What Are Staub And Le Creuset Cast Iron Made From
Staub uses thick cast iron for its initial cookware construction. Then covers this with multiple layers of the enamel coating, resulting in a tough, sturdy chip-resistant piece of cookware.
Le Creuset high-quality iron for enameled cast iron, with layers of porcelain enamel coating that produces a non-reactive surface as well as resists chipping and staining.
Le Creusets other products are coated in the same enameled enamel finish include the stoneware and enamel on steel ranges. I should also mention here that Le Creuset also has a range of nonstick bakeware, toughened non-stick pro as well as utensils, accessories, and serving and tableware.
Best Cast Iron: Lodge 5
Many chefs prefer pre-seasoned cast iron cookware because it helps food quickly and evenly, not to mention, it creates meals with tons of flavorand this 5-quart cast iron Dutch oven from Lodge does just that. It comes pre-seasoned and ready to cook in, so you can grab your favorite ingredients and roast, fry, simmer, braise, saute, or bake right away. With superior heat retention and distribution , this versatile Dutch oven can be used in the oven, on the stovetop, on the grill, and even over a campfire. Plus, the cast iron construction means this pan is as durable as it gets. Williams Sonoma shoppers gave this smaller 5-quart Dutch oven an impressive 4.8-star rating, with one writing, “Love my Lodge dutch oven. Excellent quality. Cooked whole chicken comes out so moist and delicious.”
Cast iron can rust if not washed and seasoned properly, so be sure to read the care instructions upon arrival and check out this cast iron guide.
To buy: $60 williams-sonoma.com
What Are The Materials Used To Make Casseroles And Dutch Ovens
Officially, when we are describing Dutch ovensin most cases we mean French ovens.
Dutch ovens do not have an enamel coating on the interior. They are seasoned using oil and are normally used for outdoor cooking. They have a tight-fitting lid and are made from cast iron.
French ovens are made for kitchens and ovensrather than outdoor cooking. They are cast iron too with enamel on the inside which provides the benefit of easy cleaning and an almost non-stick surface. They are based on the Dutch oven in design but improved for a better experience indoors.
Casseroles offer the most variability in terms of materials. If you are one of those that describes casseroles as Dutch ovens, in that case they are made from cast iron.
The reality is that they are made from numerous materials. They can be made from 18/10 stainless steel, aluminum, ceramics, stoneware and copper.
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Can You Use A Casserole Dish As A Dutch Oven
Officially, casserole dishes are shallower and can be made from materials that include but are not limited to cast iron. If the casserole dish is made from cast iron and the recipe can be adapted, then yes, you can use your casserole dish as a Dutch oven.
If the recipe requires a Dutch oven because of the heat requirements and you do not have cast iron, then it will be difficult to replicate it successfully.
Can You Use A Stock Pot Instead Of A Dutch Oven
That depends on what you’re using it for, and also whether it’s large enough. Stock pot sizes vary, with small, medium, and large versions available, whereas Dutch ovens are generally larger pieces of cookware.
If you want to make stock, a stainless steel stock pot is perfect for the job. If you’re going to do it over a campfire or hot coals, though, a Dutch oven is probably a better tool for the task. Don’t use an enamel-coated oven over the fire, as it can’t withstand the heat.
For campfire cooking, you’ll want an uncoatedcast iron Dutch oven, like the double dutch from Uno Casa. It also has large, rounded handles on both the lid and the pot itself, making handling the pot fireside much easier with some heavy fireproof gloves.
We generally recommend cooking with a stock pot solely on the stove top, while Uno Casa like double Dutch ovens are a little more versatile for the grill, oven, and stove top.
If you’re looking for an alternative to a Dutch oven, particularly for slow cooking, you may get better results with a crock pot or even an electric slow cooker. If you have no alternative available and you’re going to use a stock pot, we would recommend that you run your oven at a cooler temperature and check on your food regularly to ensure you have an adequate amount of liquid in the pot.
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Bottom Line: Do You Need A Stock Pot Dutch Oven Or Both
Now that you know the similarities and differences between stock pots and Dutch ovens, its time to decide which is best for your kitchen.
To recap, the key differences between stock pots and Dutch ovens are:
Stock pots are tall and fairly wide with a thin base and walls, whereas Dutch ovens are thick, wide, and short.
Dutch ovens are constructed with heavier materials such as enameled or bare cast iron, while stock pots are made from lighter materials like stainless steel and aluminum.
Stock pots are better at conducting heat , while Dutch ovens feature excellent heat retention .
Dutch ovens are more versatile, as you can use them on a stovetop or in an oven, but theyre harder to store. Stock pots are easier to store but are limited to liquid-heavy meals.
Generally speaking, Dutch ovens are pricier than stock pots, but there is significant variation by brand, retailer, quality, and material.
If you have space and the budget, my recommendation is to purchase both a stock pot and a Dutch oven.
If youre only interested in purchasing one of these options, go with a Dutch oven. Its versatility means youll get more for your money. Stock pots are great for soups, pasta, or other liquid-heavy recipes but are otherwise more limited than a Dutch oven.
Best Value: Lodge Pre
Get you a Dutch oven that can do both. This 2-in-1 cooking tool includes a 5-quart cast iron pot that can be used as a traditional Dutch oven for stovetop or in-oven use, as well as a lid that doubles as a 10-inch skillet. The price also makes it one of the most inexpensive Dutch ovens on the market, while providing double the value. It’s no wonder nearly 9,000 reviewers gave it a perfect 5-star rating. One shopper called it “a must-have in the kitchen!” while another said it’s “the best purchase” they’ve ever made on Amazon.
To buy: $50
What Is The Difference Between A Stock Pot And A Dutch Oven
The type of material is the most obvious difference between the two. Generally, a stock pot will be made from aluminum or stainless steel, and a Dutch oven will be cast iron .
A Cast iron Double Dutch oven is, therefore, usually, much heavier than a stock pot, and has thicker walls and lids. This is important because it means they can withstand higher temperatures as well as temperature cycling better than other types of cookware.
The double Dutch oven from Uno Casa is great, because it’s uncoated and has a domed lid that doubles as a skillet, which saves a little money and cupboard space – double win! The 5-quart size makes it the perfect size for most stove top or oven recipes.
There are some cast aluminum or ceramic Dutch ovens on the market, and some people may even have stock pots made from cast iron, particularly older ones, but for the most part, materials are where the two differ the most.
Also, although this is not always true, there are usually some design differences between the two types of cookware. A Dutch oven will generally be circular or oval with sloping sides and have a tight-fitting lid. A stock pot, by comparison, is often taller and more square in shape, with straight sides and a loose-fitting lid.
Why Use A Dutch Oven Over Other Cookware
One word: versatility. It lends itself well to a variety of cooking styles and can go from stovetop to oven with ease. Its durable construction will help it stand up to frequent use, and most Dutch ovens are attractive enough to act as a serving dish, too, adding a touch of rustic elegance to the table.
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Le Creuset 55 Quart Dutch Oven
My trusty Lodge works just as well as one of those fancy Dutch ovens with the sexy-sounding French names, but it costs a third of the price. With a shiny, smooth, nonstick enamel finishwhich is just as practical as it is prettythis thing is all about functionality, baking, braising, sautéing, and roasting food perfectly. I appreciate its slightly curved base, which makes for easy stovetop stirring, and its wide loop handles, which allow me to maneuver confidently from oven to table. Could you splurge on one of those pricey Dutch ovens? Suuuuuuure. But do you need to? Absolutely not. Alex Beggs, senior staff writer
Ceramic Dutch Ovens & Casserole Dishes
We know the benefits of cast iron such as heat retention and even distribution. We know about its durability and robustness. Cast iron does have its disadvantages too.
It needs seasoning regularly if it is not enameled. It also heats up very slowly which means that patience is required. Speeding it up by heating cast iron results in thermal shock which can ruin a pan. It is also prone to rusting if not treated carefully, during cleaning and storage.
This is where a ceramic Dutch oven or casserole dish comes in. A ceramic dish does not need seasoning and they weigh far less than their cast iron counterparts. They are also easy to clean and simple to store, regardless of the conditions. They really do serve a purpose.
They are limited to the oven though so there is no stove top usage. In fact, it is dangerous to use on a stovetop so dont even try.
Given the nature of ceramics, they are prone to chipping and breakages so you really do have to take care with it. In reality, they will not last longer than cast iron, so bear this in mind if you are looking to buy.
Clearly, ceramic ovens are not as versatile as cast iron Dutch ovens. However, they do serve a purpose and, in some circumstances, they are more appropriate to use.
Dutch Oven Or Stock Pot For Soup
The consistency of soup means that they are better cooked in a Dutch oven. Stock pots are designed for liquids but soup has a thicker consistency. This means there is a danger of it cooking unevenly in a stock pot and possibly burning at the base due to the thickness of the base.
In a Dutch oven, the soup will cook more evenly with very few hot spots. The end result will be a better cooked soup with no burning and more depth of flavor.
Staub Vs Le Creuset: Which Is Better
There are many people on the internet who have strong opinions about which of these two brands is better. So how do you choose? The truth is the answer depends on your needs, including your budget, both are great and you wont be disappointed with either brand.
What brand do I use? Well, I actually have and use both a small Staub cocotte and seven Le Creuset cookware pieces, including Dutch ovens, skillets, and brasiers. What can I say I just love my Le Creuset!
CHECK OUT MY FAVORITE STAUB COCOETTE
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MY FAVORITE LE CREUSET DUTCH OVEN
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Can I Use A Stock Pot In The Oven
Unlike a Dutch oven, many stock pots are not suitable for oven use, and even those that are marketed as being oven safe may not stand up well to long-term use in an oven. Extended exposure to temperature cycles can potentially warp or deform them. Even just a slight amount of warping can be annoying if your stock pot lid no longer fits properly after a few uses. Cast iron is a much sturdier and solid material – investing in a some good pieces, like Uno Casas double Dutch oven and skillets will give you some pieces youll keep for a lifetime.
Pots that have a non-stick coating, may not be suitable for oven use over a prolonged period, as the surface can become damaged or even start to flake away from the base, which in turn can contaminate your food.
So while there is a certain degree of crossover between the types of cooking that these two items of cookware can be used for, it’s always best to choose the one better suited to the task at hand whenever you can, and if you do need to substitute one pot for the other, keep the tips above in mind to avoid any damage to your kitchen equipment or cooking mishaps.
Who This Is For
An enameled Dutch oven is a multipurpose pot that you can use for all kinds of recipes, including braising, baking bread, boiling pasta water, and even deep frying. These pots are particularly well-suited to slow cooking not only because they effectively retain heat, but also because they can be transferred from stovetop to oven, so you can sear and then braise meats. Their lids trap in moisture as food cooks, which makes everything inside extra-tender. And unlike bare cast iron, the enamel is easy to clean and maintain.
A 5½- to 6½-quart oven should serve two to four people, and we think this size will work for most cooking tasks. If youre feeding a crowd, you might want to bump up to a 7-, 9-, or even 13-quart version. Keep in mind that the bigger the oven, the heavier and harder it will be to move around a kitchen, especially when its brimming with chili. When it comes to shape, a round Dutch oven will work better on the round burners of most stoves, whereas an oval oven may heat less evenly and be difficult to fit on a small stovetop. However, an oval oven can be useful for large, long roasts like a tenderloin. It will of course fit nicely on an oval burner, and it should also work fine on a large round burner for something like a braise, which you start on the stove and finish in the oven.
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Heat Conduction And Retention
The first question we had about our lineup of enameled cast iron Dutch ovens was whether there was much difference from one to the next in how they conducted and retained heat. We know that iron in general is a poor conductor of heat, and a great retainer of it, but given that each pot has a different mass and slightly different build, including variations in floor and wall thickness, it’s conceivable that some would conduct heat better than others, while others might retain the heat better.
We tested heat conduction by placing each Dutch oven on an induction burner set to a fixed, moderate heat setting. We then snapped photos with a thermal imaging camera and measured floor and wall heat in timed increments with an infrared thermometer.
We then tested heat retention by preheating each lidded pot in the same 350°F oven, then recording the pots’ loss of heat in both the walls and the floors using the infrared thermometer.
While our methods of measuring the temperature of the pots weren’t perfect , they gave us a decent enough picture to confidently draw an interesting conclusion: There isn’t a significant difference that sets one enameled cast iron Dutch oven apart from another in terms of thermal properties. They all heated and cooled in remarkably similar patterns and at remarkably similar rates. This is not the area where one pot will distinguish itself.
After Extensive Testing These Are The Best Enameled Dutch Ovens For Making Stews Braises And More No Matter Your Budget
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Long before multi-cookers came along, cast iron Dutch ovens were the original kitchen multitaskers. These heavy, bombproof pots date back to colonial America, when their design often included short legs, to rest on a hearth’s floor, and a rimmed lid to hold fiery coals. Later, the French company Le Creuset’s 1925 design removed the legs, added a domed lid, and forever changed the Dutch oven by coating it in enamel. The enamel protects the raw cast iron from rusting, means that it doesn’t require any seasoning, and gives the pot a somewhat nonstick surface.
A Dutch oven owes a lot of its versatility to cast iron’s excellent heat retention, but the pot’s shapeshort and wide enough for searing meats, yet still deep enough for wet dishes like braises and stewsenables you to cook a range of foods, especially dishes that require browning meats and vegetables first, followed by a simmering phase in a cooking liquid. During the weekday, you’ll use one of these pots for soups, sauces, stews, and rice dishes, or maybe to upgrade fried chicken. When time allows, you can reach for the same Dutch oven to turn out perfectly crusty bread or tender braised meat. A Dutch oven is one of the most reliable pieces of cookware in your kitchen properly cared for, it should also last a lifetime.
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