"Discover Cooking, Discuss Life."

Go Back   Discuss Cooking - Cooking Forums > General Cooking Information > Cookware and Accessories
Click Here to Login
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 12-15-2012, 11:52 AM   #1
Head Chef
 
Skittle68's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Duluth, MN
Posts: 890
Why does everything stick to my pans?

My bf bought me a nice set of stainless steel pans for Christmas last year, and it seems like everything sticks to them. What is going on?? I'm pretty sure we use plenty of oil, and always make sure it is heated up before adding anything to the pan. I hate to use Teflon when we have this nice stainless steel set...

Skittle68 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2012, 11:58 AM   #2
Chef Extraordinaire
 
Dawgluver's Avatar
Site Moderator
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 25,016
I think it's the nature of the beast, Skittle. I try to get mine in the sink with water ASAP.
__________________
She who dies with the most toys, wins.
Dawgluver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2012, 12:07 PM   #3
Certified Pretend Chef
 
Andy M.'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 46,934
Basic rules for SS pans.

1. The pan must be completely clean. No residue from previous uses. Food sticks to residue. This is why there is Barkeepers Friend.

2. Pan and fat (oil or butter or a combination) must both be hot before you add the meat. Add the fat when the pan is cold or hot - it doesn't matter. Just make sure the pan and the oil are hot before adding food. When the oil is shimmering in the pan and beginning to smoke, it's ready.

3. Meat must be dry.

4. Place the meat in the pan and leave it alone. Don't try to move it. Leave it alone.

Meats will stick to the pan initially. As the meat heats up and starts to brown, it will detach itself from the pan. When you turn it over to the other side, it will initially stick again and detach itself after cooking a bit.

The most difficult part of this process is waiting for the meat to unstick itself.
__________________
"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -Carl Sagan
Andy M. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2012, 12:10 PM   #4
Head Chef
 
Skittle68's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Duluth, MN
Posts: 890
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawgluver View Post
I think it's the nature of the beast, Skittle. I try to get mine in the sink with water ASAP.
We have potatoes frying for breakfast right now, and as they start to brown, the browned parts stick to the pan and rip off :/ hard to get nice hashbrowns that way.
Skittle68 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2012, 12:27 PM   #5
Chef Extraordinaire
 
Dawgluver's Avatar
Site Moderator
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 25,016
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skittle68 View Post

We have potatoes frying for breakfast right now, and as they start to brown, the browned parts stick to the pan and rip off :/ hard to get nice hashbrowns that way.
Andy's advice works for hashbrowns too. When I made S&P'S lovely potato pancakes, I was amazed, they didn't stick! I did use a lot of oil. Dang. Wish I'd taken a pic.
__________________
She who dies with the most toys, wins.
Dawgluver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2012, 12:46 PM   #6
Chef Extraordinaire
 
pacanis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: NW PA
Posts: 18,751
I have gas stove with the grates. I've found that if I "bounce" the pan on the grate and give it a shake, it will either release the food or tell me it isn't ready to flip yet. I would not do that with all stoves, which is why I mentioned the type I have.
__________________
Give us this day our daily bacon.
pacanis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2012, 01:05 PM   #7
Head Chef
 
Skittle68's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Duluth, MN
Posts: 890
Quote:
Originally Posted by pacanis View Post
I have gas stove with the grates. I've found that if I "bounce" the pan on the grate and give it a shake, it will either release the food or tell me it isn't ready to flip yet. I would not do that with all stoves, which is why I mentioned the type I have.
I have an electric stove, and I do kind of the same thing with a Teflon pan- I just flip the potato cubes up and over themselves to rotate them evenly. Next time I'll try it, and if they stick I guess they aren't ready yet. We will see :)
Skittle68 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2012, 01:11 PM   #8
Chef Extraordinaire
 
pacanis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: NW PA
Posts: 18,751
I wasn't sure if you could do that with an electric stove. I don't know how sturdy those elements are. It's worth a try if you think it's OK.
__________________
Give us this day our daily bacon.
pacanis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2012, 01:16 PM   #9
Head Chef
 
Skittle68's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Duluth, MN
Posts: 890
Quote:
Originally Posted by pacanis View Post
I wasn't sure if you could do that with an electric stove. I don't know how sturdy those elements are. It's worth a try if you think it's OK.
I don't use the element- I pick up the pan and jerk it forward and up to get the potatoes to slide up the edge of the pan and flip back on top of themselves.

There's probably a name for this technique but I have no clue what that would be. I see the guys in the restaurant I work at doing it with the pastas all the time.
Skittle68 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2012, 01:23 PM   #10
Chef Extraordinaire
 
pacanis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: NW PA
Posts: 18,751
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skittle68 View Post
I don't use the element- I pick up the pan and jerk it forward and up to get the potatoes to slide up the edge of the pan and flip back on top of themselves.

There's probably a name for this technique but I have no clue what that would be. I see the guys in the restaurant I work at doing it with the pastas all the time.
Gotcha. What I was trying to describe is actually bouncing the pan on the grate a little and giving it a shake to hasten, or see, if the food has released.
Heck, I don't even know if it actually does anything, but I do it just the same
__________________
Give us this day our daily bacon.
pacanis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2012, 02:50 PM   #11
Certified Pretend Chef
 
Andy M.'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 46,934
When the food is ready to release, as I described above, sometimes it needs a little agitation to release it completely. So banging it on the grate, shaking it or using a spatula to break it free will do the trick.

Skittle, maybe a little more fat in the pan will help.
__________________
"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -Carl Sagan
Andy M. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2012, 03:16 PM   #12
Head Chef
 
Skittle68's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Duluth, MN
Posts: 890
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
When the food is ready to release, as I described above, sometimes it needs a little agitation to release it completely. So banging it on the grate, shaking it or using a spatula to break it free will do the trick.

Skittle, maybe a little more fat in the pan will help.
I was thinking maybe a mix of butter and oil instead of just oil? Everything already gets a little greasy... But I will try letting it sit for a bit before messing with it next time and see if that helps. Thanks!
Skittle68 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2012, 03:20 PM   #13
Certified Pretend Chef
 
Andy M.'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 46,934
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skittle68 View Post
I was thinking maybe a mix of butter and oil instead of just oil? Everything already gets a little greasy... But I will try letting it sit for a bit before messing with it next time and see if that helps. Thanks!
This is the whole key to success!

The type of fat shouldn't make a difference with the sticking.
__________________
"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -Carl Sagan
Andy M. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2012, 03:25 PM   #14
Head Chef
 
Skittle68's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Duluth, MN
Posts: 890
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post

This is the whole key to success!

The type of fat shouldn't make a difference with the sticking.
Good to know- thanks for the advice!
Skittle68 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2012, 05:00 PM   #15
Assistant Cook
 
ChefRH11's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: New York City
Posts: 12
This is one of the most annoying things I have to deal with! Sometimes it is about the temperature of the pan and the amount of grease, but most often than not it has to do with whatever I am frying not yet being ready to flip. It's super annoying though! I really like using non-stick pans. I usually encounter this problem more with my stainless steel cookware. The best advice I have gotten (and this usually works) is to make sure the pan is sufficiently hot before you add the oil/butter. It should be hot enough that a drop of water will sizzle upon hitting it. And then of course waiting until the oil is hot enough as well before adding the ingredients. Then I try to find the perfect temperature to cook on. If something is stuck, I will turn it to low and it usually become unstuck.
__________________
Cooking is not a chore, it's a hobby!
ChefRH11 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2012, 05:05 PM   #16
Master Chef
 
Rocklobster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Ottawa Valley, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 6,476
I use a 3 inch paint scraper when frying some things. It is thinner than most spatulas and works great when getting the food unstuck. Just be careful when using it that you don't scratch the heck out of the pan. Once you get a nice crust on whatever you are frying it will be less likely to stick. Then after the first flip, I turn the heat down a notch and it will continue to brown without burning or sticking....
Rocklobster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2012, 05:29 PM   #17
Cook
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 61
If the water just sizzles, the pan is too cold. The water must ball up like a mercury ball and bounce around the pan. Check this out:



Additionally, make sure the water is no longer in the pan before you add the oil. This will prevent the oil from splattering because of the water.

What I do, is time how long it takes to heat the pan and test with the water drop. Then, in the future, I just know how long it takes to get to "mercury ball" temperature. (My 12 inch pan takes about 5 minutes to heat up.)

Also, I heat my ss pans using medium heat, not high. This was the recomended level that was on the instructions that came with the pans.
tropical cooker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2012, 05:48 PM   #18
Certified Pretend Chef
 
Andy M.'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 46,934
Skittle, just out of curiosity, what kind of SS pans do you have? Are they tri-ply, disk on the bottom or a single layer of stainless?
__________________
"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -Carl Sagan
Andy M. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2012, 06:58 PM   #19
Head Chef
 
GLC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Near Austin, Texas
Posts: 1,216
A few points worth covering. The most important and common reason for sticking has been mentioned, but it's worth recognizing its importance. Browning meat will release when it's ready. Sticking occurs when you try to rush it.

Stainless steel pans do need careful handling. Stainless steel is soft and gets softer when hot. It is easily scratched. Scracthed increase the chance of sticking when everything else isn't exactly right. Oil has to fill in all the other than flat spots, and excess scratches is asking for trouble. I do not use metal tools or abrasive cleaners on my stainless steel. Nor do I allow them to go into the dishwasher. That's a very harsh environment. Nor do I allow any deposits to accumulate. But stainless steel that has been damaged by long abuse with metal and abrasives can no longer be considered "non-stick" and should be discarded if they're your only cookware.

There is always much discussion about the virtues of hot-pan-cool-oil or hot-pan-hot-oil. But from a stainless steel sticking perspective food should go into a hot pan with hot oil. Hot oil better fills the fine faults in the metal surface. And there are always flaws, even in new pans.

Do not get too fixated on the high heat notion. High heat is appropriate for browning meat, but a lot of other cooking calls for low to medium heat. This is a difficult topic to talk about without live demonstration. When you need high heat, you really need high heat. But we can't put a label on the proper heat setting. There is far too much variation among ranges and between gas and electric.

Sticking is not all bad. You should never have to pry meat off the pan surface, leaving meat behind. But you also don't need and shouldn't expect to always have all food lift off without a trace. Without some material sticking to the pan, we would have rather poor gravies and sauces. But the caramelized material that's stuck should come off cleanly when deglazing with wine or other liquid. And if you think about it, for these desirable products of deglazing you require sticking. You just require it to release, too.

Eggs are a terror for many cooks. There's a finely defined point where enough oil and enough heat cooks eggs rapidly without sticking. I don't spend a lot of time hunting for it. I have one and only one pan with a Teflon type coating, a small fry pan for omelets. To learn to handle eggs in stainless steel, start with fried eggs and work out the correct situation, flipping when the whites start to set. Oh, and as with all foods, use room temperature eggs.

And stay away from cooking sprays. They will tend to gum up the pan surface, which will cause sticking. Heavy bottom pans will tend to stick less, because they will heat more evenly across the surface, and they will tend to stay flatter.
__________________
"Kitchen duty is awarded only to those of manifest excellence..." - The Master, Dogen
GLC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2012, 08:27 PM   #20
Cook
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 61
Continuing the conversaton; correct temperature trumps all. Check this out:



Using a sufficiently hot pan is most important.

There was another video on Youtube that showed a guy frying an egg in a ss pan without oil...I can't seem to find it now.
tropical cooker is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:03 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.