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beauregard

Non-Stick Cooking Surfaces

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I'd just like to correct an earlier response about teflon (PTFE) being so safe that it is used in implants. Although there are implants that use teflon the majority of load bearing and wear related PTFE parts (hip implants, etc) have been abandoned as the wear debris can cause problems and it wears faster than polyethylene. Just take care not to heat your pan too high or scratch it with metal and you'll be fine.

-Lyle

PhD. student in materials science


Professional Scientist (in training)

Amateur Cook

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Although there are implants that use teflon the majority of load bearing and wear related PTFE parts (hip implants, etc) have been abandoned as the wear debris can cause problems and it wears faster than polyethylene.

Yeah, my dad was a victim of that ... he needed his hip re-replaced.

But the point I was trying to make still stands. The implant issue is about physical wear, and debris becoming a physical irritant. It has nothing to do with chemical toxicity.


Notes from the underbelly

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Although there are implants that use teflon the majority of load bearing and wear related PTFE parts (hip implants, etc) have been abandoned as the wear debris can cause problems and it wears faster than polyethylene.

Yeah, my dad was a victim of that ... he needed his hip re-replaced.

But the point I was trying to make still stands. The implant issue is about physical wear, and debris becoming a physical irritant. It has nothing to do with chemical toxicity.

Yes, that's correct, although I would still try and avoid scratching the pan, not so much because its toxic just because it ruins it.


Professional Scientist (in training)

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I have seen aluminum pans with a ceramic coating. They claim to be non stick scratch proof, and no Teflon.

Any good?

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I have seen aluminum pans with a ceramic coating. They claim to be non stick scratch proof, and no Teflon.

Any good?

Hi,

These pans have no "teflon" brand PTFE coating but they have generic PTFE coating. The ceramic is used as a bonding agent for the coating.

Tim

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I finally opened my new catalog and sure enough:

Cusinart GG-12

PTFE/PFOA-free nonstick surface for healthy cooking

Petroleum-free ceramic based nonstick interior helps to reduce oil consumption

and then some other stuff like "eco-healthy handle" "handles are made from 70% recycled stainless steel"

It looks like they'll have a "Green Gourmet Hard Anodized" "Green Gourmet Stainless" and "Green Gourmet Aluminum"

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["aluminum pans with a ceramic coating"] have no "teflon" brand PTFE coating but they have generic PTFE coating.  The ceramic is used as a bonding agent for the coating.

tim, I've seen many ceramic-PTFE composition pans for sale. Some restaurant suppliers display them on racks, in order of increasing lifetime and increasing price. 20-cm omelette skillets in four or five grades for instance. I often notice them in commercial kitchens. I don't know if they're what you refer to. However:

Completely different from that are rugged, expensive high-end pots whose interior aluminum surface is treated to convert it to an inert mineral. I don't know exactly but I assume electrochemically ("anodized"). One veteran professional I know praised their durability and said he used them at home. That was over 10 years ago. They were 5-10 times as expensive as PTFE-composition coated pots. Not having tried them myself I can't compare their nonstick performance, but I handled them, the interior seemed smoother and slipperier than classic enameled cast iron pots (which, like stainless, are very inert and long-lasting but NOT non-stick). I don't know how many people are even aware of these products, I wish someone with serious experience of them could comment here.

Such pots would be a true PTFE-free ceramic-coated aluminum, and there may be other types meeting that description.

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For many years I think all nonstick pan coatings were the same. They were variants of Teflon, and any vocabulary differences were marketing speak. Now it seems there are some actual new nonstick coatings on the market. Has anybody had experience with these? Even better, can we get a tutorial on how they work?


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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What are the names of the new coatings?


--

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Several of the new pans use the "Thermolon" coating ( http://thermolon.net ). The coating is claimed to be a "ceramic" formed of silicon, oxygen, and titanium offering the non-stick properties of teflon without the release of carcinogenic compounds when overheated. It's environmentally friendly to make, too.

I've actually seen a very similar product used for a completely different application: Hi-fi speakers. Major retail manufacturer Infinity (you've no doubt seen them at Best Buy) uses a "ceramic" coating of similar composition on the majority of woofers and tweeters they produce in order to increase rigidity. It works fairly well, too, though not to the same degree as full ceramic woofers, which look as if Kyocera has entered the home audio market.

The cause is simple: Under all the marketing buzzspeak, the ceramic coating is nothing more than an especially thick coating of hard anodization. While this works very nicely for consumer electronics not frequently heated to 400°, whacked about with a spatula, or submerged in acid, it doesn't hold up so well on frying pans. The best example would be the GreenPan line sold by HSN: Look closely, and under the thick layer of astroturfing is a large number of very cross consumers.


Edited by jrshaul (log)

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As jrshaul says, ceramic and silicon seem to be the basis for the newer cookware. I found an article at How Things Work that gave a decent little overview of the history of nonstick cookware:

http://home.howstuffworks.com/nonstick-cookware.htm

I've heard all the worries about Teflon-type products and the toxic fumes they can release at higher temps, so wouldn't mind getting away from them, but the newer products are a bit confusing. The brands mentioned in the link include Thermolon, ScanPan and Ceramica.

The little bit of research I have done (searching Amazon, for example) seem to suggest limited satisfaction with the quality of the newer nonstick cookware.

I'd love to know if there is anything really new that satisfies discriminating cooks.

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I got rid of all my non-stick pots and pans a couple of years ago and haven't looked back. That said, I am old enough that when I learned to cook as a kid we didn't own a super-expensive newfangled Teflon pan, so, I learned to turn out an omlette in a regular metal pan.

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What are the names of the new coatings?

Thermolon is the big one. I ignore most of these supposed innovations, but when Demeyere embraced Thermolon I did a double take. The Demeyere people seem serious to me.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I bought a bunch of Vollrath Pro HG pots and pans with their ceramic/titanium non-stick coating a few years ago specifically because they can take the higher heat AND carry an NSF rating. The coating is not as durable as their 25-year guarantee would suggest. However, in general I am happy with them and can vouch for both the non-stck properties and the fact that they do take the heat.


Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

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Everything I've looked into (which certainly isn't everything ... I haven't found anything at all about Thermalon, for instance) has turned out to be some kind of PTFE (generic for Teflon) with either better bonding technology or particles of something hard, like ceramics, embedded to make it more abrasion resistant. These pans generally stay stick-free longer than plain teflon pans, but not nearly in proportion to their added cost.

They can't take higher heat than any other teflon pan. If Vollrath has something that actually does, I'd be curious about it.


Notes from the underbelly

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Everything I've looked into (which certainly isn't everything ... I haven't found anything at all about Thermalon, for instance) has turned out to be some kind of PTFE (generic for Teflon) with either better bonding technology or particles of something hard, like ceramics, embedded to make it more abrasion resistant. These pans generally stay stick-free longer than plain teflon pans, but not nearly in proportion to their added cost.

They can't take higher heat than any other teflon pan. If Vollrath has something that actually does, I'd be curious about it.

As mentioned earlier, the "ceramic" in Thermalon is PTFE-free. However, I genuinely suspect that it's nothing more than a sort of chemically assisted extra-thick layer of anodizing. In any case, it seems to have an awful lot of very unhappy owners - just run a search for "Thermalon sucks."

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I was going to ask about experience with the "Earth Pans" I see at Whole Foods. But after reading page after angry page of terrible reviews, I guess it isn't all that important.

Better to learn to cook with a regular pan, anyway, IMO.


Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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My approach is to try and use standard (i.e., non-nonstick) pans for anything possible, and reduce my use of non-stick as much as possible. I use stainless-steel cookware, as well as carbon steel, cast iron, and enameled cast iron. Using proper cooking technique, I find that most of the time, sticking isn't too big of a problem, but I won't say that it never happens. Cleanup can involve a little more elbow grease. I don't have a specific need to avoid fat in cooking, which helps.

When I end up having to use non-stick on something that doesn't see a lot of high-heat (rice cooker, hot water boiler) for which there isn't a clear alternative for, I try not to stress about it too much.

When I buy non-stick pans for family / friends who insist on them, I usually buy commercial grade stuff with PTFE / PFOA -based coatings (Ceramiguard II, usually), on the idea that stuff that's built to handle commercial abuse is probably thick enough and well enough made that it's unlikely to be unsafe to the end-user. However, these pans still won't last as long as standard pans, and may be unsafe to the folks who make them, so it's something I try to avoid.

Unfortunately, some people are not that interested in learning how to use a "regular" pan, don't like the extra cleanup that is sometimes involved, and / or want to minimize added fats. If you can convince them to watch the Rouxbe pan-frying video, they may find it helpful:

http://rouxbe.com/cooking-school/lessons/170-pan-frying

I knew most of the stuff covered in this video, and still found it helpful (despite the freaky voice of the narrator).


Edited by Will (log)

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I have two frying pans made by Henckels. The label says they are Thermolon Granite, PTFE-FREE. On the side is says Thermolon ceramic non-stick coating, PTFE-Free, PFOA-free, heat-proof up to 450 celcius, 850 fahrenhite, highly scratch resistant, easy clean, excellent non-stick properties. It goes on to say "Smooth Satin Finish surface, with 3-ply SIGMA Clad material (whatever that is).

I got them because they work on my induction range and there are some things I like to use non-stick pans for. I haven't had them long so I don't know how they will hold up but so far I really like them. They get washed by hand.

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After reading and researching about the deleterious effects of plastic, and getting tired of replacing my non-stick skillets (even though I get years of use from them, and the ones I buy are not expensive, the idea of tossing old skillets into the landfill is bothersome), I've decided to stop using these plastic-lined pans.  I replaced my 10-inch Calphalon Contemporary non-stick skillet (which I like very much) with a 10-inch All-Clad.

 

The first thing I noticed is that I had to relearn how to use a non non-stick skillet, learning the best heat and amount of oil to use.  It took a few tries to dial in the new skillet, but now I've pretty much got it, and have figured out how to use a minimum amount of oil.  In fact, in many situations, I use as little (or even less) oil than with my non-stick.  Even eggs slide right out of the pan with the use of a minimal amount of fat.

 

The stainless skillet cleans up easily, although I sometimes need to let the skillet soak a while to make cleanup a little easier, however that's not an issue for me, yet I know that for some people it can be.  

 

Anyone else giving up Teflon, or perhaps never used it in the first place?  Just curious ...

 

And while the subject of this post suggests that I've totally given up using non-stick skillets, I still have the 10-inch and 12-inch Calphalon pans, and may at some point find a use for them.


Edited by Shel_B (log)

 ... Shel


 

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I still keep one around for the odd chore - the cheap $10 one(s)

 

vintage cast iron is I'd say about 95% as effective as Teflon.  I haven't had good experiences with the "new" stuff - it is not finished smooth on the inside like the old stuff.  flea markets are your friend here....

 

some say the rough / smooth finish doesn't matter.  you will encounter rabid opinions about that.

 

between CI and copper+stainless, I really don't have much trouble.

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I do 99% of my cooking in an 8-year old wok - decidedly not sold as non-stick. It is ferro-selenium and years of use and careful seasoning have rendered it non-stick.

 

But, I also have what you call a skillet. Some things (few) you can't do in a wok. Proper omelettes, pancakes etc which require a flat surface. I also use the skillet to fry the occasional couple of rashers of bacon for breakfast. 

 

It is cast iron, but has also developed 'non-stick" qualities over the years.

 

No one needs Teflon etc. Except the stockholders.

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I like "Swiss Diamond", primarily for eggs and fish and for guests to use.. Non-stick is all they make.  Bulletproof.   No plans to replace them.  I also have one of their saucepans that comes out for cheese type sauces. 

 

My go-to pans are well seasoned de Buyer.  Heavy duty are Viking stainless.  Have a couple of old CI for (very) occasional country breakfast and when I want to use a skillet on the grill..

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what's the latest thinking on 'ceramic' pans?


“Do you not find that bacon, sausage, egg, chips, black pudding, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, fried bread and a cup of tea; is a meal in itself really?” Hovis Presley.

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Cobalt-Titanium non-stick pans still wear out despite the "25 year" guarantee but I am happy with mine.

 

I am a vintage CI fan for eggs and for searing meats.


Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

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