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What is Le Creuset Doufeu?
It is essentially a Dutch Oven with a slight twist. While the pot is designed in the same manner, most of the difference lies in the lid itself. The lid is devised in such a way so you can add ice to the top to retain most of the moisture inside the pot. The recessed lip contains the ice and the melted water so it doesn’t spill over the sides in the oven.
How does it work?
As mentioned above, all of the magic happens due to the cleverly designed lid, and the ice which goes over it. The ice minimizes the loss of steam through condensation of the same, which then turns back into the liquid state. This way most of the moisture is kept inside the pot maximizing the taste and tenderness of the food. It is essentially using basic chemistry which is exercised through a low-tech solution.
I’ll go over the basics real quick. As we all learned from chemistry class, water has three states – liquid, gas, and solid. As we cook the food in the liquid state of water, it heats up and turns to steam. That steam is then cooled by the ice on the lid, which then condenses back to the liquid state and returns to the bottom of the pot. It is as simple as that, and this dish takes the advantage of this particular process.
However, while it is cleverly thought-out, it is not without its drawbacks. In my personal experience, the Le Creuset Doufeu works decently, but it doesn’t prevent 100% of the moisture from escaping. While the seal of the pot and the lid is adequate, it is not airtight, and that reflects on the overall performance.
How is it Made?
This particular oven is made in the same manner as the rest of the product from this French company. The main materials are cast iron and enamel paint. The one thing that makes it special is the quality, and the thickness of the materials, as well as the meticulous production process which ensures a top-level finish.
The process starts with the company’s secret metal recipe. The different types of iron are melted while the sand molds are prepared. Molds are then filled with the molten iron to create the cast iron pieces – both pots and lids. All of the pieces are put on the vibration belt to loosen the remaining sand. After that, they are sent to refining in which workers fix some of the rougher edges.
Then the items move to a bit of roughening to prepare the surface for paint. Primer is applied to prevent rust, and then enamel is sprayed on. After baking in the oven, another layer of enamel is applied. That’s where all of the amazing color combinations arise. One thing that separates these pots from any other on the market is gradation in color which gives them that unique and elegant look.
How to use Le Creuset Doufeu?
The process is very simple. All you have to do is add the necessary ingredients to the pot, according to your recipe, and put it in the oven. One last thing you have to do is add the ice to the top to experience all of the magic of this amazing cookware.
Besides this, you can also use it on the stove to cook different types of meat and vegetables. Again the process is going to be the same. Add the ingredients, place it on the stovetop and add ice. Check out the video below for the whole process.
While the history isn’t really clear when it comes to the first use of the Le Creuset Doufeu, one thing is for sure. Since conventional cooking methods didn’t take off until the beginning of the 20th century, the use of such cookware was nonexistent. As the food preparation in the oven developed and became more popular this process was introduced. In the end, the use of this so-called oven was introduced in the early 1900s, not before…
What to do if you chip your Le Creuset Doufeu?
Well, two types of damage can occur – the outside, which is more common, and the inside. If you happen to chip the pot on the outside, there isn’t really that much you can do. But, there isn’t much to worry about either. Besides the esthetics, the pot will function the same and the chip won’t affect its performance in any way.
If you happen to chip the pot on the inside, you have to stop using it ASAP. You want to stop using your pot to prevent any further damage, and to prevent the enamel from contaminating the food. Firstly inspect the damage, and check the specifications of the pot, which can be found either on the pot itself or on the lid. After you’ve done this, contact the manufacturer, and they will give you further instructions.
If the pot meets their requirements, they might send you a replacement. The enamel itself is not fixable, and you shouldn’t attempt to fix it yourself. It might pose a hazard primarily due to the enamel contaminating the food, as stated above.
Price and availability
When it comes to price they can get quite expensive. Much more compared to conventional Dutch ovens. This in the end might be one of the reasons, they didn’t really gain popularity nowadays. Besides this, it can be hard to get a hold of them. While they are not impossible to buy, you might have to order them internationally which might bump up the price even more.
What are some of the alternatives?
Pressure cookerThe pressure cooker is a great alternative primarily because it uses the same philosophy of moisture retention, although through a different method. However, if you’re all about the effectiveness, this might even be a better choice. Pressure cookers retain pretty much all of the moisture inside the pot. More importantly, they also retain all of the vitamins and minerals that would otherwise be lost. In the end, they’re great tools that naturally enhance the taste of the food.
This is not where the benefits end. Using a pressure cooker you can cut down on your cooking time by 70%, which is significant. Using this cooking method you’ll cut down on meal preparation time which you can spend preparing something else. This also translates to energy saving and lower electricity bills.
Another somewhat unexpected benefit is the cooler kitchen. As most of the heat is directed toward the ingredients inside the pot, no heat is lost. This means that your kitchen will be cooler, and the cooking atmosphere will be more enjoyable.
Lastly, you can use the pressure cooker to preserve the food. However, larger pressure cookers are better if you plan to use them for food preservation since they have a larger capacity.
Dutch OvenAnother great alternative is a conventional Dutch Oven. It is a great cooking tool which will make meal preparation easier, but not only that. It will also make your meals more delicious. This is because they are made from cast iron and enamel, or only cast iron. This material is great when it comes to heat retention, as well as distribution. They are ideal for cooking at low temperatures, and as we all know, most of the dishes simply taste better when prepared in this manner.
They also come with a lid which traps some of the moisture inside the pot, but more importantly the taste. They are great cooking tools even for beginners since they are very forgiving, as long as you stick to the recipe.
Is it worth buying?
Before I answer this question, I have to say that I didn’t spend my own money on it, I got it as a gift. As someone who likes to spend time in the kitchen, I have to say that I don’t really use it regularly. However, I do use it occasionally primarily because I like some of the traditional cooking methods that make every dish that much more special. On the other hand, if you are strictly focused on performance you might be better off with a pressure cooker.
To conclude this story I have to say that personally, I do like it. I like to use some of the cooking methods from the past. It simply makes each one of my dishes more special, at least in my mind. Whether it is worth purchasing I have to say probably not. Mainly because of the high price and capable alternatives which are much more affordable. However, if you are like me and you like to add some of the traditional twist to your dishes, while not minding the price, you should go for it.
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Last update on 2021-03-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API