Sunday, March 28, 2010


I recently went shopping for a dutch oven.  Dutch ovens can be used for stews, soups, casseroles, roastsb braising and no knead breads.   I wanted a dutch oven to use in slow cooking a beef roast.  I have talked about the cookbook by Dee Drummond – The Pioneer Woman and she makes this wonderful beef roast using a dutch oven.   I wanted to make her recipe so I needed to find a dutch oven.  Her recipe can be found at this site:

I have a lot of roasters and I do have a dutch oven made by Emile Henry that I have been using for making no-knead bread.   

But I was curious about a cast iron style of dutch oven versus a ceramic dutch oven which is what the cooking line of Emile Henry is made from.   Cast iron retains and redistributes heat for long periods of time.  Cast iron is heavy, therefore the pots are heavy to lift and carry around.  Cast iron has been used for cooking utensils since the Middle Ages.

There are a number of different companies who make dutch ovens.  I was focused on three of them – Staub, Le Creuset and Emile Henry.  Products from all three of these companies are expensive.  I believe that Emile Henry is a bit cheaper.

Staub cookware is made from cast iron.  Staub is a family owned business in Alsace France, where Francis Staub designed his first cocotte in 1974. The company has gone on to develop a vast line of quality enamelled cast iron cookware. The self-basting spikes underneath the lid ensure continuous and natural basting. 

Le Creuset has been making cookware and bakeware for over 80 years and is made from enameled cast iron. The Le Creuset factory is at Fresnoy-Le-Grand in Northern France and they make their cookware through a method of hand-casting molten cast iron in sand molds.

Emile Henry was founded in 1850, and is located in Marcigny, a small town in the province of Burgundy, France.  Emile Henry manufactures its products using ceramic cookware from Burgundy clay.

I also spent some time searching sites that compare the three brands.  The few pointers that I learned include the following:

Le Creuset versus Staub:

In the design of the lid handle, Staub is better; the lid sits a bit higher.  Staub doesn’t stain like a Le Creuset does.  The dimples on the underneath of the Staub lid makes a difference in cooking when braising meat. Staub browns food better.

Emile Henry versus Le Creuset and Staub:
Le Creuset and Staub will do the best job of retaining heat.  They are both available in many colors and sizes and will last for many years.  But they are very heavy and a bit more expensive.   
Emile Henry's flametop model wear usually comes only in a rusty red or a black color.  It's 30% lighter, and does a respectable job on the stovetop.

After reading the various reviews I knew that I should look for a dutch oven made by Staub or Le Creuset.  I also wanted an oval shaped versus round dutch oven.  The store that I went to carried both lines and I ended up buying a Staub because of the available stock that the store had and I also liked the lid better.  The slowed cook beef roast using the dutch oven turned out wonderful.   


  1. Hi,

    You should try making some no-knead breads with your pots. I've got several free on my website. Just click on the bread pic--it will take you some "pot bread" links. The bread is so easy, and very tasty, too

  2. Thanks Nancy for your email and link to your site! You have an interesting website. I also read the magazines that you write for.