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Feb 14, 2011 01:33 PM

First-time Enameled Dutch Oven experience

First-time Enameled Dutch Oven

I purchased an enameled 6 qt Dutch oven new for $60. I want it for braising and no-knead bread.
I'll replace the plastic knob with a metal one to withstand the heat. The lid has three curious little "legs" that sit on top of the oven's rim and I wonder what the purpose is since the oven is supposed to retain heat....

I welcomed the manual saying: "this cookware (without knob) is safe at any oven setting".
(I hope they're right).
The manual also says: "never heat empty pan". That was disappointing to read since for searing I don't put in the oil til hot and then the meat when super hot.
I wonder if that means I have to sear in a different pan I have.

I just broke in this cookware making a simple chicken stir fry. My stovetop settings are from Low to 8 and High. I let the pan heat up slowly on low wondering how I was going to get a fond. All the cooking ended up being done on 2, which amazed me at such a low setting. That low setting amazed me at being sufficient and I was glad I read the instructions.

Well, now I'll know that I don't need to cook in this Dutch oven at the high heat I'm used to in my stainless steel or anodized. And next time I'll develop a better fond.

So far, I'm happy with this Dutch oven and am looking forward to making the no-knead bread.
Sylvan in the desert.

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  1. You want a shallower pan for stir frying. And thinner. I like a wok or a stainless steel frypan.

    Do you have electric? I find it easier to keep two burners going at the same time, one on medium, one on low, and switch the pan back and forth. Turning the heat up and down on one burner is too slow. The electric burner can't respond in time (unless they're making magical burners these days--hey, they might be).

    3 Replies
    1. re: Jay F

      Hi Jay F
      Yes, I'll use my stainless steel shallow pan for stir fries from now on. I just wanted to try out the Dutch oven to see how it cooks. Thanks for the response.

      1. re: Jay F

        A credible CH said she only uses her CI skillet (not DO) for stir frying. Has 'retired' her wok.

        1. re: c oliver

          Good to know. Thanks, c.

          I usually don't stir fry. My favorite thing I make in a skillet is fish, done Meuniere style, so I use SS.

      2. Sylvan,

        Hey I remember you. How is the enameled Dutch Oven going? Did you get the Lodge Color or a Le Creuset? I remember you were eyeing on that one. There is no reason why you cannot at least use the medium heat on most stoves.

        Now, if you remember, I have said that my no knead bread blackened my Dutch Oven, but I also didn't care. However, I think you will care. One remedy against this is to use parchment paper as lining assuming you don't go crazy hot.

        My friend has a Le Creuset Dutch Oven and he said the no knead bread has also put a lot of stress on his cookware as well, more so any other cooking thus far -- my experience agrees.

        11 Replies
        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          Hi ChemicalKinetics!
          Sure, I remember you and what you had to say. I Got the Lodge Color. No way could I afford to destroy a Le Creuset.

          You're right, I would care if the no knead bread blackened my Dutch oven. I read one recipe where, as you state, they used parchment paper. I think they used parchment paper to ease puting in and taking out the bread but if it keeps the oven from discoloring that would be great.
          Actually, I'm thinking of getting an even cheaper, regular cast iron for bread. I think I'd get a smaller pot since this 6 qt enameled one I have is quite large and the bread would be a bit flat..

          I think your experience with regular cast iron resulted in some "fumes". How did that work out with the regular cast iron and fumes? I'd be more willing to sacrifice a less expensive, less attractive plain cast iron to the 450-500 degree heat.

          But as I wrote in my original post above, in the brochure that came with the enameled Dutch oven, it says; "The porcelain coated cast iron cookware (without the knob) is safe at any oven setting". I'm taking that to mean the inside and outside are safe at any temperature. So, hopefully if I use this oven for no knead bread, there won't be any damage.

          By the way, did you try the recipe/instructions I sent you making the no-knead and baking it on a baking sheet instead of a Dutch oven? It worked just fine for me but you have to be happy with ciabatta-style bread.
          Let me know how your experience with regular cast iron went with the bread. I know you had some fumes...
          Happy Spring, Sylvan

          1. re: sylvan

            Hi Sylvan,

            I am glad that the Lodge Color has worked out for you thus far. I have not used the parchment paper method, but I read about it and my friend has tried it, so it should work. I am very sure the reason I got some fumes was due to my seasoning surface, but others have tried it without any trouble, so it could just be my seasoning surface has some lower boiling point substances there. I have not played with my regular cast iron Dutch Oven much. I have been only focusing the enameled one for no knead bread (or now also knead bread). I have not tried your recipe/instructions yet, but I have been playing with different kind of bread recipes now in my Dutch Oven, such as adding olive oil, adding an egg, less water, lowe the temperature ... adding cheese (to make cheese bread).

            Yeah, enameled or not, 6 quart is actually pretty big for the no knead bread recipe (3 cups of flour).

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              You sure are busy in the kitchen. You'd probably be fun on your own show.
              Can you bake a loaf, take it out of what it's been baked in and then bake another loaf right away in the same pot?
              I've found that I can cut the bread into the slices I want and then freeze it; taking out what I need as I like. I can do this because I always toast/bruschetta or use the bread for panini.

            2. re: sylvan

              How about a pizza stone with a clay pot?

              If you don't mind spending a bit more and get something fancier, I'd recommend a cloche baker.

              If you're planning to buy a bare CI oven and use it specifically for bread-baking, might as well get a something that's made for this purpose. Throwing the dough into a high-sided pot is very dangerous IMO.

              1. re: cutipie721

                Hi, Cutipie721
                Pizza stone and clay pot looks very clever. Have you tried it? I looked up this great-looking cloche specifically for baking bread but it doesn't say the size of the loaf.

                1. re: sylvan

                  I have not. I bake my bread with pizza stone and a pan of water.

                  1. re: cutipie721

                    Thanks for the great tip of the "cloche". I'll order one for baking bread. I've been using a baking pan to make ciabatta and that woks fine except it doesn't make the holes I want.
                    thanks again

                2. re: cutipie721

                  Hi, cutipie
                  Yes, someone shared using a cloche or making my own with a clay pot and a pizza stone.
                  I followed your source for a cloche and will be getting one. I'd never heard of them before. I'll get an oblong one.
                  thanks for the info...

                  1. re: cutipie721

                    Curious what the danger is? I thought that was the 'normal' pan/pot for this. No?

                    1. re: c oliver

                      If you're using the DO in the oven, then

                      1) the temperature of the oven is usually much lower, not 450-500F
                      2) people rarely disturb it once inside the oven
                      3) if you do need to stir the pot or to add a couple of ingredients, you have the help of a relatively long wooden spoon.

                      For this NK bread, people are putting their hands a little bit too close to a piece of 450+F metal I think. But I can understand the appeal of not having to buy a piece of specialty cookware.

                      I also don't like the idea of being so rough on a leavened dough - it's not a flatbread that you can just flop into the oven! But I don't have as much baking experience as Lahey so I'm probably missing something.

                  2. re: sylvan

                    i use bare cast iron for the no knead bread, works great. pre heating burns off any residual fat on the surface before i throw in the dough. i actually make a reduced version of the recipe which fits perfectly into a cheap Dansk fondue pot. i use an earthernware or stainless lid.
                    i used le creuset a couple of times but was getting some discoloration of the interior enamel and decided i didnt want to keep stressing the enamel.

                3. I would go with a bare Lodge 5 quart DO or replace the knob. Temperatures close to 500 degrees are hot no matter what you are using to remove the DO. In the interest of safety I wouldn't monkey with trying to remove a knobless cover that is around 500 degrees.