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Old 11-01-2005, 02:47 AM   #1
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Question How to stop food sticking to stainless steel pots?

I learned to cook on cast iron and aluminium and never had any prolems with burning except when I forgot I was cooking something.
Some years ago my mother gave me two stainless steel cooking pots and I have never got the hang of using them. The only thing that doesn't burn to the bottom of these pots is water. Anything else will burn and stick to the bottom, so I only ever use these pots to make clear soups and to cook eggs and potatoes. Am I doing something wrong, or is this normal and I just have to avoid scraping the bottom when I stir the stew?

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Old 11-01-2005, 07:22 AM   #2
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To avoid sticking you need to make sure you have high enough heat, enough fat and you don't want to play with the food. Well you don't want to play with things like steaks and chicken breasts and pieces of meat like that. Get the pan hot, add your fat and let that heat up, then add your meat and don't touch it for a couple of minutes. It will stick initially, but after a few minutes it will release.
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Old 11-01-2005, 09:55 AM   #3
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If your stainless isn't clad with a layer of copper or aluminum, things will stick and burn. SS is notoriously bad for even heat distribution so hot spots occur that can burn food in spots.

If your SS has a layer of aluminum or copper either in a disk on the bottom or as a layer throughout the entire pan (sandwiched between two layers of SS) then GBs rules are right on.
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Old 11-01-2005, 12:04 PM   #4
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Just to add:

The term a "hot pan" can be confusing.

In regards to SS,a hot pan is one that has been heated over a medium element for a sufficient amount of time that doesn't allow the ingredients to cool down the pan.Actually heating a stainless pan over high heat can cause discoloration.

What is also important is that you add the oil just before
you add your ingredients.

Having a perfectly clean pan is also paramount.For some reason people don't seem to clean SS enough leaving a film or a cloudy residue caused by insufficent scrubbing.Use steelwool if you have to,it's not going to harm the pan,and if you don't want the small scratches from doing this,then takeout is a great alternative.

So....heat a perfectly clean pan over a medium heat until
all of the pan including the outer edges of the pan are the same temp.(you'll perfect this through experience)then
add the oil and then your ingredients that have the least amount of moisture possible taking into consideration of what your cooking.

You'll eventually find cooking over easy eggs a very simple task in SS.
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Old 11-01-2005, 12:27 PM   #5
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Reading in Robert Wolke's book, "What Einstein Told His Cook 2", he states that the end result you need is to have both the pan and the oil hot before you add the food in order to prevent sticking.

He rejects the idea that you have to wait for the pan to be hot before you add the oil. You could add oil to a cold pan and heat them up together and the end result would be the same.

I've tried that and it seems to work in the few instances when I've tried it.
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Old 11-01-2005, 12:35 PM   #6
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I hear what your saying Andy,but that theory is too one dimensional and I certainly wonder if he ever stepped foot in a kitchen.What do you think.
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Old 11-01-2005, 12:37 PM   #7
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Robert Wolke? He is one of the most pre-eminent food scientists in the country.
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Old 11-01-2005, 12:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foodaholic
I hear what your saying Andy,but that theory is too one dimensional and I certainly wonder if he ever stepped foot in a kitchen.What do you think.
One dimensional?

I wrestled with it at first, but having read both of his books and his descriptions of how he arrives at his conclusions, I decided to give it a try.

Think about it for a minute. All the food 'knows' is that the pan and the oil are both hot. The food doesn't know whether the pan got hot first or if they got hot together.

Don't reject the thought out-of-hand. Do an objective test for yourself.
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Old 11-01-2005, 12:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M.

Don't reject the thought out-of-hand. Do an objective test for yourself.
Which is EXACTLY what Robert Wolke advocates.
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Old 11-01-2005, 02:42 PM   #10
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It doesn't take a lot of heat to allow butter to sizzle or olive oil to heat up and if I was dropping in 1 shrimp it may be sufficient,but if I'm dropping in a 2" porterhouse that's another story.Pan thickness,type of oil and ingredients will dictate how I heat up
a pan and apply the oil medium.I would certainly treat a thin steel fry pan that I most commonly used for sauting in the restaurant business,than say a cast iron pan.
Like I said and stick by my comment "that theory is too one dimensional"or should I say that it wouldn't work in a professional kitchen.
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