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Old 10-18-2007, 10:32 PM   #21
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Okay, Jammero, I have to agree with you. I will only buy oval Dutch ovens because soups and stews don't care what the shape the container they're in. However, if I'm cooking something oval or oblong, such as a chicken or ham, or whatever, I need the vessel to be elongated. All my Dutch ovens are oval for that reason.
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Old 10-18-2007, 10:40 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammero
Please excuse me for joining in because I have a question instead of an answer but since I'm just learning myself, wouldn't an oval French oven work good for a shoulder or ham since it seems like their shapes would be sort of form fitting?
Absolutely!

The only reason I can think of to have two different shapes of French Ovens would be the conform to the shape of the food being cooked in them ....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael in FtW
If I had a round and an oval french oven ... I would probably select one based on the overall shape of the food - tenderloins and chickens are oval - roasts are generally round ... depending on the roast.
Oh, Jammero - never EVERY be afraid to jump in and make a comment or ask a question! Some of us may "debate" things from time to time ... but I've never heard of anyone actually getting bit!
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Old 10-18-2007, 10:42 PM   #23
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Thank's Katie E, I feel like I'm starting to learn already.
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Old 10-18-2007, 10:44 PM   #24
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Thank's Michael, I appreciate and will remember that.
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Old 10-18-2007, 11:07 PM   #25
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great post MIcheal! for what it's worth, my experience with French ovens is buy a good one. THe cheap ones will chip or crack even if you are careful. Le Crueset, Lamont, Straub have all stood the test of time. If you must buy cheap get a raw cast iron one and season it yourself.
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Old 10-18-2007, 11:45 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Michael in FtW View Post
It's easy to be confused - the term dutch oven has been so missused it's had for anyone to figure out what one is.

A REAL Dutch Oven is designed for use on a campfire - not on a stovetop or in an oven. It is made of thick cast iron, has three short legs on the bottom and has a relatively flat lid with a lip around it to keep coals from sliding off. They probably got their name from being made using the Dutch process of casting iron, and by heating from the top and bottom they acted like an oven.

Something else called a Dutch Oven is a camp oven ... again made from thick cast iron - no legs and has a domed lid with cone-shaped spikes on the bottom of the lid ... these collect condensation and help redistribute the moisture evenly across the pot. These can be used on the stovetop or in the oven.

Now, another pot that is often mistakenly called a Ducth Oven is a pot made from thinner cast iron and coated with enamel - like LeCruset. These are "French" Ovens ... if you look at LeCruset's website and you will not find the term Dutch Oven anywhere. These are also excellent for stovetop and oven.

And the others ... manufacturers who don't know what to call a 5 or 6 qt pot that is wider than it is tall just call them "Ducth Ovens" regardless of the material - because they are the same shape even if they share none of the cooking characteristics of a real DO.

Cast iron, and enamel coated cast iron, pots share one things in common ... cast iron is a POOR (slow) but EVEN heat conductor ... which is exactly what makes them so great for long, slow cooking - over a camp fire, on the stovetop or in the oven ... as the temperature around them changes they remain more constant than copper, aluminum, hard anodized aluminum or stainless steel.

Enameled cast iron doesn't have to be seasoned ... which is an advantage over regular cast iron ... plus it comes in pretty colors, it cost more, and is more prone to damage from thermal shock. LeCruset is the most famous French Oven - and the most expensive ... there are other less know brands that are IMHO just as good. But, like keltin said - check the oven specs to see how hot you can get it. Although the enameling process requires some really high temps - really thin enamel coatings are not always rated for higher oven temps.

What you get depends on what you're going to use it for and how.

Sorry ... calling every 5-6 qt pot a dutch oven is like scraping fingernails across a blackboard to me ...

Another great post Michael. Allow me to play devil's advocate. These thoughts have been churning for a while.

I always figured the Dutch in Dutch oven related to the convention of using the word Dutch to mean less than authentic or real. e.g. a dutch uncle isn't really an uncle. A Dutch treat - you're not really being treated. A Dutch oven - not really an oven but a reasonable facsimilie.

While it is true that LeCrueset insists on the term French oven, I don't think it's because there is a difference between their product and Dutch ovens. Rather that they are a French company...

One of the reasons I bought an enameled French oven was because of the possibility of acidic ingredients' reacting with the CI to create off colors and flavors. I didn't want to have to deal with that.

While I am a fan of the CI DO (enameled), I wonder if the material really matters. These vessels are used for long, constant heat cooking processes. The heat source is typically constant with minimal fluctuations. I would think a clad vessel which reacts more quickly to heat changes but distributes it evenly, such as clad SS, would be equally effective.

I've used clad SS sauce pans (4 to 8 quart sizes) for braises, soups and stews with success. I typically do this in the oven so I don't have to worry about stove top burner fluctuations.

Just my thoughts.
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Old 10-19-2007, 12:19 AM   #27
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The origin of the name "Dutch Oven" is the subject of much fun debate.
Three very popular theories are. In 1704 an Englishman traveled to Holland to see the Dutch casting process for brass pots etc which were cast in sand molds. He returned to England, started to experiment with new casting ideas using better molds, better sand etc.Finally, Abraham Darby began casting pots and shipping them to the "New World" and every where else as well. Thus the name comes from the original "Dutch" process for sand casting metal pots.

Another is that Dutch traders, peddlers, traveling door to door selling pots gave the pot their name...Dutch ovens. Others give credit to the Dutch settlers in Pennsylvania who used these pots. The real truth probably lies in all three. I personally buy into, and give a lot of weight to the Abraham Darby story.

It's also interesting to note that the "flat" lid with lip that is used today on "Camp" ovens was an improved designed by none other than Paul Revere, a silver smith, of "Midnight Ride" fame. Some folks question this, but it is generally accepted as fact.

By any name, or shape the taste of food cooked in one is unmatched by most other types of cookware.
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Old 10-19-2007, 01:20 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M.
... Allow me to play devil's advocate. ...
As if I didn't already have keltin and Caine serving in that capacity ....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M.
I always figured the Dutch in Dutch oven related to the convention of using the word Dutch to mean less than authentic or real. e.g. a dutch uncle isn't really an uncle. A Dutch treat - you're not really being treated. A Dutch oven - not really an oven but a reasonable facsimilie.
There is some debate over whether "Dutch" refers to the fact that they were made from the Dutch method of (sand) casting - or if it refers to Dutch peddlers selling them .. but the general concensus, from what I've read, goes with the former. These pots didn't exist before the Durch process was brought back to England ... and I'm too tired to go look up the references again .. I know I posted this a couple or three years ago ... complete with links to references ... you might ask Dutchess since she has access to a very authoritative book on CI and it's use in America.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M.
While it is true that LeCrueset insists on the term French oven, I don't think it's because there is a difference between their product and Dutch ovens. Rather that they are a French company...
The CI in a French Oven is thinner than a DO ... from the ones I've seen. And, when I was researching this 2-3 years ago I did find references to "French" ovens being used in Germany back in the 1800's ... people didn't have ovens in their homes and would take their "french" oven to the bakers (who didn't nake on Sunday but their ovens were kept hot) on Sunday morning to cook their Sunday meal ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M.
One of the reasons I bought an enameled French oven was because of the possibility of acidic ingredients' reacting with the CI to create off colors and flavors. I didn't want to have to deal with that.
I think Uncle Bob will agree with me on this - well seasoned CI is virtually non-reactive when it comes to cooking - but you don't want to store your acidic food in it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M.
While I am a fan of the CI DO (enameled), I wonder if the material really matters. These vessels are used for long, constant heat cooking processes. The heat source is typically constant with minimal fluctuations. I would think a clad vessel which reacts more quickly to heat changes but distributes it evenly, such as clad SS, would be equally effective.
You've kind of answered your own question without realizing it. Since CI is a poor heat conductor - it is slow to react ... so as an oven heats up and cools down - the CI pot maintains a more constant temp. A pot made from a good conductor would have the same fluctuations as the oven ... copper would be the worst in that respect. On top of the stove - same problems.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M.
I've used clad SS sauce pans (4 to 8 quart sizes) for braises, soups and stews with success. I typically do this in the oven so I don't have to worry about stove top burner fluctuations.
Stove tops are generally more constant than ovens, which cycle on and off.

But, I agree - I think too much is made about some "clad up the sides" cookware when a comperable pot with a thick heavy encapsulated bottom will work just as well ... and my 6-qt hard anodized aluminum pot has never failed me as a substitute for my CI when I didn't have access to it.

If I remember right - you have McGee's On Food and Cooking ... did you ever pick up his The Curious Cook?
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Old 10-19-2007, 06:41 AM   #29
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Michael, you've given me a lot to think about. Thanks, I think.

I don't have The Curious Cook. I guess i should look into it so I can try to keep up.
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Old 10-19-2007, 01:03 PM   #30
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I'll add one more wrinkle to this yarn. The "Dutch" who settled in Pennsylvania were actually German settlers. They were Doiche. The nmae was changed, the same as numerous native American names were changed, to make them easier for others to pronounce.

And so... if the latter story was true, that the Pennsylvania Dutch were the origin of the name, then the pot would be more correctly called a Doiche oven.

Seeeeeya; Bob Flowers
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