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dennis77

The All All-Clad Cookware Topic

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I need some new fry pans; maybe a 12 inch stainless and some non-sticks. What I'm wondering is whether its worth it to buy expensive All Clad or buy cheaper ones at a resto supply store. I've never been to a supply shop so I don't know what to expect there. What do the experts think?

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The general consensus seems to prefer a straight gauge fry pan as opposed to a disk bottomed one. If it were me I would buy a factory irregular from cookware n more for much less than a first.

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Your first step should probably be to read the eGCI course Understanding Stovetop Cookware. It will explain the difference between straight-gauge, clad and disk-bottomed pots and pans, as well as illuminate the properties of the various material used.

What most restaurant supply stores carry is aluminum, aluminum, a little blue steel, aluminum with non-stick coating, and aluminum. Occasionally, they'll carry some Sitram and less occasionally one of the high-end copper lines. But when it comes to quality and variety, home consumers have much better choices than 95% of restaurants.


Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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I read the eGCI course, and it was pretty informative. It seems like I have to carefully think about what I need the pans for and then decide what kind will best suit that task.

The course also said that aluminum is very reactive to acids. So how do restaurants cooks anything with lemon juice or vinegar?

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I have several stainless steel all-clads as my first pieces. They're pretty good, but over time, I found that the thicker anodized aluminum was better at heat distribution. So for non-stick, i go to the restaurant supply stores and always look for the thickest anodized aluminum I can find for a fair price. Emeril's non-stick used to be great. It was made by all-clad and used anodized aluminum all the way around.

But I would never by an anodized aluminum pan if it didn't have a non-stick or stainless interior surface. The material is just too hard to clean.

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I've been reading the course too and it's very informative, but overwhelming. I understand the goal of trying to get everyone to figure out things for themselves but it seems to me that there is a "right" answer for various tasks that people might want to accomplish. Using the example the author gave, if someone was looking for a saute pan, he/she should get aluminum disk bottom with the thickest base he/she can afford. Why not just say that?

Is there a chart out there that basically summarizes this information in an easy to read fashion? I realize someone might have lots of money to blow and may get a sautee pan that heats up to the sides, but cmon, 99% of us won't.

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I need some new fry pans; maybe a 12 inch stainless and some non-sticks.  What I'm wondering is whether its worth it to buy expensive All Clad  or buy cheaper ones at a resto supply store.  I've never been to a supply shop so I don't know what to expect there.  What do the experts think?

for frying pans, i prefer cheap, solid cast iron (if i can't have heavy copper). a cast iron frying pan's frying capability is splendid, once you get it good and hot (only copper is better imo), and the pan just gets better and better with time. save your big spending for the sautee pan or the french oven.

frying with cast iron may seem a little difficult at start (cleaning it can be troublesome, too), as cast iron is not very conductive compared to aluminium or copper. the trick is to heat it slowly. once you've got it going, nothing really beats it at "caramelization". and slowly it will build up this almost non-stick layer which is the pride of any cast iron cook :raz:, given that you only clean it with hot water (of course, of course).

and if you think cast iron is cheap in the stores, wait till you see the price tags at flea markets, thrift shops, garage sales etc.


Edited by oraklet (log)

christianh@geol.ku.dk. just in case.

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I've been reading the course too and it's very informative, but overwhelming. I understand the goal of trying to get everyone to figure out things for themselves but it seems to me that there is a "right" answer for various tasks that people might want to accomplish. Using the example the author gave, if someone was looking for a saute pan, he/she should get aluminum disk bottom with the thickest base he/she can afford. Why not just say that?

Is there a chart out there that basically summarizes this information in an easy to read fashion? I realize someone might  have lots of money to blow and may get a sautee pan that heats up to the sides, but cmon, 99% of us won't.

I priced the disk bottomed saute pans mentioned in the article and All-Clad MC2 irregulars from Cookware N More, and the ones from Cookware N More were cheaper. The Sitram Profiserie is no longer carried by Bridge Kitchenware, they had problems keeping it in stock.

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for frying pans, i prefer cheap, solid cast iron (if i can't have heavy copper). a cast iron frying pan's frying capability is splendid, once you get it good and hot (only copper is better imo)

I consider cast iron pans to be pretty specialized. They have high heat capacity and low conductivity, so they respond very, very slowly to changes in heat. This makes them great for some things (browning, blackening), and borderline useless for other things (any time you need control). The surface is also great for some things, borderline useless for others. Copper is indeed great, but completely different. It's the responsiveness champion of cookware materials. It makes sense to have both, but not to substitute iron for copper (or vice versa).

Restaurant pans come at diffferent price points. The low end are typically unfinished heavy aluminum (lincoln, volrath, generic). They work well and have a good blend of heat capacity and responsiveness, but the aluminum surface isn't the best. It's actually probematic with more acidic ingredients.

The midrange and higher end pans are typically stainless with an aluminum disk bottom (Sitram, etc.). They work well also, and have an ideal cooking surface. They tend to have a seriously heavy bottom, which emphasizes heat capacity over responsiveness. This is good for some things but less so for others. In many cases the disk doesn't go all the way to the edge of the pan; if you're not careful with the position over the flame, you can burn food around the edges. These pans seem to cost about the same as Allclad. The AC pans are thinner; they emphasize responsiveness over heat capacity. Personally, I like this more responsive design for things like a 10" fry pan. The disk-bottom pans might be better for a large sauté pan or a stockpot.

There are also some higher end restaurant pans (Bourgeat, Demmiere, etc.). These have a range of constructions and cooking qualities, and all cost considerably more than AC.


Notes from the underbelly

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Thanks for the replies. Im thinking about buying some all-clad mc2 from cooknmore. They have really good prices, and I think aluminum with ss interior is the best pan for me.

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I've been reading the course too and it's very informative, but overwhelming. I understand the goal of trying to get everyone to figure out things for themselves but it seems to me that there is a "right" answer for various tasks that people might want to accomplish. Using the example the author gave, if someone was looking for a saute pan, he/she should get aluminum disk bottom with the thickest base he/she can afford. Why not just say that?

Is there a chart out there that basically summarizes this information in an easy to read fashion? I realize someone might  have lots of money to blow and may get a sautee pan that heats up to the sides, but cmon, 99% of us won't.

The reason the class can't be summarized in a chart is that different people cook in different ways, have different needs and different budgets. Just to make an example, if one really is using a saute pan just for true sauteing, why not get a heavy gauge carbon steel saute pan? Other people may not use the pan for true sauteing, but want to use a low wide pan for cooking things involving thick liquids. In this case, high heat capacity isn't needed but straight gauge design would help to prevent scorching at the sides. Someone who wants to be able to do true sauteing but also wants to be able to make quick sauces and finish pasta in the saute pan would do well with a thick disk-bottom design. Depending on the division of uses and the nature of the sauces, it may be worth the extra money to get a disk bottom that goes all the way to the sides. Someone else may have different needs and practices.

The whole point of the class is to get you to think about what your needs really are. How do you cook? What is your budget? How important and how meaningful to you are the properties that come along with the different designs in the context of the things you cook, the way you like to cook, your stove, etc? Do you even need a saute pan? You'd be surprized how many people set their minds on a certain kind of pan for which they actually have no practical use (or suppose that they will suddenly start using a saute pan once they buy one). Once you think about these things, it shouldn't be rocket science to figure out what design would work best for you. After that, it's purely a matter ot budget.

Of course, you could always be like me and have a stainless-lined heavy copper sauteuse, a heavy stainless body/aluminum disk bottom saute pan, and a heavy gauge carbon steel curved saute pan. Because... you know... I really need all of them. :wink:


Edited by slkinsey (log)

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The general consensus seems to prefer a straight gauge fry pan as opposed to a disk bottomed one. If it were me I would buy a factory irregular from cookware n more for much less than a first.

Hi,

Can you explain the benefits of a straight gauge fry pan over a disc one? If you're frying, the heat will be at the bottom, touching the food (ie fish). Why would you care if the sides have even heat as well?

I know what you are saying is right since it's backed by the "Understanding Stovetop Cookware" article, but I cannot figure out why.

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I've been reading the course too and it's very informative, but overwhelming. I understand the goal of trying to get everyone to figure out things for themselves but it seems to me that there is a "right" answer for various tasks that people might want to accomplish. Using the example the author gave, if someone was looking for a saute pan, he/she should get aluminum disk bottom with the thickest base he/she can afford. Why not just say that?

Is there a chart out there that basically summarizes this information in an easy to read fashion? I realize someone might  have lots of money to blow and may get a sautee pan that heats up to the sides, but cmon, 99% of us won't.

I priced the disk bottomed saute pans mentioned in the article and All-Clad MC2 irregulars from Cookware N More, and the ones from Cookware N More were cheaper. The Sitram Profiserie is no longer carried by Bridge Kitchenware, they had problems keeping it in stock.

Isn't the All-Clad MC2 line all straight gauge?

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Can you explain the benefits of a straight gauge fry pan over a disc one? If you're frying, the heat will be at the bottom, touching the food (ie fish). Why would you care if the sides have even heat as well?

You are correct, so long as the food being cooked is in the center of the pan and 100% over the disk.

Straight gauge is usually more convenient because you would like to take advantage of as much of the pan's surface area as possible. Since the sides of a frypan should be quite low and widely angled, you would like for the thermal material to cover every inch of the cooking surface. You don't want a situation where most of your chicken cutlet next to the side of the pan (or perhaps touching the side of the pan) is over thermal material but part of it is over "raw" stainless. In addition, since true frying involves letting the food sit without moving it around all that much, any uneven coverage of thermal material would be magnified. Finally, it's my experience that disk-bottom frypans don't have sides that are as low and angled as I would like. This may have something to do with limitations imposed by that design.


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For some, it might be a no brainer.

I was presented a All-Clad LTD 3qt. saute pan deal couple days ago and I am having a hard time deciding.

It's a All-Clad LTD 3qt. saute pan with minor irregularity (whatever that means, because I can't tell any difference). It measures 11" wide and 3" deep. Interestingly, it can almost fit about 3.5qt. of liquid. The aluminum layer is measured about 4MM thick.

Anyway, the price is under $100. I am attempted but not decided. I would like to have a 5qt. but there is currently no such deal, and even there is a deal in the future, I won't know how pricy it will be.

So, I was looking at my two racks of cookware in the basement, and asking myself, do I really need this saute pan? If in the future I find another deal on a 5qt. pieice, will I regret on this 3qt. pan?

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What is the diameter of the pan?

As far as I can tell, All-Clad doesn't make a 5 quart saute pan. They make them in 2, 3, 4 and 6 quart sizes.

It's unfortunate that All-Clad lists the size of its saute pans by quarts, because this is not the information we normally would like to have. What we would like to know is the size of the cooking surface, which is typically given with the diameter measurement.

Strangely, All-Clad doesn't offer as much variability in diameters as one might expect. The 2 quart pan appears to have an 8 inch diameter, which size I have found to be fairly useless. The 3 quart pan is listed with a 10.5 inch diameter and 2.5 inch sides. The 4 quart pan also has a 10.5 inch diameterbut has 3.25 inch sides, which seems tall to me. The next size up, the 6 quart pan, has a 12.875 inch diameter and 2.75 inch sides. In my opinion, it is probably too large in diameter for the typical home stove.


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I think the size is 10.5 inch diameter and 2.5 inch sides as you described. I do like the 10.5 inch cooking surface, and with a 2.5 inch sides, it can easily be used as a braiser.

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I have the 3 qt saute pan (it came as part of a set) & I don't use it that much. I like to cook 4-6 servings in a saute pan, & the 3-qt pan is a tad small for me. I feel uncomfortable tossing the food in that size pan, & prefer the 4 qt saute pan for its higher sides. I found the 4-qt pan at Williams-Sonoma summer sale a couple years ago ($90). Their annual sale is coming up in mid-June, so keep your eyes open. I've found the 4-qt size to be a great utility pan.

However, All-Clad pans rarely go on sale anywhere (at least for the most popular sizes, for a significant discount) & the saute pans are very expensive when purchased separately.


Edited by djyee100 (log)

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For some, it might be a no brainer.

I was presented a All-Clad LTD 3qt. saute pan deal couple days ago and I am having a hard time deciding.

It's a All-Clad LTD 3qt. saute pan with minor irregularity (whatever that means, because I can't tell any difference). It measures 11" wide and 3" deep. Interestingly, it can almost fit about 3.5qt. of liquid. The aluminum layer is measured about 4MM thick.

Anyway, the price is under $100.

HI,

That pan lists for $245 with a lid with irregulars normally costing $166 at Cookwarenmore.com

Tim

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Have you thought about going to a store like WS, where they have the pans, and giving them a once over, and perhaps a hoist with the wrist to see just what you want? I'm a strong believer in buying cookware/knives after looking, feeling and handling.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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In the panthenon of All-Clad lines, where does the LTD fall?

For some, it might be a no brainer.

I was presented a All-Clad LTD 3qt. saute pan deal couple days ago and I am having a hard time deciding.

It's a All-Clad LTD 3qt. saute pan with minor irregularity (whatever that means, because I can't tell any difference). It measures 11" wide and 3" deep. Interestingly, it can almost fit about 3.5qt. of liquid. The aluminum layer is measured about 4MM thick.

Anyway, the price is under $100. I am attempted but not decided. I would like to have a 5qt. but there is currently no such deal, and even there is a deal in the future, I won't know how pricy it will be.

So, I was looking at my two racks of cookware in the basement, and asking myself, do I really need this saute pan? If in the future I find another deal on a 5qt. pieice, will I regret on this 3qt. pan?

Buy it, and if you decide you don't want it, you could always sell it to somebody here on egullet for the same price. PM me if you decide to sell it.

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For $110, you can get a Sitram Profiserie saute pan and lid. It's 11 inches in diameter, holds 4.9 quarts, and has a 6 mm aluminum layer. (And the handle won't abuse your palms.)

I also like the Sitram Profiserie line. Prices for them vary during the month on Amazon, or at least they have in the past, so you if anyone is interested, you can put it in your buy list and wait for price updates.

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For some, it might be a no brainer.

I was presented a All-Clad LTD 3qt. saute pan deal couple days ago and I am having a hard time deciding.

It's a All-Clad LTD 3qt. saute pan with minor irregularity (whatever that means, because I can't tell any difference). It measures 11" wide and 3" deep. Interestingly, it can almost fit about 3.5qt. of liquid. The aluminum layer is measured about 4MM thick.

Anyway, the price is under $100.

HI,

That pan lists for $245 with a lid with irregulars normally costing $166 at Cookwarenmore.com

Tim

That's the dilemma, the price is too good to pass on. But it's still $$, considing the rising gas price...

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