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Jan 9, 2014 08:01 AM

Le Creuset interior discolored by NoKnead Bread - please help

I'm sure what I've got isn't that unusual, I just haven't found a way to fix it. My exterior is fine on the 5.5 Qt oven, but the interior is discolored to a medium brown with utensil scratches on the bottom.

Initially I cleaned it with barkeepers' friend and soaked it with soft scrub with bleach overnight and those attempts didn't work. I was scared to try anything too rough on the enamel.

I stopped making the bread ( oven at 500, parchment paper in bottom, knob covered with tin foil) because I couldn't stand what it was doing to my pot.

I still use it for chilis, stews, etc., and I hoped that over time, the discoloration would go away as I continued to cook in it and clean it. That hasn't happened, but I do notice items mildly sticking when I brown them.

Can anyone help?

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  1. I stopped worrying years ago about my Le Creuset being discolored. Consider it a badge of honor that shows you actually use the cookware.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Big Easy

      oh, I wish. I feel like a failure every time I see it and every time it emerges from the soapy water still discolored.

      1. re: Big Easy

        Quite right. Pristine Le Cruset , like skinny chefs should be treated with suspicion;)

        1. re: Big Easy

          >I stopped worrying years ago about my Le Creuset being discolored. Consider it a badge of honor that shows you actually use the cookware<

          Ditto for me. My 4.5 qt that I use most often is discolored. it started when I slightly scorched some white beans and has remained the same. I finally got over it. The pot still cooks as good as it ever did. The only cookware that stays looking brand spanking new, it the cookware you don't use. Just like everything else in life. I figure a couple generations from now, what we think is a new, scorched pot, others will see it as an old pot with character.

          1. re: dixiegal

            All right, thanks for chiming in. I guess an attitude adjustment is in order. And then I could go back to baking my bread!

            What's the deal with Ina Garten then? Maybe she cooks with a fresh pot every episode?

            1. re: Snorkelvik

              Hi, Snorkelvik:

              You can clean LC's light enamel pretty easily and effectively until it loses its gloss. After that, it's going to discolor pretty much no matter what you do.

              I too use my LC 5.5 round for NKB. In fact that's all i use it for any more. I simply hit the interior with Bon Ami or BKF after every 10-12 loaves.

              Oh, those cooking shows are busy trying to sell pans. If you saw a discolored piece, the producers know you'd be *less* likely to buy any.


        2. Good luck. I've tried everything after my husband burned something in my LC and nothing got it off. I even wasted the money on the LC cleaner after BKF didn't get it clean and nothing.

          1. <Le Creuset interior discolored by NoKnead Bread - please help>

            Very very normal. There is absolutely no point to worry about discoloration. If it really brothers you, then you can clean it up, but never to use it to do another no-knead bread.

            You best bet is to use bleach, and you said you did. I still try it again. Again, pour some diluted bleach in your pot. Cover it. Now, this is the danger part: turn up the heat. Then turn off the heat and let it sit. Heat will help remove the discoloration. Alternatively, it may be easier just to heat up the water first in the pot, then turn off the heat and then pour in the bleach into the very hot water.

            However, I must warn it. There is a significant difference between removing discoloration vs making the pot better. Your pot may very well perform worse off after getting bleached. Yes, it will look a lot whiter, but it won't cook better. Just a word of caution.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              Once again, Cooks Illustrated to the rescue.

              They did a test where they took a couple of stained pots from the test kitchen and filled them with Le Creuset's recommended stain-removal solution of 1 teaspoon of bleach per 1 pint of water. The pots were slightly improved but still far from their original hue. They then tried a much stronger solution (which was OK'd by the manufacturer) of 1 part bleach to 3 parts water. After standing overnight, a lightly stained pot was just as good as new, but a heavily stained one required an additional night of soaking before it, too, was looking natty.

              Mr Taster

            2. I find that a very basic cast iron dutch oven works great for no knead bread -- I use a 5-qt Lodge with the loop handles which can be had for $35 at Target or WalMart. No issues with staining, no issues with the knob.

              2 Replies
              1. re: MikeB3542

                Yeah I got that same pot for nk bread because I felt nervous subjecting my LC to that treatment. It's perfect.

                1. re: MikeB3542

                  I don't make bread, but I have one of these just so I can abuse it without worry. I'll put a large whole chicken in there and throw it into a 550 degree oven so that dinner will be ready in an hour. Or, if it's summer, I'll throw it onto the bbq grill outside. Sometimes, you just need rustic batterie de cuisine around to do whatever you want with it and not worry!

                2. By the way, there is a modified recipe for no-knead bread that puts the cold dough in a cold dutch oven and then heat the oven to 425. When it reached temp, you cook for 30 minutes, then remove the lid, and bake until internet temp reaches 210F, about 10-15 minutes longer.

                  I've done it several times and it works great. Beats the hell out of manipulating a screaming hot 500F piece of metal.

                  Mr Taster