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Tristan
05-12-2011, 11:48 AM
Hi People, I've moved to stainless from predominantly cast iron and non-stick cookware. But I'm having real problems.

Each time I cook, I get really bad burn in spots. Food release isn't such a problem, but as an example, the entire pan turns dark brown/blackish when I pan fried a steak earlier. The burn in didn't release either.

Any tips on when stainless isn't a great idea, and fast ways to release the grime? I resorted to tons of scrubbing with cream cleansers. Got maybe 95% of the grime off and then gave up.

EdipisReks
05-12-2011, 12:45 PM
what kind of oil are you using? what temperature? i don't get anymore burnt residue in my stainless than i do in my cast iron.

MadMel
05-12-2011, 01:00 PM
Its all in the heat distribution. how thick is the base of that SS pot/pan of yours? A nice thick, heavy base will give a better rate of heat distribution and so cut down on the burn spots. Oil in the pan or no? And finally, do not expect SS pots and pans to be all bright and shiny. They will not stay that way. 'Jif' steel wool lol. Otherwise soaking in vinegar or other acids will do as well for the really hard to remove stuff. Cast iron is good, non-stick not so.

ajhuff
05-12-2011, 05:24 PM
I have had good luck with Bar Keepers Friend for cleaning. Also, try just turning down the heat. My Demeyere pan needs about 25% less heat. I think because it is so heavy and retains and distributes heat better than a thinner pan.

-AJ

EdipisReks
05-12-2011, 05:44 PM
with a good pan, i tend to blast it until i get the temp i want, and then i turn the flame down to maintain it.

FryBoy
05-12-2011, 06:24 PM
I've had good stainless cookware for over 40 years, and I love it. My suggestion (in addition to Barkeeper's Friend) is to keep your cast iron for pan frying steaks. Does a better job, tolerates all the heat you can provide without a blast furnace, and easier cleanup.

Eamon Burke
05-12-2011, 07:21 PM
Steak in a SS pan? Why would you do that when you've got a bunch of cast iron laying around?!

Sounds like the heat was too high for the fats involved, but I still would have gone with a cast iron pan.

Also, when you take the food out, if it looks like it'll be a problem to clean, dump some hot water in the pan while it is still hot. Deglazing the pan, and leaving it soaking while we eat was mandatory when I was growing up.

EdipisReks
05-12-2011, 07:34 PM
SDeglazing the pan, and leaving it soaking while we eat was mandatory when I was growing up.

same here. i remember camping with my Boy Scout troop, the kids who let the burnt pans cool before washing sure looked at me jealously at clean up time.

Tristan
05-12-2011, 10:39 PM
Thanks guys, lots of good tips here.

Why SS when I have cast iron? Erm, no good answer to that. I was just trying to rotate SS pans into all the various methods of cooking that I do. Did a steak on it... had to give it 1.5mins on each side and all around the rest of the pan it started turning brown then black.

I use E.V. Olive Oil, sometimes with butter added, tend to add oil to a medium warm pan, then add in food when the oil viscosity looks good long before it nears smoking point, then cook the food. Please chip in if I'm doing anything wrong here.

I'll try lowering the heat after the target temp is reached. I'm using 2 All clad irregular copper cores (the lovely copper band on the outside has tarnished already), one a frypan and the other a saute.

So what types of cooking are SS pans best suited for? I use my non-stick scanpan for eggs/fish, Japanese cast iron wok for stir frying, used to use heavy cast iron for steaks (think I'll go back to that now), so the SS pans need to find a role in the kitchen. Advise?

Question summary:
1. What tasks are SS pans good for?
2. Deglaze with vinegars post cooking always? Or what do you recommend deglazing with from a cleaning standpoint (not recipe)
3. Always cook with a lower temp on stainless? I'm used to very direct heat transfer due to woks and I use high heat. I use much lower heats with nonstick.

Thanks guys. Yeah I use Jif (same as comet cream cleanser I think, Cif). Can't find barkeeper's friend or flitz locally. Don't dare to try the more aggressive metal polishes - not sure if it is a good idea with food pans.

MadMel
05-13-2011, 01:06 AM
You probably got talked into buying pans instead of pots no?

Tristan
05-13-2011, 03:33 AM
Erm no, I just didn't think it was worth it to pay that much money for a SS pot from allclad.

I use a $18 WMF ss pot, a generic made in god knows where large pot, and an alessi pasta strainer SS pot that came free with furniture purchases at the mall. Got my pots pretty decently covered.

mikemac
05-14-2011, 10:12 AM
Like with knives, quality is quality...I've never been 'pro' or 'con' SS, I simply had something else*, but when my mom-in-law was alive, she had a brand new set of (maybe) cuisinart SS - probably looked real pretty at WSM or BedBAth....I couldn't cook shiyate on them without sticking, hotspots and burning. Then I started to play around with copper, and picked up a small evasee from Faulk, and a SS copper clad e-bay set with Paul Bocuse's signature on it. I simply do not have the same problems (and the Bocuse are the 'thinner' version of copper cookware, which is actually fine for home use) (and BYW - if anyone else has ever seen/used the Bocuse line of cookware, I'd love to hear your story - I can't find anything out about these)

The something else....the core of my pots and pans are Calphalon that are about 30 years old.

mano
05-14-2011, 10:37 AM
Tristan, maybe the pro chefs will weigh in here (maybe already have and I don't know it) but over time you'll learn which pots 'n pans are best for a particular task.

Well seasoned cast iron is best for steaks and for me eggs, enameled cast iron for brazing, ss for sauces most saute' and boiling stuff.

If you're burning things that regularly try starting at a lower temperature. Also, EVOO has a lower burning point than regular, so that may be a problem.

Also, what's your heat source. Gas, electric and induction have their own nuances.

MadMel
05-14-2011, 12:45 PM
Thanks guys, lots of good tips here.

Why SS when I have cast iron? Erm, no good answer to that. I was just trying to rotate SS pans into all the various methods of cooking that I do. Did a steak on it... had to give it 1.5mins on each side and all around the rest of the pan it started turning brown then black.

I use E.V. Olive Oil, sometimes with butter added, tend to add oil to a medium warm pan, then add in food when the oil viscosity looks good long before it nears smoking point, then cook the food. Please chip in if I'm doing anything wrong here.

I'll try lowering the heat after the target temp is reached. I'm using 2 All clad irregular copper cores (the lovely copper band on the outside has tarnished already), one a frypan and the other a saute.

So what types of cooking are SS pans best suited for? I use my non-stick scanpan for eggs/fish, Japanese cast iron wok for stir frying, used to use heavy cast iron for steaks (think I'll go back to that now), so the SS pans need to find a role in the kitchen. Advise?

Question summary:
1. What tasks are SS pans good for?
2. Deglaze with vinegars post cooking always? Or what do you recommend deglazing with from a cleaning standpoint (not recipe)
3. Always cook with a lower temp on stainless? I'm used to very direct heat transfer due to woks and I use high heat. I use much lower heats with nonstick.

Thanks guys. Yeah I use Jif (same as comet cream cleanser I think, Cif). Can't find barkeeper's friend or flitz locally. Don't dare to try the more aggressive metal polishes - not sure if it is a good idea with food pans.

Ok here goes: EVOO for cooking = waste of $$. Heating EV to any great degree will remove any nice flavours that you may associate with it. For cooking, if you want to to have the benefits of olive oil and and a higher smoking point, look for 'olive pomace oil' Neutral taste, same health benefits, higher smoking point, kinder on your wallet.
If you want to add butter during cooking, add the oil before the butter cos butter will burn. Otherwise, use clarified butter or ghee.
As for what SS pans are good for, sauteing and sauces would be the most common uses. It all depends on the dimensions and weight of the pan. You can also use them for displaying a centrepiece like a whole roast, pasta on a bed of nice sauce and such. Think of it more like a Chinese wok. High temp, oil in, food in, toss, food out. Less of a long time of cooking. I believe that the problem you had while cooking the steak was that the fats of the steak rendered out that is what caused the burning.
Deglazing with vinegars post cooking is not always a must. Depends on how dirty it is. For cleaning, I would go with vinegars or any EDIBLE acids like lemon juice and such. I've seen people go with industrial oven cleaners, bleach and such and they are effective. Industrial oven cleaners USUALLY denatures into non-harmful substances when heated above a certain temperature, but for safety sake, always go with something that is edible. Especially at home. For me, I add a small amount of white wine vinegar to some water and boil. That kills bacteria and removes the black bits all in 1.
You have the correct idea in much lower heat with non-stick. And it is not a rule to cook at lower temp on stainless. Depends on your burner. Some burners focus the heat on a small area of the pan and some over a larger area. Your food should always be in the area where the burner's heat is concentrated.

Hope this helps :)

mano
05-14-2011, 01:52 PM
MadMel, isn't olive pomace the last bit of oil extracted from the crushed olive by using solvents?

I was told to use regular olive oil if taste was an issue while cooking, otherwise use canola or grape seed oils which have higher smoking temps.

Check this out re: cooking a steak:
http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?/topic/119838-the-best-way-to-cook-a-thick-steak/page__hl__steak

ajhuff
05-14-2011, 05:26 PM
Here is info on why cooking with EV Olive Oil is a waste of money and benefits: http://www.curiouscook.com/site/2010/11/curious-cook-in-the-new-york-times-what-heat-does-to-the-flavors-of-cooking-oils-.html

-AJ

FryBoy
05-14-2011, 05:48 PM
There are other considerations, namely the health benefits attributed to olive oil, an essential part of the healthful Mediterranean diet. And not all olive oil is terribly expensive -- I've found Safeway Select Extra Virgin to be quite serviceable at under $10 per liter.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/food-and-nutrition/AN01037

Tristan
05-14-2011, 10:50 PM
Ah, the advice if weighing in nicely.

Ok, I do pastas in the SS saute (which is fine), and some meats and other quick saute tasks which are fine. Generally I've been having trouble with steaks. So yes, I'll move that back to my cast iron. Funny thing is I never burn the food, just the layer of crap that's on my pan.

I cook on gas, and the heat seems quite aggressive compared to my previous burner (only been using this one for about 2 months off and on) with the low setting still giving off a nearly medium heat.

I don't think the quality of my All Clad are in question - just my own idiocy with the material.

Typically the butter would go in after the food or just before the food goes in.

Perhaps if the pros would weigh in on that types of dishes they love using Stainless fry/saute pans for individually it would be very helpful.

kalaeb
05-14-2011, 11:05 PM
I have been using SS All Clad sauce pans for years and loved them. I naturally thought they would make good for a fry pan as well as, I could not have been more wrong. I am not an amature cook, but I can't cook with the SS All Clad fry pan worth a darn. After spending lots of money on it, it now sits collecting dust. Nothing can replace my Debuyer carbon pans for performance. To date, NOTHING sticks to them.

ajhuff
05-15-2011, 12:02 AM
Tristan,

You might try this. My Chef says it's microscopic moisture in the tiny scratches of the pan that causes sticking. He sometimes has us put a cup or so of salt in the pan as we heat it up. Shake it around really good. The salt pulls out that moisture.

-AJ

FryBoy
05-15-2011, 12:23 AM
Nonsense! How much moisture could possibly be left on the surface of a dry metal pan heated to 350+ degrees?

MadMel
05-15-2011, 06:53 AM
MadMel, isn't olive pomace the last bit of oil extracted from the crushed olive by using solvents?

I was told to use regular olive oil if taste was an issue while cooking, otherwise use canola or grape seed oils which have higher smoking temps.

Check this out re: cooking a steak:
http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?/topic/119838-the-best-way-to-cook-a-thick-steak/page__hl__steak

Yes it is the lower quality olive oil but still, if you are heating it, flavour goes out the window. However, no matter how it's extracted, it is still olive oil and has all that health benefits.

I would recommend searing the steak at high heat first with some oil, butter and some herbs/garlic cloves go into the pan. Heat is lowered till the butter is just slightly foaming like you get when you pour some carbonated drinks. Keep adjusting the temperature to maintain that level of foaming of the butter. No large bubbles, just nice small foam. Also, tilt the pan and continuously bast the piece of steak instead of just letting it sit. The link by mano show it in pictures. Thats what I do in the kitchen anyway.

mhenry
05-15-2011, 09:14 AM
I have been using SS All Clad sauce pans for years and loved them. I naturally thought they would make good for a fry pan as well as, I could not have been more wrong. I am not an amature cook, but I can't cook with the SS All Clad fry pan worth a darn. After spending lots of money on it, it now sits collecting dust. Nothing can replace my Debuyer carbon pans for performance. To date, NOTHING sticks to them.

I couldnt agree more, there is nothing better than a well seasoned carbon pan.

shankster
05-15-2011, 09:17 AM
I couldnt agree more, there is nothing better than a well seasoned carbon pan.

++1 on the deBuyer carbon pans.Nothing beats them for high temp searing.

SpikeC
05-15-2011, 03:27 PM
Well, my Griswold #9 is a pretty tough competitor!