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Feb 15, 2010 11:06 AM

Le Creuset 3.5 qt oval

williams sonoma is running the LC 3.5 qt oval for $130. Good price? useful size? curious minds want to know.

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  1. I think it's a pretty good price for a first quality piece. You may laugh, but I keep a spreadsheet of the outlet prices. My sheet shows $160 for that size at the outlet, for a second quality, but sometimes the outlet has 25% to 35% off sales. $130 is about 20% off the outlet price. And remember, WS is selling first quality!

    As far as size goes, that size is good for about 3-4 people in terms of stews, and I would think a whole chicken would fit nicely into the 3.5 quart oval for roasting. I only have round ovens, so I can't say for sure.

    14 Replies
    1. re: rovergal

      If this helps, I paid $99 for a 3.5qt round - second.

      1. re: rovergal

        I also think it is relatively a good price considering it is first quality. If you already own another larger DO, it can be a good complement. (By the way, rovergal, good job with your spread sheet. You might be helping me when I buy another LC:))

        This is a WIDE oval shape with the hight of 3.5". It sounds a bit low to me for typical DO recipes, braising long time in the oven. Also, certain type of meat might not fit, such as Pork shoulder. It might not be a issue just to use it for shorter braising recipes using flatter meat, chickens and pork ribs etc, typically only on stove top. You can use it as a small roasting pan as rovelgal mentioned. I think it also functions as a large deep casserole vessel.

        However, I might choose a 3.5 qt buffet casserole in stead of this 3.5 qt WIDE oval as it has larger surface and ideal for shorter braising. Better casserole, as it is a casserole. It can be used as a roasting pan as well as the 3.5 Wide oval. Again, the choice depends on the buyer's needs. I really love this 3.5 qt buffet casserole. It is most often used LC in my kitchen. (There is another past post for 3.5 qt buffet casserole, so I do not want to go into this topic deeply.) With the same $130, you might choose to get the buffet/casserole at LC outlet. Rovergal can tell if it is enough :)

        OK, my biggest current question is whether you can use this 3.5 qt WIDE oval for no-knead bread. If it is so, it can be a plus for WIDE oval. I have baked only a couple of times with my 3.5 qt ROUND (0.5 inch higher than WIDE), and I am not so sure if the height of this wide oval is enough. The bread can be rather flatter.

        I hope someone here in this board can answer this question. (or Williams-Sonoma?)

        1. re: hobbybaker

          Where can I find a recipe for the no-knead bread that you mention? I just picked up a LC 3.5 qt wide round oven, but it sounds like that will be too short for the bread? Maybe my 4.5 qt round oven is better? I'll be looking forward to that answer as well.

          1. re: rovergal

            Hi, rovergal - I pasted the original and newer recipes at NY Times. Before starting to bake, I recommend you to read the related posts in "Home Cooking" in this board. There are many questions, responses, and comments, including the size of pots. I feel 4.5 qt is better than 3.5 WIDE but I am not 100% sure because I only used my 3.5 Round. Some people said in the past posts, they used a 4.5 qt round and suspected if it is a reason that their bread was flatter. But it is not so easy to find one clear answer, I guess, because baking involves a lot of factors. The same recipe can result in different results such as in Summer and Winter, or from one Oven to another Oven. Anyway, I am sure you will enjoy baking. The non-knead bread is one of the reasons why people buy DOs.

            Oh, DON'T FORGET to wrap your black knob of LC with foil to protect because baking temparature is going to be very high. It is important not to damage the black knob!!!! I have the stainless knob and always switching to it whenever I bake.

            I am looking forward to hearing on your bread(s).

            Original at NY Times :
            Newer one at NY Times:

          2. re: hobbybaker

            We bake the no knead bread in our 3.5 qt oval and it works out great. I've even tried shaping it into more of a 'loaf' in the oval plan, but that shape hasn't quite worked out to my liking yet.

            We actually use the recipe from America's Test Kitchen:

            The ATC recipe gets a little bit of 'zing' from the beer. My father in law uses the NYT recipe with great success also.

            As another poster mentioned, you'll want to be sure to replace/cover the knob - although until we did, I just removed the knob and wrapped the lid in tin foil to keep the moisture from escaping through the remaining hole, an easy solution for a girl hungry for some fresh baked bread!

            1. re: MesaChow

              HI, Mesa - Thank you for sharing your experience in baking in the 3,5 WIDE oval. It is good to know that it can be used for the NKB. How do you feel for other cookings, such as braising of roasts. Do you have any occasions when you feel the side is too short? It does not matter when you cook stews and soups but I am interested in how good it is in cooking/braising relatively tall roasts. To me 3.5 inch sounds generally a bit short.

              I already have four LCs and my needs are always satisfied with one of them, whatever I want to cook. However, I do not own any WIDE DO and am interested in adding one of them. I think it will be 6.75 qt Wide round. It sounds like excellent piece. But this Wide oval is also very tempting. I like its oval shape and the price is also not bad. DANGEROUS!!!! I know it is how people are collecting LCs. It is addictive. My DH has already been giving me a suspicious look because my shelf space for cookware is so tight. I feel I need another shelf to decorate my LCs but is it a very DANGEROUS idea.

              1. re: hobbybaker

                Hobbybaker - I know the feeling! To be truthful, I've only used mine for the bread (mostly the bread) and a couple of stews (i.e., beef stew). I have other cookware more suitable to larger pieces of meat - which we don't cook that often.

                The main reason I have it is due to a great price at the Outlet store - I can't seem to go in there without coming out with something new!

                1. re: MesaChow

                  Mesa - yap. I use my 6.75 OVAL for big jobs. By the way, I almost bought a tagine $99 despite its limited usage, but somehow managed not to do so. It was very tough to resist, though. They look so cool with black and kiwi green, but I know I can cook tagine with my buffet/casserole. I keep telling myself to maintain $ and space for my future 6.75 Wide. That way, I can beat down my temptaion:) I already know which color I will pick - either Dijon or White. Hopefully, end of June when they usually have 35% off for everything for the customers on the mailing list as I usually do not buy any seconds.

                  1. re: hobbybaker

                    I, too, have successfully resisted the tagine, but they DO look so cool!

                    I have 4 Le Creuset items I've purchsed as 'seconds' at the outlet with absolutely no problem with the quality. That being said, I would go for a first quality item if the price was right, particularly if the item was in a color I really wanted.

                    1. re: MesaChow

                      Ya. And you know what? Last week I noticed that someone posted the same tagine at craigslist to sell just for $60! But, again, I told my self about my future Wide DO and resisted:) By the way, I don't remember that I have ever seen white LCs (with the stainless knob) at outlet. I sometimes check Ebay (even though I never bought there), the prices for whites are almost always higher.

          3. re: rovergal

            That would be too small for me.

            I use the 5.5 and the 7.

            1. re: rovergal

              It should be more than that for stew ... I can do stew for at least 4 in my 2.75 qt oval.

              1. re: foiegras

                Wow.. when I make beef stew, it's full to the brim on my 5.5qt round.. on the positive side, there are always leftovers for another night!

              2. re: rovergal

                OMGosh rovergal, I think you & I may be twins, creating a spreadsheet of the prices is so something I would do!! We just started collecting LC a couple weeks ago, we already have 6 pieces with 2 more in the works, I'm not a real patient person when building my collections, I tend to get obsessive when I first start collecting things. At least I'm not in denial - right?! On our second trip to the outlet I took some pictures of certain items & the price tags so I would have a reference, but you've got me wondering how extensive your spreadsheet is! Would you be willing to share your spreadsheet with me via email or even just the prices would be great. I'm not sure if the prices vary by region, I'm in Minnesota, I wouldn't imagine they'd be too different though, if at all.

              3. While that is a good price, I would skip it unless you plan to mostly use it in the oven rather than on top of the stove.

                You can of course use it as a regular stew, etc. pot, but it's an awkward shape. Things are more prone to spilling out when you stir, it stays noticeably hotter toward the center than at the ends, and it's a pain in the butt to pour things out of - stew into a serving or storage dish, for example.

                Personally, I avoid using LC Dutch oven for dry-roasting anything - the high sides would trap too much moisture around the meat, imo, even without the lid.

                6 Replies
                1. re: MikeG

                  Hi, Mike,
                  - Do you pour things directly out of LC DO? I barely do with any LC DO, even with my round, as LC DOs are too heavy for me to lift to direct pour. Also, the rim is not rolled/curved - poor for direct pouring, anyway. I mostly use a spoon or a lardle. I agree possible less effectiveness of even heating compared to round shape DO, but it depens on the stove top.
                  - I personally think the side of this Wide oval, 3.5 inch, is not too high for roasting. I put vegis under a roast/whole chicken anyway and, needless to say, no lid on it.
                  - In terms of shape, I like to have a variety of shapes. There are a lot of choices for round shaped pot from All-Clad, or any other SS pots, which can be used in the oven. However, I guess there are not many OVAL SS pots ( I have never seen. ) and LC has a good variety of OVALs and it is good for in the oven use. That's why I personally like the idea getting ovals from LC. It is my personal preference.

                  I guess it depends on what elese cookware/DO you have and for what you use this pot. Depending on it, it can be a good tool as a "supplement".

                  1. re: hobbybaker

                    I guess it depends on what elese cookware/DO you have and for what you use this pot. Depending on it, it can be a good tool as a "supplement".

                    Yes, I agree with that completely. I happen to have both the oval and round 3.5 qt pots. I'm not giving the oval pot away, but I use it much less frequently than the round.

                    You raise a good point about the type of stove - if you have induction or one of those glass-top jobs, uneven heating might not be an issue. Since I've only used gas and coil-electric, I can't speak to that.

                    1. re: MikeG

                      I agree with the versatility of 3.5 round. My friends sometimes ask me which LC she should buy as her ONLY one LC. I answered to her, "It is impossible to have only ONE LC which does best job for every purpose". "Once you buy one, you will end up buying another." I have my favorite but it is my favorite as other LC and All-Clad pieces do their jobs beautifully. However, I recently read in this borad that WIDE round 6.75 is very useful and if ANY one LC to pick, it should be the one. That is why I am eager to buy the piece and know if feel the same way. (Then, I can sell all my other LCs at Ebay and get some part of my investment back:)) But, again, personally, there is no such piece, which does all the jobs best. Otherwise, LC does not make so many versions. And it is for me enjoyable to think what I can do with which LC, and which cute LC can help me do the best job for our dinner tonight. Yes, I am officially a LC addict and it is so much fun:)

                      1. re: hobbybaker

                        My very first piece of LC was a 4.5 quart Dutch oven that I got at the outlet for only $100 (it was a monthly special). Because it's what I started with, I find myself going back to it again and again. I'm always afraid the 3.5 will be too small, or the 5.5 too big, so I stick with my 4.5. But, they can't always be found - I tried to get my friend one at the outlet this past weekend, and they didn't have any.

                        I do have a 6.75 wide, which I've not used yet, but am looking forward to using.

                        And yes, I'm in danger of becoming a "collector" as well!

                        1. re: rovergal

                          Hi, Yes 4.5qt round is now a hard to find piece. It was overshadowed by 3.5 qt round for some reason. The size had limited color choices compared to 3.5 qt round and was often priced lower than 3.5 qt for sale. That is why they are almost sold out now. I heard at LC outlet that the lid of 4.5 qt round fits one of their skillets and this is a beauty to have 4.5 qt round and the skillet together. I do not remember which size of skillet it is.

                          For your 6.75 wide round, the book, "All About Braising" by Molly Stevens, is a good book to start, which you might be already awared of but I tell it to you anyway. Full of good recipes. Cookbook of the month several times of "Home Cooking" of this board. You might find it at your local library, too as this is widely supported and award-winning cookbook. It changed my way to cook. I strongly recommend it.

                          Friedly regards to my fellow LC collector! Yes, I am ending up having four but I have been always looking for my ultimate one. Let's see if 6.75 wide is it! Look forward to hearning your feedback on 6.75 WIDE.


                  2. re: MikeG

                    I use my smaller oval almost exclusively on the stove top (electric ... it came with the house). I have never noticed the heat not being evenly distributed, but I agree about pouring. The best way to pour is from either end--directly over one of the handles. Not a problem if you're about to toss it in the dishwasher, I guess ... Spilling hasn't been a problem for me.

                  3. Bloomies just had the 4.5 qt. oval oven on sale for $139.99. That's a better deal than the 3.5 low oval for $129.99 and a more useful piece. They run it from time to time so keep watching.