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Old 12-25-2005, 05:03 PM   #1
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Comprehensive Instructions on Caring for Stainless?

I got a REALLY nice all-clad sauteuse for christmas. I could never afford one on my own. I've found a bit on the site here about stainless. I'd like to gather a comprehensive list of:

1) Cooking with stainless
2) cleaning the stainless
3) anything else that stainless may need

Most of us who are moving to stainless are used to cooking on non-stick and there are many areas where things are just different for both cooking and cleaning.

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Old 12-26-2005, 08:29 AM   #2
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Congrats on your new sauteuse. I am sure you are going to love it. It should have some with a sheet that explains exactly how to care for and cook with it. Read and follow those instructions as they are right on and also will tell you what will and will not void the warranty.

Here are a few things that I will tell you and I am sure others will jump in with more.

In most cases you do not need high heat. Med high is usually as hot as you need. The biggest exception is when you are boiling liquid. Then crank the heat as high as it will go.

I do not put my stainless in the dishwasher as i find it easy enough to clean by hand, but the instructions say you can use the dishwasher. I just get worried that repeated washings in the machine would make the surface look a little worn. That may or may not be true and others who wash theirs in a machine will be able to tell us.

When washing by hand, wait for the pan to cook a bit before putting under water. If you put a very hot pan under cold water then you could warp the pan. Letting it cool just a few minutes and then putting under hot water solves this problem.

Steel wool is not needed when cleaning and will scratch the finish on the inside of the pan. If you do not care what it looks like in the inside though then the steel wool will not hurt the pan.

As far as cooking with it, make sure that you use enough fat and get it hot before adding the food, especially proteins. If you are cooking meats then do not play with the food for a few minutes once it goes in the pan. Most people will want to start stirring and moving the food around right away, but that is the last thing you want to do. If you try to move the food as soon as you put it in the pan then it WILL stick. If, instead, you let the food sit in the pan for a few minutes first then initially it will stick, but then it will release from the pan. It will take a little practice, but you will get the hand of it in no time.
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Old 12-26-2005, 01:27 PM   #3
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Barkeepers Friend is essential because you'll eventually get spots that are a pain and it works great on SS. I bought a 8" AC nonstick a few months ago to be my goto egg pan but since learning (mainly at this forum) to use SS I prefer to use my 8" ACSS for eggs.
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Old 12-26-2005, 01:41 PM   #4
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You should also consider keeping a spray bottle of Dawn Power Dissolver on hand. If oil/fat/etc. gets burned onto the pan, spray this stuff on it and waith 15 minutes before cleaning-it's magic.
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Old 12-31-2005, 11:16 AM   #5
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I read somewhere that you should not use cooking sprays like "pam" on Stainless. Is this correct? Why?
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Old 12-31-2005, 12:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr_Dove
I read somewhere that you should not use cooking sprays like "pam" on Stainless. Is this correct? Why?

I think that only applies to the non stick cookware only. It makes it really hard to clean a nonstick pan if you use a cooking spray on nonstick cookware. If used over time it will ruin the origional non stick coating.
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Old 12-31-2005, 02:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevie
Barkeepers Friend is essential because you'll eventually get spots that are a pain and it works great on SS. I bought a 8" AC nonstick a few months ago to be my goto egg pan but since learning (mainly at this forum) to use SS I prefer to use my 8" ACSS for eggs.


Also, try Wright's Copper Cream. It's made mainly for copper, but it also does a fine job cleaning stainless steel. The copper band that's around the bottoms of my Emerilware stainless cookware tend to tarnish and darken a little after cooking in them.

A little biit of this paste on the supplied sponge just literally lifts the tarnish right off with hardly any rubbing!

After washing this cookware, I immediately dry the items with a dish towel and hang the cookware on hooks. The glass lids go in a wire basket.

This is very important because if you leave your stainless cookware in the dish rack next to the sink, splashing water from the faucet will get on your stainless cookware & lids, and when the water dries, you have spotty cookware. It has happened to me.


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Old 12-31-2005, 02:52 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr_Dove
I read somewhere that you should not use cooking sprays like "pam" on Stainless. Is this correct? Why?
From what I've read Pam will leave a film on the cooking surface. I've never used it on my SS. You want a small amount of food to stick to the pan to build a fond to make sauces with. Though Im sadly lacking on the technique. The main thing about SS is not to fiddle with the food before it releases from the pan.

P.S. I do fiddle with eggs. After the white sets a bit I shake the pan a bit to prevent the eggs from sticking. You have to have a very clean pan and butter/oil to do eggs.
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Old 12-31-2005, 02:58 PM   #9
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I use BKF on my copper pan as well as my stainless. It can work miracles.

I've also used Pam on both SS and nonstick.
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Old 12-31-2005, 03:14 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevie
From what I've read Pam will leave a film on the cooking surface. I've never used it on my SS. You want a small amount of food to stick to the pan to build a fond to make sauces with. Though Im sadly lacking on the technique. The main thing about SS is not to fiddle with the food before it releases from the pan.


Yes, I've noticed that during the two times that I made Carbonara.

The bacon and panchetta had stuck to the bottom of the stainless sautee pan. it didn't burn though, on account I had it on medium to low heat. After cooling it down, which the recipe tells you to do, I later added the heavy cream, beaten egg yolks & boilied drained pasta in preparation for just heating it a little to thicken.

The bacon & panchetta bits that had stuck to the bottom were already loosened up and the pan was quite easy to clean when the time came to wash it!! Nice!!!


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Old 12-31-2005, 10:30 PM   #11
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Cooking sprays like PAM are OK to use on SS, or any other glass or bare metal cooking surface that it not coated with a nonstick material. The problem seems to be from the fact that they contain lecithin - which is the thing that gives the spray it's nonstick quality on bare metal or glass. The problem with using it on nonstick seems to be that lecithin and something in the nonstick material are "chemical cousins" that try to bond with each other when heated - producing a sticky polymer which acts more like glue.

As has already been noted - watch the temperature setting. If you have enough liquid to dissapate the heat, like in boiling water, then you can crank the heat up to high. But, for saute or pan frying - Med to Med-Hi is more than adequate for cooking. If you get the pan too hot, it will discolor the metal and cause it to warp.

There is always a learning curve when changing from one type of cookware to another. Just pay a little more attention to what is going on in the beginning until you learn how your new cookware behaves. Given the same heat, ingredients, and cooking methods - All-Clad Tri-Ply SS, Emerilware SS, and Calphalon hard anodized aluminum all cook differently. I actually moved to SS from a brand of anodized aluminum that is no longer made - it was about as thick as cast iron and makes comperable Calphalon feel like a tin cup! As it turns out - I really didn't "replace" my old anodized stuff like I thought I would ... I just added a set of SS.

Clean up can be simplified if you pour off any grease and add 1-2 cups of water and deglaze the pan while it is still hot. You can always wash it later if you wish - but the main thing is to disolve the fond while it is still hot. If you ever watch the cooking demonstrators on TV showing how easy it is to clean SS - that is what they always do - clean it while it is still hot from the initial cooking. Steel wool, as noted, will scratch the surface and cause food to stick more - the food actually gets stuck in the scratches and in turn acts as anchors for food on the surface. Bar Keepers Friend (BKF) is a low abrasive that works like a charm when you need a little extra elbow grease (and green scrubbies are also OK since they are softer than the metal but harder than the food residue). You can use BKF and a green scrubbie on both the inside and the outside.

On the "flip side" - especially if you have an electric stove (but the same thing happens with the grates on gas stoves) ... you may notice brown rings on the bottom of the pan. That's baked on grease. You can clean it off with a 3-step process. (1) When the pan is cold (room temp) and dry - spray the bottom with Murphy Oil Soap and let it sit for a minute - then scrub with a green scrubbie and rinse. (2) Sprinkle on a little BKF and use the green scrubbie again. If clean, go to step 3 - if not, dry off and repeat from step 1. (3) Wash with dishwashing soap, rinse, and dry. When cooking .... oil will splatter onto ajacent burners and unless you heat them up to HI and burn the grease off before using them the oil will fuse to the bottom of the pan.

Washing SS in a dishwasher will probably not do it any serious harm (from the heat) - but it could make it look mighty funky (dull and looking like it has a white powdery coating) especially after it runs though the drying cycle. This can be caused either from soap residue, water spotting from the minerals in the water, or in the case of SS, a spontaneous ceramic coating of the metal by chromium oxide (chrome rust - which is white). If you want to wash you SS cookware in the dishwasher - remove it before the drying cycle begins and wipe it dry with a clean dishtowel ... well, I guess you could use paper towels or a dirty dishtowel if you want.
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Old 01-01-2006, 10:13 AM   #12
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There's some great information here so far.

What's the best type of utinsel to use with stainless? I currently have all plastic spoons and spatulas.
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Old 01-01-2006, 11:10 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Mr_Dove
There's some great information here so far.

What's the best type of utinsel to use with stainless? I currently have all plastic spoons and spatulas.
I would say to use any utinsel that is not sharp with a stainless steel piece of cookware.
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Old 01-01-2006, 07:54 PM   #14
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I'm with kleenex - keep knives, pizza cutters, and electric hand mixers out of your cookware. Anything else that does not have a sharp edge should be fine.

I usually use wood spoons and turners, silicone spatulas and spoonulas, and SS tongs most of the time for cooking. I also have SS spoons, turners, ladels, whisks, and skimmers I use when needed.
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Old 01-01-2006, 08:49 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael in FtW
Cooking sprays like PAM are OK to use on SS, or any other glass or bare metal cooking surface that it not coated with a nonstick material. The problem seems to be from the fact that they contain lecithin - which is the thing that gives the spray it's nonstick quality on bare metal or glass. The problem with using it on nonstick seems to be that lecithin and something in the nonstick material are "chemical cousins" that try to bond with each other when heated - producing a sticky polymer which acts more like glue.

As has already been noted - watch the temperature setting. If you have enough liquid to dissapate the heat, like in boiling water, then you can crank the heat up to high. But, for saute or pan frying - Med to Med-Hi is more than adequate for cooking. If you get the pan too hot, it will discolor the metal and cause it to warp.

There is always a learning curve when changing from one type of cookware to another. Just pay a little more attention to what is going on in the beginning until you learn how your new cookware behaves. Given the same heat, ingredients, and cooking methods - All-Clad Tri-Ply SS, Emerilware SS, and Calphalon hard anodized aluminum all cook differently. I actually moved to SS from a brand of anodized aluminum that is no longer made - it was about as thick as cast iron and makes comperable Calphalon feel like a tin cup! As it turns out - I really didn't "replace" my old anodized stuff like I thought I would ... I just added a set of SS.

Clean up can be simplified if you pour off any grease and add 1-2 cups of water and deglaze the pan while it is still hot. You can always wash it later if you wish - but the main thing is to disolve the fond while it is still hot. If you ever watch the cooking demonstrators on TV showing how easy it is to clean SS - that is what they always do - clean it while it is still hot from the initial cooking. Steel wool, as noted, will scratch the surface and cause food to stick more - the food actually gets stuck in the scratches and in turn acts as anchors for food on the surface. Bar Keepers Friend (BKF) is a low abrasive that works like a charm when you need a little extra elbow grease (and green scrubbies are also OK since they are softer than the metal but harder than the food residue). You can use BKF and a green scrubbie on both the inside and the outside.

On the "flip side" - especially if you have an electric stove (but the same thing happens with the grates on gas stoves) ... you may notice brown rings on the bottom of the pan. That's baked on grease. You can clean it off with a 3-step process. (1) When the pan is cold (room temp) and dry - spray the bottom with Murphy Oil Soap and let it sit for a minute - then scrub with a green scrubbie and rinse. (2) Sprinkle on a little BKF and use the green scrubbie again. If clean, go to step 3 - if not, dry off and repeat from step 1. (3) Wash with dishwashing soap, rinse, and dry. When cooking .... oil will splatter onto ajacent burners and unless you heat them up to HI and burn the grease off before using them the oil will fuse to the bottom of the pan.

Washing SS in a dishwasher will probably not do it any serious harm (from the heat) - but it could make it look mighty funky (dull and looking like it has a white powdery coating) especially after it runs though the drying cycle. This can be caused either from soap residue, water spotting from the minerals in the water, or in the case of SS, a spontaneous ceramic coating of the metal by chromium oxide (chrome rust - which is white). If you want to wash you SS cookware in the dishwasher - remove it before the drying cycle begins and wipe it dry with a clean dishtowel ... well, I guess you could use paper towels or a dirty dishtowel if you want.


A paste made with some Bar Keepers Friend and a little water usually takes care of any baked-on grease that might form on the bottoms of SS cookware.

If you use a rinse agent in your dishwasher, spotting should be eliminated. It
makes the water sheet off the load to prevent spotting. However, this does
work for nonstick coating.

When you heat a nonstick pan and then put oil in it,, ever notice how it doesn't really coat the pan, that when you tilt the pan slightly, all of the oil will go to the other side of the pan, leaving half of it with some spots? This same effect takes place in the dishwasher during the final rinse. The water does not sheet off. Instead, it drips off, leaving white spots on the bottoms of the nonstick cookware.

Yes stainless cookware can be washed in the dishwasher, but if it has any copper on in, then this copper could tarnish over time, and it has to be cleaned or it would make the pan look unsightly.


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Old 01-03-2006, 05:27 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corey123
A paste made with some Bar Keepers Friend and a little water usually takes care of any baked-on grease that might form on the bottoms of SS cookware.
Yep - but the operative word is "usually". The Murphy's Oil Soap works as a solvent to soften the grease and thus requires much less scrubbing in most instances - if it is applied to a cool dry surface. I would NOT use it on cast iron - but it is great on SS, enamel surfaces, and anodized aluminum - followed by a gentle scrub with a little BKF paste.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Corey123
If you use a rinse agent in your dishwasher, spotting should be eliminated.
Water spotting yes - but it has nothing to do with what happens to the surface of SS when exposed to the high heat and humidity during the drying cycle of the dishwasher - which can leave a fine white powdery coating on the metal. SS is a mixture of a carbon-iron alloy, chromium and nickel. Chromium actually oxidizes faster than iron - and creates a protective coating that prevents oxygen from reaching the iron - thus keeping it from rusting (turning into that common orange ferric oxide seen on steel or cast iron).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Corey123
Yes stainless cookware can be washed in the dishwasher, but if it has any copper on in, then this copper could tarnish over time, and it has to be cleaned or it would make the pan look unsightly.
Silver and copper tarnish from the same thing - a chemical reaction involving the metal, oxygen, and sulfur that is in the air. The chemical bond on copper (like the copper band on your Emerilware cookware) is relatively weak and can be scrubbed away with a little BKF and water paste -or - some rubbing with a red rubber eraser (also usually abrasive enough to do the job). Silver needs something a little more acidic. Raw (not anodized or treated) aluminum also turns colors (somewhere from light gray to black) when exposed to sulfur, moisture, and heat - like in boiling eggs (the sulfur comes from the eggs).

We do have a member who is a metallurgist - perhaps he will step in and fill in the gaps in what I said.
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Old 01-03-2006, 08:56 AM   #17
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Then the best thing to do is to wash your stainless steel cookware by hand.

I haven't washed mine in the dishwasher as yet, and probably won't now.
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Old 01-03-2006, 11:19 AM   #18
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My All-Clad and other SS pots and pans go into the dishwasher on occasion and come out clean and shiny. I've had no problems yet.

I never put raw aluminum in the DW. As Michael said, it turns grey/black.
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Old 01-03-2006, 12:11 PM   #19
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I never put raw aluminum in the DW. As Michael said, it turns grey/black.

Your're right!!!

Never put this stuff in the dishwasher for that reason! Again, the chemical reaction between the detergent and the material can and WILL cause it to lose its luster and shine in the very first washing!

One of the reasons that I won't buy this type of cookware any more.


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