Despite the fact that I have a tiny NYC kitchen, I am obsessed with beautiful cookware. I was lucky enough to receive a bunch of amazing Le Creuset pieces for Christmas, so like any normal person I started using them immediately. I’d been dying to bake bread in a French oven, so I whipped up a batch of dough, let it rest for what seemed like days and then popped it into the oven in my beautiful grey Le Creuset. After an hour the bread was perfect–crusty on the outside and warm and spongy on the inside. I was thrilled!
Until I saw my Le Creuset. The inside had an unsightly brown ring all around it and the outside had brown stains all along one side. I panicked, but decided to let it soak overnight in soap and water. The next morning, I check my oven and the stains were still there. I literally just received this oven 24 hours earlier, so I was freaking out that I’d ruined it already. I put the water as hot as my hands could handle, poured a boatload of dishwashing liquid on my pot and started scrubbing. Nothing. The stains would not budge.
I contemplated curling up into a ball of tears, but decided I had one last hope: YouTube. I immediately started searching how other people cleaned their Le Creuset products and the suggested methods spanned the gamut: baking soda paste, something called Bar Keepers Friend, Easy Off (yikes!). And then I came across something so simple I just had to try it. Salt and water. Really, that’s all.
To try to get these stains out, I poured a bunch of salt into a small bowl, then moistened my fingers. I then took a generous pinch of salt in my damp fingers and started rubbing the resulting paste on the stains. And what do you know? It worked! The stains came off! Even better, it didn’t scratch the enamel or dull the sheen of the glaze at all. I was ecstatic!
So naturally, I decided to pay it forward. There’s bound to be someone else out there on the verge of a breakdown because they think they’ve ruined their precious Le Creuset for ever, but there’s hope. Here’s the original YouTue video I found demonstrating the technique. As you’ll see, he uses a sponge, but I really preferred using my fingers because I found that the fibers from the sponge were getting stuck in the gunky stuff causing the stains. Also, because I was using my fingers, I could feel when all the residue was really all gone.
Happy cooking (and cleaning)!
[Photo: Williams Sonoma]