Your easy-to-follow guide on Vermicular cast iron

Vermicular Cast Iron

If you are interested in Japanese cast-iron, then you have to check out a brand called Vermicular. The company currently manufactures high-end cast-iron enamelware. And takes on the French brands such as Le Creuset and Staub. I have to say Vermicular makes some good looking pots. And because the company uses graphite cast-iron for added strength, their pots are worth serious consideration.

But unlike Staub and Le Creuset, Vermicular is relatively unknown outside of Japan despite its reputation for quality. So in the article, you can learn about Vermicular, including history, product features and product lineup.

Table of contents

  • Company information
  • History of Vermicular
  • Manufacturing process
  • Products
  • Is Vermicular cast iron worth it?
  • Final thoughts

Vermicular background

Vermicular is a family-owned business that largely manufactures cookware for the Japanese market. Despite this, the brand is gaining a worldwide reputation for manufacturing high quality enameled cast-iron. And equal to other well-known brands such as Staub and Le Creuset.

The company also successfully combines, one of the oldest cooking materials, cast iron with modern technology. And specializes in high-end enameled Dutch ovens and frying pans. The company has also developed an induction cooker/ Dutch Oven combination that surrounds the outer surface for even cooking.

Table: Company information

Name of Manufacturer

Aichi Dobby Ltd.

Established

The company was founded in 1936 and was originally called the Hijikata Foundry

Founder

Shibaichi Hijikata

Foundry address

1-28 Soencho, Nakagawa
Nagoya-Shi
Aichi 454-0821
Japan (Google map)

Cookware Line

Vermicular first introduced in 2010

Cookware Products

Enameled cast-iron Dutch Ovens, frying pans and kitchen accessories.

Foundry workers at Aichi Dobby Ltd.
Foundry workers at Aichi Dobby pouring molten iron into sand molds. Unlike other manufacturers, Aichi Dobby manufactures graphite cast-iron to create cookware. Looking at this cauldron there is most likely a handful of other metals such as copper to strengthen the metal.

History of Vermicular 

Family Business 

Vermicular was founded by two brothers, Kunihiro and Tomohiro Hijikata. The brothers manufacture the cookware line in the Hijikata run Aichi Dobby Foundry (Wiki Japan). Despite Vermicular being a relatively new cookware line, the family has been in the cast iron business since 1936. 

The Original Aichi Dobby Ironworks 

The Hijikata brothers grandfather operated the original Aichi Dobby ironworks, which was renowned for its ability to cast and machine iron. The factory produced industrial sewing machines and dobby looms. However, this business slowed in the mid-20th century during an economic downturn and the development of new technology over that time.

Reestablishing the ironworks 

In 2010, the two brothers decided to revive the legacy of family casting works by creating world class enameled cast-iron cookware.

The brothers began designing an enameled Dutch Oven with an innovative induction cooker.

Vermicular cast-iron

After extensive testing and product development, the Hijikata brothers launched the Vermicular brand with their first product. The Musui-Kamado, a cast-iron pot with a companion induction cooker. The cooker took three years of product development and testing before the pot and induction cooker was finally finished. 

Features of Vermicular cast iron cookware

Vermicular cast iron is made using a mix of iron and a small amount of 13 other metals to produce graphite cast-iron. 

Graphite iron is more durable and can be machined thinner than standard cast iron and results in lighter ironware.

However, graphite iron is not easy to machine and requires a lot of technical expertise. This type of casting metal is uncommon for cast-iron cookware, but it plays to the strengths of Japanese metal casting that dates back thousands of years. 

How are Vermicular Dutch Ovens made?

The iron and trace metals are melted at 2700 degrees Fahrenheit. The molten iron is then poured into sand molds using the green sand method of casting.

Pots are then tooled by hand, removing the gate mark and rough burrs. Workers then smooth and round the edges of the oven and handle.

Next, the pots are carefully inspected for any imperfections. And the cookware undergoes the base coat of enamel. 

Vermicular enamel cookware receives three coats of enamel glaze in total. This helps ensure the enamel glaze is less likely to chip and develop small fractures, known as crazing. Multiple layers of enamel also helps ensure the cookware stays rust-free and will last for years to come.

A Promo video, but it gives a good introduction on how much effort goes into making every pot.

Products 

Induction oven/Dutch oven (Matsui-Komodo)

The signature Vermicular product is known as the Matsui-Komodo, a removable cast-iron Dutch Oven that fits into an induction slow-cooker.

The induction cooker takes up little space on your kitchen countertop. And is ideally suited for smaller families and kitchens. 

The Musui-Kamado is a revolutionary cast iron induction multi-cooker. It can be used to cook a variety of dishes and is ideal if you want to slow cook your meals. You can use the cooker for the following cooking methods:

  • steaming
  • searing
  • and braising

The Musui-Kamado allows home cooks to make one-pot restaurant-quality meals right in their own home. Vegetables will retain their natural flavors, and meat will simply fall apart. Put the Matsui-Komodo on your watch list because this little beauty isn’t a small purchase. But if you are looking for a cast-iron alternative to an air fryer you may want to check it out. Here’s an affiliate link to Amazon if you’re interested to see current prices.

Dutch Oven (Musui)

If you decide to purchase a Vermicular Dutch oven, it will have three coats of enamel similar to Staub and Le Creuset cast-iron cookware. Unfortunately, Vermicular ovens also comes with an equally high price tag. So yes, don’t be surprised, if Vermicular costs a pretty penny.

But you can expect your Vermicular Dutch Oven as equal in quality to its French counterparts. And just like other premium cast-iron your oven is carefully inspected and individually smoothed. Handles and edges are checked before any oven is enameled.

You can also expect a tight-fitting lid, unlike cheaper brands that have a lot of movement to allow room for error. Vermicular proudly states they can machine cast-iron to .01mm accuracy. That’s pretty amazing right?

Now let’s see how the Japanese pot sacks up against one if the most recognized brands in the cast-iron industry, Le Creuset.

Table: Comparing Vermicular and Le Creuset Dutch Ovens
Dutch OvenVermicular Dutch Oven 3.5 literLe Creuset Dutch Oven 3.5 quart

Place of manufacture

Japan

France

Weight

4.2 kilograms or 9.2 pounds

3.6 kilograms or 8.1 pounds

Material

Enameled graphite cast-iron

Enameled cast-iron

Cooking surface

Ribbed

Flat

Feature

Handled lids for easy and safe handling

Multitude of different colors to choose from
Vermicular Dutch Oven
Are you looking for a enameled Dutch Oven? Well, Vermicular make some snazzy options for you. I love the handle design that makes moving your oven easier and safer.

Frying Pans

Choosing a new skillet is already hard enough. But now, Vermicular has also introduced cast-iron frying pans to the company lineup. The pans are thinly cast but still retain all the benefits of regular cast iron. 

Unlike regular cast iron skillets, the Vermicular skillet features a wooden handle to further reduce the weight of the pan. Reducing the weight caters to the Japanese market that finds standard cast-iron skillets too unwieldy. The frying pans have a classic, timeless design and will look great on display in any kitchen. 

Vermicular frying pans are a great option if you want to use cast-iron but are put off by the full weight of a regular cast-iron skillet.

But since the handle is wooden it’s not the best choice for oven use.

Table: Comparing a Vermicular and Lodge skillets
Skillet/Frying PanVermicular 26cm skilletLodge 10 1/4 inch skillet

Place of Manufacture

Japan

United States of America

Weight

1.1 kilogram or 2.4 pounds

2.4 kilograms or 5.2 pounds

Material

Graphite cast-iron

Cast-iron

Handle

Wooden

Cast-iron

Coating

Enamel

Polymerized vegetable oil

Features

Lightweight and semi smooth cooking surface

Low cost
Vermicular frying pan
Beautifully made skillet. These frying pans are made in Japan and have an enamel lining for carefree maintenance, and easy cleaning.

Should I buy Vermicular cast iron?

It’s a sensible question to ask after all the cookware brand is not the cheapest on the market. But the company produces high-quality cast iron cookware equal to Le Creuset and Staub. The cookware is made with durable graphite cast-iron that should last years to come. 

Personally, I’d opt for a stand-alone Dutch oven and not the induction/Dutch Oven combo. Unlike many Japanese homes that only have a small toaster oven, you are unlikely to need the full Matsui-Komodo combination. And you can use your Vermicular cookware in a standard oven and on must stovetops.

The Vermicular Dutch oven features the classic French designed handled lid that places downward pressure when lifting. This makes the Dutch Oven easier and safer to move from place to place. 

Final Thoughts

Vermicular is high-quality ironware that uses Japanese precision casting technology. The cookware tends to be lighter than alternative cast-iron brands and looks fantastic. It’s more expensive than competing brands, but this Japanese cast-iron is sure to please.

References

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