Enameled Cast Iron and Chipping?


#1

Some time ago, I started a thread about cooking gear to give my son as he went to college (he’s living in a house with four other people, and he likes cooking). It’s come now that he wants a Dutch oven to be able to make no-knead bread as I do and also other preparations.

I know that Le Cresuet and Staub are the high-end options as to price. Myself, I have three sizes of enameled cast iron pots, one of them a Le Creuset. They all work fine. I ordered my son a less costly pot by Cuisinart (7qt) recommended as a best buy by Cooks Illustrated. But he and I both noted in Amazon comments that many complaints about the enamel chipping arose.

None of my enameled cast iron pots, regardless of price point, have chipped in 10-20 years of consistent use. So I wonder: is chipping a problem with current pots, or are those internet reviewers just a minority of disgruntled exceptionals? Does your pot chip?


#2

I use Staub cast iron pots, grills, terrines, wok, tajines, most of them more than 10 years now, about 10 of them. All matte black enamel ones don’t chip. As for all the glossy enamel finish I owned (4 of them), one teapot has a small chip. If you want to be certain, get the matte black ones, they are the ones you see in the French professional kitchens. (I don’t see much le Creuset here in pro kitchens).

I know they are expensive, even in France, I only buy them when they were on sale. And strangely it is difficult to find the matte black ones on sale. I think in US, you have lifetime warranty for Staub?


#3

Certainly read up on the warranty for Cuisinart. I have had and used/beat to heck and back my big red Le Creuset dutch oven and managed to chip the inside enamel coating while too enthusiastic about removing burnt on something (totally my fault).
I sent it in eventually asking for a repair that i would pay for.
they sent me a brand new pot instead
The one i had sent in was easily 8yrs old!
Another time i dropped the lid and that chipped the enamel.

In a house with others I would proceed with caution because too much scrubbing with scour pad or other too rough thing on a burnt bottom will remove enamel coating


(Ray Briggs) #4

Hi BadaBing,

I’ve noticed a clear difference between my Le Creuset and Staub vs. my Tramontina (made in China).

Ray


(For the Horde!) #5

I certainly think expectation is one of them. A lot of people who use the lesser brand (than Le Creuset and Staub) are new comers. As such, they handle and expect things differently. If you look at Lodge enameled (colored) and Cuisinart enameled Dutch Oven, they are still 85-89% between 4 and 5 stars. Le Creuset Dutch Oven is 92-94% positive. So we are talking about a 5% difference in opinion. A 5-7 times price difference. Personally, enameled cast iron is enameled cast iron. It is not unexpected that they can chip. Have fun.


#6

Thanks. But what’s the difference?


#7

I have switched over to completely to Lodge enamel. Inexpensive, very sturdy, a bit heavier, but really well made and I think they cook better and hold heat better than the expensive stuff. I have around $1800 worth of Le Creuset and Straub that I don’t use at all the past few years.

I have almost the complete line of Lodge, bought on Amazon, in several of the colors. From small to large enamel fry pans and cover for the 11" large, to small to very large dutch ovens. I use the 4.6 quart dutch oven the most for cooking for 2-5 people, and for bread. I just got the 6 quart and haven’t used it yet. The 1.5 quart and 3 quart Dutch ovens get a lot of use as well.

I dropped several of the Lodge pieces onto ceramic tile floors around two years ago when I had a sprained wrist. I’m glad I was planning on changing to bamboo floors. The ceramic floors suffered, the Lodge enamel stuff doesn’t have a scratch. And at 20% the price of the expensive pieces, I really don’t worry. But no cooking related chips in several years of almost daily use. Oh, and one dropped by a friends child onto the bamboo floors and no issues to the new floor (or Lodge) either.


(Ray Briggs) #8

The Tramontina pots are less shiny and have some chipping on the lid. The enamel on the inside is more uneven.

They look old; the Staub and the Le Creuset look like new.

Ray


#9

I forgot to mentioned, I have 2 baby dutch ovens made in China for quails or purée, 1/3 of the price of Staub and le Creuset, it chipped coming out from oven or washing without any hits. quite bad quality. At the time of purchase, one arrived in an online order without interior enamel coating and need to ask for a replacement.


(For the Horde!) #10

Yeah, same here. I have had used the Lodge Color enameled cast iron Dutch Oven. They are very pretty and relatively inexpensive ($50-60). I just realize that Amazon has its own enameled cast iron cookware now. They look so much like the Lodge ones, cheaper than even the Lodge ones (~$40) with a ~95% positive review.

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#11

I was going to buy a Cuisinart CI once. Then I read that it can only go into a 400 or so degree oven. Not hot enough for me so I bought the LC (though at Marshall’s at a good discount). Maybe the pots chips one they get too hot? Maybe it’s the crappy Chinese manufacturing?


(Ray Briggs) #12

Yes,

Lookalike “Lodge Dutch Ovens” have been sold independently for many years–maybe by the manufacturer. I’ve seen them for sale.

Looks like Amazon is getting in on the action.

Ray


#13

Wasn’t the whole point of an enamel coating so there wouldn’t be anything burnt on the bottom of it? Why bother… :face_with_raised_eyebrow:


#14

That’s true for any enameled cast iron. The maximum recommended temperature is 450. Where they really shine is relatively low temperature braising (which I do a LOT of) - I don’t consider them all purpose pots. But I have several Le Creuset pots (a 7qt oval, 5 and a half qt round, and a 3 and a half qt braiser that I have used at the upper end of that limit for years and years and they’ve never chipped from that. I do have some crazing and staining, but no chips and the interior is still as smooth as when I got them. The round pot does have a small chip on the handle loop that happened when Mr Rat missed something he was hammering into the wall and bashed the hammer into it.

I also have a 3 quart round Martha Stewart dutch oven that I got as a gift. The outside of the pot and the interior of the lid are full of chips, which I often discovered when taking the pot off the shelf, opening it, and seeing enamel chips inside the pot and next to the pot on the shelf - i.e., not even from heating and cooling down, but just from poor manufacturing. The inside of the pot is fine, but then I never use it in the oven, just on the stovetop.

I’ve never used Lodge or Tramontina, so I can’t speak to that. I will say that if you are willing to wait for sales both Le Creuset and Staub do go on sale - the five and a half quart I got years ago at Bloomingdale’s for 75% off.


#15

That’s very true and maybe a good reason to get a cheaper pot. Also since the OP’s son seems most interested is using the pot to make no-knead bread, a plain bare Lodge cast iron dutch oven might be a better choice - cheaper and basically indestructible.


(For the Horde!) #16

Definitely, not the whole point. Enamel coating is known to both have food stick to it and also burn on it.


(For the Horde!) #17

Actually, the temperature limitation has more to do with the knob. Originally, many of these use plastic knobs. Now, many of them have metal knob, so you can go up to higher temperature. The downside of a metal knob is that it can really burn you if you accidentally grab it.


#18

A hardware store will supply a substitute metal knob for a few bucks. I did that with my Le Creuset.


(For the Horde!) #19

Absolutely. I remember this suggestion and even went to HomeDepot, and then I said to myself… Nah, I don’t want to spend another $5-10 dollar.


#20

I always buy staub via internet or their warehouse sales because getting there is doable. They state that some warehouse items have visual imperfections but I’ve never noticed and I’ve read similar feedback from others. No problems with chipping thus far either.
https://www.zwilling.com/us/sale/clearance/staub/

https://www.zwilling.com/us/sale/cookware-sales/staub/