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Why do people use Le Creuset? (split from Ontario board)

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  • Helen Nov 21, 2010 12:15 PM
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Saw them at the new Homesense on Eglinton. I can't imagine why anyone would use them they are so very heavy.

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  1. That's exactly why people use them.

    1 Reply
    1. re: detritus

      Maybe it's because I'm old and have arthritis in my hands :):):)

    2. They are amazing and versatile. I find food generally turns out better in them. One of my top 5 favourite things in my kitchen.

      WON
      http://whatsonmyplate.net

      13 Replies
      1. re: wontonfm

        Thanks. I am a novice.

        Can you please give me an example of food you have baked in Le Creuset ceramic dishes that have turned out better than in Corning Ware or Pyrex dishes please.

        1. re: LidaK

          I am sure I will be corrected here, but here is my understanding...

          They way that I have always seen Le Creuset used was as the original slow cooker. But it is more versatile in that you can actually cook some of your preliminary on the stove top (e.g. sauteed onions & garlic) in the Creuset, and then place the principles in afterward (e.g. Blade roast with stock & wine) and then put the whole thing in the oven to cook for a few hours or the whole day.

          In essence, anything that requires time to cook, the Creuset are perfect as they are both versatile and durable.

          But I am sure that others have different uses for them.

          1. re: Lazar

            They're a necessity for any good braised dish simply because they deliver the moist even heat that's crucial to breaking down tough meat cuts to fork tenderness.Nothing works quite as well as enameled cast iron--whatever the brand. I use mine in the oven alone. Did some Batali-style beef cheeks--a cut most mako sharks would find challenging--yesterday that were very nice after about 4-5 hrs. My kind of slow food.

            1. re: Kagemusha

              totally disagree with "necessity" K

              jfood has made many many many braises, stews and other items in his non-LC cookware. a great recipe with great ingredients can handle less than perfect utensils.

              1. re: jfood

                Hey, j! I was using Lodge CI years before I could afford or had LC. I agree with you.

                1. re: c oliver

                  I have a pot from the 1940's cast aliminum with the lots of dimples that Mrs Jfood has made more batches of her irresistable red sauce for our 30 years of marriage. Whatever works...works.

                  Happy T-Day

                  1. re: jfood

                    We're eating our way through DC. Doing an exchange with someone who clearly doesn't cook.

                    I have some of that aluminum of my mother's also.

          2. re: LidaK

            If you are only referring to the ceramic dishes, then I don't really find a lot of differences from other baking dishes. But, the LC dutch ovens are fantastic. Yes, they are very heavy. I mostly use them on the stove top and it does maintain very even heat over a long period of time, over low heat.

            1. re: cecilia

              It may maintain even heat as in constant temperature well but it doesn't heat evenly. As discussed elsewhere cast iron does not conduct heat well. Here's a test done on cast iron skillets (yes I know we are talking about enameled cast iron but the result is similar).

              http://www.cookingissues.com/2010/02/...

              1. re: pabboy

                A bit misleading. Make that very misleading since we're talking about OVENS not burners. I wonder why cast iron was used for auto engine blocks and cylinder heads for ages?

                1. re: Kagemusha

                  I was responding to cecilia who stated she uses them on stove top.

                  1. re: Kagemusha

                    No, pabboy is correct to say that cast iron is not the best heat conductor, as its thermal conductivity is worse than other materials like copper or aluminum. Cast iron cookware can maintain a good heat eveniness if we are talking about temporal eveniness, but not in term of spatial eveniness.

                    As for your rhetorical question, cast iron is used for its durability in engine blocks and cylinder heads not for thermal conductivity, through aluminum has started to take over in recent years. If we are going to talk about heat exchange in a car, then we should talk about a heat radiator and heat radiators are made out of aluminum. Here or there, it has nothing to do with stovetop cooking regarding to what Cecilia wrote.

              2. re: LidaK

                As others have said, I use my Creuset for braising and in particular I love to braise lamb shanks. I have one of those big braisers (as opposed to a pot) and it's great for searing the lamb on top of the stove, removing and then adding whatever liquids, veggies, beans, etc , replacing the lamb and sticking the whole thing in the oven to simmer away deliciously for a few hours.

                Mind you, this braiser is enameled cast iron, not ceramic.

                I do like and use my slow cooker for convenience and for things like stews but I find the outcome is much tastier using a really heavy braiser or pot with a tight-fitting lid.

                I also have a smaller Creuset pot in which I make great rice pilafs again because of the weight and the tight-fitting lid.

            2. I don't understand either. So expensive.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                There are several less expensive brands you can get that will do the same things described above, maybe not as pretty but that is a matter of taste: Batali, KitchenAid, Ikea 365, PC, Martha Stewart.

                I like the searing and frying I can do in my Crueset but for most of the slow cooking I use the plug-in electric slow cooker. My guess it uses less energy overall than putting the 5L Crueset in the oven for hours.

                1. re: neighborguy

                  I read that the Tramontina and Lodge make competitive and yet cheaper enameled cast iron cookware.

                  http://www.walmart.com/ip/Tramontina-...

                  http://www.amazon.com/Lodge-EC6D43-En...

                  I also heard of most of the ones you mentioned. However, what is "PC"? I have not heard of that one.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    PC is President's Choice, a brand from a Canadian grocery chain that has been doing versions of their own for cookware and food.

                    I use some PC stuff including bakeware, but to be honest, I had a look at the PC dutch oven and it seemed lighter and not as good quality, although admittedly was at a very, very good price. Seemed similar to Ikea's version.

                    1. re: anonymoose

                      It was a well-priced large cast iron pot at the Real Canadian Superstore branded PC. The look was kinda generic tho (cheap) indeed similar to the Ikea line.

                      The Tramontina referred to by Chemicalkinetics looks great, even for a Walmart product.

                      1. re: neighborguy

                        I don't have the Tramontina, but it is picked by Cook's Illustrated and a few other cookware review sites.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          I saw a Tramontina at Tuesday Morning about a month ago. It looked nice. I love that shade of green. It was a size I already have, so I didn't pick it up to look at it, nor did I find out the price. But I can tell you it was very pretty.

              2. To echo previous replies: the heaviness is desirable in this case because it spreads and moderates the heats.

                You could get the same effect only from a bare cast iron dutch oven (which is much cheaper), but then you have a problem of many common ingredients, like tomatoes or eggplant, reacting chemically to the bare iron and creating off tastes. When you put an enamel coating on cast iron, you wipe out that problem and create an incredibly versatile pot.

                That said, I have one smallish (5qt) enameled cast iron dutch oven that is not Le Creuset: it cost much less and it works great (label is KitchenAid).

                1. I've never used anything by Corning Ware, and I only have a 9 x 13" Pyrex baking dish. I'm a little phobic about glass touching anything that could break it, like burners on the stove or the racks in the oven.

                  As for Le Creuset, it's simply that when I started to take an interest in cooking, I had a boss (ad agency, nothing food-related) who had owned a restaurant in a previous life. I liked to eat and he knew how to cook. He recommended I buy a Le Creuset French Oven for making a chicken dish with leeks and wine (a braise, I now know it's called) he was telling me how to make. It was expensive, so I didn't buy one right away, and ended up cooking that chicken and leeks dish in an altogether too small pot that was, I think, Club Aluminum (enameled, turquoise, IIRC). It was my roommate's. The dinner was not a success, cuisinarily speaking.

                  Two years later, it was time to buy kitchen stuff. I'd been wanting the Le Creuset all that time, so I didn't even think about another brand. I bought a 9 or 10-piece set in Flame for $199.

                  It's the thing I've used most over the last thirty years. I don't care much for their saucepans, but I love the French ovens. Braising is a great way to cook, and LC is made for it.

                  Years later, I made the mistake of selling all my LC, because it was too heavy. I bought All Clad with the money I got for my LC. It was lighter in weight, but I missed the Le Creuset.

                  I have an 8-qt. AC stockpot that's basically the same shape and size as LC's 7.25 qt. French oven. When I put the AC stockpot on its refrigerator shelf, its lid needs to go on upside down, as it's a short shelf, and this is hard to do with the LC lid, which is thin, flimsy, nearly weightless. It won't stay in place easily upside down.

                  The LC is made to stack with the lids upside down. I missed that feature. I went back to LC. Now I have both.

                  And there are the colors. Mine are Indigo. Jade. Kiwi/Lemongrass. Nice, nice colors. I'm a person to whom color is important. It may not mean as much to you as it does to me.

                  I hope this helps.

                  EDIT: The chicken and leeks dish comes out very nicely in a Le Creuset oven.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Jay F

                    This thread was split from the Ontario Board when I asked a question about Le Creuset cermic dishes (not the cast iron cookware ).

                    Is there any difference between the Le Creuset ceramic dishes and the cheaper baking dishes made by Corning Ware & Pyrex? Is there is, please give examples of baked dishes that come out better in Le Creuset ceramic dishes please.

                    1. re: LidaK

                      There is no functional difference between any ceramic or glass bakeware aside from differing levels of thermal shock and flame resistance.

                      1. re: rockfish42

                        I find that the LC ceramics/stoneware clean easier than glass. Don't know why, though.

                        1. re: CharlieKilo

                          strongly agreed. I also feel with my apilco/pillivuyt porcelain bakeware easier to clean than glass. In tems of LC stone ware and the french porcelain bakeware, the latter is so much lighter and easier to manuver in the oven but yet very strong. chip resistant. They can be more expensive but you can find good deals at WS outlet and bridgekitchenare.com. I don't own the LC stoneware line so have no comments on the baking performance with it but should be identical to the french porcealines.

                  2. Helen,

                    Previously, I used them for stews where the meat had to be browned first, etc. Stovetop to oven but recently I found a bread recipe where the pot mimicks a coal oven, really! I heat the pot in the stove at 500 degrees for half an hour and drop the dough in! Excellent! People can't get enough of it!