A sturdy Dutch oven is an essential piece of cooking equipment that every kitchen should have. A Dutch oven is versatile, sturdy and easy to care for. They can be used for baking bread, roasting meat, simmering stew, braising pot roast and even making yogurt! But alas, there are quite a few varieties on the market and deciding how to choose the best Dutch oven and what to look for can prove to be a challenge. But even before heading to the store, you should arm yourself with a few important facts.
- An enamel coated Dutch oven is your best choice for durability and ease of care. The enamel coating means you donít have to worry about seasoning the pan as you do with uncoated cast iron.
- Look for a tight fitting lid. A Dutch oven cooks by keeping the moisture inside the pot and with the food. If the lid is poorly fitted, precious moisture will escape and food can quickly stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.
- Some lids have a dimpled bottom. These dimples capture the juices of the food and allow them to drip back down into the pan creating a self basting effect. This can really enhance the flavors of roasts and stews.
- Dutch ovens come in a wide range of sizes, from as small as two quarts to eight quarts or more. Finding the right size is important because it will most likely determine how often you can use your Dutch oven. If you buy one thatís too large or too small youíll find fewer uses for it. An average size, around 4 or 5 quarts will allow you to cook smaller meals when you need them, but still cook an adequate amount for a larger meal when necessary.
- Test out the handles and make sure there is ample room to grasp the pot when wearing oven mitts. Dutch ovens are heavy and you have to be able to get a good hold!
- Dutch ovens today come in a wide range of colors too. Choose something bright and cheery and you can leave it right out on your counter for a splash of color. That way itís right at hand when you need it.
- Know your budget. Dutch ovens can range anywhere from under $50.00 to well over $300.00. Choose a price point that youíre comfortable with, especially if youíre buying your first piece. You can always upgrade at a later date.
- Read the warranty. Generally speaking, the higher priced products come with better warranties. Some Dutch ovens are covered for a year, and some for a lifetime. This may be something that will influence the amount you choose to pay for your pot.
A Dutch oven is one piece of cookware that you can consider an investment more than just a purchase. Itís a pan you will turn to over and over again in your years of cooking. Quite often these pots are passed down the next generation of up and coming young cooks. Use and Enjoy!
Article supplied courtesy of MakeBakeCook.com where you can read lots of helpful cooking, baking and crafting tips as well as complete reviews on products such as enamel coated Dutch ovens and other cast iron cookware.
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