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Glass lids for Le Creuset


Fat Guy
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I had an idea.

I have three problems with Le Creuset's wonderful French ovens (called Dutch ovens everywhere else, unless in Holland they're just called ovens).

First, they're really heavy. This isn't such a problem for me, because with great fatness comes great strength, but the weight is a problem for everyone else in my family and for lots of people. I don't think there's much that can be done about this, though. The mass of the product seems essential to its excellent properties as a braising vessel.

Second, the handles on the lids, made of phenolic resin, are total crap. Not only do they come loose but also they break if they sustain any sort of impact. In theory they have the advantage of staying cool to the touch, but I wouldn't bare-hand them right out of the oven anyway. They're easy enough to replace, but it's annoying.

Third, the lids are opaque. Needless to say, nobody has yet figured out how to make transparent cast-iron (though in one of the Star Trek films they figured out transparent aluminum). This means that if you want to see what's going on in your pot you have to remove the lid. I like to be able to see into the pot, however, because this lets you see how rapidly your liquid is bubbling.

As a result of the above, I do most of my braising in an anodized aluminum pot with a tempered-glass lid (with a metal-loop handle).

But I was thinking, what's to stop one from putting a tempered-glass lid (with metal-loop handle) on a Le Creuset French oven? To me, this would be the ideal braising vessel. It would just be a question of someone manufacturing lids that fit the Le Creuset sizes and shapes. These guys seem to be able to make a lid for anything.

Or maybe such lids are out there already, either because the Le Creuset dimensions coordinate with some other manufacturer's standard sizes, or because I'm not the first person to have this idea.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I am surprised that this topic fell on deaf ears as it were. I know that I have a SS lid that perfectly fits my LeCreuset Dutch oven but I only own one glass lid and it's too large for this particular LeCreuset. But I assume that glass lids are available in same size range as for SS pans. Is there something I am missing about Steven's suggestion? Has no one tried it?

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

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It sounds like a good idea, but I haven't tried it, so I've been sitting back to see what others said. I did pick up a heavy cast iron pot with a tempered glass lid some time back...some German make, whose name I can't remember offhand. I like the arrangement very much. It's great to be able to see what's going on inside that pot. However, I bought the pot because I needed one that size. Its lid doesn't fit any of my other ovenware. I still braise more in the LC French oven, because it's the size or shape I usually need.

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i like glass lids in theory. but in practice, the one i have gets so fogged with steam that i can't see in the pan anyway...perhaps this is why? just thinkin'...

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i like glass lids in theory. but in practice, the one i have gets so fogged with steam that i can't see in the pan anyway...perhaps this is why? just thinkin'...

You might have a valid point here and a deal-breaker. Still I am on the lookout for a glass lid to fit my pot and see if will work! It just seems such a good idea in theory.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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I have at least six different pots with tempered glass lids, about four of which I use in the oven for one reason or another, and have never had a visibility problem when using them in the oven. I don't have a totally firm grasp of the science of condensation, but I think that when the whole pot and lid are in a hot oven the lid doesn't experience the kind of steamy condensation that's caused by the temperature differential between the inside and outside of a pot lid when it's on the stovetop. At worst, when you first put the lid on it steams up, but once the whole system comes up to temperature there's water on the lid but not steamy condensation. Even on the stovetop I find that there's good enough visibility to avoid the need to lift the lid. There are also some brands of lids, like Ultrex, that have anti-fog coatings, though I've not used them myself and don't know how durable they are.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is a terrible photo, however I'm posting it anyway for informational purposes. I grabbed this snapshot because tonight I was steaming some Brussels sprouts and watching them and I thought about this topic. I had three pots going on the stove, and this pot was steaming on a high flame. You can't see it in the photo, but when I took this there was steam escaping from the edges around the lid. Yet, even in this stovetop application, visibility is plenty sufficient to see what's going on.

gallery_1_295_98103.jpg

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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... though in one of the Star Trek films they figured out transparent aluminum ...

Sapphire is actually oxidized aluminum. Maybe we can get a French or Swiss watchmaker that makes sapphire watch crystals to team up with Creuset. I'm sure the price would be reasonable.

Notes from the underbelly

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Even Superman could not use his x-ray vision to see through the standard cast iron lid as his powers cannot penetrate iron.

He could not see through lead. He was ok with iron. And kryptonite messed him up.

You were testing us huh? KENT? Mild mannered reporter, Clark KENT...look...it's a bird it's a plane it's Kent Wang!!!

It was lead wasn't it???

Edited by K8memphis (log)
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I had thought the heavy cast iron lid was one of the features that made these pots so great at braising. They keep in the moisture, and help provide an all over even heat. I don't think a glass, or stainless lid would provide that.

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Helen, my guess is that an enameled cast-iron lid would be more likely to cause chips through impact than a stainless-steel lip on a glass lid. The most analogous situation I can think of involves sinks: if you compare an enameled cast-iron sink to a stainless-steel sink, you'll find that you have significantly more breakage of dishes in the enameled sink.

Blondelle, I'm not sure how the weight of the lid affects the system. Certainly, tempered-glass lids are not exactly light in weight. If they fit well, they make a good seal. Since we're talking about relatively low temperature braising as the primary use for this sort of vessel, it's not like the lid has to contain steam under high pressure. There are a lot of things going on in an oven -- radiation, conduction, convection, etc. -- so I'm not certain of all the phenomena in play. Some tests would be in order. I do, however, braise with glass lids all the time and seem to get decent results.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Helen, my guess is that an enameled cast-iron lid would be more likely to cause chips through impact than a stainless-steel lip on a glass lid. The most analogous situation I can think of involves sinks: if you compare an enameled cast-iron sink to a stainless-steel sink, you'll find that you have significantly more breakage of dishes in the enameled sink.

Blondelle, I'm not sure how the weight of the lid affects the system. Certainly, tempered-glass lids are not exactly light in weight. If they fit well, they make a good seal. Since we're talking about relatively low temperature braising as the primary use for this sort of vessel, it's not like the lid has to contain steam under high pressure. There are a lot of things going on in an oven -- radiation, conduction, convection, etc. -- so I'm not certain of all the phenomena in play. Some tests would be in order. I do, however, braise with glass lids all the time and seem to get decent results.

Though I have not yet sourced a glass lid for my LeCreuset I did braise with a snug fitting stainless lid and I could not detect a difference between the finished product vs using the cast iron lid. The SS lid solved two problems for me - reduced the overall weight and gave me a proper handle since the handle on my LeCreuset lid broke recently. I am really hoping I can find a snug fitting glass lid in the near future because I do think this idea has lots of merit.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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You might try making a tracing of your LC or other lid so you have an example of the size and checking at thrift shops for glass lids.

I have found "vintage" orphan Pyrex, Fire-King and Glas-Bake lids, both round and oval, that fit my smaller Descoware and LC ovens. If they have a few chips on the inner rim, you can smooth them out with wet carbide cloth (wet/dry sanding belt cut into sections).

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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You might try making a tracing of your LC or other lid so you have an example of the size and checking at thrift shops for glass lids.

I have found "vintage" orphan Pyrex, Fire-King and Glas-Bake lids, both round and oval, that fit my smaller Descoware and LC ovens.  If they have a few chips on the inner rim, you can smooth them out with wet carbide cloth (wet/dry sanding belt cut into sections).

The tracing is an excellent idea. Thank you.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Glass lids on many rice cookers have a very small hole in them that allows enough steam to escape such that the lid isn't completely fogged and you can see the contents adequately without removing the lid.

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Another bad photo, but it's a real-life illustration of what one would do with a Le Creuset pot. This is a piece of brisket that has been braising on the stovetop for about two and a half hours. The flame is on. So this is the worst-case scenario -- you get less condensation in the oven, I've found. As you can see, while there's some condensation and also some greasing up of the glass, there's still plenty enough visibility (even with the reflection of the flash) to tell how fast your simmer is and what your meat looks like. Needless to say, with a metal lid you'd have to remove it every time you wanted to check. I've even found that, in the oven, if I position the pot right, I can look through the oven door, through the lid and ascertain the proper simmer without having to open the door no less the lid.

gallery_1_295_84309.jpg

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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These won't help for oval pots,

But look at these clear "universal" pan lids.

A set of two for $14.95

Universal pan lid set.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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As Slkinsey has pointed out before, it's stovetop braising where the heavy cast iron vessels like LC and Staub really shine. I think that the thermal properties of the lid are probably moot in the higher ambient temperature of the oven, but on the stovetop they help maintain the really even heat thats great for braising. I don't have a LC so I can't compare, but the the lid for my 8qt Staub Cocotte is massive; it probablys weighs about 5 pounds. It can maintain a low simmer for quite a long time after I turn the heat off, and it also has "braising spikes" on top of the lid that aid in getting the condensation to drip back down on whatever's braising. You could probably make a glass lid with these spikes too, or even a fairly heavy one, but that'd be a lot of extra work.

I really like the visibilty glass lids provide too, but I think they aren't optimal for stovetop braising.

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Thanks to Andie's suggestion of tracing the pan to give a correct size of the lid, I was able to find a perfect fit in a charity store. It will be a few days before I can test this out on an oven-braise but I see no good reason why it would not work. When I next do a braise I will be sure to report back. Thanks Fat Guy for raising this interesting idea.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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I've seen a Le Creuset glass lid at one of the outlets -- it was part of the wok set -- and it was pretty nice. I didn't realize they made glass lids for other pieces -- I don't see them on the Le Creuset website, so I wonder what's going on there. The problem with the Le Creuset lid I saw was that, just like Le Creuset metal lids, it had that stupid black phenolic resin handle in the middle. Those things are just bad design: they crack easily and they come loose easily. I'm sure this is because Le Creuset wants to keep its whole product line cosmetically coordinated, but metal loop handles are superior.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I've seen a Le Creuset glass lid at one of the outlets -- it was part of the wok set -- and it was pretty nice. I didn't realize they made glass lids for other pieces -- I don't see them on the Le Creuset website, so I wonder what's going on there. The problem with the Le Creuset lid I saw was that, just like Le Creuset metal lids, it had that stupid black phenolic resin handle in the middle. Those things are just bad design: they crack easily and they come loose easily. I'm sure this is because Le Creuset wants to keep its whole product line cosmetically coordinated, but metal loop handles are superior.

The showed the lids on woks, skillets, and one or two sizes of ovens. They were selling them as separate accessories. They did have the resin handles.

Just did a quick google and saw this domed glass lid.

Edited by laniloa (log)
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