Novice cook in need of cookware care advice
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04-05-2016, 08:06 PM
Novice cook in need of cookware care advice
I just started learning to cook, and I purchased this stainless steel pan. The very first time I used it, the oil burned in the pan, and the fish stuck. I had let the oil heat up in a cold pan before adding the fish. I tried various tips to clean the pan, and that dark stain remained. However, I was told by an experienced cook that it would not hurt the pan's performance.

I've used it several times since, and it does perform well. I've been careful to not turn the heat up all the way, and haven't had the oil burn again. However, the food sticks a little every time, and I'm left with a residue to scrub. This is what I was left with after cooking chicken tonight. The dark area is the permanent "stain", and the rest is the oil from tonight. Any tips for stopping this? Is it normal? Would I be better off switching to non-stick?


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04-05-2016, 08:37 PM
RE: Novice cook in need of cookware care advice
First heat the pan then add the oil. Also try to avoid putting cold food in pan. Try bring it to near room temperature first.

I deglaze mine after use by pouring some water into the hot pan. It make cleaning easier. If food is stuck to the pan use enough water to cover it and bring it to boil for a couple of minutes and scrape with a wooden spatula before cleaning.

The dark discolored area is going to require barkeeper's friend and some elbow grease if you want to get that one out...

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04-05-2016, 08:43 PM
RE: Novice cook in need of cookware care advice
Also try white vinegar and water on light stains. If that doesn't get it try vinegar and baking soda, but don't let it sit for more than a couple of minutes because it could pit the pan.

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04-05-2016, 08:50 PM
RE: Novice cook in need of cookware care advice
Thanks! I have been cooking the food straight from the fridge. I'll try letting it sit out to warm up prior to cooking.
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05-05-2016, 05:58 AM
RE: Novice cook in need of cookware care advice
This is why I prefer ceramic-coated non-stick pans.

Soapy stainless-steel wool will also give you a bit more muscle power removing what looks like a carbon buildup.

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05-05-2016, 07:10 AM
RE: Novice cook in need of cookware care advice
As a cook - and as a longtime machinist ---

Discoloration in stainless requires removing material from the surface.

DON'T PANIC ----

A typical stainless pan is at least .025 of an inch (.6 mm) thick -- and you'll only be removing a ten-thousandths or so.. (.0001).

Use .400 wet/dry grit sandpaper - wet - and scrub it out till the staining is out. Follow up with a Scotch-Brite pad and soap and water...

It takes a while.

They use mechanical buffing equipment in the factory......

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11-05-2016, 02:30 PM
RE: Novice cook in need of cookware care advice
(05-05-2016 05:58 AM)SYZ Wrote:  This is why I prefer ceramic-coated non-stick pans.

Soapy stainless-steel wool will also give you a bit more muscle power removing what looks like a carbon buildup.
Other than Le Creuset, which keeps itself out of my reach by virtue of its being so damn expensive, would you be comfortable recommending any ceramic coated cookware over an extended lifespan? If you (or anyone else!) can speak to that, I'm looking for something that's going to last me on the scale of decades, not months or a couple years. I just haven't found anything cheaper than Le Creuset which is proven to last that long. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong places.

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11-05-2016, 02:46 PM
RE: Novice cook in need of cookware care advice
There's nothing wrong with Lodge enameled cast iron. It cooks just as good as Le Creuset, and with care will last multiple lifetimes.

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11-05-2016, 02:58 PM (This post was last modified: 11-05-2016 03:02 PM by Momsurroundedbyboys.)
RE: Novice cook in need of cookware care advice
(04-05-2016 08:06 PM)beeglez Wrote:  I just started learning to cook, and I purchased this stainless steel pan. The very first time I used it, the oil burned in the pan, and the fish stuck. I had let the oil heat up in a cold pan before adding the fish. I tried various tips to clean the pan, and that dark stain remained. However, I was told by an experienced cook that it would not hurt the pan's performance.

I've used it several times since, and it does perform well. I've been careful to not turn the heat up all the way, and haven't had the oil burn again. However, the food sticks a little every time, and I'm left with a residue to scrub. This is what I was left with after cooking chicken tonight. The dark area is the permanent "stain", and the rest is the oil from tonight. Any tips for stopping this? Is it normal? Would I be better off switching to non-stick?

You can scrub the crap out of stainless. Boil some water, then scrape it with a metal spatula) or use steel wool.

Bear with me on this next tip, it's scary...

When you notice food sticking to your stainless pan, turn the temperature UP. I know it sounds counter intuitive, but the reason it's sticking is because it hadn't formed a good crust. (A friend who owns a restaurant taught me this).

When I notice something sticking I turn the heat up and watch it carefully, after a short (very short) time it will release. Then flip.

Start with a cold pan, put on stove and heat. Once a drop of water dances across the top, add your oil swirl it to coat and drop the meat (chicken or even veggies).

You can move it around slightly before leaving it alone (that also helps with sticking but doesn't work all the time). Also, meats should be room temperature, but chicken shouldn't be left out long periods.

I actually prefer to cook fish in a nonstick pan, because high temps will over cook the fish.
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11-05-2016, 10:10 PM
RE: Novice cook in need of cookware care advice
My guess is Moms is on the right track. I'd bet you're trying to move your food in the pan too early. Instead of prying the food off the pan when you want to check it, try trusting the pan to tell you it's ready. Like moms mentioned, when the outer layer reaches a certain point it releases from the pan. As long as there's not a bunch of sugar involved, that release is likely to happen just at the right time. So when you check your food, just bump the side of it. If it comes loose with little pressure, flip it. If it's stuck, it's probably not yet seared.

Also, try cast iron. It seems intimidating, but with a little diligence they are easy to care for and a pleasure to cook with.

(My solution to stuff stuck in the pan is to not get stuff stuck in the pan.)

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