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Jun 13, 2012 04:54 PM

using enamelled cast iron in the oven

I have a Cousances (now made by Creuset but not the one I have) #22 Dutch oven that I want to use to make some Boston Baked beans. My concern is whether or not the lid handle is oven-proof (it will be baking for approx 4-5 hrs at 250 degrees. I'm thinking that low a temp probably won't hurt it but it would be nice to be certain. Thanks for any help.

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  1. <My concern is whether or not the lid handle is oven-proof >

    I guess you won't know unless you try it. Worse come worse, you can buy a metal knob later.

    <it will be baking for approx 4-5 hrs at 250 degrees>

    250oF? or 250C? Most plastic used in cookware can handle 250oF. 250oC would depend the kind of plastic.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      TY so much to everybody. I appreciate the help. I'll let you know how it turns out. Love and blessings to you all: Chemicalkinetics, milkie, and kaleokahu.

    2. Most of the plastic knobs and handles used on older cookware were made from phenolic (aka bakelite) which will take temperatures up to about 350 degrees F for an extended length of time without serious damage or loss of it's appearance. I've been in the industry (plastics) for almost 40 years, I wouldn't push it much past that if you want to keep the appearance in tact. One would have to assume your older enamelled cast iron would have a phenolic knob on the lid, since it is designed to go into the oven.

      1. Hi, yseta:

        No problem at 250F. I am still trying to kill my 5.5Q LeCreuset oven, and so have been using it, lidded, to bake no-knead bread. Between the preheat and the first 30 minutes covered, that poor plastic knob gets a solid hour of unremitting 450F. So if your Cousances has the same plastic as my 1980s LC, you have LOTS of breathing room.


        5 Replies
        1. re: kaleokahu

          Hi Kaleo,

          Before we bought the Staubs, my wife cooked roasts in a 6 or 8 qt pot with plastic handles and a plastic knob on the lid. I have no idea how hot she got them, but I've had to replace the handles more than once because they were blistered from the heat. I know these were phenolic because the company I worked for at the time sold to the company that made the handles, in fact I was able to get some at no cost right off the molding line. I'm reasonably sure all of the plastic knobs on pots and pans that are over a certian age are phenolic as are most of the new ones. Even some of the newer high temperature plastics won't take much more temperatue without loosing their gloss or blistering, at least those that are priced low enough for the appliance industry. I'm sure if you continue the 450F exposure long enough you will toast the knob. I guess a roast is in the oven a lot longer than your bread.

          Take care,

          1. re: mikie

            Hi, mikie:

            Thanks. This is the infamous chipped/cracked 5.5 everyone teases me about because I won't/don't try to collect on the LC warranty, so there is a note in the chart not to resuscitate.

            I can keep rough track of how many loaves have been done in it, which to date is about 10. I checked the knob closely just now after your post, and so far no sign of blistering. The gloss is more like satin, and hasn't noticeably changed.

            Now, I *do* make sure that the pan is not placed so that the knob is close to and directly under a heat element (when I'm using the electric and not the woodstove). And I'm not *recommending* 450F for these knobs. But I think my experience bodes well for the OP.

            This lid fits one of my orphan copper saucepans, so if the knob gets toasted, I'll probably just replace it with metal. I'm so habituated now to potholders and side towels, it won't be any problem.


            1. re: kaleokahu

              Hi Kaleo,

              When it comes to something that's been in the oven for several hours, 350 F is still 350 F, you need a pot holder either way. The stove top is totally different, but the oven, hot is hot regardless of the material that's in it.

              I had held on to the old pot handles for a long time just in case I needed to reuse them, but tossed them when we cleand things out for the new ktichen, otherwise I would post a picture of what ours looked like. Back when this was my business, there was a metal cookware association that had regulations for the handles and how much weight they should hold at what temperature, and a thermal shock test where they went into an oven, I just don't remember the exact temperature, but it was in the 350 to 400 F range as I recall.

              1. re: mikie

                Hi, mikie: " need a pot holder either way."

                I said the LC lid that I treat to 450F in the oven fits one of my saucepans. So I meant that even though a replacement metal knob might get hotter than the phenolic *on the stovetop*, it's no big deal anymore since I use potholders or side towels for everything--oven and stovetop--anyway.


          2. re: kaleokahu

            We've been doing the same for years and the handles are fine.