Consumer Reports tests best Dutch oven cookers

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- They brown, boil, braise, even bake! We're not talking about the latest kitchen gadget, but rather a kitchen staple that's been around for years and millions of cooks swear by: The Dutch Oven.

Consumer Reports just tested the do-it-all cookware and found some surprising results.

Celebrity chefs like Rachael Ray swear by their Dutch oven cookware and they use them in different ways to make a variety of dishes.

So, what exactly is a Dutch Oven and why do so many people love them?

"These pieces are essentially enameled cast iron pots with lids. They heat slowly but they also hold their heat well which makes them really good for braising. And the other nice thing about them is that they go from the from stovetop to the oven to the table," said Paul Hope, Consumer Reports Home Editor.

Consumer Reports just tested several Dutch oven cookware pieces.

Each pot holds 5 to 6 quarts, works on any type of stovetop, including induction and comes in a variety of colors. Prices range from $45 to $340 dollars. Yes - that's $340 dollars!

"Some of the more premium brands like Le Creuset come backed with a lifetime warranty which is a nice thing to have, but our tests actually found that you don't need to spend a lot to get great performance," said Hope.

Those tests include braising brisket, browning meat and simmering sauce. Testers even baked bread in the Dutch Ovens!

Turns out all of the Dutch ovens did a good job braising meat but after that there are some differences.

The Dutch oven from Ayesha Curry - host of Ayesha's Home Kitchen is very easy to clean but also the heaviest of the bunch - a whopping fifteen pounds! And the Vremi earned an excellent rating when it came to baking bread but it's also quite heavy at 14 pounds and the warranty is light - just a year compared to the lifetime and limited lifetime warranties of the other Dutch ovens.

The $340 dollar Le Creuset was the only dutch oven to earn an excellent in the browning tests.

But for a lot less money the $60 dollar Lodge delivers. It actually outperforms the Le Creuset when it comes to baking bread and offers good browning.

Consumer Reports says even though porcelain enameled Dutch ovens are sturdy, they can still scratch so don't use abrasives when cleaning.

Instead, clean your enamel cast iron pots with a sponge, cloth or nylon scrubber in warm, soapy water.

For stubborn stains soak the pot before cleaning.

To read the full story from Consumer Reports, CLICK HERE.

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