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Simply Calphalon Enamel Cast Dutch Oven vs Lodge, Tramontina, LC???

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Ok so I am new...and new to dutch ovens for that matter. I am looking to expand my cooking to braising, soups, chili...which much of I do in stockpots now except braising of course. I just got my first LC in a smaller 3 1/2 qt for christmas. And I need to get a bigger one to do my soups and chili...I make much more then a 3 1/2 can handle! So my quest is for a 7+ qt one. If money was no object I would do the staub...that is an easy one! However I cant swing 250 - 300 for an enameled dutch oven! Of the bargin enameled dutch ovens for starters I want to stick with the round shape for it is ideal for stove...which will make up most of my use. Interior is a goofy one for many complain about the white staining...this is why I like the staub but it is out of my price. The only bargin Dutch Oven that has a black interior enamel finish is the Calphalon. I cant find any reviews on it nor its place of manufacturing. I also considered the tramontina and the lodge both however are white interiors. Both are very well liked. So if anyone knows how this dutch oven stacks up...I am all ears. I love the look and design of the calphalon for it looks to copy the staub very closely. I am looking for chipping, staining (might not be an issue being black).

I have to add one thing to this...does the staining on the white interior prevent it from performing or does it cause the dutch oven to lack something...other than appearance...seem so many crab and complain about the interior staining...the cleaning of it and so on. I dont want to bleach it...I dont like putting bleach on any cooking surface, it might just be me but I just dont like the idea.

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  1. I prefer to think of the interior staining on my Le Crueset pieces as a patina reflective of its age and long and loving use. The cooking performance is not impaired by this patina.

    1. Welcome Soapbox.

      <However I cant swing 250 - 300 for an enameled dutch oven! >

      If this is not a time-sensitive issue, you can always wait to see for Home Goods or TJ Maxx to sell the discount Staub for about half the price.

      Both the Lodge Color (Lodge enameled) and Tramontina enameled have better reviews than Simply Calphalon Enamel.

      The staining on the white interior does not prevent it from performing. However, (this is an important part) the excessive cleaning does. A lot of new users tried to bring the enameled back to pure white, which can be done, including using bleach, but repeatedly doing so actually harm the enameled somewhat. I am speaking from my own experience. I had two Lodge Color Dutch Ovens.

      Now, there is another kind of Dutch Oven if you are not against Teflon nonstick, and they look very attractive to me. They are the aluminum Dutch Ovens. They are much lighter, and they conduct heat very well too.

      http://www.amazon.com/Nordic-Ware-Tra...

      http://www.chefscatalog.com/product/2...

      <And I need to get a bigger one to do my soups and chili>

      At the end, Dutch Ovens will work for soups and chili, but a typical stock pot will also work too. Something to consider.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        Thanks but I am trying to avoid non-stick as a whole...too much swirling controversy with it, same with Aluminum. You mentioned something about the calphalon reviews...I have found one actually review...and it was a buyers review. I believe these are very new. I have seen a ton of reviews on the calph anodized but not the cast iron enameled. If you have any links....that actually have reviews and not just ratings I would love to see them.

        1. re: soapboxpreacher

          I see. You are talking about a set of calphalon enameled cast iron cookware. I was thinking about an older version which has been at least 5 years:

          http://www.amazon.com/Calphalon-Ename...

          I don't have any review for the Calphalon Simply Enameled Cast Iron.

      2. Our local Costco is offering a "made in France" dark interior Dutch oven in 8 qt. for around $80.00.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Cam14

          Ill be heading over tonight to see.

          1. re: Cam14

            Ok...actually got out there at lunch...it is an 8 qt oval...need a round. It wasnt too bad either.

          2. I have the Tramontina one, and it works great. Comes with high recommendations from Cooks Illustrated too, a great, affordable version of the Le Creuset. This is the link to the one I have: http://www.sears.com/tramontina-usa-i...

            1. I agree with the idea of finding a bargain on Le Creuset or Staub. There's extensive discussion elsewhere on the board about how best to utilize Le Creuset outlets. eBay is another option.

              I don't mind paying retail for LC as I expect it to last a lifetime and I want to get the color I really want each time (so far I have 4 pieces).

              As I've mentioned elsewhere, the release on the new LC interior enamel is excellent. So far I have no staining, and it is not due to meticulous maintenance. It just comes clean with very little trouble.

              2 Replies
              1. re: foiegras

                How long ago did they release this new interior? Oh and how would I know if my new 3 1/4 has it? Let me know.

                I have a TJ Maxx and Home Goods around here so I could look there but isnt that stuff not up to quality specs? More over it could chip easier and so on.

                I wouldnt get one of these off eBay. I havent found any significant deals there and as of late eBay has not been much of a saving as it use to be.

                1. re: soapboxpreacher

                  couple years ago? First it was exclusive to W-S. They changed the handles at the same time, you'd be able to tell by that. Other LC threads have all the details.

              2. I have recently purchased (my Xmas present) a Lodge 7.5qt Dutch Oven an have used it multiple times.
                I love it.
                It cleans up easily and I have had no problems with it.
                I bought it though Amazon at a very good price.
                I don't buy LC because I think the price is outrageous this is why I looked for dutch overns in the middle market price range.
                The lodge has not disappointed yet!

                1. This may be too late to be of benefit, but for what it's worth, I have a Calphalon enameled dutch oven that I am not happy with. Every time I make a long cooking stew, i.e. Beef Bourguinon, the meat scorches on the bottom, no matter how low I have the burner & stir. I'm looking for an alternative, and hesitant to try another enameled dutch oven.
                  Did you end up with something that works well?

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: curlyag

                    Put the pot in the oven

                    1. re: Alan408

                      Yes, it does go in the oven. But by the time I'm browning the 3rd batch of meat, the middle is scorching.

                    2. re: curlyag

                      curlyag,

                      I don't like to use my oven for closed-pot cooking for several reasons, and always cook stews and such on the cooktop. I prefer stainless steel over cast iron for it's lighter weight. On the stovetop any advantage cast iron has would be minimized, because all the heat is coming from below. This is a roundabout way of saying that the pot you really want is stainless with a thick disk bottom to minimize scorching.

                      But don't rush out and buy a new pot yet. A 'flame tamer' heat diffuser will also do the job and will work with your existing pot. I like this one because it raises the pot and lets air in between the disk and the pot:
                      http://www.amazon.com/Simmer-Mat-5200...

                      1. re: curlyag

                        Have never had this issue with Le Creuset. Is your Dutch oven enameled thin metal, or enameled cast iron?

                        1. re: foiegras

                          It's a calphalon enamel heavy Dutch oven. I bought it at an outlet, now wonder is something's defective w/the coating. May be worth the money for LeCreuset :)

                          1. re: curlyag

                            For me, the new Le Creuset (Signature) is performing sooo much better than original Le Creuset. Which tells me that enamel coating is not an easy thing to get right. My view is that if something is going to last a lifetime, I'm not going to quibble about the price. I've gotten some nice discounts on it too, of course--not turning them down!

                            I didn't say it doesn't stick a bit, because it does ... but scorch, no, definitely not. When it cools, or if you deglaze (which you wouldn't with a stew), the release is very good now.

                      2. The problem with cheaper brands is the risk of chipping of the enamel becomes much greater (have a look at the reviews of the Lodge for example, many more reports of chips/cracks than the LC or Staub). Also, rightly or wrongly, I am leary about made in China enamel (enamel = glass = lead content).

                        If LC and Staub are too expensive even at outlet stores, perhaps you could consider going with Chasseur or Fontignac? Both are made in France and seem to have less issues with the durability of the enamel, and they are cheaper than the top brands although quite a bit more expensive than the made in China ones.

                        Also, my LC looks much nicer than my Staubs on the inside (my Staubs have white staining and some sort of discoloration, my LC is pretty much perfect, they are around the same age).

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Sirrith

                          I've noticed that BB&B stocks Fontignac, which might make it a good choice. They've got a generous return policy if something goes wrong with it.

                          1. re: Sirrith

                            I agree, you are better off with LC or Staub. The Martha Stewart stuff Macy's sold chipped so badly they pulled it from the shelves eventually. I was talking to a gorumet shop owner a few years ago and she said when it came to enameled cast iron she would only carry Staub and LC, the other stuff chipped so badly, it wasn't worth the hassle with irate customers to even carry the other brands. This is from someone that hits all the trade shows and should have the inside scoop when it comes to these issues. I will admit, there was quite a bit of European and American made items in her shop, and a limited amount of made in China. I also agree with you on the made in China enamel, it's a big question mark for me.

                            The white staining on your Satubs is easily removed with a little white vinagar, you can dilute it or go straight fromt he bottle, just let it sit in the bottom for a few hours or if diluted, overnight, the wash, it comes right out.

                            1. re: mikie

                              I want to say that the reason I have this type of cookware is to sear, brown and then make stews out of meat. This adds flavor and depth. A darker interior browns better. Not a huge difference, but I definitely have not tried to bleach my now stained interiors to get them back to white. As folks have stated, the Staub line may be coveted in part due to a dark interior. While harder to tell when you have a nice fond, I like a dark interior and have welcomed the staining of my Lodge enameled DO's. Bottom line for me is performance and darker is better, so why hassle over trying to get your pots back to original color when the used color/ stains perform better?

                          2. Update...took advantage of William Sonoma sale and free shipping weekend after Thanksgiving, and treated myself to a 5 qt. Le Creuset. It's bigger than the Calphalon I had been using, but lighter. Made Beef Bourguinone...no scorching. It was fabulous. I will say there is definitely a difference between Calphalon and Le Creuset; very happy with it.