                    As far as re-enameling, even a 25 year old pot is covered under warranty - contact Le Creuset and I would guess they would either repair or replace them at no charge.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: flatline
                                                                                                                                                                                  TheAzMom Oct 30, 2009 01:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                  I think there is. I bought a Rachel Ray Dutch Oven and I hated it. The knob is plastic and held on with a screw that came lose during every use no matter how much torque I applied to tighten it down. That's annoying but it's not a deal breaker so I kept using it until after about a year of use, the enamel cracked and peeled out of the center of the pot. It's going in the trash now and I'm shopping for a Lodge replacement.

                                                                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: flatline
                                                                                                                                                                                    m
                                                                                                                                                                                    mlstuart1 Jul 25, 2010 08:19 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                    Great info! I certainly will not trust Chinese quality. Thank you again.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mlstuart1
                                                                                                                                                                                      Paulustrious Jul 25, 2010 01:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                      I have three batali pieces. They are chip free after 2 years. The finish is good except for some small 'inclusions'. The sort of thing that would send an LC piece to the seconds rack.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mlstuart1
                                                                                                                                                                                        law_doc89 Dec 9, 2012 09:01 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                        Given how they cheat in manufacturing, I worry about what chemicals might leach out of Chinese coatings.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: flatline
                                                                                                                                                                                        r
                                                                                                                                                                                        rainey Sep 18, 2011 06:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                        I wouldn't buy anything that came from China. Wasn't all the stuff with Paula Deen's name on it that was cracking from China? And can any of us forget that they had manufacturers that were poisoning their own children with melamine in milk?

                                                                                                                                                                                      3. j
                                                                                                                                                                                        Jack_ Nov 22, 2006 08:03 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                        i remember reading that one of these, the Staub I think but could be wrong, promoted itself as having lots of dimples on the inside of the lid that aided in better disbursment of condensation when braising. Anyone know which one and if it is really a deal breaker to have?

                                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Jack_
                                                                                                                                                                                          HaagenDazs Nov 22, 2006 08:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                          Staub is correct, not sure if it actually works or not. I suppose they can't hurt, but I'm not convinced it's the greatest invention ever.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: HaagenDazs
                                                                                                                                                                                            Father Kitchen Nov 22, 2006 08:22 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            Two years ago, while visiting my dad in Tucson, I bought an Innova pot at the recommendation of a sales clerk at Macy's who referred me to a hardware store that carried them. I needed it for braising for the dinner my sister and I were cooking for our dad in his assisted living home. I brought it home to Milwaukee with me and later bought another, also made by Innova, at Kohl's under their label. After my transfer to DC I got another one for us here. I can't compare it to the Le Creuset and have no idea how many coatings of enamel is on it. But the Innova pot certainly met my expectations. And it cost about 60% less than the French import. I think it is a good buy. Innova has a web site in case you want further details.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Jack_
                                                                                                                                                                                            p
                                                                                                                                                                                            ptrefler Dec 13, 2006 10:24 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            Yes it is Staub, I have one, you can get the same effect by putting a piece of aluminum foil between the pot and the lid - just fit the foil so that is minimizes the space between the foil and the food - the condensation hits the foil and falls right back in, works well - you don't need the fancy pot.

                                                                                                                                                                                          3. monkeyrotica Nov 22, 2006 05:47 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            Creuset and Staub were out of my pricerange, so I opted for Batali's 6-quart covered braising pot. Amazon was having a sale on the persimmon color for $70 shipped so I picked one up. Comparable Creuset would be around $230. I've never had a Creuset but I know some folks swear by them. However, I really love the Batali pot: good even heat distribution, no hotspots, good quality control, heavy but not too heavy. Perfect for braising and, unlike the Creuset, it has spikes inside the lid that make it self-basting.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I believe Amazon currently is selling the Coffee-colored one for $64. I highly recommend them.

                                                                                                                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                                                                                                                                              s
                                                                                                                                                                                              slacker Nov 22, 2006 07:41 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks for your post. I was looking at LC at BBB, and calculating the 20% off, but now I might go with the Batali.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: slacker
                                                                                                                                                                                                HaagenDazs Nov 22, 2006 07:45 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                Don't be surprised if LC is one of the brands that BB&B does not allow coupons for. I know they don't allow it for Wusthof, for instance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: HaagenDazs
                                                                                                                                                                                                  s
                                                                                                                                                                                                  slacker Nov 22, 2006 07:54 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Interesting, I didn't know that. All the more reason to go with the Batali.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: HaagenDazs
                                                                                                                                                                                                    s
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sam Harmon Dec 7, 2006 07:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    They just print that about Wusthof, Dyson and such on the coupons because the manufacturers require it. Here in Chicago, they'll honor those coupons for anything in the store. I bought almost all of my Wusthof Classic knives at BB&B with 20% coupons.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: HaagenDazs
                                                                                                                                                                                                      s
                                                                                                                                                                                                      STLcook Nov 5, 2008 08:53 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      for anyone reading this two years later -- BBB coupons don't exclude Le Creuset

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                                                                                                                                                    l
                                                                                                                                                                                                    lmobley Aug 15, 2009 05:07 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    some of staub are on qvc.com but review are not good on the staub cookware, however i have tried the technique on qvc and find very good quality for cooking, have several pieces in the enamel cast iron. really love it

                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. k
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Kelli2006 Nov 22, 2006 05:03 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Lodge just introduced a enameled cast iron product range. It is not as extensive as LC or has has many colors, but the price point is much less than the imported French products.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Kelli2006
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Pei Nov 22, 2006 05:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I did notice that on the Target website, Lodge has two lines of enameled cast iron. 5 qt dutch ovens are $50 in one line and $100 in another. The difference is 2 coats of enamel vs. 4. I don't know anything about the performance of either and would love to know if anyone's tried one. They're not in stores yet, and I don't like buying things on line. Otherwise I might have one by no.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Pei
                                                                                                                                                                                                        toodie jane Feb 6, 2008 11:22 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Saw some Lodge enamled cast iron the other day. Nice looking even coating, good lid fit, but the lid handle was not made for easy gripping with a pot holder.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        The lid handle is a fancy swirl of SS which looks to be about an inch off the lid top, and about 3 1/2" long. I can't but imagine it would be impossible to grip with a mitt, and even a regular pot holder would be too bulky to allow good purchase. Another instance of good looks trumping practicality? I'd like to hear if anyone has one of these. The one I saw was a gorgeous lime green, at $199 fro 7 qt size.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        https://secure.lodgemfg.com/storefron...

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: toodie jane
                                                                                                                                                                                                          ttriche Feb 7, 2008 04:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                          The 2-coat Lodge is $50 from Amazon, has a normal (LC-style) knob, and mine has held up like a tank. For $5-$10 extra you can go to the hardware store and replace the knob with stainless steel -- presto, now it's good to 600 degrees. I'm pretty sure it is the cheapest fully enameled cast iron DO on the market (the Tramontina and Chefmate models have a thin rim of un-enameled iron where the lid meets the body, if I remember correctly, which rusts if it is left unseasoned)

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Pei
                                                                                                                                                                                                          The Drama Queen Mar 29, 2011 10:20 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I dont' think you can go wrong with anything made by Lodge. My cookware is almost all Lodge black cast iron and LeCreuset enameled cast iron and I'm happy with all of it . Nothing cooks like cast iron so I think Lodge would be a good place to start buying some enameled cookware. The prices are cheaper than LC and the quality it right up there. Try going to www.amazon.com and putting Lodge Enameled Cookware in the searchbox to get the reviews from those that have actually used the product.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. re: Kelli2006
                                                                                                                                                                                                          b
                                                                                                                                                                                                          botanical Jan 26, 2010 03:59 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I love Lodge cast iron and have a very large skillet which is fabulous. Lodge is the only brand of cast iron that is made in the USA (as far as my research has found) and it is excellent quality and very reasonably priced. I researched their line of porcelain on cast iron but it is made in China - too bad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I've been looking for a porcelain on cast iron French or Dutch oven for some time. While there are many options out there, they are made in China and I refuse to purchase them. They are junk. Check a few boxes of the Martha Stewart or Rachel Ray line, chips galore.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I have a set of Le Creuset which includes the 6qt Dutch oven but I usually have many pots going at once and needed another. Being frugal, I did not want to shell out >$250 for another LC. Today I found a 6qt Staub Basix at TJ Maxx for $49.99 and can't wait to try some Chow Hound winter braising suggestions!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: botanical
                                                                                                                                                                                                            The Drama Queen Mar 29, 2011 10:24 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                            botanical: I have several pieces of LeCreuset cookware, all of it purchased at their outlet store in Gilroy, California. There are outlets throughout the country so you may be close to one. Their "seconds" are what I purchase and neither the saleperson nor could find the flaws. The pieces are heavily discounted and the "flaws" if you can find them, don't compromise the quality of any of this cookware.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Kelli2006
                                                                                                                                                                                                            t
                                                                                                                                                                                                            tidecreek Mar 7, 2010 03:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I have a Lodge 5qt Dutch Oven I bought a couple years ago at Walmart and I'm not overly happy with it, yes it cooks great and I use it almost daily but it chipped the first week I had it and after two years of use the enamel is almost worn out of the bottom, I'm saving for a LC.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: tidecreek
                                                                                                                                                                                                              toodie jane Sep 24, 2010 11:23 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I got a Lodge dutch oven at Christmas last year, have used it maybe 2 dozen times and the rim is chipping where the lid contacts it. Also a few chips on the side handles. I'm so careful when I handle it. It also stains and I can't get the discoloration out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              My 2nd hand Copco chipped maybe once in 15 years, and Bon Ami kept it very white inside.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: toodie jane
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                ellabee Sep 19, 2011 08:44 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                My experience is the same as tj's, and for that reason I'd encourage anyone looking into cookware for themselves [as opposed to gifts] to scour ebay for used Copco and Descoware -- excellent quality at sharply reduced prices. There's the added benefit of green-ness: re-use has a lot smaller footprint than new production.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ellabee
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  n
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  navanax Aug 25, 2012 07:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This thread may be old, but it's still showing up on google searches so people are still reading.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I second your nomination for Descoware. I've owned mine for 30 years, and my grandparents had it for another 20 before that. Narry a chip or crack. And they are still affordable on Ebay, and come up in estate sales all the time. A fraction of the cost of LC, and the handles are all integrated into the pots n' pans, not resin that can crack and pop off.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Kelli2006
                                                                                                                                                                                                              y
                                                                                                                                                                                                              YvonneJean Dec 27, 2011 09:19 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I am new to this site and am enjoying the wealth of knowledge. Re enameled cast iron, why use it if it chips?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: YvonneJean
                                                                                                                                                                                                                e
                                                                                                                                                                                                                ellabee Jan 7, 2012 09:05 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                The good stuff doesn't chip unless it hits something. Over decades of use, the odds are good that it will bang into something, but even then the damage is usually small and cosmetic (on handles or outer rim, not where food is in the pan).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Cooks use enameled cast iron despite the weight and need for reasonably careful handling because of

                                                                                                                                                                                                                - excellent heat retention that makes for even cooking in the oven
                                                                                                                                                                                                                - beautiful color that makes it attractive for oven-to-table serving
                                                                                                                                                                                                                - smooth, glossy and nonreactive interior that cleans up easily with a soak

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Frequent use over decades results in the interior losing some of its gloss, and sometimes discoloring, but none of its fine cooking qualities. My mother's #32 Le Creuset gratin and my Copco Dutch oven are still going strong after 40 years.

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