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Can you help this knife newbie?

Brooktroutchaser mentioned below to hand-wash knives with beechwood handles.

I'd like to go further and remind people to hand-wash ALL knives. The constant knocking-around in a dishwasher is terrible thing for a knife and the heat isn't the best for wood or plastic handles.

Take the time, wash your knives after using them (i.e. - don't let crap sit on them), don't leave them sitting in the sink (another great way to end up with an accidental cut or the chipping of your blade), hand-dry them, and then put them back in the block or another storage solution (magnetic bar, hard sheath, in-drawer flat block).

No reason to spend good money on good knives if you don't intend to care for them.

Dec 08, 2014
ProfessorBear in Cookware

Can you help this knife newbie?

Short answer: Go to a Sur La Table or other kitchen store where they'll let you try out the knives. You can buy the prettiest, the most expensive, the shiniest... but if you don't like how they feel in hand, you won't use them.

Try everything, chop up a couple potatoes if they'll let you, and make your decision from there. I've never been pressured at SLT. It's just part of what they do (accepting the fact that you hopefully live near one).

Personally, I have a real mix of knives... and quite a few of them.

Wusthof Ikon (Chef, Santoku, Bread, Boning, Utility, Short Serrated, Paring, Peeling, Asian Paring, Steak knives.)

Kramer (Zwilling) Damascus 10" Chef

Shun Classic (Santoku, Nakiri, Carving set, and two parings.)

Miyabi Birchwood (10" and 8" chefs, Santoku, Slicer, utility, and two parings.)

Miyabi Artisan (9.5" and 8" Chefs, Santoku, Utility.)

Miyabi Kaizen (6" rocking chef)

Dec 07, 2014
ProfessorBear in Cookware

demeyere on sale

I own pieces from the Atlantis, Proline, and Industry5 lines. It's a great alternative (a far better one, in my opinion) to All-Clad.

I love the shot-blasted handle. It comfortably fits my hand. The forking where the handle meets the pan helps keep it cool and the lack of rivets helps keep things gunk-free.

The five-layer construction really conducts heat well. I don't see the oil pooling off to the sides like I used to with All-Clad and clean up is stupidly easy. The Silvinox finish (which, I believe removes more impurities from the steel) just seems to make things clean up very nicely to me.

The 4-quart saute with loop handles on both sides is calling my name, even though I need it like a hole in the head.

Dec 04, 2014
ProfessorBear in Cookware

Copper cookware vs All Clad Copper Core Cookware

Compared to awful All-Clad tri-ply, I'd put up Mauviel's thinnest copper or any of their stainless any day. The workmanship, the design, and the performance are simply not there for All-Clad. It's a mirage of marketing, providing entire batteries de cuisine to Food Network stars, and making it cheaper (by farming out lots of their line to China) that have turned it into the "aspirational" brand for American cooks... just like the KitchenAid mixer that most couples register for and use once per year.

MC2 is simply tri-ply with a brushed finish. A second layer of aluminum - one that will oxidize - isn't going to make it that much better. A gimmick for cosmetic purposes. The end.

Demeyere's Industry5 and Atlantis make All-Clad look like flimsy trash you'd buy at a dollar store. Try them and you'll know that for yourself.

While you're talking about All-Clad standing by their warranty, please explain to me why they wouldn't honor mine when I had a lid from the initial release of D5 from Williams-Sonoma pit all over the place? They wouldn't do anything. W-S did.

I work in the cookware industry and can tell you without fear of successful contradiction that All-Clad presents lots of smoke and mirrors that make it look much, much better than it is. They once led the industry for clad cookware, but have been far surpassed by most of their competitors.

Oct 24, 2014
ProfessorBear in Cookware

Anyone know how approx. old this Le Creuset is?

Ten years old - tops. The saucepans were made with wooden handles a long while back, but the black handle is much more recent. It should have a lid, too.

Copper cookware vs All Clad Copper Core Cookware

The only people who believe All-Clad to be good - period - are the ones who've never cooked on anything better. Mauviel and Demeyere are infinitely better than anything being put out by All-Clad.

Oct 24, 2014
ProfessorBear in Cookware

Big Sur La Table Savings! Was $19.95

Heaven help us all!!! Multiple exclamation points!!!

Were you lied to? The green one is 40% off. I don't see the issue here. It's probably an out-of-make color and they're getting rid of it.

Aug 24, 2014
ProfessorBear in Cookware

J.A Henckels Forged Knife Set at Costco, Good Value?

Zwilling means "twins" in German. Any time you see the logo with both guys or the name "Zwilling" by itself, you're getting the company's premium knives.

In general, when things are listed with both names - Zwilling J.A. Henckels - it's the "better" on the "Good-Better-Best" continuum.

Items that are just named J.A. Henckels will usually have the one-man logo (cut one dude off of the logo), will generally not be made in Germany, and are their "Good" on the line.

Aug 19, 2014
ProfessorBear in Cookware

J.A Henckels Forged Knife Set at Costco, Good Value?

Anything that is just marked Henckels and has only one of the men from the twin/two man logo is the low-grade stuff.

Things marked Zwilling Henckels that have both guys are the mid-range.

Anything that is Zwilling with both guys is the good stuff.

Aug 18, 2014
ProfessorBear in Cookware

Vitamix Creations Turbo vs. Vitamix 5200 Super Package

For the money you're proposing the poster spends, they could buy the Breville Hemisphere and still have a hell of a lot more money left over to buy their ingredients.

That blender rings in at $200 and isn't a knock-off of a BlendTec like the supposedly superior Waring.

Aug 10, 2014
ProfessorBear in Cookware

Vitamix Creations Turbo vs. Vitamix 5200 Super Package

The Waring Pro Professional Food and Beverage Blender (Model PBB201)

"Given its four short blades, a cramped jar with a flat bottom, and a weak motor, it was no surprise that this 360-watt blender failed at most tasks. Furthermore, it began emitting a noxious odor and making an awful rattling noise almost immediately," says CI in its September-October 2012 issue.

The Waring was the lowest-rated blender of the lot, earning no more than 1.5 stars in any given category (that one was for margaritas).

I don't care how you spin it, junk is junk.

I've owned a VitaMix for 6 years now and wouldn't trade it for the world.

Aug 10, 2014
ProfessorBear in Cookware

Vitamix Creations Turbo vs. Vitamix 5200 Super Package

If Waring blenders are so great, how was Cooks Illustrated able to repeatedly kill them in their testing? I call horsefeathers... The damned things can't even demolish ice without clogging up and burning out the motor.

Aug 10, 2014
ProfessorBear in Cookware

Bob Kramer Essential Knives: Anyone bought one?

The Carbon line had a massive problem with the rivets. Every model I ever felt had rough, sharp edges - almost like the wood of the handle had shrunk.

The Damascus and Essential lines, having synthetic handles, (linen micarta and POM plastic, respectively) seem to have a much more consistent, smooth finish with the rivets.

Combine that with the fact that the Carbon line rusts if you look at it wrong and I can see why most SLT stores no longer carry it.

Jul 29, 2014
ProfessorBear in Cookware

Bob Kramer Essential Knives: Anyone bought one?

The carbon steel line is now an online-only item for most SLT customers, remaining only in top-market stores.

Jul 27, 2014
ProfessorBear in Cookware

STAUB AND THEIR COLORS!

The new orange is not Saffron. Saffron's been carried in Sur La Table stores for a couple years. I know this because the Pentagon Row store in Arlington has the skillets on clearance. It's a deeper dijon mustard color, not orange.

The new orange color is due for a Fall 2014 release according to Zwilling Henckels' Facebook page a few weeks ago.

Apr 28, 2014
ProfessorBear in Cookware

Alternative to 10" All-Clad skillet?

Check out the Mauviel M'Collection at Sur La Table. The 10" skillet is on sale for $99.96. This line is five layers fully clad with a handle meant to be balanced into the forearm, rather than bending the wrist.

(http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO...

)

Alternately, the Demeyere Industry5 skillet in the 9.5" size is $79.96 on sale.

(http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO...

)

I'd say either is infinitely better than All-Clad's current production. And neither of these are Chinese-made. Demeyere is Belgian and Mauviel is French.

Apr 16, 2014
ProfessorBear in Cookware

If you could have only 1 knife...?

I'll second Demeyere with either Proline or Industry5. I'd also add Mauviel's stainless. Their handles are ergonomic and sized to the pan, not just a standard issue (which can tip over smaller skillets).

@Cynic: do you have older or newer All-Clad? The new stuff is the problem. Old stock is usually of more stout character.

Apr 16, 2014
ProfessorBear in Cookware

If you could have only 1 knife...?

The All-Clad pan was your first mistake. The old grey mare just ain't what she used to be. A decade ago, that pan might have lasted you forever, but they're not making them the same way. Ever since the company was bought out by a European conglomerate, it's Made In China lids, redesigned and uncomfortable handles, and bottoms that warp.

Don't let the knife be a mistake.

As for a knife, I'd say an 8" chef from Wusthof. Their Classic line is the standard, of course, but they make lines called Epicure and IKON that take the work to the next level. Epicure feels a little out of balance to me, but the handle is comfortable. IKON, on the other hand, is out of this world.

You can get fancier later when you're settled and have room/money for the next "better" knife up the chain, but a well-maintained Wusthof knife kept in a block or at least with a sheath over the blade will last you a good long time.

Go to Sur La Table or Williams-Sonoma and actually hold one in your hand. I know SLT usually has a case with all of the 8" chefs they have in every line, so it's easy to work your way through the choices without much stress.

Apr 16, 2014
ProfessorBear in Cookware

If you could have only 1 knife...?

The All-Clad pan was your first mistake. The old grey mare just ain't what she used to be. A decade ago, that pan might have lasted you forever, but they're not making them the same way. Ever since the company was bought out by a European conglomerate, it's Made In China lids, redesigned and uncomfortable handles, and bottoms that warp.

Don't let the knife be a mistake.

As for a knife, I'd say an 8" chef from Wusthof. Their Classic line is the standard, of course, but they make lines called Epicure and IKON that take the work to the next level. Epicure feels a little out of balance to me, but the handle is comfortable. IKON, on the other hand, is out of this world.

You can get fancier later when you're settled and have room/money for the next "better" knife up the chain, but a well-maintained Wusthof knife kept in a block or at least with a sheath over the blade will last you a good long time.

Go to Sur La Table or Williams-Sonoma and actually hold one in your hand. I know SLT usually has a case with all of the 8" chefs they have in every line, so it's easy to work your way through the choices without much stress.

Apr 16, 2014
ProfessorBear in Cookware

Sansaire sous vide - my experience as a warning!

Mine works fine and does the job perfectly. Sorry you're having such a bad experience with yours.

Mar 20, 2014
ProfessorBear in Cookware

LC burned my beans..grrrrr

I don't know what sort of gas range you're working with, but I've used a full-size Viking range all the way down to a tiny apartment-sized gas stove and haven't burned things.

Mar 06, 2012
ProfessorBear in Cookware

LC burned my beans..grrrrr

"And consider that these Dutch Ovens are typically pretty scorchy on the cooktop."

Umm, no they aren't. That is, not if you follow the manufacturer's instructions and use medium or lower heat. I've been using Le Creuset for over seven years on coil stoves, gas, and ceramic tops and have never once - in any piece, from buffet casserole to skillet to French oven - burned anything in my Creuset.

If you pay attention to the pan and keep the heat low, you won't burn things. That's the point of heavy cast iron.

Cast iron retains and distributes heat well. You don't need higher heat.

Mar 06, 2012
ProfessorBear in Cookware

CONFIRMED - Regular Le Creuset line going away in February!

Agreed wholly. This worth less idea is so subjective as to be a non-issue.

I reaches sixty pieces yesterday. One of those - the 5.5 quart round in Rosemary from W-S - is "Signature". The other fifty-nine pieces are no less important, not of inferior quality, and not cosmetically imperfect in any way besides wear I've inflicted upon them.

Unless you're planning on selling your pieces, you've nothing to worry about.

The larger handles are more comfortable on the Signature collection. There's no denying that. And if, as they say, the enamel is thicker, well, bully for it. I baby my Creuset and it's doing right by me. That's the end of story. When I die (I'm 29 and hope that's not coming for a while...) either they get passed on, sold, or donated. You know who's not gonna care about their monetary value? Me.

The pots, pans, skillets, and whatever else will have done their job for me. End of story.

Nov 26, 2011
ProfessorBear in Cookware

Heads Up Le Creuset lovers

That would be me who posted it on Facebook. And that news about the new blue color was straight from the manager of the Grove City, PA outlet.

Nov 10, 2011
ProfessorBear in Cookware

Best knives?

Hear, hear.

Sep 26, 2011
ProfessorBear in Cookware

Best knives?

It's certainly not Cutco for a start!

I house-sat for a friend this summer who had been suckered into buying a huge block of Cutco crap from a student of hers. I have never used a more unwieldy, heavy, unbalanced piece of garbage in my life. And this from a person who grew up with dull, old, stamped knives.

The fact that you can't sharpen Cutco without voiding the warranty should be abhorrent to anyone who knows good knives. I don't have the time to send away a knife for weeks on end - I need my hardware when I need it.

That being said, I use Wusthof - Ikon and Classic - and Henckels - Vier Sterne. I used to have (and lost) a Wusthof Grand Prix that I liked a lot, but adore the Ikon 8" chef's knife and - truly - use it as much as my 8" Vier Sterne with granton edge.

Sep 22, 2011
ProfessorBear in Cookware

Cracked Le Creuset; should I be worried?

No, but that's wear and tear - not damage. You can still use a darkened LC vessel without any issue, but a crack through the iron isn't just something that happens. No company would be that stupid. Otherwise, you'd have every idiot dropping their pots when they wanted new ones. Think about it a minute.

Sep 04, 2011
ProfessorBear in Cookware

Cracked Le Creuset; should I be worried?

Their warranty may be forever, but it only covers manufacturer defect. A crack says one thing and one thing only: the piece was dropped.

I'll nearly guarantee you it's not covered.

I love the company and own over 50 pieces of LC enameled cast iron, but they're not going to go giving away freebies any time someone breaks their own stuff.

Sep 03, 2011
ProfessorBear in Cookware

New Creuset Color at Williams-Sonoma - Aubergine

Yeah - Bloomingdale's had it over the winter, I think.

Aug 01, 2011
ProfessorBear in Cookware

New Creuset Color at Williams-Sonoma - Aubergine

It must be very new as I didn't see it on Friday when I bought the Rosemary piece. I do agree on the Indigo comment, though. Could be quite pretty, but I'd still much prefer the Midnight Blue from South Africa.

Aug 01, 2011
ProfessorBear in Cookware