After visiting Bed Bath & Beyond in Manhattan, reader Jay told us that the knobs are missing from the Le Creuset Dutch ovens on display.
"I think the recent spate of [no-knead] bread baking has led to many destroyed handles and people have been absconding with the handles they find on display . . .I actually had one explode in the oven," Jay said.
The no-knead bread phenemenon began back in November when Mark Bittman suggested using Dutch ovens to get a crispy crust and showed a Le Creuset in the picture.
I called Bed Bath & Beyond on Manhattan's Upper East Side and spoke with Kelly. She told me the store's Le Creuset go on display with knobs, but they "do come loose for a variety of reasons."
Kelly said kids like to play with the knobs, some come loose with so much use and just fall off, while other knobs go home with shoppers who have sticky fingers.
Bed Bath & Beyond is sometimes affectionately called Bed Bath & Borrow because of their generous, customer-friendly return policy, but "borrowing" from their displays this way is just wrong. And why nick a knob when for about $7.95, bakers can replace the black plastic knob with a Le Creuset knob made of stainless steel? (Note: Taylor from The Brooklyn Kitchen reports that they have larger Le Creuset knobs in stock
the stainless steel knob is out of stock at many online retailers, but I've contacted Le Creuset to find another retailer.)
"The traditional Phenolic knob stays cool during stovetop use and is oven safe to 375F, while our new 18/10 stainless steel knob is highly durable and can withstand any oven temperature," says Le Creuset.
If the steel version is not for you, bread bakers who need a new knob can also order free replacement black knobs through Le Creuset (877-273-8738, cservice[at]lecreuset[dot]com). NotMartha reports that stainless steel cabinet knobs could also be used.
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[Photo from Milkshakepants via Flickr]