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Staub and Le Creuset are two giants in the cookware industry. Their dutch oven is unrivaled in appearance and performance. However, is there any difference in performance or design. Setting them together side by side showed some interesting results. While Staub Dutch Oven looks more attractive, it lacks the subtle fine tuning that Le Creuset has. Small things like handle design, interior coating and capacity gives Le Creuset the upper edge. However, in the larger scheme of things, those are relatively small issues. What Staub does do better is its stunning color. Compared to Le Creuset, Staub is more attractive and grown up. Which is the real reason why people spend more for their cookware. Nevertheless, this comparison will go in depth about the difference between these two icons.
Staub vs Le Creuset Dutch Oven Quick Summary
|Categories||Staub Dutch Oven 5.5 qt||Le Creuset Dutch Oven 5.5 qt|
|Colors||Wind Range of Color||Wind Range of Color|
|Brand Awareness||Known Around the World||Known Around the World|
|Place of Manufacturer||France||France|
|Thoughts||A well made Dutch Oven with a more striking color. While it looks better, the overall design is better on Le Creuset. For example, the handles are wider and it holds more liquid. The dark interior on the Staub also means its harder to judge the fond.||An all around better dutch oven. It is lighter and more ergonomic than Staub. Something that they have achieved over years of refining. They also have the Widest range of colors available. In the eyes of people, they are considered a cookware icon. You cannot go wrong with Le Creuset|
|Tested Cookware||Staub 5.5 qt Dutch Oven (Adult Orientated Color)||Le Creuset 5.5 qt Dutch Oven (Best Performer Overall)|
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In 1974, Francis Staub Created the Staub Company. The intitial mold that they use were made of wood. They are known for their striking design and unique shapes. One of the most popular which is their pumpkin cocotte. What sets them apart for Le Creuset is their vibrant color. They take on a deeper more adult color and is preferred in restaurant. Today, they are owned by the German Cutlery manufacturer zwilling.
Le Creuset was founded in 1925 by two Belgain. One was a metallurgist and the other was a enameling specialist. With their combined knowledge, they produced their first enamel cast iron cookware. Today, Le Creuset is known as the leading high end cookware manufacturer. Their previous competitor such as Cousances and Descoware were bought out by them. You can sometimes find those pieces in their mainline.
Staub vs Le Creuset Dutch Oven Design
Dutch Oven Handle Design
Handles are more important than people think. It needs to be large and easy to hold. If you have something that is too small or uncomfortable, you can drop the pot. It is one of the first thing you notice when you handle a pot. Having said that, so many manufacturer fail at this.
Thankfully on Le Creuset, they have managed to perfect this. While their handle looks simple, it is wide and easy to hold. You can get a nice and secure grip even with gloves on.
If you look at the picture, you can see that I can clear my knuckle with ease. A lot of dutch oven out there fail this simple test. The handle on Staub is prettier with their logo stamped right across it. However compared to Le Creuset, the clearance is not as good. My knuckle hits the side of the pot when I try to get a full grip.
In terms of width, Staub is a little better. I can fit four fingers through the handle while I can only use three in the Le Creuset model. Overall the handle on Le Creuset Dutch oven is better.
Staub vs Le Creuset Dutch Oven Lid
The design of Staub lid is better both in looks and functionality. Beneath the lid there are little spikes that Staub call the Chisera Design. This supposedly condense the steam into liquid and baste the food. It is a feature that will keep your food moist without any effort from you. However, I have some reservation on the effectiveness of this design.
When the steam hits the lid, it mostly consists of water. The sediments that contain flavor compounds will still be in the sauce below. Only the water will be converted to steam and any light solids that is in the sauce will remain in the sauce. If you want the traditional flavor that comes from basting, you should still use a turkey baster.
Le Creuset lid
The lid on Le Creuset’s dutch oven does not have the spikes. However, in their Doufeu Dutch Oven Model, that does have spikes. They advertise the same type of self basting features that staub has. I guess they felt if the consumer really wanted that feature, they would buy a dutch oven just for that. I personally don’t think the spikes will make that much of a difference but something is better than nothing?
In terms of aesthetic, I prefer Staub. There is something about the raised lip and the circular ring that makes it more attractive. Le Creuset lid is more vanilla in terms of appearance. It is by no means bad but rather a classic dutch oven design. Something that almost all manufacturer tries to emulate. You should use your own judgment when deciding which is better.
Staub vs Le Creuset Dutch Oven Lid Accessories
Aside from that, Staub lid comes with a standard metal handle. There is no upper temperature limit like a plastic one. You can buy special Animals Design ranging from a fish, chicken to even a rooster. However, the Brass Knob is my favorite. It gives the dutch oven a beautiful contrast.
Le Creuset knob comes with a plastic one. They have a temperature limit of 390 degree Fahrenheit, so I recommend switching it out for a Metal One. While it doesnt get hot on the stove, it limits what you can do in the oven. Their choices of knobs are also a little more limited compared to Staub.
Staub vs Le Creuset Dutch Oven Enamel Interior Coating
Staub Black Interior Coating
Their interior enamel coating is black. They believe that the darker interior enhances browning and aids in cleaning. They even have a whole video about the effects of this. In my opinion, the dark interior doesnt help at all. What it does is that it hides stains better than a white interior. Burned food, gouges and mark will blend into the black.
What the black interior does do is absorb heat better. Because white reflect heat, if you heat both pot at the same time, the dark interior should get hotter. This in turn should mean that food should brown at a quicker rate. We will actually test out the performance difference a little later.
Le Creuset White Interior
Le Creuset uses a cream enamel interior. The great thing about a lighter interior is that you can judge the quality of the fond better. A dark interior like the one in staub makes it difficult to judge how close to burning it is. You can easily ruin your whole stew if you are not attentive.
One thing to note is that a white interior will get dirty overtime. It will also dull and develop cracks overtime. While this does not affect cooking, it can be off putting.
Staub vs Le Creuset Colors and Enamel Coating
Le Creuset Colors
In general Le Creuset have a wider range of colors. They tend to be lighter and more pastel in tone. They are more cheerful and colorful. The finish on the enamel coating tend to have orange peel. If you take a closer look at it, there is a rippling effect to it. A quality paint job will have a mirror like quality to it.
On the older model, the base of the dutch oven is bare cast iron. Newer models seem to have the base coated in enamel. Somewhere down the line, I guess Le Creuset decided it wasnt worth it.
I should note that the enamel coating is actually a poor conductor of heat. It will not heat up as fast as bare cast iron. Interesting that they decided to stop doing this. You can see me testing this later in the article.
Staub colors tend to be darker and more adult. They have a beautiful glossy look which contrast Le Creuset pastel like color. If you compare the two green side by side, you can see the difference in the hue and vibrance. I personally find that staub colors to be more attractive.
In terms of fit and finish, it has less of a orange peel issue. You can actually see your reflection in their pots. However, the range of color offered is not as extensive as Le Creuset. But they have enough to satisfy most home cook needs.
Like the modern Le Creuset dutch oven, the bottom on Staub dutch oven is covered in Enamel.
Is the rim of cast iron pots coated in Enamel?
The simple answer is no. I actually confirmed this with Staub. The reason they did this is because under high temperature, the lid and the pot will fuse together. I guess the heat causes the enamel to soften. So there you go, there is no matte enamel on the rim. If you get some rust on the lip, you can get some sand paper and lightly sand it off. Coating it with oil will prevent it from forming again.
Is it safe to cook when the enamel coating flake off?
Yes it is. Underneath the enamel coating is cast iron. Manufacturer like lodge specializes in bare cast iron cookware. It is completely fine to cook if you see exposed cast iron in you dutch oven.
Note:These measurement are done by me with the tools that I have on hand. The manufacturers have their own measurement guidelines and that should be assumed to be accurate. What I find on this review can vary widely due to several factors, such as ambient temperature, location, water, tool calibration, stove btu, etc..and should only be considered as my opinion.
Le Creuset 26 cm 5 qt Dutch
Weight: 3472 g
Water Capacity: 5072 g
Time to Heat Water to 180 Degree Fahrenheit: 9:54 Seconds
Staub 26 cm 5 qt Dutch Oven
Weight: 3686 g
Water Capacity: 4829 g
Time to Heat Water to 180 Degree Fahrenheit: 9:26 Seconds
Le Creuset is lighter and holds more liquid. It took 9 minute and 54 second to heat water to 180 degree Fahrenheit. The starting temperature of that water was 90.6 degree Fahrenheight.
For Staub, it took 9 minute and 26 second to heat water to 180 degree. The starting water temperature was 90 degree. The rate of water heating up was about the same. The difference in time can be attributed to the different quantity of water.
Which is the Best Dutch Oven in terms of Performance?
To test the performance, I coated the interior bottom with oil. I then dusted it with a light coating of flour. I used the same burner for all the pots and heated it up to 4 minute. The picture that you see is the results. This will tell you how well the pot heated up and how well the heat distributed across the pot.
Le Creuset 5 qt Cast iron Bottom
Heat was not even and it concentrated near the top. You can see the overall heat ring. It does not reach the outer edge.
Staub 5 qt
On Staub, it has a stronger heat pattern and the heat distributed a little better. But this can be due to the black interior. It causes the burn mark to appear darker. Overall Staub perform slightly better.
To be sure, I got two 4 qt dutch oven. One is by Staub and the other is the Le Creuset doufeu model.
Le Creuset Doufeu 4qt Enameled Bottom
The heat spot is stronger and the heat distribution is still mediocre.
Staub 4 qt Dutch Oven
Like the other dutch oven, it has a heat spot and the distribution is bad. But it performed a little better than the 5 qt model. This is most likely due to the smaller radius.
Having seen this results, I can only conclude that the difference is minor. When you are cooking it is unlikely that you will notice any difference between the two.
Curious to see how well it will compare to a bare cast iron dutch oven, I got a 4 qt dutch oven by lodge. I did the same test as the others.
At the one minute mark, the flour was already starting to smoke. At the end of the test result, you can see that it got a lot hotter than the rest of the Dutch Oven. The heating issue is still there, but it conducts heat a lot better.
There is something about the enamel coating that degrades the heat transfer. I can only assume that the enamel coating is just not very heat conductive, which is why you are seeing the results here. Whether the bottom of the dutch oven is bare cast iron or not makes little difference. What is important is the contact point of the material and the food. If it is enamel coated, it will perform worst. However, if it is bare cast iron, it will brown better.
The black interior does brown slightly faster but the result from that is very minor. If you are looking for straight speed, its best to get a bare cast iron dutch oven.
Staub vs Le Creuset Conclusion
There is very little difference between Staub and Le Creuset. In terms of performance, the only way the dutch oven will perform better is if you have a bare cast iron pot. In terms of construction, Le Creuset is lighter and holds more liquid. Staub is heavier and thicker but it also hold less liquid.
What it really comes down to is your preference on shape and design. If you enjoy the color of Le Creuset, go with that one. Their handle is better. If you like staub, then its not a bad choice at all. The interior of the coating should be taken into consideration though. A white one is little easier to cook in. But the black one will hide any stains.
I personally prefer Staub Dutch Oven over Le Creuset, I find their colors to be simply stunning. The pine one that I have is my favorite. No other company comes close in terms of apperance. However, in terms of functionality, Le Creuset is the better choice. Its lighter and holds more liquid.
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