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Feb 2, 2011 07:18 AM

Le Creuset Dutch Oven limitations

I am looking into buying an enameled cast iron Dutch Oven. I see Le Creuset is a popular choice. I also noticed that it can only be used in an oven up to 375F (due to the knob). This seems to be limiting? The Cuisinart enameled cast iron version allows the heat to be as high as broil. Any input?

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  1. replace the knob or put alum foil over it...I've used it at 450F with foil over the knob

    4 Replies
    1. re: dlew308

      Paying more for Le Creuset Dutch Ovens over other brands, it seems like Le Creuset would put the proper knob on?

      1. re: boobmoose

        Some people would argue that the knob is a "feature," since for typical stovetop use the knob easily stays cool enough to lift the lid with your bare hands.

        I'm a LC newbie, so I'm not sure where I fall in the debate. I have made no knead bread several times, and just to be safe I've removed the handle before heating the oven to either 450 or 500 degrees.

        I may end up getting the replacement handle at some point, but so far I've managed fine without it, and... I've been happy when cooking something on the stove to not have to worrk about grabbing the handle and burning myself.

        Any feedback from someone with the stainless knob - does it get hot on the stovetop?

        1. re: KaBudokan

          It can, it depends on how long the pot is on the stove, how hot the burner is and what's inside the pot. It certianly has the potential to get hotter than the plastic knob as plastics are poor thermal conductors. I've boiled water in a ECI pot and could still grab the handles on the side.

        2. re: boobmoose

          For me, the black knob that comes on it is proper. I like that it doesn't get hot when I am cooking on the stove, and I like the looks of the black knob better than the stainless steel.

          For me, I can't think of anything that I would cook in it with a lid, that would require heat in excess of 375. If I bake bread, I don't usually use a lid and I prefer to use my cast iron loaf pans.

          But should I find a recipie that would require baking over 375 and I needed the lid, I would either replace the knob or use one of my stainless steel stockpot lids.

      2. I've never broiled with it, but I replaced my knob with the stainless steel knob. It works perfectly! And for long braises, I always put a piece of foil on top, then the lid. It seems to keep it sealed better, and it makes cleaning the lid much easier too.

        1. LC sells a metal replacement knob for $10, that takes care of that issue, it's then good to about 500. Another French brand, Staub, comes with a metal knob and is also good to about 500 degrees. I work in plastics and have for decades, the phenolic plastic used by LC and many pot and pan manufacturers don't like going into a preheated oven above 350 to 375 degrees and hotter is a more severe problem. The cookware manufacturers association has standards for performance that require a specific level of performance.

          1. I have a Cuisinart 5 qt., and it is a quality piece. The metal knob works fine at all temps. I've done the no-knead bread, preheating it to 500 degrees, as well as braises, soups etc. It has performed flawlessly.