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(Stainless vs Carbon) steel pans


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10 replies to this topic

#1 TomatoMustard

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 12:41 PM

I just today heard about carbon steel pans. They look to be really inexpensive from restaurant supply stores but I still don't understand the differences. I tried googling it today but there were no easy answers so now I turn to you all.

#2 Dakki

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 12:56 PM

Specific questions?
This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

#3 TomatoMustard

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 01:11 PM

I have a 10" stainless steel fry pan with an copper core so my comparisons would be against it.

1)Is heat distribution the same or are features available (such as copper cores) to make heat distribution the same?

2)Are non-stick properties the same? Add some oil and heat and your gold?

3)Cleaning-wise, can you scrub the hell out of it or do you have to be gentle and try to avoid scouring pads? Are dishwashers too harsh?

4)Is going straight from cooktop to a hot bath going to kill it?

Edited by TomatoMustard, 06 July 2011 - 01:13 PM.


#4 Mark Muller

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 01:20 PM

I have a 10" stainless steel fry pan with an copper core so my comparisons would be against it.

1)Is heat distribution the same or are features available (such as copper cores) to make heat distribution the same?

2)Are non-stick properties the same? Add some oil and heat and your gold?

3)Cleaning-wise, can you scrub the hell out of it or do you have to be gentle and try to avoid scouring pads? Are dishwashers too harsh?

4)Is going straight from cooktop to a hot bath going to kill it?


1) Not generally. Most carbon steel pans are thin carbon steel only - no aluminum or copper core. As result, they don't distribute heat very evenly. There may be exceptions, but they won't be dirt cheap like the plan carbon steel pans.

2) More non-stick once seasoned, not much different until then.

3) If you want to keep seasoned, you have to treat it like cast iron - easy on the scouring, etc, etc. If you don't keep it seasoned, it will rust.

4) Probably not, but I would tend to avoid that with any pan.

#5 larrylee

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 01:31 PM

They need to be seasoned (as mentioned) and they are very light, easy to manuever, quick to heat and will brown meat very nicely.

#6 Will

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 02:22 PM

Carbon steel (or black steel) is more similar to cast iron than to stainless steel. With seasoning, it will become more "non-stick" than pans with a stainless cooking surface, but less non-stick than "non-stick". One key difference is that carbon steel (like cast iron) can be reactive with certain foods, for example acidic foods. So you wouldn't want to use carbon steel / black steel for cooking a lot of tomato, vinegar, beans, and so on, especially before it's well seasoned.

I have a De Buyer, which is pretty thick and solid, but also on the heavy side (actually weighs more than a Griswold cast iron skillet of the same diameter that I have).

Town food has some Asian-made ones which are quite economical.
http://www.foodservi...11/p375304.aspx

Mafter Bourgeat or De Buyer if you want something a little fancier or more traditional.
http://www.foodservi...04/p369411.aspx

#7 qrn

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 08:20 PM

I think the stainless and carbon probably have the same heat conduction,Just one is "stainless,and won't rust...or stain,assuming they are the same thickness
Bud

#8 Will

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 08:31 PM

I think the stainless and carbon probably have the same heat conduction,Just one is "stainless,and won't rust...or stain,assuming they are the same thickness

There are few pans which are solid stainless steel, for reasons which are well explained elsewhere on this forum. So when we're talking about stainless lined cookware above, we're talking about either multi-ply cookware with stainless on the inside, and possibly on the outside, combined with other materials (typically aluminum or copper), or stainless cookware with a disk bottom (again, typically some combination of aluminum, copper, and more stainless). Because of this, the heat conduction will usually be different between a solid steel pan vs. the type of stainless steel cookware the OP is most likely referring to.

#9 Shalmanese

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 07:56 PM

Do carbon steel pans warp easily?
PS: I am a guy.

#10 Dakki

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 08:43 PM

The thin ones do.
This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

#11 minas6907

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 09:49 PM

Just from personal experience, we always used the Matfer pans at the last restaurant I worked at. Seriously, those things are indestructible. When I saw them for sale at a restaurant supply store, I bought two, gave my stainless steel pan to my sister, and over the year returned to get 5 more pans. They brown meat so nicely, much better then I was ever going to get with my stainless. TomatoMustard, get a small pan from the store, follow the directions to season it, and sear a piece of meat in it. Wait for the pan to start smoking, then place your meat inside. I guarantee you will notice a difference.

And as for as the Matfer pans go, in the restaurant and in my kitchen, I've put those pans through everything, never seen the slightest hint of it wanting to warp.

Edited by minas6907, 07 July 2011 - 09:51 PM.