HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >

Discussion

LC burned my beans..grrrrr

Well, I did it. I have my first burned on food in my LC dutch oven.:o( It was white beans. I first soaked my pot in some hot soapy water until the stuck on beans came off and then was left with just a little burned on crud. So I soaked a bit longer then scrubbed with a blue scrub pad. Got that off and then was left with a stain. So I covered the bottom with white vineger and left it for several hours. Then I scrubbed with the blue pad and kosher salt. From there tried baking soda then covered the bottom again with white vinegar and left it all night. The next morning, I cooked turnip greens with vinegar in them, but not much change. So I washed the pot and heated more vinegar, then left it all day, and again scrubbed with a blue scrub pad. Now all of this did help, but did not completely take care of the stain. So I guess I am just going to live with it. What I hate more than the staining is the loss of sheen and the slick feel.

I did read other posts about the different things you all have used to clean your burnt food pots and noticed that some of you thought that what ever you used might have taken the gloss off of the pot.

So to share a little of my experiance. My burned on food was only about 1/3 of the bottom of my pot. And the part that had the burned food is now dull and total loss of the slick feel. However, the other part of the pot is still glossy and smooth. So I am now wondering if it is the burned on food that causes the pot to loose its sheen and slick feel, and not necessarily what you all used to clean the burned food and stains from your pot.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Hi, dixiegal:

    Don't worry, it wasn't the cleaning that did it. The lining at the bottom tends to lose its gloss over time; mild abrasives just accelerate it a bit. Unfortunately, some staining comes along with it. If you're a neat freak, and want to do your best to un-stain it, I've had good luck with the LC cleaner product. It must have some bleaching agent in it in addition to the fine abrasive.

    If you strive to restore the gloss, you might try automotive "rubbing compound", but this is a petrochemical, so be sure to wash really well afterward. Otherwise, love your pot (until the next time).

    And consider that these Dutch Ovens are typically pretty scorchy on the cooktop.

    Aloha, Kaleo

    20 Replies
    1. re: kaleokahu

      "And consider that these Dutch Ovens are typically pretty scorchy on the cooktop."

      Umm, no they aren't. That is, not if you follow the manufacturer's instructions and use medium or lower heat. I've been using Le Creuset for over seven years on coil stoves, gas, and ceramic tops and have never once - in any piece, from buffet casserole to skillet to French oven - burned anything in my Creuset.

      If you pay attention to the pan and keep the heat low, you won't burn things. That's the point of heavy cast iron.

      Cast iron retains and distributes heat well. You don't need higher heat.

      1. re: ProfessorBear

        Hi, ProfessorBear:

        Respectfully disagree. I cannot get my gas hob low enough to avoid scorching things like caramelized onions done the way Tom Keller wants them done without constantly and carefully stirring. We're talking "Turn-out-the-lights-to-see-any-flame-at-all" low. Electrics are slightly better, but to the extent there are any hotspots at all, cast iron has a huge propensity to scorch viscous things.

        But I'm glad it works for you. I've been cooking in LC for over 30 years now, and I haven't been so lucky or skilled as you, apparently.

        Aloha,
        Kaleo

        1. re: kaleokahu

          I don't know what sort of gas range you're working with, but I've used a full-size Viking range all the way down to a tiny apartment-sized gas stove and haven't burned things.

          1. re: ProfessorBear

            Hi, PB:

            Just so I'm clear, in the 7 years you've been cooking in LC on all these gas hobs, you've never scorched anything, right? If so, that's amazing. Good for you.

            Aloha,
            Kaleo

          2. re: kaleokahu

            Hey Kaleo, back when I took Chemistry in HS, we used these asbestos mesh things over the bunsen burner so that we could put our pyrex beakers etc over them and they would not shatter. Is there any commercial product out there, some sort of a screen, that could 'tame your flame'?

            1. re: pdxgastro

              Hi, pdx:

              I don't know about screens, but there are: (a) modern solid metal "flame tamers"; and (b) vintage pierced trivets. Asbestos millboard would work after a fashion to moderate the heat, but I doubt it'd *spread* it. I'd be caramelizing my onions on what used to be the hotspot, and everything else would be cold.

              This issue will largely disappear for me when the Monarch wood cookstove is finally operational. The heat to my few remaining pieces of cast iron should be quite even--on the bottoms, at least.

              Aloha,
              Kaleo

          3. re: ProfessorBear

            "Cast iron retains and distributes heat well."

            You know after having read hundreds of posts in this forum this is one area that I have never been able to find the true answer for. Some people say that CI retains heat well (and that's why it is useful for oven cooking) but it's not a good heat distributor. Other people say that CI does distribute heat well so there are no hot spots etc.

            Personally I think the latter statement is pure misinformation. CI definitely does not distribute heat well (it does so when used in the oven but not on the stove top). I have a grill plate which sits over two gas burners. When I turn just one burner on the side where the burner is off continues to remain quite cool. When I turn both burners on the area in between them is not as hot as the areas directly above the flames. If CI was a good heat distributor then such things would definitely not happen.

            PS: Apologies in advance to the OP for slightly deviating off the subject here but it may be relevant in explaining why the food got burned.

            1. re: iliria

              "Other people say that CI does distribute heat well so there are no hot spots etc. ..."

              It is all relative. It depends what other materials we are comparing cast iron too. For most usual cooking material, cast iron actually ranks low in its ability to distribute heat -- comparing to aluminum or copper.

              1. re: iliria

                in my case, the beans burned because I was careless and turned the heat up when I should have turned it off, because the beans were done. but lack of good heat distribution may explain why they only burned in about 1/3 to 1/2 of the pot. then again, my stove is over 40 years old and an electric coil burner. So maybe the coil does not heat evenly anymore.

                1. re: dixiegal

                  Or the contact between coils and pot is not uniform, because the coil surface isn't flat. That, together with the lower conductivity of the cast iron, means some parts of the bottom are hotter. If food starts to stick at the hotter parts, it can easily move on to burning. The temperature differences don't have to be drastic for this to happen.

                  1. re: paulj

                    Thanks for the info Paulj. I am thinking more and more, when I finally get to replace that stove, that I might like gas burners better.

                    1. re: dixiegal

                      :) Don't get your hope up so fast. A gas stove may not solve this problem. A gas stove is known to response faster than an electric stove due to the lack of thermal mass. However, a gas stove does not necessary provide a more temperature even heating surface. So this problem may persist.

                      1. re: dixiegal

                        Hi, dixiegal:

                        If you do switch to gas, do something that 98% of consumers *don't* do: research the burners' jet configuration (e.g., circle, spokes, star, rows, etc.). It is worth spending extra to find burners that lick more of your pan than did my POS cheap range's.

                        Aloha,
                        Kaleo

                  2. re: iliria

                    My aluminum 2 burner All Clad griddle does that exact same thing, it doesn't heat evenly between the burners either.

                2. re: kaleokahu

                  Thanks Kaleo,
                  I think I will just take it as it comes with the pot. For no matter what I do to correct it, there will just be another time for sure. It was the dumbest thing. My intention was to turn the beans off and leave them in the pot to cool a bit, while I got ready for church. Then I would move them over to the bowl. As I was in the bathroom washing my hair, my husband came in and said that the beans were really boiling hard. I ran into the kitchen, already smelling that burned smell, and took them off the burner. Instead of turning the knob to off, I guess I turned it up. That is what I get for not paying attention to what I was doing. Next time I will move the pot to a burner that is off. Anyway, I just need to think of my LC like everything else in my house. If I can't use it and enjoy it without worrying about it, I might as well not have it at all.

                  1. re: dixiegal

                    Hi, dixiegal:

                    Very sensible outlook. Hey this kind of thing happens to everyone.

                    Aloha,
                    Kaleo

                  2. re: kaleokahu

                    As a matter of ill-defined principle, I dislike being stuck with (expensive) proprietary products like LC cleaner, but I have to agree, it restores the finish better than any other product I've tried. I don't use it often, but like to keep it around for cases like this. It even works well on seriously burned-on crud on the outside of the pans.

                    1. re: MikeG

                      I'm glad someone has got that stuff to work for them, because it's been a complete failure for me. Between my husband and daughter they have burned stuff in a variety of my LC pans. I've gotten the stains to fade some, but the LC cleaning product didn't work at all for me.

                      1. re: rasputina

                        Most people will say to not use this but I think once would be fine....use barkeeper's friend. Will make it look brand spankin' new. Used it myself on a piece used by someone that had abused it, looked like I had just brought it home.

                        1. re: Mojave

                          I have used it, and it has not gotten my LC brand spankin new. It faded the stains but they are still visible.