enamled cast iron

housecrazy1970April 23, 2008

My DGF and I are about to become first time parents. We are almost done building our "dream home" with "dream kitchen". I am hopeing to become a good cook. I have been practicing cooking with my mom while assembling a large cookware setup. I have a 14 piece set of Calphalon one NOT non stick. To this I have added a couple of stainless pieces from calphalon and all clad. I also added a l4 qt stockpot, and a calphalon one dutch oven, and 2 decent nonestick frypans for cooking eggs.

(i know im a little longwinded, sorry)

The queston:

I like the way my moms cast iron cookware cooks. I would like to add a few cast iron pieces. I'm really not into the whole seasoning thing (please know arguments on how easy it is to make and keep a pan seasoned)

I would like to know if enamled cast iron gives the cooking properties of regular cast iron but without having to season the pan? does it have reasonable "release ability"?

I am fairly new to "real" cooking but am enjoying my foray into the culinary world. I have found GW to be an awesome reference and find it is an invaluable resource. what are the addvantages of enamled cast iron over regular?

Thanks in advance

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Cast iron in general has even heat - no hot spots - and it retains heat for quite a long time. You can cook at lower temperatures for long braising, stews, and soups.

Enameled cast iron is wonderful as a Dutch oven or French oven. I do not have any experience using enameled fry pans, although my mom uses hers frequently and seems to like it. The good thing about enameled cast iron vs. non-enameled cast iron is that the enameled version does not react with high acid foods like tomatoes and recipes with a lot of vinegar. So you can make tomato sauce, sphagetti or pizza sauce, small batches of pickles, relish, chutney, etc. And my Le Creuset French oven cleans up very easily - I just run some hot water in it and let it sit a while if food is really cooked on.

Whether or not you can cook eggs in enameled fry pan....I can't answer that as I have no experience. When my last non-stick pan bit the dust, I started using my two small cast iron skillets for scrambled eggs. They are well seasoned and release the eggs just fine. I don't plan on buying another non-stick pan any time soon.


    Bookmark   April 23, 2008 at 11:19AM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

What kind of stove do you have? Uncoated cast iron and even the good stuff, like Le Crueset, will scratch a ceramic stove top.

But, cooking is really not about the cookware! Hard to believe based on what you read here, but it's really about learning how to cook with what you have.
A good cook can cook in junk and produce delicious food.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2008 at 5:07PM
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I definitely know good cookware will not make me a chef LOL. I like the feeling of using good equipment! I have a 48
' thermadore pro gas range, with sealed star burners. I gues my main question is will enamled cast iron not require the seasoning required of regular cast iron?

    Bookmark   April 25, 2008 at 12:18AM
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Enameled cast iron does not need seasoning but raw cast iron does. Lodge is now selling cast iron pans that are already seasoned, but I don't know if I would buy those. The time-honored way of seasoning and maintaining cast iron works just fine for me.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2008 at 7:01AM
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And don't apologize for wanting to use good equipment. While a good cook can cook with lousy pots, a novice will make better progress with good tools.

It's analagous to music. I used to play a rather mediocre guitar; after I got a good one I could hear subtle differences in my playing, and I improved more quickly than if I had had to still play the junky guitar.

I have both enameled and 'raw' cast iron and use them both. Enameled is less fussy and a bit more elegant, but the heat transfer qualities are similar.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2008 at 4:30PM
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I 'think' that enameled cast iron is better for slow cooking, stews, beans, vegetables, because it is non-reactive and of course, can go into the oven. (round or oval French or Dutch ovens)

I think searing a steak would be better in a seasoned skillet (non-enameled)- I guess because of the higher heat or the chance of burning something on the enamel.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2008 at 1:58PM
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I love my Le Creuset but I wouldn't really consider it non-stick non-stick. Maybe stick resistant. Over the years the finish roughens up a little (nothing lasts forever) and it gets less stick resistant. I used to have a little enamled fry pan, 6"?, and it used to frustrate me because I would do my favorite - burn sausages till they were really crisp - and I had a really tough time getting it clean and switched to teflon for breakfast.
And I used Le Creuset on glass/ceramic stove tops and never have had a problem - I don't slide drag pots around on it but it hasn't been an issue

    Bookmark   April 26, 2008 at 8:15PM
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Seasoned Cast Iron vs Enameled Cast Iron. Enameled Cast Iron is in lieu of Seasoned Cast Iron, invented for those who didn't know how or didn't want to know how to season cast iron cookware. Cast Iron Cookware, enameled or just seasoned, cooks the same. The enamel is NOT a non stick surface so oil will still have to be used. A well seasoned pan will also stick unless oil is used but usually because of too high heat. Cast iron cooks best at medium to low temperatures, rule of thumb - if the oil smokes the burner is to hot! A well seasoned cast iron pan is coated with carbonized oil (seasoned) and has a nice smooth surface inside and out, cooks and cleans beautifully every time - a grungy, stinky, heavy coated pan is NOT a good well seasoned pan, it is a dirty mess with built up carbonized food and grease and not fit to feed your dog in. Enameled cast iron can also become a dirty mess if not properly cared for. Enameled cast iron is fashionable again today as it was 80 years ago but still has some drawbacks - it can chip, craz, pit, and become rough and dull from heat and cleaners. And, be cautious of cheap imports! For me, I'll keep my old turn of the century Griswold's, seasoned to perfection with olive oil, over any of the new enameled cast iron on the market today including the over priced Le Creuset!!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2008 at 8:53PM
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ellenr22 - NJ - Zone 6b/7a
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