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Old 11-13-2008, 11:25 PM   #1
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Knowing your Pan

Pan, skillet, saucier, whatever it is that you use, I feel you have to "know" your pan in order to cook well. Like my cast iron skillet. It took much time of trial and error to know how my CIS cooked, what the limits are... knowing your pans intimately.

Up untill 3 months ago... I did not know my stainless steel pan. Practically scared of it and avoided using it. But after forcing myself to use it more, I realize what a wonderful cooking utensile it is. (Yes, I had to force myself to use this pan.. I just new I would end up screwing up yet another dinner by over cooking or burning it!)

My next pan to get to know better: Dutch Oven!

Are there pans that you have that you are afraid to use because you are not familiar with their characteristics? Or what pan do you know well... can depend on for consistent results?

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Old 11-13-2008, 11:52 PM   #2
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Never really thought about it. Guess I always went with "wild abandon" when it came to our cookware. I'm not really one with any of our pans either. Just use them as I see fit for the recipe or how I feel. Perhaps not very chef-like, but it works for us.
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Old 11-14-2008, 12:01 AM   #3
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I'm definately not chef like. But over the years I started buying quality kitchen items to replace my cruddy ones. Like the SS and DO... I can't tell you how long my SS sat in the pantry before I got the guts to try and use it.
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Old 11-14-2008, 12:04 AM   #4
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Absolutely...I am one with the pan. I have cast iron, black steel, tinned copper, All-Clad and Revere institutional pans. SS pressure cookers and stock pots. I know just how each of the pans I have cooks.
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Old 11-14-2008, 11:02 AM   #5
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Absolutely...I am one with the pan. I have cast iron, black steel, tinned copper, All-Clad and Revere institutional pans. SS pressure cookers and stock pots. I know just how each of the pans I have cooks.
I have an 8 inch SS pan that I am afraid to use because many of the foods I have cooked in it have either burned or stuck to the bottom. So what little secret can you tell me that will help me develope some skill with SS pans?
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Old 11-14-2008, 12:12 PM   #6
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I have an 8 inch SS pan that I am afraid to use because many of the foods I have cooked in it have either burned or stuck to the bottom. So what little secret can you tell me that will help me develope some skill with SS pans?

Sometimes the problem is with the pan.
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Old 11-14-2008, 12:20 PM   #7
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My All Clad non stick skillet.

I only use it for eggs...maaaaaybe crepes, but I have good luck with crepes in a SS pan. The one time I tried cooking, I think it was some sort of chicken braise, the food wasn't doing what I wanted it to.
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Old 11-14-2008, 12:26 PM   #8
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I have an 8 inch SS pan that I am afraid to use because many of the foods I have cooked in it have either burned or stuck to the bottom. So what little secret can you tell me that will help me develope some skill with SS pans?
What have you cooked in the "pan of doom?" What make is the pan? I ask because I have tried a lot of SS pans, and discarded most of them. Is it clad or all-SS?
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Old 11-14-2008, 12:27 PM   #9
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Sometimes the problem is with the pan.
When it comes to my cooking that is the answer I always give!!
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Old 11-14-2008, 12:34 PM   #10
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What have you cooked in the "pan of doom?" What make is the pan? I ask because I have tried a lot of SS pans, and discarded most of them. Is it clad or all-SS?
Embarassed to say I think it is Farberware and is all SS. Eggs, potatoes, reheat turkey are the ones that come to mind right off.
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Old 11-14-2008, 12:46 PM   #11
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Embarassed to say Farberware...

I was right, then. It is the pan's fault. I had one so I know.
If your Farberware is the type with a thin coating of aluminum on the bottom, that's not thick enough to make a difference.

SS is a poor conductor of heat. It delivers it irratically, causing hot spots and burning of the food in the pan.

Look for a SS pan that is either a tri-ply pan with a layer of aluminum sandwiched inbetween two layers of SS throughput the pan. That's the best option. Another option is a disk on the bottom of the pan that encapsulates a thick piece of aluminum.
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Old 11-14-2008, 12:49 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by DOpig View Post
I have an 8 inch SS pan that I am afraid to use because many of the foods I have cooked in it have either burned or stuck to the bottom. So what little secret can you tell me that will help me develope some skill with SS pans?
I have had the same problem DO!!! I would burn it and then put the pan away for another 3 months before getting the nerve to use it again. I think I finally got the hang of mine.. .kinda like trial and error.
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Old 11-14-2008, 12:52 PM   #13
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Another thing, the SS retains/conducts heat better so you really have to monitor your heat levels. I got the Emeril SS pan... (yes, I help pay Emeril's paycheck!), it is a really nice SS pan with the three layers that Andy speaks about.
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Old 11-14-2008, 12:53 PM   #14
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Looks like I get to go shopping for a new pan!!! And practice makes perfect. Right?
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Old 11-14-2008, 12:58 PM   #15
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That is a relatively thin pan, and SS does not transmit heat as well as other metals. Low heat is better, give the pan a minute to heat. I have only two all-SS pans, an old Revere institutional ware 8" frying pan and a Revere institutional ware 6qt. saucepan. Thick, heavy. I don't use the frying pan often...mostly for eggs, never for potatoes. Or on the BBQ. Starchy foods like to stick to SS, even with what looks like adequate oil. That pan would be best for foods that cook quickly, for sauteing veggies, etc. When I reheat things like turkey, I usually use the SS saucepan with water and a veggie steamer rack and lid. Starchy stuff like potatoes, and sugary stuff like onions, work better in cast iron or black steel, either should be properly cured. I don't use non-stick coated pans, and don't recommend them.
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Old 11-14-2008, 01:15 PM   #16
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Starchy foods like to stick to SS, even with what looks like adequate oil. That pan would be best for foods that cook quickly, for sauteing veggies, etc. Starchy stuff like potatoes, and sugary stuff like onions, work better in cast iron or black steel, either should be properly cured.
Great info! This is just the type of info I love about this site. Do a little lurking, ask a simple question and get a whole lot of info. Thanks!!
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Old 11-14-2008, 03:22 PM   #17
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For me, this extends to my cake pans. I never bake a client's cake in a new pan or pans. I always do a test run because I need to ensure I get even baking, height, etc. For the larger wedding cake pans I have a heater core but I also experiment with it in the different shapes and sizes and with different batters, recording all my results so that when I go to make a real cake I can be assured of perfect results. I don't mind ending up with lots of cake during "play time", but when I am ready for the formal cake I don't have time for errors.

This is a good topic!
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