Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Blondelle

Braising: Le Creuset v All-Clad v Staub v Others

Recommended Posts

Le Creuset offers stainless replacements knobs now for those with cracked or melted knobs...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't find the Creuset pieces to be challenged in the browning department. They aren't quite as effective as uncoated cast iron, but seem equal to my inherited Descoware (Belgian) enameled cast iron, which has a dark, slightly porous interior like the Staub.

Personally, I prefer the light, smooth enamel—it's easier to clean, and much easier to see the difference between browned, unbrowned, and burnt fond. But both braise beautifully, and I choose one or the other based on size and shape. The Creuset seems to be thicker on the bottom than the sides, some others are equally thinck throughout. At any rate, they're more than heavy enough to have the high thermal mass you want.

I'm skeptical of the culinary utility of lid spikes (or a parchment or foil insert, or anything else that "bastes" the food you're braising). I don't know what you supposedly accomplish by dripping condensed steam onto meat that's sitting in a 100% humidity environment to begin with.

I'm glad to hear about the stainless replacement knobs ... haven't needed one yet, but it's nice to know.


Edited by paulraphael (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yesterday, a house guest ruined my Calphalon 1.5 quart tri-ply saucepan. It's not good to leave a pan on the heat with nothing in it <sigh>. So, I'm looking for a replacement, and was thinking about a 1.5 quart All-Clad D5. Has anyone used the D5 series? I'm curious as to how it compares to the more typical tri-ply? Does it have any advantages, such as more even heating or better heat transfer?

Also, I'm about ready for another, smaller "Dutch" oven and have been thinking about Staub. I've been very happy with my Le Creuset, however, Staub is also well regarded. Any comments, pro and con, for the Staub?

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love my 2.75 qt. Staub Dutch oven (or, as they like to call it, cocotte). I like that it's black inside - but I don't know if that's any better than the white enamel of Le Crueset - I also own a few of those.

Anyway, the Staub's self-basting feature is nice, and the size I list above is perfect for a whole small chicken.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IMO a 1.5 quart saucepan is really too small to do anything useful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh dear, you have my sympathies! However, I have a question: are you sure the All-Clad is ruined? I once burnt a shallot reduction - cooked it dry, to little bitty crispy former shallot mince- in my AllClad tri-ply pan, probably the same as yours. There was a lot of blue language in the kitchen that evening, I can tell you. However, that tri-ply construction held together (nothing delaminated) and eventually I was able to clean it, inside and out. If you know to look you can see a couple small stains on the interior, but the exterior looks as good as ever and the performance is unaffected.

On the other hand, there was the time I burned a stew in my good Revereware aluminum-disk stainless steel 16-quart stock pot. By the time I got out of the shower there was at least a half-inch of charcoal (formerly known as lamb, potatoes and stock) stuck to the bottom of the pot. Charcoal is a terrible conductor of heat, and the three-ply disk system had begun to delaminate from the bottom. That's the most expensive shower I've ever taken...particularly because that line of pots isn't made any more, and it was my favorite. Now, if THAT's the kind of damage your house guest did, then the pan is indeed ruined.

Can't help with your original questions, but maybe I can save you some money.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love my 2 quart all clad D5 saucepan (1.5qt is too small for anything I need, but you must have uses for a 1.5qt). I have made mornay sauces and ice cream bases in it countless number of times, among other things, and have never burned milk or cream. It is thick and heavy so I find it doesn't heat up lightning quick, but it evenly heats up and holds temperatures extremely well. It also responds to temperature changes quick.

I use that saucepan almost daily and it is just incredible. If I'm just boiling water I don't reach for it first as I don't mind using a cheaper saucepan I have and just putting it over high heat. I try to not put my All Clad pans over high heat ever. The most I do is 1 or 1 and a half notches below the highest setting when I need to bring a cold liquid to a boil, but don't want to burn it (like milk and heavy cream). I also have the D5 10 inch fry pan and D5 3 qt saute pan and they are all fantastic. If I haven't committed myself to wanting to buy copper pans next for myself I would have started acquiring more of the D5 line. They are all solidly built, heavy, sturdy, and heat evenly and quickly and I never, ever have to use anything close to high heat for the saute or fry pan.

You didn't mention it, but I wouldn't look into the copper core lines. I do not have any experience using them, but have read enough opinions and also looked into the science of copper pans that I feel comfortable passing on some knowledge. Basically, to actually benefit from using a copper pan, the copper has to be around 2.5mm thick. The all clad lines are not that thick (among other brands) so while it may heat up quicker, when you add, say a chicken breast, the pan's temperature drops too much and then struggles to get it up to temperature. Therefore you end up steaming meat instead of searing it.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IMO a 1.5 quart saucepan is really too small to do anything useful.

And yet I use mine every day, maybe more than once ...

I have larger saucepans as well. But the 1.5 quart is perfect for much of what I do as I'm usually cooking just for myself here. The size is perfect for making hot cereal, reheating soup and items from my freezer, ideal for throwing together an impromptu veggie dish, making a small amount of sauce ...


Edited by Shel_B (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh dear, you have my sympathies! However, I have a question: are you sure the All-Clad is ruined?

Thanks for your comments and suggestions. The pan in question is a Calphalon Tri-Ply, and no, it's probably not ruined. I used it to make oatmeal this morning, and to boil water for coffee. But, it does look a little ugly - but not too bad.

I've never been really crazy about the handle on that particular pot, so, at least on some level, I'm looking for an excuse to replace it. And I've been very happy with my older All-Clad, and I found a deal on the D5 ....

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love my 2 quart all clad D5 saucepan [...] it evenly heats up and holds temperatures extremely well. It also responds to temperature changes quick.

I use that saucepan almost daily and it is just incredible [...] the D5 line [...] are all solidly built, heavy, sturdy, and heat evenly and quickly and I never, ever have to use anything close to high heat for the saute or fry pan.

You didn't mention it, but I wouldn't look into the copper core lines.

Thanks for your comments. Very helpful. I have no interest in the copper core.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't used All-Clad D5, but I have a hard time understanding from a physics perspective why a core of stainless steel would be a good thing. Stainless steel has crappy thermal properties, so the usual practice (indeed, the entire point behind the original All-Clad cookware) is to use a core with good thermal properties and clad it with a thin layer of stainless steel -- the idea being that you benefit from the nonreactive properties of the stainless steel on the outside and the thermal properties of the aluminum on the inside.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've happily used a Le Creuset dutch oven for years, but received a Staub dutch oven as a gift about a year ago. Now that I've used both, I think I slightly prefer the Staub -- in particular I like Staub's black matte enameled surface better than the glossier white enamel of the le creuset. That said, there's really not much difference between the two, they're both stellar dutch ovens in my opinion.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't used All-Clad D5, but I have a hard time understanding from a physics perspective why a core of stainless steel would be a good thing. Stainless steel has crappy thermal properties, so the usual practice (indeed, the entire point behind the original All-Clad cookware) is to use a core with good thermal properties and clad it with a thin layer of stainless steel -- the idea being that you benefit from the nonreactive properties of the stainless steel on the outside and the thermal properties of the aluminum on the inside.

And yet, quite a few people say the concept works well and is an improvement over the standard All-Clad tri ply. I don't know. On the face of it, it seems counterintuitive, but maybe the layer of steel between the two layers of aluminum acts like a "flame tamer," smoothing out hot spots and helping to get a more even heat to the contents.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've happily used a Le Creuset dutch oven for years, but received a Staub dutch oven as a gift about a year ago. Now that I've used both, I think I slightly prefer the Staub -- in particular I like Staub's black matte enameled surface better than the glossier white enamel of the le creuset. That said, there's really not much difference between the two, they're both stellar dutch ovens in my opinion.

Thanks so much for your comments. Very helpful!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,

You should look at the LeCreuset tri-ply stainless steel 1 1/2 or 2 qt. covered saucepans. http://cookware.lecreuset.com/cookware/product_2-QT.-Covered-Saucepan_10151_-1_20002_10276_10053

  • The 2 quart is less expensive
  • Better proportions: 2 quart has a width of 6 1/4" and height of 5 1/3"
  • Better Handle and Large Helper Handle
  • Interior capacity markings
  • Stronger lid with large handle
  • Pourning lid, induction ready,

Sam is exactly right about the thermal properties of the D5. All-Clad claims the steel "diffuses" heat when the opposite is more accurate. They also say the magnetic stainless is more durable; I think that non-magnetic stainless is more durable than the magnetic stainless.


Edited by tim (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've used both Le Creuset and Staub dutch ovens and braisers a lot, both at home and when we teach. Both have good points, but overall, I prefer LC. I find the smooth enamel interior much easier to clean than the rougher black enamel of the Staub. If I'm using the pan to sear and then deglaze, it's much easier for me to gauge when I've got a good fond against the light interior of LC. On the other hand, the lids on Staub fit much tighter than those of LC (and come with stainless knobs instead of the bakelite on LC, which means they can withstand greater oven temperatures). I suspect that it's the tight-fitting lids and not the "self-basting" bumps on the lids that account for more moisture retention, but that's just a guess.

One thing to avoid is any of the Staub pots that come with the honeycomb textured bottom. It's supposed to reduce sticking, but all it really does is make it impossible to brown anything evenly.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,

You should look at the LeCreuset tri-ply stainless steel 1 1/2 or 2 qt. covered saucepans. http://cookware.lecreuset.com/cookware/product_2-QT.-Covered-Saucepan_10151_-1_20002_10276_10053

  • Lower cost
  • Better proportions: 2 quart has a width of 6 1/4" and height of 5 1/3"
  • Better Handle and Large Helper Handle
  • Interior capacity markings
  • Stronger lid with large handle
  • Pourning lid, induction ready,

The LC saucepans you referenced are tri-ply, and compared to comparable All-Clad, are more expensive. The 1.5 quart LC is $90.00 and the similar All-Clad is $79.00, plus I can get 20% off the All-Clad. With that same discount, I can get the All-Clad D5 for $91.00, essentially the same price as the 3-ply LC.

In addition, the LC is made in China, and I'd rather not buy Chinese-made items if I can help it.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've used both Le Creuset and Staub dutch ovens and braisers a lot, both at home and when we teach. Both have good points, but overall, I prefer LC. I find the smooth enamel interior much easier to clean than the rougher black enamel of the Staub. If I'm using the pan to sear and then deglaze, it's much easier for me to gauge when I've got a good fond against the light interior of LC. On the other hand, the lids on Staub fit much tighter than those of LC (and come with stainless knobs instead of the bakelite on LC, which means they can withstand greater oven temperatures). I suspect that it's the tight-fitting lids and not the "self-basting" bumps on the lids that account for more moisture retention, but that's just a guess.

One thing to avoid is any of the Staub pots that come with the honeycomb textured bottom. It's supposed to reduce sticking, but all it really does is make it impossible to brown anything evenly.

The lids are one of the things that attracted me to Staub. Strangely enough, my black LC oven came with a stainless knob. I was told that, at the time, if you bought black it came with a stainless knob. I don't know - mine did, and that's all I know for sure.

Yes, I like the lighter, smooth LC interior. I didn't know about the Staub honeycomb bottom. I'll certainly avoid it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't used All-Clad D5, but I have a hard time understanding from a physics perspective why a core of stainless steel would be a good thing. Stainless steel has crappy thermal properties, so the usual practice (indeed, the entire point behind the original All-Clad cookware) is to use a core with good thermal properties and clad it with a thin layer of stainless steel -- the idea being that you benefit from the nonreactive properties of the stainless steel on the outside and the thermal properties of the aluminum on the inside.

And yet, quite a few people say the concept works well and is an improvement over the standard All-Clad tri ply. I don't know. On the face of it, it seems counterintuitive, but maybe the layer of steel between the two layers of aluminum acts like a "flame tamer," smoothing out hot spots and helping to get a more even heat to the contents.

Confirmation bias, maybe?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,

You should look at the LeCreuset tri-ply stainless steel 1 1/2 or 2 qt. covered saucepans. http://cookware.lecreuset.com/cookware/product_2-QT.-Covered-Saucepan_10151_-1_20002_10276_10053

  • Better proportions: 2 quart has a width of 6 1/4" and height of 5 1/3"

Hmm ... the 1.5 quart All-Clad is 6.6" x 5.6" and the 2 quart is 6.6" x 6.6", quite close with the All-Clad being a bit wider and taller.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am planning on replacing my GE Profile electric range, probably with the Viking induction (no gas to my house and I need to upgrade my wiring for the range before I order). In preparation for this, I am replacing my old non-magnetic pans, mainly Cuisinart, with the All-Clad D5s.

I really love them, but they are taking a little getting used to. First of all, they are pretty heavy, so I just hope I can handle them when I get even older and weaker. They take longer to heat up on my electric range than the thinner Cuisinart and hold the heat for quite a while after removed from the heat (as expected). I have to remember to adjust the range heat a little differently, but I hope it is not much longer before the electrician gets here and I can order my new range and learn the proper heat settings all over again.

Downsides:

The rivets are a pain. I read that they can be hard to clean around. I didn't worry about that, but they get in the way when I am stirring. I use rubber (well, silicone) scrapers and they hit the rivets at every pass.

They don't stack well. The 1.5 and 2 qt are the same diameter so they don't nest. The 1.5 qt. gets lots of use for us, too.

The handles come out at an angle so they don't fit as well in my dishwasher.

I remember how much I loved my Cuisinart 20-some years ago; they replaced some Revere Ware that was probably bought with green stamps, so you can imagine my excitement. These All-Clad D5s are a huge improvement over the Cuisinart. I love the even cooking am and really glad I bought them.

I used a 20% off coupon from Bed, Bath & Beyond to knock the price down on a set, then have picked up a couple of single pans from Amazon and Amazon Warehouse (got some that were supposedly open-boxed, but were unused and seemed identical to the "never bought and returned"). Shel_B, where are you finding the deal you mentioned? BB&B?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Downsides:

The rivets are a pain. I read that they can be hard to clean around. I didn't worry about that, but they get in the way when I am stirring. I use rubber (well, silicone) scrapers and they hit the rivets at every pass.

That's strange: I've been using riveted pans since the mid-70s, and even my old pans show no dirt and grime around the rivets. I just use a good sponge that has an abrasive side http://www.stockngo.com/buy-the-case/household/cleaning-supplies/scotch-brite-multi-purpose-scrub-sponge-3-count.html?gdftrk=gdfV23630_a_7c1633_a_7c7275_a_7c50021200598468&gclid=CN70zK6g5LkCFeU9QgodnlQAvQ and clean around the rivets. It's not difficult. Been doing it for years.

Maybe we stir differently, but the rivets have never been a problem, and I have riveted pans from 1-quart to 8-quarts.

They don't stack well. The 1.5 and 2 qt are the same diameter so they don't nest. The 1.5 qt. gets lots of use for us, too.

I never stack my pans, so it's a non issue for me.

The handles come out at an angle so they don't fit as well in my dishwasher.

While I rarely put my All-Clad (or any pots) in the dishwasher, I sometimes have. Again, it's never been an issue for me, but, admittedly, it sometimes takes a little planning.

Shel_B, where are you finding the deal you mentioned? BB&B?

http://www.amazon.com/All-Clad-BD55201-5-Stainless-Dishwasher-1-5-Quart/dp/B0051OERLS/ref=sr_1_2/179-7698281-4112154?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1380033703&sr=1-2&keywords=all-clad+d5 Scroll down towards the bottom of the page, ,to the sponsored links and you'll find two 20% off deals.


Edited by Shel_B (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Today I received my new All-Clad 1.5 quart saucepan. It's a pretty nice looking pot, and a good size for what I needed it for. It's noticeably heavier than the tri-ply Calphalon it replaces, and the dimensions of the two pots seems just about identical. The All-Clad lid fits the Calphalon pot perfectly, as though it was made for it. That means I now have a glass lid that I can use for the All-Clad, a feature that I sometimes like. And the Calphalon lid fits the All-Clad beautifully.

The All-Clad lid is clearly sturdy, and it should last forever. The handle is big and easy to grasp, but it's just a scosh wider than I'd like. A very minor consideration, to be sure, and the width in no way compromises the handle's usability. I just prefer a narrower handle.

The handle on the All-Clad pot is a definite improvement over the handles on my older All-Clad pots and pans, but it still has that unmistakable All-Clad character. I'm sure some people may not care for it - I like it just fine, but I also liked the handles on the older pots and pans.

There's a lot of aluminum between the inner and outer layers of stainless, combined maybe even a bit more than my original Master Chef pots, and it's easy to see the middle layer of steel as well. It, too, seems somewhat thick - thicker, by far, than the inner and outer layers of stainless.

The rolled edge along the top of the pot is nicely designed, but the finishing seems a little rough. It looks to me that it could have used one more trip of the buffing wheel. It's not too bad, but it could be a little smoother.

The All-Clad uses two rivets to attach the handle compared to the Calphalon's three. I don't think it makes much difference in a pot this size - both handles appear to be securely fastened. I do like the design of the Calphalon rivets a little better - they are wider and flatter, and, to my eye, just look nicer and slightly more "finished."

I don't think the pot is worth the full list price that some places ask for it, but with the discounts I got the price was much more reasonable and more in line with Calphalon and other tri-ply pots.

I'm looking forward to cooking with it, which I'll be able to do tomorrow.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If anyone is looking for All Clad, there's a sale on now at http://www.cookwarenmore.com/ , an outlet for both first quality and irregular (i.e. maybe a tiny scratch or something) It will run from Sept 28 through Oct 27th. There are good deals all year long but the sales are even better. Also, I want to add that even though I've got regular saucepans, the saucier is a very useful pan. I've got both the 2 quart as well as the 3 quart saucier pans. The site also sells Wusthof knives (including irregulars on these also.)

Here's what the website says about the irregulars they are selling:

"The irregular items have minor visual imperfections, such as a slight surface scratch or blemish that do not interfere with the use or long life of the item. Because of these cosmetic flaws the factory identifies them as “irregulars”, rather than full first quality. All items are personally inspected by us and must meet our approval before being shipped."

To give an idea of the prices, for the 1.5 quart (with lid) D5 being discussed above:

List price: $ 190

Cookwarenmore.com Irregular price $ 91.99 (this is a special)

Irregulars that are not considered specials are an additional 20% off during the sale with the promo code on the website.

Jayne

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jaynesb. thanks for that reminder.

All of my All-Clad has come from Cookware and More - some on sale, some on their normal discount. Their products have been of excellent quality; their prices stellar, and their customer service quite good. If I seem relatively relaxed on the "customer service" issue, it's because I haven't had to deal much with that department. That in itself is a good sign.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×