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May 13, 2008 12:06 PM

Le Creuset Lid in Oven at 450 degrees??

I bought Elizabeth Yarnell's Miraculous One-Pot Meals and a Le Creuset dutch oven. She sells my model--which has a plastic lid--on her website.

It concerns me that some of her recipes say to stick the dutch oven, covered, into the oven at 450 degrees. Won't this melt the lid? Le Creuset says it's safe up to 350.

I don't want to melt my lid! Has anyone done this?

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  1. Yup. I think I did either 475 or 500, making no-knead bread in my Le Creuset, at least 3 or 4 times with no ill effects. That was before I knew they were only rated for 375 - never read the little booklet - but the knob didn't melt. (I assume that's what you're talking about - the lid itself is made of the same material as the pot, but the knob on the lid is plastic).

    3 Replies
    1. re: Bat Guano

      I've done it at least 30 times to no ill effect when I've made the Bittman No-Knead bread. If one is extra concerned, one can unscrew the knob and replace it with a metal one or another screw with a bolt.

        1. re: maria lorraine

          300x 30 min preheat, 1 hr. bakes at 450 here--so far, so good.

      1. I wonder if you wrap the knob in foil if that would help?

        1 Reply
        1. re: farmersdaughter

          LOL I guess you better be carefull about who you make that suggestion to!

        2. I've used my 6 qt. Le Creuset dutch oven for 10 years and just recently had to replace the knob. No big deal, and it shouldn't hurt it for a long, long time.

          1. I wouldn't do it. Not only may the knob melt, but it can crack later on. My mother used to do this all the time. Replacement knobs are available, but they are a nuisance to obtain. The real issue here is what temperature your oven really is, as some run hotter or colder than the setting actually is. If, as the poster who made no-knead bread says, you are using it at 500 with no ill effects, and since 500 degrees is normally be the equivalent of low broil, I doubt your oven is really that hot. It's probably more like 450-460 before you opened the door. You shouldn't even consider putting an LC in a 500 degree oven, forget worrying about the lid.

            There are brands of enameled cast iron, and in fact some legacy LC, that have metal handles -- sometimes loop handles, and sometimes ornamental. Those are usually okay to about 450 because the handles are not the black phenolic type. If you really want to go higher, invest in a plain cast iron Dutch oven and season it well before using. You can even try a good quality stainless steel Dutch oven if you have one.

            9 Replies
            1. re: RGC1982

              Yep, I can vouch for that. While preheating the oven for the "No Knead Bread" I heard a "pop . . bang" in the oven and found the lid's knob in 2 pieces. Does anyone know where to get a replacement knob?

                1. re: JohnBohlen

                  It isn't necessary at all to preheat the lid because it has no contact with
                  the bread dough -- its only purpose is to keep in the moist heat. Only after you've plopped the dough into the pot, is the room-temp lid used...and then removed 1/2-hour later.

                  1. re: maria lorraine

                    But couldn't the sudden temperature change damage the lid? I think I've heard that cast iron can crack. Also, you'd still have to put that lid into a very hot oven. If anything, I'd think it would be safer with the preheat!

                    1. re: Kagey

                      OK, now we've switched the focus from the knob on the lid cracking to the cast iron itself cracking.

                      The only time I've heard of cast-iron cracking is when cold liquids were added to a very hot pan. This is a huge and rapid temperature change that occurs from direct contact with the cold liquid.

                      It's a far different situation when the temperature change comes from a difference in air temperature. If you put a cast iron pot into a preheated 450 degree F oven, that doesn't cause it to crack. Cast iron can be heated to 1450 degrees F before it cracks, unless it's in contact with a cold liquid.

                      Nevertheless, if the OP is worried about her Creuset knob cracking, it can easily and cheaply be replaced by an inexpensive metal knob.

                      1. re: maria lorraine

                        I hate to drag this out, but am now wondering about the coating on the inside of the Le Creuset pan and whether it is subject to cracking at 450 or 500 degrees. One of the reasons I haven't made the no knead bread is because I wasn't sure whether the lining could take the heat (I was pretty sure the cast iron would be OK). Anybody know?

                        1. re: farmersdaughter

                          I don't believe the enamel on the inside of LC pots is a lot less durable than the enamel on the exterior. And many posters on this thread have said they use their LC pots for no-knead bread without any problems.

                      2. re: Kagey

                        My points above could apply to the knob as well. Either way, you're still exposing it to heat beyond what is recommended. With some people, it's ok. With others, it cracked. I guess it's a judgment call.

                    2. re: JohnBohlen

                      Ah, happened to me as well. I have a set of vintage cast iron pots with phenolic knobs.... I thought they were metal... until one knob exploded in the oven while making Bittman's no-knead. I ended up scrounging in my tool box for nuts and bolts I could fit on the lids instead of the knobs. Awkward but better than sorry. I'm glad I found this thread, while looking for knob replacements. I didn't know you could get metal knobs: I won't have to worry after that.

                  2. I've put mine in the over above 375 and never had a problem. But if you are concerned, you can buy metal replacement knobs that are good at any temperature: