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Buying Guide: Dutch Oven



A Dutch oven (sometimes called French oven, casserole, or Cocotte) is one of the worthiest cooking tools you can have because it is a very versatile cooking container that can last to your next generation with proper care.

Ideal Dutch oven material is cast iron for the reason of heat performance; it’s slowly heat up but retain heat longer than other materials, which produces good results for slow cooking methods---braising, stewing, or simmering. Moreover, with beautiful design and high heat resistant, it is good to go right from the stovetop to the oven, and dining table.


Dutch Oven Buying Guide

Cost to Pay

Good Dutch ovens cost from $40 to $300 or more for some heirloom pots. However, since this kind of pieces are nothing too fancy in the production, the cost typically reflects the quality of craftwork, cooking performance and warranty period than splurge-y features. Most of under $100 ovens were found chipped coats or dense bottom after years (or months) of use, while the pricier Le Creuset or Staub pots are rarely found these problems. So, buying expensive Dutch oven is a good investment for your kitchen.

Know Before Buying:

  • Materials. Though enameled cast-iron pots are preferable as are good at heat retention, non-reactive for acidic foods and durability, they are heavy, even without food inside, which aren’t the perfect choices for small or arthritis people. Fortunately, there’re other lighter but though options these days.

    Enameled Cast Iron
    Enameled Cast Iron
    Pros:
    • Excellent heat retention
    • Good for searing, sautéing, roasting, frying, and slow cook methods (braising, stewing, simmering)
    • Durable
    • Non-reactive
    Cons:
    • Heavy
    • Pricier
    Bare (Uncoated) Cast Iron
    Bare Cast Iron
    Pros:
    • Excellent heat retention
    • Good for searing, sautéing, frying and slow cook methods.
    • Durable
    • Non-reactive
    • Inexpensive
    Cons:
    • Heavy
    • Reactive to acidic or alkaline foods
    • Need proper care and seasoned
    Hard-Anodized Aluminum
    Hard-Anodized Aluminum
    Pros:
    • Excellent heat absorption and evenly cook.
    • Good for searing, browning, and sautéing.
    • Lightweight
    • Non-reactive
    • Nonstick surface
    Cons:
    • Poor heat retention
    • Heat too quickly for slow cooking methods.
    • Moderately durable
    • Not good for oven
    Stainless Steel
    Stainless Steel
    Pros:
    • Good for heat absorption and evenly cook.
    • Excellent for searing, browning, frying, and sautéing.
    • Lightweight
    • Non-reactive
    • Low maintenance
    • Durable
    Cons:
    • Poor heat retention
    • Heat too quickly for slow cooking methods.
    • Food sticks

    Uncoated aluminum is not recommended as it may raise risks of some health concerns, such as Alzheimer.

  • Design. Not only by means of beauty, a good Dutch oven should have ergonomic design for usage. The practical one should short sides and round edges and a wide base for easier sears and roasts. Moreover, it should have big and extended handles for comfortable grip, when using pot holder or mitts.

  • Fitting Lid. the lid should snugly fit the pot so that it won’t let the moist escape for richer taste of ingredients. Also, the knob should be big and easy to hold. Look for metal knobs or replace it if you plan to use in the oven.

  • Shape. These pots come in all shapes and sizes. In common, we prefer round-shape ones. Though oval pots offer better accommodate a whole chicken or a large piece of meat, they’re harder to fit over stovetop burners and storage. Still, it depends on your preference.

  • Size. Normally, the size is a factor in cost: The bigger size, the pricier budget. In general uses, the 6-quart pots are the most practical for universal uses. Still, for a couple or a small group of four, 3- to 4-quart size is appropriate.

  • Weight. The good oven should feel heavy, but if you find it’s too hefty to hold, even without filling ingredients in, consider other lighter materials







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