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Old 09-12-2015, 12:15 PM   #101
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I prefer aluminum over CI any day. Of course I have been saying this over and over again.
But it is true about professionals using thinner pans than most people use at home.
I tend to lean on heavier AL as it reacts very quickly and prefer it over CI and SS. In fact I don't own a single SS fry/saute pan.
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Old 09-12-2015, 01:32 PM   #102
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Originally Posted by Chief Longwind Of The North View Post
The problem with mineral pans, or thin SS pans is that they develop hot spots where the flame touches the pan. Yes, they do heat more quickly than CI. That being said, thinner CI pans such as Griswold pans also had hot spots. Cast iron is a poor heat conductor. Thicker CI must be pre-heated long enough to let the heat spread more evenly in the pan. But the same is true of aluminum and copper pans, as they give up their heat as easily as they absorb it from the cooking source. When cold food is added, it quickly cools the metal of thinner pans, and the spots that are touching the heat source remain the hottest points. On a commercial stove, the flame pattern is designed to touch as much of the pan surface as possible. This just isn't the same with home burners. The other reason people love CI is that it is very durable, and easy to care for. It never needs to be tinned.

I have a high-carbon steel, flat-bottomed wok that is a great cooking tool, and is as non-stick as are my CI pans. But the wok suffers much more from hot spots that does my Wagner and Lodge CI pans. For light duty cooking, such as frying an egg, or making an English Muffin, my Griswold CI pans work very well. My SS pan with the encapsulated bottom is also a very useful pan, and is nearly as easy to care for as are my CI pans. But things stick to it more readily, even when I'm doing everything right.

Unless aluminum pans are seasoned properly, or coated in some kind of non-stick, be it ceramic, or teflon, foods stick, and react quickly to the metal, especially foods that are acidic or alkali.

The largest drawback to CI is its weight. I can't imagine trying to manhandle a CI pan to flip foods, using the pan. Plus, CI isn't constructed in the proper shapes to do such things.

The restaurant environment is set up for fast production. The home kitchen usually isn't. I can make things in my kitchen that would be difficult to replicate in a restaurant kitchen. But there are foods that a restaurant kitchen can do that I can't, as I don't have all of the same tools or appliances.

Comparing CI to other metals used in cooking is simply comparing apples to oranges. Each is good, but has different aspects that make it good.

Remember always that it is the heat that does the work. With a simple stick, strong twine, and a hearth, you can roast a perfect turkey. But it's more easily done in the oven, or on the grill as there is less mess to clean up, and less fussing you have to do with the bird. Pots, pans, burners, ovens, are simply tools that allow us to use the heat more efficiently. Arguing about which pan is the best is to me, just silly. Each kind has a function, and will cook food, albeit with a little different technique than the other.

Trust me, I can make really good food in most of the various types of pots and pans out there. And I can seriously destroy what could have been a great meal by inattention, or improper use of the pot or pan.

Seeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
All pans are hot right under the flame. Every single one regardless of the quality of the hob. It's simple physics. Moreover, that's where you cook the food. If that spot is too hot, you turn the flame down. You don't manage the process by worrying about what the temp is out near the edge. You're unlikely to ruin product out there, if it's even out there in the first place (more on that below).

Most every home chef keeps food in the pan too long, usually at too low a temp, and crowds the pan instead of cooking the food in series. If I'm doing a chicken saute' with eight pieces, at the browning step I'm putting two pieces in a ten or eleven inch skillet at a time and that's it. They'll all go back in the pan later with the liquid. I couldn't care less what the temp of the pan is at the eight or nine inch diameter mark. There's no real reason to. You can cook the product in series faster than you can by throwing three, four, or five pieces in. And you can cook it perfectly -- you have fewer items in the pan to watch and they're sitting right in the middle of the pan over that gorgeous blue flame.

Try it. Promise you'll like it. It renders nine-tenths of the stuff people worry and pontificate about totally moot.
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Old 09-12-2015, 01:38 PM   #103
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roll_Bones View Post
I prefer aluminum over CI any day. Of course I have been saying this over and over again.
But it is true about professionals using thinner pans than most people use at home.
I tend to lean on heavier AL as it reacts very quickly and prefer it over CI and SS. In fact I don't own a single SS fry/saute pan.
Aluminum cooks damned well. It can lend an off flavor and color to sauces and pan reductions though. For straight browning, nothing really beats it.
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Old 09-12-2015, 01:42 PM   #104
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That's just silly. No one who cooks regularly with cast iron thinks the seasoning makes the food taste better. It makes the pan non-stick.

Cast iron has a lot of great uses in a home kitchen. What's appropriate in a commercial kitchen isn't relevant.
It makes the pan nonstick alright but at a cost. Do the water test.
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Old 09-12-2015, 01:54 PM   #105
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It makes the pan nonstick alright but at a cost. Do the water test.
I don't care to, thank you. Any residue that might be in the pan was pretty delicious when I ate the meal it came from, so I'm not concerned about it being incorporated into the next savory thing I make. That's why I said it was a silly thing to suggest.

Many of us here are pretty experienced home cooks and don't really need instruction on how to use and care for our equipment. And I went to culinary school for a couple of months (had to withdraw for medical reasons) so I'm familiar with the needs of a restaurant kitchen.
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Old 09-12-2015, 01:57 PM   #106
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I use dish soap all the time and have never had a problem.
After washing wipe dry with a towel, no problem.

I use canola stray all the time; every so often fry fish
using canola or peanut oil and the skillets look great.
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Old 09-12-2015, 02:02 PM   #107
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I have been cautious about over-crowding the pan when browning, for many, many years. A friend of mine is a chef. When he helped me in the kitchen, he put loads more chunks of meat on the pan than I ever would. He also had the heat on my electric stove turned to max and it was faster than what I was used to. BTW, with an electric stove, most of my pots and pans are completely sitting on the heating element. It isn't hotter in the centre. One of the large burners has a hot spot near the edge at the 2 o'clock position.
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Old 09-12-2015, 04:08 PM   #108
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If you have a defective burner then you have to work around that. What would you do if you got a new stove? Otherwise, the food gets cooked in the strike zone not high and outside. We're trying to hit a home run here not foul one off behind the plate.
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Old 09-12-2015, 04:13 PM   #109
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Originally Posted by GotGarlic View Post
I don't care to, thank you. Any residue that might be in the pan was pretty delicious when I ate the meal it came from, so I'm not concerned about it being incorporated into the next savory thing I make. That's why I said it was a silly thing to suggest.

Many of us here are pretty experienced home cooks and don't really need instruction on how to use and care for our equipment. And I went to culinary school for a couple of months (had to withdraw for medical reasons) so I'm familiar with the needs of a restaurant kitchen.
Oh well, it's still there as sure as the sun rises in the east. I'm not suggesting a way to care for the equipment because there is virtually nothing you can do to prevent this phenomenon, mine is just a test to show you what CI throws off every time you cook in it. This is the source of flavor ghosting and a house flavor. The pan remembers everything you cook in it and serves it back to you. Carbon steel does it too, but to a much, much smaller degree.
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Old 09-12-2015, 04:18 PM   #110
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Pontificate is a wonderful word, I love the way it rolls off the tongue, thanks CStanford!
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