Yes, I am starting it....Staub or Le Creuset?
Still working on our wedding registry (which you guys helped so much with thus far)...and its come down to the cast iron dutch oven/cocotte!!! We are totally torn between the two brands. We initially picked the LC 3.5q round and LC 6.75q oval...but admittedly didn't know much about the Staub line. Now, it seems like Staub might be the way to go. Less staining, less chipping, easier to clean. And the coq au vin has a rooster on it! come on now.
Seems like there hasnt been a good LC vs Staub thread in a long time.
What are your thoughts/experience 'hounds?
I started with LC but before I could use the 2 pieces I had Amazon had this crazy sale on Staub in 2008 where they were practically giving them away. I ordered a small set in the cherry red and when it arrived I placed it next to my LC and there was no question that Staub won the beauty contest. I sold my two new LC pieces I had gotten a great deal on and collected several pieces of Staub. I had the Basil, Grenadine, Cherry, Eggplantt, a Sapphire fish pot, and a Coq au Vin in Sunflower.
One day I looked at them all together and they looked like they belonged in a bespoke kitchen with crystal chandeliers. They were all just so ornate and heavy looking. As pretty as the colors were they were mostly dark and with the black interiors. I also realized after a while that I would rather look at them than cook in them. They didn't seem inviting at all for me to want to use them to cook, which is after all their whole point.
Shortly after I went to a cooking demo in Bloomies and they were using a LC in a bright, happy color and the light interior looked so much more inviting. I wound up selling all my Staub on Ebay and even making something on them.
I was lucky to find some great sales on LC and now I have a 7-8 piece set in their brightest, happiest colors with each piece a different color.
I'm mentioning this because it's not just about doing a spreadsheet of pros and cons, but how the cookware makes you feel, and if when you look at it you are inspired to use it. I found the Staub dark and dreary and more decorative than inviting. How really useful is a chicken shaped or pumpkin shaped pot? Yes, they are pretty and cute and usable, but a regular pot is so much more useful. Do you really want to use Staub on a bright, happy, sunny summers day with it's dark interior and mostly dark exterior colors? There's a lot of things to make in enameled cast iron in the summer besides just braising in it.
You have to use your gut on this decision as well as your head.
How about selecting two sizes, but one LC and one Staub? If you like one better than the other, that piece can be the basis for expanding your collection in the future.
Or don't worry about having everything match and collect individual pieces from either maker (or others) that you find particularly appealing, that go on sale, that you receive as gifts, or whatever. IMO, it's fun to have all sorts of different cookware in the kitchen instead of everything from one particular line or brand. It also eliminates the risk of obsessive-compulsive crises when specific lines or colors go out of production -- "Oh my God, Staub has discontinued lime green! I'll never be able to match the 12 pieces I already have."
You can't go wrong with either. Personally I like the colors of the Staub better, just my opinion. And yes the rooster is a unique feature that adds a little pazazz. Bought one for three of my kids. They love the rooster knob. We have four pieces, 2.5 qt., 5.5 qt., 8.75 qt., and a 2.5 qt. braiser.
Before I got married, I bought $2500 worth of LC at one of their outlets (almost one of every common piece), and they are all sitting new in the cabinet, except for the 5.5 qt round, the 3.5 qt round, which are stained and get used several times a week (we are a household of 2 adults and a toddler).
We also use the large/deep roasting pan for DEEP lasagnas a few times a year, and an oval grill pan for steaks (neat that you can get grill marks and even a little smoky flavor in doors during the winter).
We don't use the rest all that much.
A few years later, I saw Staub for the first time, bought a blue bouillabaisse with a fish-shaped handle for gumbos (http://www.chefsresource.com/staub-bouillabaisse-pot.html?siorigin=pla)
Later, I bought a Staub 5 qt pumpkin cocotte with a beautiful solid brass handle (http://www.amazon.com/Williams-Sonoma...)
1. first, buy what you'll use. for our family, we only need 2 sizes of dutch oven, and a couple other shapes. period.
2. go with the brand that you LIKE (since quality differences are mostly negligible). as for me, i prefer the styling of Staub. they just seem higher-end all around (not as common, heavier weight, nifty knobs and styling details, simplicity of colors)
I agree with everyone else, you can't go wrong with either. Decide which color and style (LC or Staub) you like best and just go for it. When I was deciding, price played a part, but what I learned was most important to me was that I personally do not like to cooking in pots that have dark interiors. I just don't find it appealing, and I find it's harder to gauge things (like fond). In my case, LC was the way to go.
I have owned several Le Crueset for several years and recently bought a large Staub oval Dutch oven on sale at Williams-Sonoma. I really like my Le Crueset but, I must admit I like my Staub better. It seems a little heavier then LC which can be good or bad depending on your point of view. The enamel on Staub is better IMHO. Thicker, more durable, ... I just like it more. Both cook really well. With LC's colors of the month, I think it will be easier to color match Staub in the future when you want to add more pans to your kitchen.
Both brands are the best you can get and are competitive with each other. Those Staub chicken pots are super "cute". They are sized well for a newly married couple too.
re: Sid Post
I think you two (primarycook and Sid Post) summed it up quite well. The lighter-whitish interior of LC makes it much easier to see the cooking process. On the other hand, the darker/blackish color of Staub has its attraction of "hiding stains" and "ability to get seasoned".
On thing of interest is that the new Le Creuset Signature cookware is supposed to be easier to clean and more resistant against thermal shock than the Le Creuset Classic. So .... either (1) the new Le Creuset Signature is as good as Staub, so the Staub was better than the Le Creuset Classic.... or (2) the Staub is as good as the Le Creuset, and the Le Cresuset Signature beats them both.
You simply cannot have Staub to be as good as both version of Le Cresuset.
I don't have the answer, but I want to throw this out.
A cocotte with the rooster knob was my very first piece of enameled cast iron (thanks to a Chowhound tip!). I love that thing! Then I got the soups pot with the acorn knob(not as efficient, but it looks cool). Sine then I've gotten a few more Staub pieces, as well as a Le Creuset 7.25 l. Both work well, but I prefer the Staub colors.
Honestly, I think this is a lot of hand wringing over nothing. Pick one and go. I think you will find that for every person who says they have had a great experience with LC, you'll find another who will say the same regarding Staub. You may hear more good and bad reporting on the LC, because it seems to have a bigger share of the market, but we really are talking about two very comparable pieces of equipment here.
My experience is as follows: I got a 5.5 Qt LC Dutch Oven at Home Goods a number of years back, and I use it regularly, and I have not had a single issue with it. It does exactly what it is supposed to do. Sure, the pot has stained slightly, but every other pot or pan (except one) in my arsenal is either copper, carbon steel, or cast iron, so the minor staining in the LC is nothing compared to the color changes each of my other pots and pans goes through every time I use one. My experience with Staub has not been good. I went through four, yes four, small cocottes, and each and every one chipped within a matter of days. WS happily gave me my money back, and the sales rep at the local store swore she had not seen Staub cocottes chip like that before. She said she has used, and abused, hers for years to no ill effect.
On another note, I hope you are buying a 3.5 Qt Round and a 6.75 Qt Oval, because you feel a need for them in your cooking. Please don't buy a piece of cookware because someone tells you you need it. Really figure out what you are doing in your day-to-day cooking (styles, quantities, etc.), and buy what you need to accomplish those tasks. Personally, I cannot really see a need for a dutch oven smaller that about 5 or 5.5 Quarts. Maybe you do. Also, I tend to prepare birds in either cut up or in a roaster or a skillet, so an oval does not really appeal to me. And for stovetop use, with CI's poor conductivity, the oval would leave the two ends too far off the flame for me, so I stick with round pots. Maybe you prepare a lot of whole chickens and want a Dutch Oven for that purpose. If I were starting over (getting married and no kids yet), I'd get only a round 5.5 Qt LC Dutch Oven in a classic color, so I could get a matching larger one later. If I only ever wanted to buy one, and only one, I'd get a 7.25 Qt, as that may be the best do-it-all size.
In the end, given your circumstances, I'd recommend that you select sizes and shapes that you know you will need and then, between LC and Staub, pick what you like best for looks and feel in the hand. Lastly, buy from a place with a great return policy or warrantee, in case an issue arises.
Just wanted to chime in to agree about the size here. I have a 5.5 qt. round and a 7.25 oval and they get constant use for me. I also have a 3.5 qt round and for me, it's just too small to do much with. I make side dishes with it just because it is there, but almost never in the oven, and for top of the stove a regular 3.5 qt. saucepan would actually be as good or superior.
There HAS been a HUGE Staub vs. Le Creuset thread fairly recently. As much as I love discussing this cookware the subject has really been done to death as the thread was added to over a long period of time. Please do a search and you will see it. I guarantee it will contain all you've ever wanted to know and more regarding the strengths and weaknesses and differences of these two cookware brands.
The consensus was that they are both awesome cookware and quality brands. The LC isn't as heavy and has the light interior and a better track record in the warranty dept, and the Staub has the dark interior that's a bit harder to clean, but can season over time. It's really about which YOU like better as there are people here that have their favorites and will vigorously defend their choice. You have to choose what features and styling appeals to you more. You can't go wrong with either!
<Less staining, less chipping, easier to clean>
I think the staining may be about the same. However, the Staub has a dark near black surface, so staining on a Staub is not nearly as visible as that on a Le Creuset.. As for chipping, yes, I have read more chipping problems about Le Creset than Staub. However, there are many more Le Cresuet out there, so you are bound to hear more complaints -- something to consider.
I am not a huge fan for enameled cast iron cookware, but between these two, I lean toward Staub.