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Old 03-25-2011, 10:17 PM   #1
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ISO help cooking with stainless steel????

What is the trick to cooking in stainless steel?I tried to fry some potatoes and they stuck like super glue instantly.I used plenty of peanut oil.Can someone give me any pointers?

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Old 03-25-2011, 10:42 PM   #2
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In the words of Graham Kerr, "Hot pan, cold oil, foods won't stick." Hope this helps.
Also you need to give foods a chance to release. Don't try to move them too soon.
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Old 03-26-2011, 03:39 AM   #3
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I wasn't successful with my first couple of attempts at using SS either. I was actually in tears after my first use (trying to brown chicken) because it was such a fiasco. I guess because it was a serious financial investment to buy them and I thought they'd work like magic in my kitchen. LOL And they do work wonderfully now, but only after doing some reading and practicing, it's easy peasy now!

Why food sticks to stainless steel pans?

Food that sticks is caused by chemical bonds that form between the food and the material of the pan - almost always a metal. These bonds may be relatively weak van der Waals forces or covalent bonds. Protein-rich foods are particularly prone to sticking because the proteins can form complexes with metal atoms, such as iron, in the pan.

How to prevent sticking or why hot oil prevents sticking?

The oil, being liquid, fills in the valleys and caves of the pan surface. Although the pan may look smooth at a microscopic level the surface of even the smoothest metal pan looks rough with hills, valleys and even caves. Hot oil is more viscous than cold oil and will immediately flow filling the gaps.

When oil in the pan gets hot enough a steam effect begins to occur ---

"A small amount of oil added to a very hot pan almost instantly becomes very hot oil. The oil quickly sears the outside of the food and causes water to be released from the food. This layer of water vapor ("steam") lifts the food atop the oil film and keeps it from touching the hot pan surface. If the oil is not hot enough, the steam effect will not occur and the food will fuse to the (too) cool pan surface." Source: Ask a Scientist, Newton BBC

In addition very hot oil will react with the metal atoms of the pan and form a coating called a patina. This leaves few free metal atoms to react with the food. This coating can easily be removed by detergents, however, so it has to be reapplied before each use of the pan. In the case of cast-iron pans the patina becomes more permanent. It has been suggested that the patina could form by a sequence of cracking followed by polymerization. Source: Kitchen Chemistry, RSC

Tips to prevent food from sticking

1. Make sure the surface is clean. Small attached food particles can provide contact surfaces of the pan.

2. Make sure the food surface is dry and not too cold. Let food from the refrigerator rest for a while at room temperature. Cold meat sticks easily to stainless steel surfaces when cooked. Remember if the food surface has water it will lower the temperature of the oil and promote sticking. You can either pat the surface of the food dry or in the case of fish with skin, slide a knife blade over the skin to remove excess moisture. This will also allow for a crisper skin.

NOTE: some cooks prefer to add a small layer of oil to the surface of the dry food to help prevent sticking.

3.Make sure the oil is HOT. Either add cold oil to a hot pan or start with a cold pan and cold oil.

Both methods work fine. However we prefer adding cold oil to a hot pan.

--->Advantages of cold oil to hot pan --a hot pan requires less oil to cover the surface perhaps as little as half as much. Hot oil is more viscous and immediately flows. Less oil will be also be needed to fill the micro-crevices and provide the necessary barrier between food and pan surface. In addition the reduced thermal trip to target temperature will cause the fat to deteriorate less.

NOTE: Some chefs however prefer adding cold oil to a cold pan some cooks prefer this technique because the appearance of the oil in the pan can give you some indication of when the pan has reached the proper temperature

How to tell if the pan is hot enough so food won't stick

The oil should begin to ripple, and spread quite quickly over the pan. If your pan was hot enough, this process should only take a 'few seconds' .

Ideally you want to add the food right before the smoke point. If you wait too long your pan will get too hot and the oil will start to smoke, then turn brown after which damage to you pan can occur.

The pan is hot enough if a few small drops of water flicked from your fingertips vaporize immediately, or if a larger drop of water hisses and floats across the surface of the pan on a cushion of its own steam.

With experience you will detect the exact time to add food to the hot oil.

-4. Don't crowd the pan. Crowding usually lowers the temperature and releases moisture into the pan. If moisture is released the temperature will go below that required to produce caramelization and the Maillard reaction. As a result no browning will occur.

5. Do not move the food to quickly. Even if some sticking has occurred it will most probably be released from the pan after a short time.

If food does stick and you are using a stainless steel pan, like all-clad, then lower the heat a little. The food will release on its own.

An exception is diced vegetables which need to be moved to prevent burning. A uniform application of oil will eliminate any sticking spots and produce an equally uniform sear. Heat your pan over a medium-high to high flame.

6. Listen to cooking sounds-- Sizzling yes --Splattering no

As long as you hear that sizzling sound then there's still water in the pan and foods won't burn. As soon as the sizzling stops that's when burning can happen.
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Old 03-26-2011, 07:31 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joesfolk View Post
In the words of Graham Kerr, "Hot pan, cold oil, foods won't stick." Hope this helps.
Also you need to give foods a chance to release. Don't try to move them too soon.
Sorry but "Hot pan, cold oil, foods won't stick." is a myth.
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Old 03-26-2011, 08:43 AM   #5
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Hot pan, cold oil seems to work the best for me.

also for some odd reason, using real butter in a pan when cooking eggs seems to work very well for me, almost like having a non-stick pan.
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Old 03-26-2011, 08:50 AM   #6
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Hot pan, cold oil seems to work the best for me.
If you put cold oil into a hot pan it quickly becomes hot. The piont of waiting before adding oil is to prevent the oil from breaking down during heating of the pan.

Hot pan, cold oil is the same as searing meat seals in the juices.
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Old 03-26-2011, 08:59 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by powerplantop View Post
Sorry but "Hot pan, cold oil, foods won't stick." is a myth.

Which part are you taking issue with? The "hot/cold" part or the "won't stick" part?
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Old 03-26-2011, 09:15 AM   #8
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Which part are you taking issue with? The "hot/cold" part or the "won't stick" part?
If you add a lot of cold oil to a hot pan and before the oil heats up you add your meat it will stick. If you wait a bit you have hot oil.
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Old 03-26-2011, 09:17 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by powerplantop View Post
If you add a lot of cold oil to a hot pan and before the oil heats up you add your meat it will stick. If you wait a bit you have hot oil.

Right. You need both a hot pan and hot oil. THEN you have a no stick situation. The myth is that you have to add the oil after the pan is hot and that's not true. I think Zereh's post says it all.
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Old 03-26-2011, 10:21 AM   #10
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hot pan, hot oil, room temp food, food needs to be dry (pat meat or potatoes etc with paper towel, season it, don't crowd the pan, don't move food around - let it cook a bit - jiggle it to release, and turn.

There are some items that cook well in a non stick pan: eggs, scallops, hash browns, anything going from the freezer to the pan.
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