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Old 02-03-2012, 09:42 AM   #1
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What size Le Creuset dutch oven should I get?

I'm trying to decide between 5 1/2 quarts and 7 and 1/4 quart round dutch ovens. I generally cook for 2-4 people.

Any personal suggestions?

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Old 02-03-2012, 10:38 AM   #2
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Assuming money is no object, and you're only buying one, I'd go for the 7 1/4 quart.

Why? Although you can easily cook for 2-4 in the 5 1/2, it doesn't stretch. You can cook smaller in the big one, and it will be available for those times you need the extra room.
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Old 02-03-2012, 10:38 AM   #3
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There's not an enormous difference in size. I always opt for the larger. I get an additional inch diameter. That translates into something like 30 square inches more bottom, and I most often us it for braising and similar operations. I want to use the one vessel for the whole thing, so I want enough bottom area that I can brown all the meat at once, all pieces continuously undisturbed on the surface, as they must be to brown properly. Not that much price difference either, not that I buy Le Creuset. I can afford it, but I still think that's silly expensive when my $30 no-name does an excellent job. But for size, I'd go with the bigger. You can cook smaller in the big one. You can't cook bigger in the smaller one.

(I might rethink, if I anticipated baking in it.)
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Old 02-03-2012, 10:56 AM   #4
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Other than no-knead bread, GLC, what would you bake in it?
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Old 02-03-2012, 11:03 AM   #5
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I would check the width of the bottom first. It should fit on your burner. Too small, and the heat is going into the room. Too large, and the edges of the pan are not being heated. If the difference is in the height, then go with the larger one.
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Old 02-03-2012, 11:09 AM   #6
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I'd go with the 5 quart. Wait, I DID go with a 5 quart one.

Old mother Hubbard might need the 7 quart one.
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Old 02-03-2012, 11:32 AM   #7
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Storage of the oven could also be an issue, as well as just lifting the thing, bigger is heavier. That may or may not be a concern.
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Old 02-03-2012, 11:38 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankZ View Post
Storage of the oven could also be an issue, as well as just lifting the thing, bigger is heavier. That may or may not be a concern.
As you get older, it gets heavier with less in it. And unfortunately, you may develop arthritis. That is when just one potato can feel like five pounds in the pot.
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Old 02-03-2012, 12:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HistoricFoodie View Post
Other than no-knead bread, GLC, what would you bake in it?
I don't use it much, but there are all sorts of baked goods that can be done in it. I just figured that the smaller size might be more appropriate for typical small family amounts. But thinking about it, smaller amounts can be but in smaller pans and still placed in the dutch oven, so I'd probably end up with the big one anyway.
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Old 02-03-2012, 12:16 PM   #10
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I still think that's silly expensive when my $30 no-name does an excellent job.
I have a dutch oven that my granddaughter bought for me from the Dollar Store. (Bless her heart!) It has a great bottom. Nothing sticks. I think she paid all of $5.00 for it. I don't even have to use a heat diffuser with it. But it works for me. So I have never thought to replace it. I am constantly searching the Home Goods Store (TJ Maxx) clearance section. I have seen really expensive dutch ovens for more than half the original price. But they don't have the love my $5.00 one has. Everytime I use it, I think of her and how proud she was when I used it for the first time.
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