Expert Review: Merten & Storck German Enameled Iron Dutch Oven 5.3 QT
This review is my honest opinion of the dutch oven, which I received as a sample in November of 2022.
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the dutch oven, which I received as a sample in November of 2022.
The Merten and Storck German Enameled Iron Dutch Oven is a unique offering because it has the same features and durability as a cast iron dutch oven without all of the added weight of a full-cast vessel. It’s a joy to use as a smaller stock pot or for baking bread and roasting veggies.
About the gear
- Model: Merten and Storck German Enameled Iron Dutch Oven 5.3 QT
- Product Type: Iron Dutch Oven
- Type of Cooking Surface: Enameled Iron
- Handle Material: Enameled Iron
- Oven-Proof Handle: Yes
With over 15 years of experience working in professional kitchens, I have been able to play with a bunch of different cooking vessels. As it turns out, I love using just about any piece of cookware that is designed with care and quality.
- When I received it: I received this as a sample in November 2022
- Days tested: 30
- What I’ve used it for: Roasting, baking, boiling, mixing, in-oven
- Foods I’ve found it best for: Great for baking bread, braising meat, vegetables, and roasting with the lid off
- Cooktops I’ve used it on: Gas, woodfired stove, induction
- Cleaning routine: I only hand wash my cookware because I can guarantee that my cookware won’t get ruined by the dishwasher.
How it performs
What I was looking for
I needed a large pot that would fit into an oven and have enough capacity to boil pasta for a party of 6-10 people. I was also looking for a more versatile pot than a standard single-wall stainless stock pot. On top of all that, I was looking to avoid the weight of an overbearing cast iron dutch oven. So this vessel fits the bill.
Why I chose this cookware
I chose to keep this pot because I’ve never encountered anything else quite like it. It’s lighter weight than Le Creuset while just as versatile. Time will tell if it’s as durable. It’s every bit as versatile as a standard dutch oven, except that the enameled coating is not so good for putting directly into campfires like a regular cast iron pot. Finally, it’s a beautiful pot that can go straight from the stovetop to the table and improve the appearance of any meal.
What I love about it
- Durability: While I haven’t really put this pot through its paces, I can tell it’s durable, and the enamel has maintained the finish just like the day it arrived in the mail.
- Versatility: This pot with a lid can do just about anything in the kitchen. If I were to have only one pot ever, I would easily put this one at the top of the list.
- Features: The biggest feature of this cookware is that it is an iron pot. It is not a cast iron pot. So it’s lighter weight than cast iron but has the same benefits that make it great for every cooking task.
- Look: Mine is grey on the outside with a nice cream-white on the inside. It's very simple and nice to look at. The handles are smooth and comfortable to hold onto. I love the stainless knob on the top of the lid.
- Weight and Size: Altogether, the vessel is heavier than a stainless pot of similar size. Some people really might not be okay with that. But it’s about 30% less weight than a cast iron pot. So I would say it’s a really good balance that commands to be handled carefully without being overbearing.
- Ease of Cleaning: The enamel coating is as easy to clean as any cookware. I only hand wash it, so I can’t speak to running it in the dishwasher, but they say it’s okay to do that.
- Applications: I’ve enjoyed having this on my stove as a prep pot where I mix all of my ingredients because I don’t currently have a large mixing bowl in the kitchen. But I’ve also used it to cook beans and pasta while baking a loaf of sourdough. It performed amazingly in all situations.
- Handling: It’s very comfortable to handle, but if it’s been fully heated up, oven mitts might be required as the iron handles can become quite hot, like any iron cooking vessel.
- Warranty: The dutch oven has a limited lifetime warranty.
Issues I’ve encountered
This is one of those rare pieces of cookware that I have nothing to say that I would have liked to see differently. It’s highly refined and feels like it will last for a lifetime as long as it gets the care and respect it deserves. However, there are a few aspects that other cooks might notice:
- Performance on Cooking Surfaces: This pot is great on any cooking surface and fuel type except for campfires. Because it’s iron, it takes longer to heat up than aluminum or clad stainless steel, but the heat distribution is great once it’s heated up.
- Quality of Materials: This is a well-made piece of cookware that I would say is high-end in its quality and finish. It’s pleasing to look at, and it feels great to handle. However, one issue I notice is the plastic gasket on the underside of the stainless lid. I can see replacing that in about 5-10 years, as I expect it would not hold up well after many hot sessions in the oven.
Favorite moment with this cookware
The first snow of the year, I woke up late and had friends coming for lunch. I started the fire and put the pot on top of the fireplace with some dried beans and water. As I went about cleaning the house before my company arrived, the beans cooked atop the fireplace to the most perfect and tender consistency. Because the pot is so nice to look at, I was able to bring it to the table where everyone was able to serve from it. It simplified my day and brought some beauty to the meal.
Value for the money vs. other options
If I were to consider a different option, it would be a Le Creuset cast iron dutch oven. But considering how much lighter this is and less expensive, I’m happy with it and would choose this one anyway.
The Merten and Storck dutch oven is perfect, and it’s complete simplicity will bring more simplicity to cooking, making the process less work and more fun. It’s a wonderful vessel to bring to the table.