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Does your Le Creuset dutch oven scorch?

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When I try to brown meat in my 8.5q Le Creuset enamel dutch oven on the stovetop, the pot gets totally scorched on the bottom, and I have to turn off the heat and switch to a skillet. I assumed that one should be able to brown meat in the dutch oven prior to tossing it in the oven. Has anyone else had this problem? Could it be my stove (electric, spiral)? Not enough oil (though I don't really want to put in more)? Temperature too high? Or could I actually have a defective LC dutch oven? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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  1. I have not had this problem but I have the smaller dutch oven (marked 26 i think) and use a gas stove. Maybe you have the heat up to high.

    1. My LC Dutch oven is smaller than yours (a 26 like the previous poster's) but I have an electric stove like you, and haven't had this problem. If the pan is too big for the cut of meat, that could be the problem, and of course, if the heat's too high. I usually only need medium high heat to brown a roast or cut up chicken. Sometimes I do have to brown the chicken in batches because I don't have a large pot like yours, but I've not had a problem with scorching.

      You might try contacting LC and asking about it. I've always had very good customer service from them. They replaced a pot that'd lost its interior coating years and years after I bought it, at no cost to me except shipping it to them, about $15 postage.

      1. I've had mine (smaller one) for ages anad that does sometime happen when I'm browning meat and I think I just have the pot on too high heat (gas). But mine always cleans up just fine.

        1. "...the pot gets totally scorched on the bottom..."

          What is your definition of "scorched"? You say the bottom, but are you referring to the interior or exterior? There appears to be some confusion over that claim already.

          Your using an electric stovetop, so I doubt you're scorching the exterior. So, are you saying that the bottom interior of your dutch oven develops dark brown areas of "burnt on" stuff? If yes, then that's a good thing! And no, your LC is not defective.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fond
          .
          .

          1. you dont have to use the heat as high when you are cooking with cast iron. it heats itself very quickly and retains that heat...it wont come down in temperature at all. I used to use this stuff, but then i realized my all-clad (triply cookware in general...if you have a good brand) is just better for this too, it gets just as hot, and develops flavor just as well, but it actually reacts to temperature changes on the stovetop...when things start scorching you can actually bring it down in temp.

            1. I use my enameled cast iron pot to brown meats prior to braising. Mine has developed a nice brown stain on bottom interior. Being a cheap knock off of LC, I have not babied it. The discoloration does not affect performance. I have heard others with LC describe similar discoloration and have heard a little bleach will remove the discoloration. In my case it has helped some but has not eliminated it since there is some crazing of the enameled surface. Again still does not affect performance

              5 Replies
              1. re: scubadoo97

                barkeepers friend takes all that stuff off...faster and more thorough than bleach...works on everything...even shines up copper :)

                1. re: saramcgovern

                  I use BKF on all pots if needed and it's great stuff. Another cleaner for baked on stuff is Dawn Power Dissolver. This is a stain that will not come off. I have heard others use the bleach for this stubborn stain that is not eliminated with other cleansers like BKF

                  1. re: scubadoo97

                    I should add that I really abused mine when making no knead bread. It was never the same, cosmetically, after that.

                    1. re: scubadoo97

                      Same here

                  2. re: saramcgovern

                    Be careful with the BKF as it can and will scuff up the enamel if used too vigorously.
                    Try their cleaner and also the Mr. Clean Magic Erasers take off the crud on the enamel. If you keep polishing them with their cleaner the brown should come off, unless you have physically burned the surface of the enamel and damaged it.

                2. I've noticed that, with my LC gear, I need to use a lower flame for the same application, than i do with any other pot or pan

                  1. Thank you guys so much! I will try browning at a lower temp. As for the scorching, it is in the interior and it gets kind of thick and smoky. A little stuff on the bottom is nice but the amount I had been getting was too much for my taste.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: yehfromthebay

                      Yeh, I think LC says it's not necessary or advisable to use high heat with their pans, and this has been my experience. I almost never have to go beyond medium high with mine, and if so, only for a minute or two to bring a good quantity of liquid to a simmer because I'm in a hurry. In general, I use medium with these pots and skillets, and find it's plenty of heat.

                      1. re: yehfromthebay

                        I don't take my LC past medium heat.

                      2. Hey all
                        Yes my Le Creuset Oven 8.5 from costco also Scorches easily. I just assumed I needed to turn down the temp I have to go below low to simmer, Or it will burn the food.It seems to concentrate only right above the flames not the outer edges of the Pan. Im surprised how diffacult it is to use these pans I have two they both do the exact same thing I have to use simmer to cook.
                        But maybe thats the great heat conduction.
                        thanks everyone. Mike

                        1. Well, except for liquids, LC says to use only low to medium heat, even for searing.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: mpalmer6c

                            i'm new to this old post, but i've used my LC (large & small) on high heat before (gas) & never had a scorching problem. i don't generally keep it on high the whole time, but i thought the idea of good heat conduction means there aren't spots that brown faster than others. that said, generally i braise, which then involves a deglaze of some kind. but scorching? also, whatever brown bits stay on the interior bottom always come right off. i guess if i were pressed i'd say the smaller one leans towards scorch more?

                            1. re: mpalmer6c

                              I always put mine on about 2/3 3/4 to max, and it's fine.

                            2. This posting is 2 years after the original inquiry and I just wanted to sincerely thank you all for the information. It is still relevant. Thanks for the browning lessons, as I have just purchased a new 16 Qt Cajun Classic. Wanted an LC (have an 8 Qt already) but couldn't handle the $450 price tag for the occasional use. Can't knock LC but was afraid to brown meat with authority. Plan to do Lamb Shanks in Port Wine. Pressure cooker OK, but flavor does not seem to get deep into the shank. Again, thank youse guys.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: herb_low

                                I came across this thread late. I see that no one has exactly said my own angle: LC can sear just fine, but you need not only moderate heat but also a long pre-heat, given the slow reaction times of cast iron. If you use high heat to get the pan to searing temp, then you're likely to overshoot optimal heat, like rushing a train into a station. If you give the pan plenty of time to preheat to just the right level, then searing will work and the pan temp will remain stable.

                                All that said, if all you want to do is sear, then LC is not your pan, because it's not as simple or fast as a skillet. But if you want to sear and then braise or some such, then LC or other enameled cast iron is unbeatable, IMO.

                                1. re: Bada Bing

                                  as far as dutch ovens are concerned, but my LC frying pan is amazing for steaks.

                              2. I'm going to assume you're browning the meat and then adding vegetables. Then letting everything slow cook over low heat for extended time. If not you may want to look at using something else. If the above is the case you need to get the pot hot. Due this by heating it over medium high heat. Not high as you'll get a hot spot. Let the pot do the work of even heat distribution. Drop the meat in and lower the heat to medium. The meat will suck the heat out of the pot quickly. Let it brown and don't move the meat until it's ready to turn. Let's say it is a beef shanks that have been steaked. Inch thick will be 2-3 minute first side and 4-5 on the other. Longer on 2nd side due to drop in heat. After that throw in vegetable which will lower the pot temp again. Get the meat off the bottom and move the veggies around to prevent anything on the bottom from burning. Put the meat on top the veggies lower the heat to low or throw in the oven at 275 and check in 20 mins. If it's simmering follow the recipe and or adjust temp to simmer. I had this exact same problem in the beginning. Ruined a few meals but hope this saves a few for you.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: surfereddie

                                  Thanks! I will definitely try your method!