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Heating empty Le Creuset?

dan337 Oct 18, 2007 11:43 AM

I've been reading the threads on no-knead bread here and I'm eager to try it. My only hesitation: I did a google search and found a few people complaining that pre-heating their empty Le Creuset pots in the oven caused discoloration. It looks like many people use Le Creuset for this recipe, though, so I would think it would be mentioned more often if this were common. (If it was discussed here, my search of old threads didn't turn it up.) Still, I love my 5.5 qt pot and am afraid of ruining it. The problems with pre-heating were discussed in comment threads of blog posts that are months old and that the commenters probably aren't checking in on, making it hard to follow up...so, chowhounds who have pre-heated your empty Le Creuset pots in the oven, can you please reassure me that it's ok to do this?

P.S. I do know about the problem with the plastic knobs. I have a stainless steel knob, so that should be fine.

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  1. mimilulu RE: dan337 Oct 18, 2007 01:42 PM

    It's fine. I do it with my brand-new Le Creuset. The only "discoloration" I've noticed is if the pan wasn't 100% sparkling clean before heating. It cleans up perfectly each time.

    I encourage you to use your LeCreuset for the no-knead bread. It'll be fine!

    1 Reply
    1. re: mimilulu
      HaagenDazs RE: mimilulu Oct 18, 2007 03:36 PM

      Mine has some stains on the inside of the pot from the high heat, but nothing on the outside. Preheating certainly won't turn your red pot into a black one, if that's what you're asking. Lots of people really scrub the inside of their pots with cleaning solutions to get them FoodTV sparkley white & clean, but in my opinion that's just a big waste of time. I liken it to cleaning the bottom of your shoes.

    2. c
      Culinarily_Curious RE: dan337 Oct 18, 2007 10:54 PM

      Enamel cookware may discolor in the over or stove if ther are either impurities in the enamel(unlikely), or carbons on the surface(like food and oils). My Cruset products are both old and mostly black. I've tried to clean most of them and have done more harm than good(chips and wear). I inherited my cookware, and the newest must be at least 30 years old and amoung my favorite stuff. They get black. IThat is if you cook!

      1. maria lorraine RE: dan337 Oct 19, 2007 01:24 AM

        Other pans work well also as mentioned in the other Bittman threads. However, the Creuset
        pan is my favorite for this bread -- and I make it a lot. The 5.5 quart pan size is too big however -- try a 3-4 quart size for a prettier, domed bread. Read the other threads for more info and the link to the Bittman follow-up article which talks about the best pan size. Good luck. Creuset is wonderful, and over time and decades the pans will darken, even chip, a bit.

        1. d
          dan337 RE: dan337 Oct 19, 2007 05:44 AM

          Thanks for the replies, everyone. I'm going to go for it this afternoon!

          1. b
            bastet212 RE: dan337 Jan 15, 2009 07:35 AM

            I have a massive Le Creuset- I cant remember how many qts it is..... its just VERY big, maybe 12"+ in diameter (im gonna measure when i go home). Anyways, I know this is "too large" for the no knead bread, but its all ive got. Will it work?

            1 Reply
            1. re: bastet212
              niebeendend RE: bastet212 Jan 15, 2009 11:53 AM

              Yes, it will work. I have 7.25 Qt which is pretty big. Your loaf just might be a bit flatter (not necessarily a bad thing). Another trick which might help is to do the 2nd rise in a saucepan or mixing bowl approximately the diameter you desire. This will give the dough more height and most likely result in a taller loaf.

              Also, RE discoloration:
              The enamel on mine has not discolored, but some brown residue from the browning dough would just not come up with regular soap and water. I ended up springing for the fancy Le Creuset cleaner ($10) and it worked like a charm. It seems to contain bleach and a microabrasive, so other things might work just as well (some have mentioned SoftScrub and Bar Keeper's Friend). But I'm worried about the warranty, so I figure using on LC approved cleaner is a good idea. And for $10, it only took a little bit to clean the pot. So it should last a little while.

            2. j
              jzerocsk RE: dan337 Jan 15, 2009 09:55 AM

              This discoloration boosts your street cred. If your Le Creuset pots don't have some stains in them, all of your guests will think you just bought them for show! :-)

              1. MikeB3542 RE: dan337 Jan 15, 2009 11:10 AM

                You can get a relatively inexpensive pre-seasoned Dutch oven from lodge -- absolutely no issues with heat. The 8DOL, a 5-qt model with loop handles (no wire bail) works well. $30 insurance against trashing your Le Creuset.

                1 Reply
                1. re: MikeB3542
                  niebeendend RE: MikeB3542 Jan 15, 2009 11:54 AM

                  This is true. And Amazon just had a sale on the lodge Dutch oven ($22 instead of $30 if I recall). You can set up price alerts on this site: http://www.dealsfargo.com/price-tracker/

                2. b
                  blondelle RE: dan337 Jan 16, 2009 05:40 AM

                  I wonder how Le Creuset stoneware works for this bread. I saw a lovely, square. domed, lidded casseole yesterday about 7"-8" square. Does the stoneware have any issues with preheating, or discoloration?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: blondelle
                    Candy RE: blondelle Jan 16, 2009 06:09 AM

                    Please don't do that to your LC stoneware. There is a good chance you will break it and that won't be covered under the warranty.

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