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sunrider's Profile

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Looking for a New Pan is De Buyer my best choice?

Mine has a perfectly round base, with no flat bottom, and is perfect.

Whatever you get, make sure it's carbon steel, not cast iron or aluminium, and definitely not coated.

An Indian/Pakistani kirahi is very similar (to the point that they're used interchangeably with woks in the Subcontinent), and will also do the same job.

Mar 06, 2011
sunrider in Cookware

Cookware for cooking meat for a crowd?

Get an outdoor barbecue.

Works perfectly, can handle huge gatherings and there's minimal cleanup involved. If it rains, just move it under a covered area.

Mar 06, 2011
sunrider in Cookware

Looking for a New Pan is De Buyer my best choice?

You're cooking with gas, not ceramic or induction - woks shouldn't be a problem.

Forget de Buyer - get a cheap, carbon-steel wok from any Asian grocery. Don't get cast iron - it's heavy, hard to toss and can break if you accidentally bump something with it. It'll build up a non-stick patina in no time. Uneven heating? That's what stir-frying is all about. The most important part is the handle and its attachment to the pan - you'll want something that's comfortable, especially if you toss food, and with a strong attachment, so that you don't have to discard your well-used pan with a nice patina due to a failing joint.

Mar 06, 2011
sunrider in Cookware

All-Clad alternatives??

Not a fan of cast iron, except for barbecue grills.

It's slow to respond, heavy, has hot spots over burners (relatively poor conductivity) and reacts with acidic foods. Furthermore, it can be hard to keep clean, since you can't use soap or detergent on it. (None of these are an issue with barbecues because the 'hot spot' is the entire grill and you essentially get a pyrolitic cleaning effect anyway).

I have the Le Creuset 3-Ply line and am very happy with them - very well-constructed, a nice, thick aluminium layer, no hot-spots, comfortable handles and effective pouring lips on all items..

Mar 03, 2011
sunrider in Cookware

How do I remove the residual glue from the sticker at the bottom of a Staub cocotte?

Methylated spirits should do it - it's an organic solvent which should dissolve the glue, but it's also water soluble and will wash away easily when rinsed with water.

Feb 21, 2011
sunrider in Cookware

Kitchenaid or other brand mixer, downunder?

Having bought and used a Kenwood, I don't know why anyone would even consider the KitchenAid - it's much more powerful.

I just wish they had a model with both the Fold function and the large capacity of the Major series...

Feb 19, 2011
sunrider in Cookware

Al Mar Ultra Chef knives - how do they compare? Ryusen? Kanetsune?

Yes, you're using the tip. But the tip on a kukri is often quite broad.

http://www.woodlandsurvival.com/kukri...

Essentially, you'd use it like a tomahawk with a wider blade.

Feb 19, 2011
sunrider in Cookware

Al Mar Ultra Chef knives - how do they compare? Ryusen? Kanetsune?

I'm not too concerned about the edge angle they come with, although preferably not too acute (it's easy to thin the blade and make the angle more acute, but you can't add more metal on to make the angle more obtuse). I'm more interested in the steel composition and heat treatment - something that's acceptably hard so as to be able to retain a good edge, but not brittle so as to chip easily (I know VG-10 and some powdered steels have that problem, when knife-makers push them to their limits in terms of hardness). You can thin, re-profile and re-bevel a blade, but you can't change the steel or heat treatment.

Stainless or highly stain-resistant (e.g. D2/SKD) definitely - don't want to have to baby the knives!

Feb 19, 2011
sunrider in Cookware

Al Mar Ultra Chef knives - how do they compare? Ryusen? Kanetsune?

You wouldn't cleave with the concave, inside part of the kukri - you'd use the convex bottom and distal edge. So you'd use it just like a regular cleaver, except it's probably slightly more ergonomic, since you wouldn't require as much ulnar flexion at the wrist. Better for shorter people or higher benchtops, too.

Feb 19, 2011
sunrider in Cookware

Al Mar Ultra Chef knives - how do they compare? Ryusen? Kanetsune?

No, I'm nbt Nepalese - just that I've seen it in action!

It's not used to cut vegetables - only to slaughter buffalo. A smaller one would have no problems chopping bones - it's got a very nice convex edge for that. I'm not suggesting that a kukri be used instead of a regular kitchen knife - just that it can be effective as a cleaver.

Feb 19, 2011
sunrider in Cookware

Al Mar Ultra Chef knives - how do they compare? Ryusen? Kanetsune?

Well, I'm picking knives for a girl who's a fan of good blades!

'First we have to define sharpness, but in my definition, the sharpness depends on the primary bevel as well as the back bevel. For a compound bevel edge, the very initial cutting power still depends on the primary bevel (what you call the microbevel). The back bevel (main bevel) affects blade thickness which affects blade resistance during cutting. Many traditional Japanese knives have fairly thick blades yet sharp edges (traditional Japanese are mostly sharpened on one side). Here is a yanagiba with a 4 mm wide blade at the knife spine. '

Yes, the microbevel still determines the initial 'cutting power' (i.e. 'razor sharpness' as opposed to mere 'sharpness'), but the main source of resistance when cutting comes from the geometry of the main bevel - at least in field knives and swords. If the angle is too obtuse, you get wedging. If the steel can support it, the sharpest 'main bevel' would be one that goes all the way to the spine, forming a triangle (plus the microbevel on the edge).

Obviously, a more acute microbevel angle will be sharper, but also less durable - I guess the balance is to find an angle that is both acceptably sharp and acceptably durable (the obvious extremes being a scalpel and a club). With the greater hardness and wear-resistance of Japanese blades, I'd probably be looking at a more acute angle than German blades (thus sharper) but not so acute as to chip easily, like many of the ultra-high-performance blades which cut like razors, but chip on a fishbone or piece of grit not entire washed out from a lettuce. Your thoughts?

'In my experience, I find the steel matters. Some steels simply have problem forming an edge at low angle.'

The steel is the substance that supports the geometry, but in the end, it's still the geometry that matters. Finer-grained steels are generally able to be ground to more acute angles without carbide loss and edge breakdown. Harder steels can retain a highly acute angle for longer than softer steels against wear/abrasion. Tougher steels can retain the angle for longer against micro-chips, which destroy the edge. More corrosion-resistant steels can retain the thin edge for longer against acidic foods. But a fine-grained, HRC 65, super-tough, stainless blade ground to 20° per side will be no sharper than the same grind on a blade made from aluminium - it will just be able to retain that edge for a long time, whereas the aluminium blade will probably be blunt after slicing through an eggplant (if it even gets that far). Also, you can re-grind the super-steel blade to 12° per side, for a sharper edge, whereas you wouldn't be able to do it with the softer blade.

'My understanding is that steel strength vs steel toughness has more to do with rolling/bending vs chipping/crack. A strong/hard steel with high HRC will be resistance against rolling, while a soft/tough steel will be resistance against chipping. You mentioned that you like Japanese blades. Isn’t this the reason why you like Japanese knives: that their edges do not earily roll?'

Well, a harder steel will usually have more carbides, thus being very wear-resistant. It will also be more resistant against plastic deformation ('rolling') but will usually be less resistant to failure (chipping) than the same steel tempered to a lower HRC point. At that lower HRC point, however, it may sometimes still be tougher than a different steel at the same HRC point which is being pushed higher in its effective HRC range. In other words, Steel A with an effective HRC range of 61-65, when hardened to HRC 65, may be more brittle than Steel B, with an effective HRC range of 57-61 at HRC 61; however, when Steel A is hardened to HRC 61 (the bottom end of its effective range), it may be tougher and less brittle than Steel B at the same hardness (the top end of its effective range).

I guess it's about finding a balance - sure, you can take a super-steel, harden it to HRC 65, grind it to 5° per side and have a super-sharp blade that can split hairs lengthwise, but chips on an apple seed. Or you can take the same steel, harden it to HRC 61 (still harder than any German blade), grind it to 15° per side (still more acute and sharper than German blades) and end up with a tough-as-nails blade that's still sharper than any European-style blade. Or you can go anywhere along the spectrum. Given the generally high performance of steels used in Japanese knives, I.tend to prefer more conservative hardening and edge geometry (but still sharper, and able to hold the edge for longer, than German knives) but able to take a lot more abuse than the super-hard 'glass cannons' of the knife world.

Your thoughts? Any particular makers/lines/steels I should consider, in light of this?

Feb 19, 2011
sunrider in Cookware

Al Mar Ultra Chef knives - how do they compare? Ryusen? Kanetsune?

I guess I'm probably more worried about chipping because, being more familiar with field knives, durability becomes a major issue.

So, with regards to blade geometry, when using a microbevel, I guess sharpness is mostly to do with the angle and width of the main bevel, with the angle of the microbevel itself only playing a small part - after all, even if the microbevel is at 45° or so per side (which would be ridiculously blunt as a main bevel) it's still a very thin edge. Chip resistance would be more dependent on the angle of the microbevel (since that's the thinnest part of the blade) while wedging in solid fruits and vegetables depends more on total blade thickness at the spine. Therefore, a thinner blade (say, 2mm) ground to a 6°-per-side main bevel, with an 18°-per-side microbevel, would have less wedging than a thicker blade (e.g. western deba), still be extremely sharp (due to the acute relief angle) and have fewer chipping issues than the same blade ground with a 12°-per-side bevel, with no microbevel. Would I be correct in this?

Regarding steels, I guess a steel tempered to a higher HRC rating will hold its edge for longer against abrasion than the same steel tempered to a lower HRC rating, but would be more prone to losing its edge to microchipping, with some steels being naturally more prone to chipping than others. The steel itself has nothing to do with sharpness - it's the edge geometry that determines this - merely how long it can hold on to its sharpness at a particular bevel angle. In other words, you can sharpen a HRC 62 SG2 blade to 12° per side, and it will be fairly sharp and hold that edge for a while. You can also sharpen an HRC 48 420 stainless blade to 12° per side and it will be just as sharp as the SG2 blade initially, but will probably be blunt after minimal use. Again, would I be correct in all this?

With that in mind, and with a concern for durability, would you suggest a reasonably hard steel (to support the geometry), with a relatively thin spine (for less wedging), sharpened with a very acute main bevel (for sharpness) with a fairly obtuse microbevel (for chip resistance)? In general, would such a blade have difficulty with fish bones, etc. without chipping, yet be sharp enough to easily slice onions and tomatoes thinly?

Regarding the abuse-resistance of specific steels, how would you say TKC compares against the SKD used in the Yoshikane lines? What about the SRS-15 in the Akifusa blades, or the SG2 in the Blazen lines? Where would you say VG-5 fits in - I've heard some good things about its toughness, while sacrificing little in the way of hardness, compared with VG-10.

This is getting a little confusing...

Feb 19, 2011
sunrider in Cookware

Al Mar Ultra Chef knives - how do they compare? Ryusen? Kanetsune?

Well, don't forget, the Nepalese used to use large, ceremonial kukris to slaughter water buffalo; smaller ones make short work of cuts of meat just as well. Also, a Malay parang - fairly similar to a kukri in design (recurved blade with a normal distal curve) - makes a wonderful field knife for similar reasons - cleave apart bones or crack lobsters using the heavy, tough middle section, slice it fairly finely with the well-sharpened distal end, open cans with the tip... then use the same blade to chop wood for a campfire to cook the meat on a griddle, or skewers. They're really that versatile!

Feb 18, 2011
sunrider in Cookware

Le Creuset lovers - have you seen "Coastal Blue?"

I'd love to see a line in stainless-clad cast iron, perhaps to match Le Creuset's tri-ply line, as well as brass-clad and bone-china-white lines to match various dining room decors as serving pieces.

Never really been a fan of bright-coloured enamel.

Feb 18, 2011
sunrider in Cookware

Thinking about replacing my 10" Shun Chefs.

What do you use it for? Do you have a smaller knife for fine slicing, etc., or is this your main knife? Do you intend to use it for splitting pumpkins, etc. and other hard-duty tasks, or do you use it to slice sashimi and paper-thin slices of tomato and eggplant?

Depending on the answer, the best recommendation could be anything from a razor-thin gyuto or sujihiki, up to a machete.

Feb 18, 2011
sunrider in Cookware

Al Mar Ultra Chef knives - how do they compare? Ryusen? Kanetsune?

Well, that's one of the reasons I didn't include a full-size meat cleaver for hacking large bones - a short, one-handed falchion, cutlass or grosse messer, or a medium-large kukri, does the job just as effectively! But you don't want to be pulling out a sword every time you want to chop up a chicken, fish or some pork ribs.

The thicker/thinner combination is what I'm thinking with the western deba/santoku combination - the santoku for the really fine slicing tasks, the western deba for chicken/fish (able to cut through bones, as well as thinly slice the meat), rock chopping, etc. Essentially like a European-type chef's knife, just as tough but sharper. Any idea if you'd get much wedging with the 3.8mm-thick Bu-Rei-Zen, or other western debas?

By the way, which lines would you recommend for toughness/chip resistance? Given that all will take a good edge, toughness becomes the next main differential...

Feb 18, 2011
sunrider in Cookware

Al Mar Ultra Chef knives - how do they compare? Ryusen? Kanetsune?

I doubt I need to include a knife sharpener - she already has a collection of waterstones for her sword collection!

Come to think of it, do you think a thinner western deba (e.g. the Ryusen Bu-Rei-Zen 'Heavy Chef's Knife') would be a good alternative to a gyuto or santoku? They would certainly take a much sharper edge than a typical 'German'-style knife, while being more chip-resistant than a typical gyuto due to the width - no worrying about chips from bundles of herbs, occasional bone fragments, etc.

http://www.epicedge.com/shopexd.asp?i...

Also, all else being equal - VG-10, SG2 or another steel for toughness and chip resistance (no doubt they can all take on and retain a very sharp edge, so toughness is probably a bigger issue - after all, microchips can dull a knife faster than wear).

Feb 18, 2011
sunrider in Cookware

Al Mar Ultra Chef knives - how do they compare? Ryusen? Kanetsune?

Thanks for the info - she's pretty careful with knives, so I'm sure she can look after them.

Basically, I'm thinking of a set comprising:
- 21-24cm western deba (meat knife, for cutting fish/chicken bones, then able to slice them finely; also for other heavy work)
- 16-18cm santoku (general purpose/vegetables)
- 24-27cm sujihiki (slicing/carving)
- Bread knife
- 8-10cm paring knife

Does that sound like a good, all-purpose set?

Feb 17, 2011
sunrider in Cookware

Shun Kaji (not Fusion) knives

not much luck there - that's the only reason I asked!

Feb 16, 2011
sunrider in Cookware

Shun Kaji (not Fusion) knives

Just wondering if anyone knows a website I'd be able to buy the Shun Kaji (not Fusion) knives, which delivers to Australia.

I've seen them on a Williams-Sonoma website, but they don't do international deliveries.

Feb 16, 2011
sunrider in Cookware

Al Mar Ultra Chef knives - how do they compare? Ryusen? Kanetsune?

I love Japanese blades, but am always annoyed by the fact that they never seem to offer a bread knife or a carving fork - OK if you're selling only in Japan, but kind of limiting for a worldwide audience. If you're trying to put together a matching set that's not Global or Shun, it's near-impossible to find a bread knife or carving fork with matching handles.

Now I'm looking for a 'set' for a friend's wedding registry and would like to get one with a matching bread knife.

Performance/sharpness-wise, does anyone have experience with the Al Mar Ultra Chef series? How do they compare with Shun, Tojiro and other makes?

What about Boker's damascus lines?

Finally, I've noticed that many of Ryusen's handles look very similar to those used by Kanetsune:

http://www.epicedge.com/shopexd.asp?i...

Does anyone who owns both think they are similar enough to match?

Feb 16, 2011
sunrider in Cookware

Looking for a griddle pan that is NOT nonstick

I've never come across a stovetop griddle that beats a barbecue - in Australia, it's warm enough outside to fire it up almost any time of the year.

Feb 13, 2011
sunrider in Cookware

Looking for a griddle pan that is NOT nonstick

Demeyere has one, in a 7-ply clad stainless design. Expensive, though.

Feb 13, 2011
sunrider in Cookware

Why didn't we get this green instead of the Fennel?

What about a stainless steel/silver metallic colour, a brass/gold metallic colour, or a bone-china white colour to match decors using any of those tones?

Feb 13, 2011
sunrider in Cookware

BonJour cookware - anyone seen or used it?

I guess the question here is more academic than anything - I'm just browsing pieces for a friend's bridal registry, which I'm helping arrange.

I would have thought the heat response would depend on the total thermal capacity of the piece, not necessarily the thickness of the body - after all, if a pan has a greater thermal capacity, it'll take longer to heat up or cool down after adjusting the burner.

Re: 7-ply construction - I'm not totally convinced about its benefits as compared to a more typical three-ply construction of the same thickness. After all, three of their 'layers' merely comprise the outermost, inducting shell, while the next three essentially comprise a thick layer of aluminium, with a stainless steel innermost layer - it's still the same, basic 3-ply design, with an outermost inducting layer, a middle conductive layer and an innermost wear-resistant layer.

Feb 13, 2011
sunrider in Cookware

BonJour cookware - anyone seen or used it?

3.5mm total thickness would indicate that the Stainless Clad line is thicker than all but the top ('Proline') range of Demeyere cookware - does this imply similar performance?

Feb 13, 2011
sunrider in Cookware

Clad-what's the big whoop?

I wouldn't put it quite so simply.

Put a thick base on a clad skillet for even heat distribution and you get the best of both worlds - all the advantages of the clad design, but without the problems associated with clad designs usually having thinner bases than encapsulated base designs and sometimes being prone to burning.

Feb 13, 2011
sunrider in Cookware

Clad-what's the big whoop?

Given that each design has its advantages, it's a wonder that no-one yet has stuck a thick aluminium/stainess or copper/stainless disc bottom onto a clad pan for a hybrid design - the thick disc bottom to add thermal mass and distribute the heat evenly across the bottom of the clad pan (essentially like an ultra-large burner) to prevent any hot spots (which can still occur with clad cookware, given that the clad layer is usually thinner than a typical disc bottom), and the clad pan on top to distribute heat evenly around the sides.

It'd work well for both searing/pan-frying/saute, and for methods which rely on convection for heat distribution.

Feb 13, 2011
sunrider in Cookware

BonJour cookware - anyone seen or used it?

Thanks for the info - it sounds like it should perform very well.

While you're on thickness of variousl layers, any idea on the thickness of Calphalon Tri-Ply, Cuisinart Multiclad Pro or Scanpan Fusion? :p

Feb 12, 2011
sunrider in Cookware

Digital oven thermometer, but just for temp, not food

I think we're talking about putting the readout on the outside of the oven (where the controls are), with only the temperature probe inside!

Feb 12, 2011
sunrider in Cookware