Differences Between Enameled Cast Iron and Regular
Just like my dad, I was a big (bare) cast iron fan. When I moved into my own house, one of the first things that I grabbed was a cast iron cookware. I used it for cooking a lot of things. It’s like a laundry list, so we won’t go there. Growing up, it was ingrained in me by my father that no other pan would even come close to beating a cast iron pan. I firmly believed in it for a long time.
Later on, my wife came into my life, and she brought with her an enameled cast iron pan. It turned out that she wasn’t a cast iron fan. We were too early in our marriage to argue or fight with each other. Days and months turned into years. Over the years, I have realized that both enabled cast iron and cast iron have their share of merits and demerits. Let me give you a face-to-face comparison between the two.
Key Differences between Enameled Cast Iron and Cast Iron
Pricewise, bare cast iron is way cheaper than enamled cast iron. Given its durability, you can acquire it at a surprisingly low price. On the other hand, enamled cast iron cookware is considered to be a top-of-the-line product, so you might have to shave off more money to acquire it. The first time I purchased them, I wasn’t expecting to go that high, but I took the bite anyways. So, the first round goes to cast iron. From the affordability standpoint, it’s a clear winner.
Ease of Cleaning
Between the two, I found out that enameled cast iron is amazingly easy to clean. If you oil them before use, foods don’t gravitate towards them as much as they do on bare cast iron. The fact that enameled cast iron does not require seasoning, you are sure to find it easier to clean and maintain. Mostly, a clean wipe from a sponge takes care of the cleaning chore. Even with gentle cleaning, enameled cast iron has been treating me well. On the other hand, cast iron can be extremely difficult to clean if the food is left on them for an extended period of time. Also, the standard cast iron is not dishwasher safe. Not wanting to be left behind, enamled cast iron wins this round.
Cast iron bounces back in this round. For the most part, it’s almost bulletproof. Depending on the quality of enamled cast iron, they aren’t always quite durable. Speaking from personal experience, the paint can chip off any day of the week. On the other hand, my father used the same cast iron cookware for over a decade. I recollect restoring it to an almost-brand-new condition when it collected some dust. So, we will give cast iron the credit where it’s due. The product is built to last, and it’s extremely difficult to ruin it.
Food and Flavor
Bare cast iron is perfect for making scrambled eggs, omelets, etc. because of its non-stick quality. In hindsight, it won’t prove to be a perfect cooking companion for acidic foods. On the other hand, enameled cast iron doesn’t get affected by acidic foods such as tomato soups or sauces. So, acidic foods can be prepared on enameled cast iron cookware. Talking about flavors, cast iron can retain the flavor of the food, but enameled cast iron does not hold flavors. Also, cast iron incorporates extra iron into the food, which is good for anyone who is anemic. Furthermore, it’s more versatile than other cookware out there. It can be used for frying, baking, roasting, searing, and slow cooking as well.
Bare cast iron is generally thicker. Therefore, it reduces the instances of hot-spots and uneven heating. We can say that it’s extra efficient than enameled cast iron in this department. Compared to enameled cast iron, you can do a lot of cooking on cast iron at a high temperature. Yes, bare cast iron will hold up well against high temperature. Basically, it can remain hotter for longer. On the other hand, enameled cast iron won’t be as much efficient as bare iron cast iron. The heat can cause damage to the interiors of enameled cast iron cookware.
Cast iron is generally way heavier than enamled cast iron. In fact, it’s heavier than most other cookware in its domain. Unless you are a cast iron enthusiast, you may not appreciate the extra pounds. That being said, the thickness and heaviness does give it a distinct advantage in the race. Bare cast iron can handle a lot of heat. So, the extra poundage comes with a significant heat bearing capacity. In retrospective, the handle of cast iron can also get pretty hot. So, one will have to exercise extra caution while heating them for too long.
Enamled cast iron is nicer looking than bare cast iron. In this department, it can give bare cast iron a run for its money on any day of the week. Look for look, enamled cast iron has a definite edge over cast iron. For the most part, enameled cast iron is heirloom-quality piece. It can definitely contribute to one’s kitchen décor. Scores of people out there don’t mind collecting them. It’s something that can be passed on from the parents to the kids. Unlike cast iron, enamled cast iron is available in many different colors.
As you can see that there is no clear winner in this battle. There is a nice tussle between the two. Both of them have put up a nice fight. After all, no cookware out there is perfect. As mentioned before, both of them have their share of good and bad side. So, it’s hard to pick a winner between the two. At the end of the day, it guns down to your personal preference. You can examine if one type is more suited to your cooking style to come up with an easy decision. Fortunately, I own both of them. They both come handy on different occasions. For me, they both work well together!