Stainless steel conundrum.

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Stainless steel conundrum.

Postby Gruney » March 31st, 2018, 7:23 am

I've had a relatively inexpensive disc bottomed stainless steel frying pan for quite some time. I know how to use it, eg. for searing meat - heat the dry pan until the "mercury ball" effect is reached, before adding oil. It works well.

I have come by a le creuset shallow casserole - stainless, with an aluminium middle layer. The care instructions - which cover non -stick as well as uncoated, clearly state never to heat an empty pan. This will severely restrict the pan's usefulness in terms of searing. Am I missing something?
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Re: Stainless steel conundrum.

Postby scullion » March 31st, 2018, 9:43 am

are they giving the same instructions that they dish out for the enamelled cast iron ware? - when that is quite important. i can only think it may have something to do with the different expansion rates of the steel and aluminium but i wouldn't imagine that that would be a good reason.
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Re: Stainless steel conundrum.

Postby Gruney » March 31st, 2018, 10:07 am

The instructions are for their 3-ply stainless range - both non -stick and uncoated, Scully.

Before the warning never to heat an empty pan, the cooking instructions are as follows:-

Before using an uncoated pan for the first time, or when it has been cleaned in a dishwasher, prepare the pan as follows:

Add some vegetable or corn oil so the base is covered
Heat the oil gently and turn the pan to coat the inner side walls
Remove the pan from the heat, let it cool and clean with kitchen paper
Add some further oil and begin cooking as normal.Turn the food only when the surface has sealed and it is easily released.
Reduce the temperature after sealing.

Every scrap of information I've gleaned from the internet says that protein foods will stick badly if the dry pan is not heated to "mercury ball" temperature, and then oil added.

The instructions also go on to say only low to medium heat is needed for frying and searing.

Obviously I don't want to ruin an expensive pan straight off, and had I not had previous experience of stainless frying pans, I would have followed the instructions without demur. Am I being particularly thick here?
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Re: Stainless steel conundrum.

Postby Ratatouille » March 31st, 2018, 12:30 pm

The instructions for my newish enamelled cast iron pan were exactly the same. Like you not wanting to ruin a new pan I have stuck to them and if I want to siexe meat quickly I do it in afrying pan. The interiot enamell has stayed beautiful and never ever sticks. I still can't lift it when full though :rolleyes:
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Re: Stainless steel conundrum.

Postby StokeySue » March 31st, 2018, 12:39 pm

I agree that sounds like rubbish
The point of stainless steel is surely that it does not a acquire any kind of a patina, and the point of "seasoning" is to establish a patina that functions as a non-stick layer :rolleyes:

I have a couple of tri-ply pans, but not one I use for frying or searing. And I wash them in a dishwasher; in fact I'm dead chuffed that my new dishwasher removed a layer of caked on milk from my tri-ply milk pan, restoring the mirror finish, to which very little (other than overheated milk) will stick

I think I would use them as you normally do, but I'm not a metallurgist!

Incidentally, I moaned that my ceramic lined Greenpans were not in the least non-stick, I had an :idea: and cleaned them with a squirt of Ecover Hob & Oven cleaner (aka Power Cleaner) - this removed a couple of unsightly marks and seems to have restored the finish, so I suspect the issue was protein based, In futire I'll put a very fine coating of oil on them, as you would for iron, as recommended by some home economists. Soaking just the inside with a bit of dishwasher detergent or enzyme powered stain remover would probably do the trick too (it's the outside that doesn't like the dishwasher).
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Re: Stainless steel conundrum.

Postby Gruney » March 31st, 2018, 12:43 pm

Thanks all. I think I'll proceed with caution - I'm torn between having an expensive piece of equipment that I can't fully use - and ruining it.

Thanks again.
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Re: Stainless steel conundrum.

Postby Suelle » March 31st, 2018, 1:34 pm

I don't wish to hijack the thread, but when I recently bought a ceramic GreenPan, I was advised not to use olive oil in it when frying. The care instructions warn against using EVOO. So far it's stayed non-stick, but it's not had a lot of use yet.
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Re: Stainless steel conundrum.

Postby StokeySue » March 31st, 2018, 2:12 pm

Didn't notice any reference to EVOO in the destructions, but I do tend to use olive oil, though when I just film it over I use sunflower, as I have a spray full
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Re: Stainless steel conundrum.

Postby Suelle » March 31st, 2018, 2:25 pm

StokeySue wrote:Didn't notice any reference to EVOO in the destructions, but I do tend to use olive oil, though when I just film it over I use sunflower, as I have a spray full


Maybe it's something new, after complaints about early pans. The shop assistants were both most careful to warn me - one when I was looking and one when I went back to buy.
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Re: Stainless steel conundrum.

Postby StokeySue » March 31st, 2018, 2:32 pm

Ah-Ha! Will be extra careful about filming then, thanks
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Re: Stainless steel conundrum.

Postby scullion » March 31st, 2018, 5:24 pm

it wouldn't be because olive oil - especially evoo - has a very low smoking point, would it? and the production of aldehydes - rather than anything to do with the function of the pan?
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Re: Stainless steel conundrum.

Postby PatsyMFagan » March 31st, 2018, 8:47 pm

I was watching 'Food Unwrapped' last night and one of the segments was about using various oils for frying (mainly to see how Coconut oil compared to veg oil and olive oil) ... The scientist chap tested the 3 oils after they had been used for formation of Aldehydes and both veg and OO had lots more than coconut oil. This apparently because of monosaturates in the coconut oil, however he did say you should never use unrefined oils as they had a much lower smoking point...
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Re: Stainless steel conundrum.

Postby Badger's mate » April 2nd, 2018, 8:47 am

Aldehydes form by oxidation of unsaturated fatty acids, when heating oils in air. OO is about 75% unsaturates, Coconut oil 90% saturates. OO thus more prone to aldehyde generation.


I once left an empty laminated based pan on a hot hob in error . I went off and wrote a letter. Upon returning to the kitchen I found the base disc had separated, the pan was at a slight angle and the middle layer had partially melted out. Goodness knows how hot it got - aluminium melts at over 600C, maybe it was an alloy of something, but a very lucky escape.
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Re: Stainless steel conundrum.

Postby StokeySue » April 2nd, 2018, 8:57 am

My mum left her first sandwich based s/s mikk oan on the hob. No melting, but is opened up like a sardine can
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Re: Stainless steel conundrum.

Postby Gruney » April 2nd, 2018, 9:26 am

Thanks for that, Sue - that's exactly the sort of thing I was wondering.
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Re: Stainless steel conundrum.

Postby StokeySue » April 2nd, 2018, 9:49 am

Gruney wrote:Thanks for that, Sue - that's exactly the sort of thing I was wondering.

Yes, but that's the one with the chunky sandwich disc on the bottom - I'd expect tri-ply to be made of sterner stuff
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Re: Stainless steel conundrum.

Postby Gruney » April 2nd, 2018, 6:51 pm

Ah yes, Sue - thanks as always.
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