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Enameled vs non-enameled cast iron dutch/french oven?

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#1 purpleduck

Posted 19 March 2020 - 03:20 PM

So I'm after a Dutch oven so I can make no-knead bread (among other things ;) )

I need to buy some stuff online and was looking at enamel cast iron vs regular cast iron Dutch/French ovens.

Which one do you have? How big is it/capacity? Brand etc?

Are the enameled ones easier to clean?

I don't care if I only use it in the oven as I don't have any other pots that I can do that with.

Oh and has anyone ever had trouble with the weight of it on the racks in their oven? Cast iron is obviously heavy! I'm only used to ceramic baking containers.


ETA - Kitchen Warehouse has a sale online so that's probably where I will be purchasing from and :omg: the colours of some of those pots :heart:

Edited to add more questions:
- round or oval?
- light or darker colour? there are some really pretty duck egg blue ones but I can just imaging the burnt on muck at the rim.... not sure if that would annoy me enough though.... very pretty ;)

Edited by purpleduck, 19 March 2020 - 03:35 PM.

#2 dadwasathome

Posted 19 March 2020 - 03:42 PM

We have a large oval Le Crueset (4.7l I think). It's blinking heavy, but has never been a problem for several ovens.

The inside is now very brown as we don't scrub hard to scratch the enamel. Other than the base it cleans up pretty well (mid-blue) after 15 years or so.

Edited by dadwasathome, 19 March 2020 - 03:43 PM.

#3 SeaPrincess

Posted 19 March 2020 - 03:46 PM

I have a Le Creuset 24cm round that my brother has used to prove bread. I also have a cheaper, larger oval shaped one. I have to use the oval sometimes for quantity purposes, but I much prefer the Le Creuset. Both are enamelled, fairly easy to clean, no dramas with the weight in the oven (although I don’t remember ever putting the oval one in the oven).

The round one is 18 years old (it was a wedding present) and gets used regularly. I tried to attach a pic, but it failed, even though it’s below the size limit. The inside base is a bit discoloured, but the outside is fine.

Edited by SeaPrincess, 19 March 2020 - 03:49 PM.

#4 purpleduck

Posted 19 March 2020 - 04:00 PM


this is the one I'm liking :blush:

and I just found it for even less at Peter's of Kensington online - not sure if the colour is as nice there though - probably just the pic

#5 BornToLove

Posted 19 March 2020 - 04:50 PM

I have two enamel French ovens and love cooking with both. One is a 5.3l pot that is great for roasts and stews. It’s a fancy name brand French one.

I also have a knock off enamel pan I got at Aldi. I use that one more often as it’s wide and not as deep. I use it a lot of pasta bakes or when roasting chicken parts (not whole chicken).

I also have uncoated cast iron pans and they are awesome to cook with as well. The thing with uncoated (no enamel) you will need to season it and you can’t wash it like a normal pot like you would if it was enamel. It’s not overly high needs in terms of washing and using, but cast iron isn’t like normal cookware.

#6 JoanJett

Posted 19 March 2020 - 06:33 PM

Sorry, very juvenile, but "Dutch oven" always makes me giggle....

As for the actual question, I have several Le Creuset, including one in the oven right now, but I use them more for slow cooks/braises/stews/soups than bread (despite having a slow cooker - if I'm home, the real oven and Le Creuset is much better).

The outside stays clean after many years of use, the bases are a little browned, but it doesn't seem to affect function.  If you are going to use it for other things, I would consider two - one for bread and one for braises/stews/tagines, as the different shapes might be useful.  I've never had a problem with weight and oven racks, but all my roasting pans are cast iron and heavy as well.

#7 Acidulous Osprey

Posted 19 March 2020 - 06:44 PM

I've got both.  I prefer the cast iron dutch oven.  Dunno why though.

#8 Not Escapin Xmas

Posted 19 March 2020 - 07:19 PM

Big Le Creuset here. Love it. We use it on the stove to make Bolognese sauce, pork shoulder/cream/cabbage/onion/mustard, soups, all kinds of things. You should totally get one too :)

#9 nasty buddha

Posted 19 March 2020 - 07:21 PM

If you want to clean the enamel you just simmer water on the stove with bicarb in it. Turn it off after an hour. Then when cool you just gentle can wipe the black stuff off. Looks new again.

Le cruset round enamel here... but it was a hand me down gift.

Edit to add..  I really burnt on a nice thick crust of black burnt on food a few weeks ago. It took about 4 goes at the technique above to let the bicarb loosen the deeper layers. By the end it was the cleanest it had been in a long long time.  Works for stainless steel too.

Edited by nasty buddha, 19 March 2020 - 08:31 PM.

#10 Ozquoll

Posted 19 March 2020 - 07:23 PM

Can't help you on the comparison since I've only used a Le Creuset, but I can confirm the bread comes out freaking AMAZING when cooked in one 😁👍.

#11 got my tinsel on

Posted 19 March 2020 - 07:36 PM

 Not Escapin Xmas, on 19 March 2020 - 07:19 PM, said:

Big Le Creuset here. Love it. We use it on the stove to make Bolognese sauce, pork shoulder/cream/cabbage/onion/mustard, soups, all kinds of things. You should totally get one too Posted Image

I so want the recipe for your pork shoulder/cream/cabbage/onion/mustard dish.


#12 purpleduck

Posted 19 March 2020 - 08:37 PM

So what size do you have? I have seen recommendations that 6L + is best for family of 5 but then I worry just how big that would be.

I am definitely a bulk cooker eg like to have leftovers if I’m going to bother cooking ;)

#13 SeaPrincess

Posted 19 March 2020 - 08:50 PM

We are a family of 5 and the 24cm/4.2L is big enough for everything I cook as long as I’m not trying to make enough bolognese for a freezer meal.

I’m going to try the bicarb to clean the bottom. Thanks for the tip! I

#14 can'tstayaway

Posted 20 March 2020 - 01:36 PM

We have Le Creuset here and some non enameled ones for camp cooking.

I have a variety of sizes and it’s handy to use just the right sized one when I want it but for convenience, if you only have one, I’d get the biggest one possible. Especially if you’re using it to make bread.

#15 purpleduck

Posted 20 March 2020 - 07:12 PM

So guess what I managed to do.... popped into an op shop to get some books for the kids in case of a shutdown and found a lovely dark blue enamel cast iron pot and lid with Nacco Denmark on the base. Probably on the smaller side but looks big enough to bake some bread :D

Oh and it cost $7.50 ;)

It’s like this but with blue enamel interior. Couple of small chips but overall in good condition once I cleaned it :)

Edited by purpleduck, 20 March 2020 - 07:19 PM.

#16 Ozquoll

Posted 20 March 2020 - 07:14 PM

Nice one purpleduck!

Op shops are so great 😀

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