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need advice re best skillet brands

Get life time cookware, so you don't have to be searching for new nonstick every few years. For veggies and meats you can easily make the move to stainless steel. SS is guaranteed to outlast all of your nonstick cookware. For skillets, it's best to stick with a quality fully clad piece. A 10" is not too big or too small. So you can learn and experiment without having to use a lot of food. I would go straight to All-clad. They are expensive but their interior SS lining is one of the best. Once you get the hang of SS it will work just like non stick.

Sep 24, 2011
jshawn2 in Cookware

Damaging Stainless Steel?

I have never seen exposed core metals before. But I guess you would have to do A LOT of hard scrubbing with the steel wool over years before exposing the copper or aluminum. Cooking acidic foods will cause a tiny bit of the metals to leach into the food. It shouldn't be a problem

I cook scrambled eggs in SS. The deep scratch might cause problems with certain foods. The SS surface will progressively become harder to clean due to burnt sauces and fats getting into the crevices.

Cleaning the pans right after you use them. You should be able to just use water and a non abrasive sponge. For tougher stains use BKF which is gentle polish for SS.

Sep 23, 2011
jshawn2 in Cookware

Waterless cookware

First thing I noticed were the plastic handles. Plastic handles means they are NOT oven safe. This means their cookware is a joke.

Their shapes and design look very old fashioned. I don't want my guests thinking I still use cookware passed down from my grandparents.

Sep 23, 2011
jshawn2 in Cookware

SS / Disc Clad Bottom

delete

Sep 01, 2011
jshawn2 in Cookware

Are all 18/10 Stainless Steel Cookware Created Equal?

"I think it is possible that the hardness of the stainless can be different, even with the same alloy, so maybe this has something to do with your observations that some are more 'marred and scratched' than others. Both of those terms suggest a softer material to me."

I went to Macy's today to look at their entire line of SS cookware. And ironically, I came the same conclusion as you did. At first I wanted to keep this to myself because it sounds crazy. But since you brought it up I'll share my theory too. Typical composition of 18/10 SS is 18% chromium and 10% nickel. But another factor like the stiffness or hardness of the 18/10 SS sheets must come into play. The high end cookware must use better tempered and heat treated SS sheets to line the interior.

That's why my lower end pieces scratched easily like nonstick and the finish became marred after many treatments of BKF. The scratches and marred finish doesn't bother me. But what does bother me is that these pieces score poorly in food release and clean-ability. They always leave burnt on grease (fats and oil) and never clean well after deglazing with warm water.

Here is something interesting which I wish I found earlier. This is from All-Clad's FAQ (http://www.all-clad.com/consumer-serv...) They are using some sort of proprietary/trade secret their own blend of type 304 SS. Which puts them ahead of everyone else in terms of interior SS performance.

15. What is the stainless cooking surface in All-Clad cookware made of and how is it tested to ensure quality?

1. The cooking surface of All-Clad stainless cookware is made from a proprietary formulation of 304 grade stainless steel specially adapted to meet All-Clad specifications regarding grain size, texture, alloy content, and other physical properties that make All-Clad the finest cookware. Stainless steel came into commercial use about 100 years ago. At that time, metal manufacturers had learned that the addition of chrome in the range of 18% and the addition of nickel in the range of 10% yielded an alloy that was very strong, ductile and corrosion resistant. This class of materials hence became known generically as "18-10" steel. By the 1920's, the term "stainless steel" had evolved and this class of materials had become more well understood and was subdivided into defined alloys, some with higher alloy content, and some with lower alloy content. This was generally determined by the application of the metal and cost constraints. The higher the alloy percentages, the higher the cost of the metal. 304 is the most widely used stainless steel with 17% to 18.5% chrome and 8% to 10% nickel. 301 is lower in chrome and nickel and is used when the corrosion resitance or strength are not as demanding. This grade has come to be known as "18-8". Neither of these designations is a recognized metallurgical term with composition limits. In our business, 18-10 has been used generically to indicate 304 stainless at the higher end of the composition limit range and 18-8 normally indicates alloys at the mid to low end of the composition range. All-Clad's metals meet the metallurgical definition of higher alloy 304 but are referred to in the industry as 18-10 stainless.

2. All stainless steel used by All-Clad is certified to meet National Standard ISO 9000 (International Organization for Standardization)and ASTM A240 (testing and standards) for all 304 series stainless steel intended for use with food. Every "melt" by our steel suppliers is tested and certified to meet the ASTM 240 (American Society for Testing and Materials) standards.

Here is a more info on 18/10 and type 304 SS. More than anyone needs to know:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SAE_stee...
http://www.bosunsupplies.com/Stainles...

In a way, this kind of answers my original question in the title. SS manufactures can strengthen the SS and vary the alloy to give it unique qualities. All-Clad has gone through great lengths to keep theirs a trade secret. I'm guessing their competitors are doing the same thing.

Aug 08, 2011
jshawn2 in Cookware

Are all 18/10 Stainless Steel Cookware Created Equal?

I think, Cucinare is their new SS line. The piece I have has been discontinued that's why its hard to find pictures. It's the Berndes Millesima 9.5" deep frypan. I've posted pictures of it on chowhound before:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/771894

From the pictures, it looks like a saute pan with straight edge walls. But the walls do flare out making it more of a skillet/frypan. The Berndes piece actually has a brushed interior. In fact, all of my SS cookware have a brushed interior finish. So I'm at a loss as to why fond and burnt on stuff doesn't come off cleanly in some, thereby, making it hard to clean afterwards. My only conclusion is the difference in quality of the 18/10 SS sheets that each manufacture uses.

Aug 08, 2011
jshawn2 in Cookware

Are all 18/10 Stainless Steel Cookware Created Equal?

"None have ever pitted but I find that the Scanpan and Belgique tend to need the Bon Ami more often than the others do, even after cooking the same kind of foods in them. The Henckels pieces clean up the easiest, and the KR cooker takes the most effort."

I'm glad you mentioned this. I too have noticed a difference in clean-ability of the SS between brands. I have sauteed meat in all 3 skillets as well as the 2 sauce pans. The Schulte-Ufer and Emerilware tends to not deglaze very well. They will leave more burnt fats (oil). Fond and brown spots don't come off easily with the water shock. You would think the Emerilware with the aluminum/copper disk would have better even heating and deglaze advantage, no so. These pieces always need BKF to bring them back to new condition.

The Berndes 9.5" deep skillet is a disk bottom like the 2 sauce pans. Cooking beef (steak), pork (chops), or fish (salmon) deglazes well every time. Often leaving the it cleanable with just water and sponge. The AC 8" SS was purchased recently and it cooks scrambled eggs like in a nonstick. It cleans in seconds with water and sponge.

I started this thread because I'm looking for a new 1.5 qt sauce pan to replace the Schulte-Ufer. And wasn't sure if I should stick to a professional brand of just pickup a "made for use home" brand. I think I'll cough up the cash and go with professional brands on the next SS purchases. See how that that plays out.

Thank you for sharing your experiences.

Aug 07, 2011
jshawn2 in Cookware

Are all 18/10 Stainless Steel Cookware Created Equal?

I've noticed that the stainless steel interior of my professional brands tend to stay pristine. Where as my "made for home" brands tends pit and the interior finish is marred and scratched. All of my SS pieces claim to be 18/10 on the packaging. Below are the pristine pieces from workhorse to least used. When they get burnt bits that hot water or vinegar can't take off they get cleaned with BKF. I use the same gentle method for cleaning all of my SS.

* Berndes 9.5" deep skillet
* Anolon 10" skillet
* All-Clad 8" frypan

These are the pieces that have the marred, scratched, and salt pitted interior. Again from most to least used.

* Schulte-Ufer ecoline 1.5qt sauce pan
* Emerilware 2qt sauce/saute pan (Made in China by All-Clad)

The only piece that is not made in China is the AC 8" frypan. Sometimes I think not all the manufacturers producing the 18/10 SS sheets are equal. All-Clad claims their SS and other materials all come from a US supplier, for cookware thats made in the USA. However, the Berndes and Anolon are made in China. Where their SS sheets come from is unknown. Their interior looks as good as new.

So has anyone else noticed any difference in the SS quality of your cookware? Or is stainless steel is stainless steel and it makes no difference who makes it or where it comes from?

Aug 07, 2011
jshawn2 in Cookware

Anolon Nouvelle Copper--Anyone Know What's Inside?

Anodized aluminum, copper, pure aluminum, magnetic SS for induction is my guess. Like a 4ply disk.

There are 6 pieces of actual cookware plus 4 lids. Assuming the information you provided is accurate. It's about 4.2 lbs per piece including lids. Heavy cookware, probably a good amount of copper in the disk. But I'm sure they won't put so much copper that its as heavy as cast iron.

Aug 02, 2011
jshawn2 in Cookware

Comparable SS Alternatives to All Clad at BB&B

All-clad updated their stainless steel line. They call it "Tri-Ply Stainless Steel" now. It features "more comfortable handles". Although the handle still looks pretty much the same. No doubt they will be expensive.... very expensive.

http://www.allclad-stainless.com/over...

http://www.williams-sonoma.com/shop/c...

Multiclad a good economical alternative. It's just as good as the AC SS line IMO. The V shape handles stays cool. The handle is bit smaller than most cookware but comfortable. Jacques Pepin uses Multiclad on his show so it can't be that bad.

Jul 29, 2011
jshawn2 in Cookware

Best place to buy All-clad set

http://www.cookwarenmore.com/

This site has great prices on All-Clad. Most of the cookware I'm looking for is in the "All-Clad Irregulars" section. Does this mean the pieces are slightly defective? If so, to people that have purchased from this site, what type of defect am I going to expect?

I've seen AC fry pans at TJMaxx with wrong handles MC2 with LTD handles which doesn't feel right. Angle of handles is way too low. MC2 pans without AC stamped on the bottom. Or am I expecting tiny scratches in the SS.

Jul 28, 2011
jshawn2 in Cookware

How to clean brushed aluminum cookware?

Here is a closeup of All-Clad MC2 brushed aluminum.

Jul 10, 2011
jshawn2 in Cookware

How to clean brushed aluminum cookware?

Brushed aluminum is usually on the exterior side of skillets. Like the All-Clad MC2 and Anolon Chef Clad lines. I usually don't care what the exterior looks like as long as the interior's stainless is mint. BKF is great for making my stainless look like new again.

But accidents will happen and burnt on drippings can make the skillets look ugly. I passed on a raw deal on Anolon Chef Clad off Amazon because the exterior is brushed aluminum. So what is the best way to clean brushed aluminum?

Jul 10, 2011
jshawn2 in Cookware

Kitchen Essentials on a $500 Macy's Budget - Input is GREATLY Needed!

You'd probably walk out of the store with more stuff if you had $250 on a TJ/Marshall's card.

But seriously they carry a lot name brands from cookware to bedding to home furnishings. It helps if you kinda know what your looking for before you go. Most of their mid range pots and pans are less than $30 a piece.

Start with a 10" nonstick skillet (fry pan). Nonstick is more forgiving than cooking on stainless. A 3 or 4 qt stainless pot with aluminum disk bottom and colander lid for pastas. Cuisinart generally makes quality cookware. As you begin cooking you will figure out pretty quickly what pieces you need for your style of cooking.

Save the $250 Macy's credit for things you can't find at TJ/Marshall's. Watching other people cook on youtube will give you ideas too.

Apr 07, 2011
jshawn2 in Cookware

What are you sorry you were so slow to try?

Stainless steel cookware. Long time nonstick user but I have changed the error of my ways.

Apr 07, 2011
jshawn2 in Cookware

Green Pan totally safe?

"Heating nonstick cookware above 500°F (260°C) can discolor the surface of the cookware or cause it to lose some of its nonstick properties. Since butter, fats and cooking oils start to smoke at 400°F (204°C), overcooked foods would most likely burn to an inedible state before the nonstick coating would be affected. If an empty nonstick cookware pan is accidentally heated above 660°F (348°C), a temperature that far exceeds what food preparation calls for, the nonstick coating may begin to deteriorate."

Source straight from dupont's website: http://www2.dupont.com/Teflon/en_US/p...

The surface of glass top stoves on medium-high is about 665°F (352°C). Which exceeds the deterioration temperature of traditional nonstick Teflon.

Source (jump 7:00 into video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZOVrY...

Mar 21, 2011
jshawn2 in Cookware

Question on All Clad (SS) Discoloration

delete

Mar 18, 2011
jshawn2 in Cookware

Stainless Steel Skillet with Thickest Aluminum Disk/Base

I just got home and measured the pan with a small ruler. The disk measures about 1.1 cm or 7/16 inches between the bottom and where the disk is cladded.

The walls do flare out. If you look closely at the first pic in the upper left. Its called a "deep frypan". I almost walked away from it because I already have a Multiclad saute. So now I have a very thick disk pan to compare with fully cladded Multiclad.

Mar 18, 2011
jshawn2 in Cookware

Stainless Steel Skillet with Thickest Aluminum Disk/Base

I ended up buying the Berndes Millesima 9.5" deep frypan for $15 at TJ. German designed but made in China. The disk is the thickest I could find. The pan itself is heavier than it looks. Its almost like a saute pan. The handle does get warm.

Some pictures taken from the web...

Mar 18, 2011
jshawn2 in Cookware

Stainless Steel Skillet with Thickest Aluminum Disk/Base

The post on egullet.org convinced me that my style of cooking is better suited for aluminum disk pans. I like how meats just slide around in my Emeril SS saute. The disk stays hot even after I put cold in meat and fish. My Multiclad Pro saute tends to not release food as easily (fast) as the Emeril SS.

I'll keep those brands in mind when I'm out shopping. But I was also hoping for suggestions on commonly available brands that can be had at local department stores or Amazon. Thank you for your suggestions.

Mar 14, 2011
jshawn2 in Cookware

Stainless Steel Skillet with Thickest Aluminum Disk/Base

This is my first post here. I know this site generally recommends fully clad for skillets.

I had a much longer post explaining what cookware I own and how I arrived to prefer the aluminum disk/base rather than a fully clad skillet. To make a long story short, for my cooking style I prefer a very thick pure aluminum disk/base for "even heat" and more importantly "heat capacity".

Very few cookware manufactures disclose the thickness of the aluminum disks used in their line. Demeyere is the only one I've seen that openly publishes this information. I understand disk thinness can vary depending the type of cookware, sauce pan VS saute pan VS skillet.

I realize I'm splitting hairs asking this... but I read through the "scorchprint experiment" posts here. Then I knew I found the right place to ask my question. I'd like to know which 10" or 12" skillet (fry pan) out there has the thickest aluminum disk/base?

Mar 13, 2011
jshawn2 in Cookware