Keeping Le Creuset looking good

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Keeping Le Creuset looking good

Postby Karen/NoCA » Fri Mar 01, 2013 3:32 pm

I checked out a braised beef short rib video by Michael Ruhlman, and noticed how beautiful his Le Creuset braiser looks compared to mine. It looks new, as do most of the ones I see on other shows. I use my Le Creust a lot, never with high heat, and follow their instructions for washing and drying. So how is it, that on all these shows t the pots always look new? Certainly they don't toss them out after 2 or three uses. My Le Creuset pots stained after the first 2 uses, to sort of a light brown color. I bought the cleaner put out by Le Creuset and it does nothing for me. My housekeeper (she ,too, is a foodie, and I was complaining about my LC pots) surprised me by cleaning my braiser with baking soda, but it took a lot of elbow grease. So, anyone know the secret?
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Re: Keeping Le Creuset looking good

Postby Fred Sipe » Fri Mar 01, 2013 6:09 pm

Karen/NoCA wrote:I checked out a braised beef short rib video by Michael Ruhlman, and noticed how beautiful his Le Creuset braiser looks compared to mine... so, anyone know the secret?


I really like Michael. But do you know that he's a paid endorser for Le Creuset? Nothing wrong with that, of course.
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Re: Keeping Le Creuset looking good

Postby Jeff Grossman/NYC » Fri Mar 01, 2013 6:37 pm

I baby my Le Creuset - always oil it first, no metal tools used inside, soak don't scrub, etc. - so it is still white and shiny on the inside.

Some Googling shows mixed success with all the usual suspects (separately, not all mixed together!): white vinegar, bleach, baking soda, cream of tartar, various commercial cleansers like Bon Ami, Barkeeper's Friend, and Oxiclean. I find it hard to imagine that any of the scratchy powders is a good idea. I have Barkeeper's Friend for use with my anodized pans; it is basically oxalic acid and you don't rub it until the powder dissolves, so maybe. I've never used Oxiclean but it got raves in some circles.

Good luck. Let us know if you try anything... and if you succeed!
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Re: Keeping Le Creuset looking good

Postby GeoCWeyer » Fri Mar 01, 2013 7:42 pm

My Dutch oven is quite stained inside. I do use baking soda with some success on the outside. Takes a tremendous amount of work though.
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Re: Keeping Le Creuset looking good

Postby Karen/NoCA » Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:13 pm

All of the above is what I found out too, so I wonder how those TV kitchens keep theirs looking so pretty. If they use them a lot, like I do, they should be stained. I always use wooden spoons in all my pots, even stainless. It is the food, especially braising that have mine looking the way they do. Even the underside of the lids have changed color. I guess I will get to work on them and see what works! My dentist gave me a goodie bag last time and it included some polident. I asked, "what is this for?" He laughed and said, "some of my patients us it on their pots and pans!" Will have to give that a whirl! :lol:
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Re: Keeping Le Creuset looking good

Postby Karen/NoCA » Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:18 pm

I baby my Le Creuset - always oil it first, no metal tools used inside, soak don't scrub, etc. - so it is still white and shiny on the inside.


I would think the oil would make it stain worse. Doesn't the oil on the part that the food does not touch scorch?
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Re: Keeping Le Creuset looking good

Postby Jenise » Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:26 pm

Notice Iron Chef or any other cooking show. Every pot looks BRAND new. I actually do suppose that the mfgr replaces them fairly often; also, that a staff of specially trained people keep them looking "as good as new". It's not the cook or ordinary housekeepers keeping up that level of new-ness, if it's even possible.
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Re: Keeping Le Creuset looking good

Postby Fred Sipe » Fri Mar 01, 2013 10:01 pm

For the chemists... c'mon, I know you're out there. Is the brown staining the formation of a type of lacquer / shellac or something? I remember reading something like this about the shiny brown build-up on the bottoms of pots. Is it the same thing?

Or is it something else entirely? And why is it such a bear to remove?

Just thought of something else. I have no Le Creuset. Just a Lodge raw cast iron dutch oven and an enameled on the exterior oval dutch oven from Ikea that I love. It has a matte black interior that is non-stick as opposed to enamel. It also has the dimpled (bumpy) lid interior.

I think this is good stuff. At a fraction of the cost.
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Re: Keeping Le Creuset looking good

Postby Jeff Grossman/NYC » Sat Mar 02, 2013 3:10 am

Karen/NoCA wrote:
I baby my Le Creuset - always oil it first, no metal tools used inside, soak don't scrub, etc. - so it is still white and shiny on the inside.


I would think the oil would make it stain worse. Doesn't the oil on the part that the food does not touch scorch?


It darkens but it doesn't scorch (and it doesn't stick).
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Re: Keeping Le Creuset looking good

Postby Mark Lipton » Sat Mar 02, 2013 8:20 pm

Fred Sipe wrote:For the chemists... c'mon, I know you're out there. Is the brown staining the formation of a type of lacquer / shellac or something? I remember reading something like this about the shiny brown build-up on the bottoms of pots. Is it the same thing?

Or is it something else entirely? And why is it such a bear to remove?


It's not chemically the same as either of those, but it's not far removed: it's polymerized, oxidized fat from your cooking. The more you pan fry, the more of those deposits that you'll get, and they are a bear to remove.

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Re: Keeping Le Creuset looking good

Postby Frank Deis » Sat Mar 02, 2013 9:34 pm

We have Dansk pots that are old enough that we saw one just like ours on "Mad Men"...

But bleach can get them white. Doesn't do anything for the pitting but whiteness is possible.
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Re: Keeping Le Creuset looking good

Postby Drew Hall » Sun Mar 03, 2013 4:39 am

I've got a Lodge, large ceramic dutch oven that is stained on the bottom from lots of Rancho Gordo bean cookins' and would love to figure out how to clean away the stains.
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