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Hot spot in Le Creuset?

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I think my 10 year old Le Creuset has developed a hot spot, i.e. a place where food is likely to start burning. Is there anything I can do about this?

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  1. I think all cast iron has hot spots, LC is just enameled cast iron.

    3 Replies
    1. re: chuckl

      Ditto -- cast iron is actually a pretty poor distributor of heat. It's mass and its ability to absorb and retain heat usually more than make up for this shortcoming.

      When you are using something like a camp oven (cast iron dutch oven with legs and a flanged lid), the solution is to place the charcoal around the perimeter of the pot -- no coals in the middle. Even with no direct heat, the center gets plenty hot.

      On a gas stovetop, not so easy, since low power setings usually mean a flame only in the middle. The hot spot is really obvious if you are doing a dish like risotto. My guess is that this is what you are running into. Most likely, nothing really wrong with the pot. For dishes that are more susceptible to drying out and burning, either move the pot to the oven, or plan on lots of stirring.

      The only other thing it could be is that your lid doesn't fit snugly and you are losing moisture -- unlikely with LC but possible. Check to see how much, if at all, the lid rocks.

      1. re: MikeB3542

        My new Wide Round 6.75 Le Creuset is creating a hot spot in the center. I tried frying chicken and the center pieces were burning while the outer pieces were not done.

        I was so excited when I first got my Le Cresuet to be so dissapointed. Looks like I'll have to go back to using my solid copper pots. I have yet to find anything as good as my 2.5 mm stainless steel lined solid Falk copper.

        1. re: krbtv

          So far im happy with my le crueset enameled cast iron casserole. Knock on wood. Im wondering could le crueset have gone down in quality? I have an old dru cast iron enameled casserole from like the 40s or 50s, or possibly the thirties, as thats when my grandmother married but the brand hasnt made pots since the 50s. My point is the pot is still working fine. I use it for jams, stews, soups and deep frying, not sure what grandma used it for. I know she had a small electric deep fryer so dont think she used it frying at least not after getting one, but grandma did make soups so much use must have been made out of it. So I wonder if the old ones were made better.

    2. Good point about the lid! I will check. What I was making was orange marmalade, a low slow cooking.

      1. According to my manual, heat the pan gradually and thoughrly for heating food evenly. I just bought a le crueset with wedding gift cards 6 months ago, a cast oron enamel casserole, so far so good. Initially i didnt see the point. Stainless steal cooks so well and does't have a coating you have to baby, which was why I didnt want nonstick pans. And restaurants usually dont seem to use them(probably for the same reason they usually dont use nonstick) then i did notice some small places do (as i saw on restaurant shows)also home cooking is better then restaurant food. And at home you might like making meals like that requi0re simmering like stews that can be eated for days for the convenience of not having to cook each day, unlike restaueant that might make more sophisticated quicker dishes fresh daily (such as seared steak as apposed to stew, and I always think restaurant stew is not that great) making those casseroles less necessary. But they are pricey even the lower end brands are so pricey. Then I loved my cast iron frying pans so much I did research on enamel cast iron. Then my grsndma gave me an old duch brand they dont make that I love, I think drl brand or something, a cheap no name brand when inexpensive brands were still made in europe. So I wanted a bigger one and got le crueset, now seeing all these post about hot spots and uneven cooking I hope mine doesnt do that. I would also try cooking on a simmer as thats what there made for.

        1. Get a copper heat diffuser. I always had problems with my gas and my Le Creuset hot spots, but now I never use the pot without a copper heat diffuser. You can also go to a metal supply vendor and get a thick piece of aluminum, but the edges will need to be sanded down.

          k.

          2 Replies
          1. re: smkit

            I have a 70yr old LeCreuset dutch oven ,cover, skillet and casseroles one or 2 other things. They may have changed standards , not sure, however, one of the dutch ovens developed a hot spot that was a burn out i did 40yrs ago. It is quite possible to burn out a LeCreuset with inattention. It has stuck there with most things i cook it, though i still keep it. I am pushing 70, and I got the pan from my grandmother, so it is one of the old 'good'ones. one large skillet is still pristine looking and no hot spots or anything wrong at all in all this time,same with a few other pieces.
            I think smkit has a good idea. I use the same technique with many pots/pans on gas, the only way to go. Good suggestion about getting a piece fabricated, or cut from raw stock. If you have any local metal working places a few phone calls can get you on the track. aluminum can take pretty high heat, too before melting (1,221°F)give or take a degree.

            1. re: smkit

              Yep, I have 3 copper heat diffusers. I mainly use them with larger diameter pans, but they also are incredible for the lowest heat applications ( for example stock) and also for using very small pans on gas stoves. It's nice to be able to use those very small pans safely, no concern over flames going up the sides. I feel like I have my wood stove back again.