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Old 10-28-2004, 08:10 AM   #1
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Dutch Oven/Doufeu

I just got my latest toy, my 7 quart Le Creuset dutch oven. I have just recently learned about Doufeus as well. My question is this...Can I turn the lid of my dutch oven upside down so that it is concave and fill that part of the lid with ice so that I could use the oven as a doufeu? I don't even know what I would use a doufeu for, but I noticed that the lid does fit well upside down. Any comments?

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Old 10-28-2004, 08:11 AM   #2
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geebs, what's a doufeu?
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Old 10-28-2004, 08:16 AM   #3
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It is similar to a dutch oven, but it has a deep recessed lid. You put ice in the lid to promote condensation inside the pot so the food is continuously basted. Here is a picture and a little more explanation from Williams Sonoma...

http://ww5.williams-sonoma.com/cat/p...1&flash=on

I just recently learned about these myself so I am not even sure what I would use it for.
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Old 10-28-2004, 08:18 AM   #4
 
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A doufeu is a roaster with a shallow depression in the lid. You are supposed to put cold water in the depression while the roaster cooks in the oven. This is supposed to encourage condesation and self basting inside the pan.

I don't really see why you can't use the lid that way. Of course you will have a difficult time removing the hot lid later because the knob will be inside the roaster.
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Old 10-28-2004, 08:20 AM   #5
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I think the lid handle on your dutch oven might get wrecked if you try to substitute for this doufeu thing.

If you don't have enough cast iron yet, get one of those skillets that comes with the lid that has the little knobby things on the inside of the lid. Creates the same condensation as the pricier doodad.
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Old 10-28-2004, 08:46 AM   #6
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I have a LeCreuset doufeu. They are usually very expensive, but I was checking with one of the factory stores and they had a doufeu in a discontinued color that was cheaper than the regular Dutch ovens, so I bought it. It works quite well, but I don't think I'd pony up the regular price for it. In response to the question: I'd be somewhat hesitant to put the outside surface on the inside, plus how would you safely lift the cover with no handle on the outside? Also, would you get a tight seal?
PS: I think it's best use is for producing juicy roasts.
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Old 10-28-2004, 09:36 AM   #7
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I actually tested it last night to see if the seal seemed tight and how difficult it would be to get the cover off. The seal does seem good and yes it would be a little more of a challenge to get the lid off, but I think I could probably do it without too much trouble. I am mainly concerned about the painted surface and the handle being inside and whether that would cause any health problems or damage the pot in any way.
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Old 10-28-2004, 09:50 AM   #8
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1.877.CREUSET (273.8738). The Helpline is available Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 5pm, Eastern Standard Time.
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Old 10-28-2004, 10:36 AM   #9
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Thanks for the number Otter! I just spoke with a very nice woman over there. She was a bit baffled by my question and spent some time with me going over reasons it may or may not be a good idea. She said it would not pose any health problems, but she was concerned that it would be dangerous because it would be hard to remove the water and get the lid off. I planned on using a turkey baster to suck out the water so I didn't see that as being a problem. I then asked if it would void the warranty and she sounded unsure, but since I would be using it in a way it was not intended then she thought it probably would void it. Her best point though IMO was that I could damage the paint on the cover when removing it from the oven, so I guess I will not be trying this LOL.
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Old 10-28-2004, 01:05 PM   #10
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GB, it's rare you can talk to a warm body at any company nowadays, but unfortunately it sounds like the one you reached was more like luke-warm. In addition to all the previously discussed potential negatives, the regular Dutch oven would not perform as well as the doufeu anyway. My doufeu has about 50 little nipples on the inside of the lid that ensure even condensation distribution. The regular one with the convex lid (concave when upside down) and no nipples would result in a much less even distribution.
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Old 10-28-2004, 01:23 PM   #11
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Oh I didn't know about the nipples inside. That is good to know. Thanks Otter! I guess my dutch oven will remain a dutch oven
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Old 10-29-2004, 11:01 AM   #12
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No. You can't do that with the french oven.

But I can't figure out a lot of practical uses for the dofeu ... . The french oven has a very tight lid, so the mouisture naturally condenses within anyway, without water on the top
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Old 10-29-2004, 05:03 PM   #13
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While there is condensation dispersal with the regular Dutch oven, it is not as even or extensive as with the doufeu. I have the option with the doufeu of using the water/ice in the lid if I want to, or just using it as a regular Dutch oven if I don't.
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Old 10-31-2004, 05:45 PM   #14
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I must admit that this doufeu thing has me a little confused. I went to the Williams-Sanoma site and read about it - the doufeu was originally just a Dutch Oven - you set it on coals and heaped coals on the top. Since it was heated from both the top and bottom - I don't understand where the ice cubes come in ...

A dutch oven, with a flat lid, is going to have a random condensation pattern falling back onto the food ... usually from the center if the lid is even just slightly domed, or it will roll back and down the edges of the pot. To compensate for this ... a lot of cast iron pots that are "called" dutch ovens, but not really, have domed lids with a bunch of spikes on the inside so that the condensation will collect and fall down from them in a more even pattern over the food below. Taking a LeCruset pot and inverting the lid would cause condensation to drip from the center of the lid ... with or without ice.

My way of thinking .... if you want the top to be cooler than the bottom .. cook it on the stovetop. If you are trying to keep the moisture in - the Germans did this a long time ago by making a dough seal of flour and water and sealing the pot with it.
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Old 11-01-2004, 04:20 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Otter
While there is condensation dispersal with the regular Dutch oven, it is not as even or extensive as with the doufeu. I have the option with the doufeu of using the water/ice in the lid if I want to, or just using it as a regular Dutch oven if I don't.

So what would you use the dofeu for?? That would be better than using the fresnch oven?

Just curious ...
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Old 11-01-2004, 04:58 PM   #16
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jennyema, it is heavenly for moist roasts, which I make a lot.
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Old 11-02-2004, 01:20 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Otter
jennyema, it is heavenly for moist roasts, which I make a lot.
My roasts come out pretty moist in the regular french oven.

Are you adding liquid to the dofeau? Of do you roast dry?
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Old 11-02-2004, 02:19 PM   #18
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Dry. I like that it condenses as you go rather than adding liquid up front.
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Old 11-02-2004, 04:01 PM   #19
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VEDDDDY Interesting, Otter!
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Old 11-02-2004, 06:20 PM   #20
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jennyema, if you are happy with what you have, I see no compelling reason to change. When I talked with the LeCreuset factory store, they had a doufeu on sale. I bought it and I liked it. I don't have one of their Dutch ovens - possibly they are as good - but I got mine for 88 bucks on a color closeout, so I'm a happy camper.
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