Staub Cast Iron Buyers' Guide
Founded in Alsace, France, in 1974, Staub has become a leading name in manufacturing cast-iron cookware, world-renowned for both residential and commercial use. The Alsace region has a reputation for culinary excellence, and Staub has spent decades marrying tradition with innovation, creating beautiful and functional cast iron cookware. All of Staub's high-quality products are still manufactured in France.
Two great names in the kitchen came together in 2008, as Staub became part of the Zwilling J.A. Henckles Group. That company was founded in 1731 and is known for its cutlery, scissors, flatware, and kitchen gadgets.
Staub Dutch Ovens
The company is best known for its "La Cocotte" Dutch ovens, which were among the first pieces produced by founder Francis Staub in 1974. Cast iron is a popular material for this cookware because of its efficiency at retaining heat. Staub cast iron Dutch ovens distribute heat evenly over the food inside, cooking everything from poultry to vegetables thoroughly without losing moisture, taste, or nutrients. Over the years, the design of Staub cocottes have retained their sense of tradition, but been improved by new technology, and are now offered in several variations.
These Dutch ovens are coated in enamel, which makes them incredibly durable, nonstick, and rust- and scratch-resistant. The smooth bottoms on Staub cocottes make them suitable for cooking on all heat sources, while their lids are outfitted with self-basting spikes that allow condensation to drop evenly onto the food. This basting system is a more effective cooking tool than regular flat lids.
Staub Dutch ovens can be as small as 1/4 quart or as large as 13 quarts. Dutch ovens with less than a 2-quart capacity are often called mini cocottes and are designed specifically for single servings, while larger Dutch ovens are meant for large servings of one-pot meals like stews, roasts, soups, and casseroles. Traditional Staub cocottes are round, which fit better on the stovetop, but those cooking large cuts of meat or oddly-shaped foods might want to consider purchasing an oval cocotte to better accommodate the food.
Some cocottes are designed for specific foods, like the Coq Au Vin cocotte, which is meant to slow-cook poultry. Others are designed for use during a specific time of year: a pumpkin-shaped cocotte, for example, might be fun to use during the autumn months, while a heart-shaped cocotte can add an extra touch to a romantic meal at Valentine's Day or on an anniversary.
Although the interiors of these cocottes are black matte enamel, the outsides come in a variety of colors, including aubergine, cherry, dark blue, grenadine, and orange. Not only are Staub Dutch ovens a nice addition to your kitchen décor, they're beautiful enough to go right from the oven to your table and be used as a serving dish.
Dishes, Pans, & Grills
The brand offers several other types of cookware to complement meals that require more than just a cocotte. Like their famous Dutch ovens, Staub roasting and baking dishes come in an array of shapes and sizes to best suit a chef's needs. For roasting vegetables or fish, an oval roasting dish would work best, but you might want a rectangular baking dish for pasta, breads, or desserts. Some of these dishes are stackable for more efficient storage.
Staub also offers cast iron sauté and braising pans, complete with lids. These pans are shallower than cocottes and will help you cook meat, fish, and vegetables to perfection. A wok, widely considered the best pan for stir frying, is quite versatile and can be also be used to smoke, steam, and deep fry food. There are also 10- and 12-inch frying pans available for chefs who want a pan specifically for that purpose. These frying pans, which are oven-safe up to 500 degrees F, have side spouts that make it easier to get rid of leftover grease or oil. If you want a smaller option, consider their mini frying pans, which measure in at less than 5 inches in diameter.
Bring the flavors of the outdoors into your home or restaurant with Staub stovetop grilling equipment. Their 12x12-inch grilling pans provide plenty of room for grilling hamburgers or chicken and give your food the delicious, chargrilled taste and markings you get from an outdoor grill. These pans also have pour spouts for getting rid of unwanted juices. For a slightly different approach to stovetop grilling, try a cast iron grill press.
There is even an assortment of specialty kitchen items you might not have known you want or need. A fondue pot, warmed by a single candle, is a great addition to a meal being shared by a couple or small group. Some of these Staub cast iron fondue pots are engineered specifically for melting chocolate and dipping fruit slices or small desserts, while others are more general purpose, suitable for melting cheese and heating sauces, as well.
If you want a more rugged alternative to a traditional hot plate, a brasserie plate, made with an enameled cast iron pan and wooden base, will still keep your food warm after it comes off the stove or out of the oven. If you're interested in cooking with a tajine, which is traditionally used for making stews, Staub offers one that can hold approximately 3/4 quarts, great for small portions, or a larger one that can hold 2-1/4 quarts. To try your hand at creating a French delicacy with Staub authentic French cookware, consider picking up a Six-Hole Snail Dish, made specifically for escargot.