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Can't use cast iron, Won't use non stick, options for omelettes?

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mmdad Sep 25, 2009 01:41 AM

Hi all, I have quite enjoyed reading so I figured I would join.

I have thallasemia minor which is not really a huge deal but I am not allowed iron supplements or use of cast iron. Giant bummer as I so want some le creuset. I know enameled but I just can't find any resource that can confirm if this contains the iron. I don't want to risk it.

I have gone through quite a bit of the new green style non stick. They seem to last for me only a few uses before sticking just as much as SS.

I like fritattas and I like omelettes and eggs in general.

I have had pretty good success with my 8 inch all clad and lots of butter and low heat. But its difficult and I am probably at a 50% success rate with practice. I guess I could just keep at it.
It also is slow. Too much heat and instant stick.

Non stick I just won't use. I like to be as close to organic and chemical free as possible and I just don't want teflon.

I also don't want anything straight aluminum.

I tend to prefer traditional old fashioned technology. And surely there were omelettes made prior to teflon.

Are there any options left for me?

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  1. Soop RE: mmdad Sep 25, 2009 02:30 AM

    Before teflon, it was cast iron :/
    Myself, I use an analon pro for omelettes, It's super non-stick, I don't even use oil/butter.
    However it's aluminium, and could be some kind of teflon.

    I'd say the best idea would be a small LC omelette pan. The enamel is several layers thick, and contains no iron. As long as you take care of it, it will last forever.

    *edit* Hah, unrelated, but I thought of a riddle: Who is the cheapest Chowhounder?
    Politeness - he costs nothing :)

    1. Politeness RE: mmdad Sep 25, 2009 02:36 AM

      mmdad, As Soop notes, in enameled cast iron, no iron touches the food. However, if you want to proceed with an abundance of caution, the Chantal Copper Fusion line is enameled carbon steel -- still iron based, but (as your All Clad stainless does not seem to be a problem), maybe less reactive should the enamel get a scratch. Great price (but out of stock) here: http://www.ikitchen.com/chcofu8infry....

      4 Replies
      1. re: Politeness
        Paulustrious RE: Politeness Sep 26, 2009 01:28 PM

        I thought carbon steel was more reactive than cast iron - but I'm no chemist. However, you made me think. I was surprised to learn that you could leach much iron from a season cast iron pan. The seasoning IS the 'teflon' coating. But let us err on the side of caution.

        I would advise anodised aluminium. This is not a coating of another material - just oxides of aluminium which is far tougher than the normal oxides that form on 'natural' aluminium. It is far tougher than most (all?) the coatings based on organic chemistry. The alzheimers scare was primarily a confusion between cause and effect. Alzheimers causes deposition of aluminium in the brain. You can't get away from Al. It is the (one of??) most common metals in the Earth's crust.

        1. re: Paulustrious
          Chemicalkinetics RE: Paulustrious Sep 26, 2009 02:18 PM

          Paul,

          My impression is that cast iron leaches more dietary iron than carbon steel, but I can check later. Seasoned cast iron cookware still leaches iron. Slower, but definitely here. I read a scientific article on that. If I find it, I will post it here.

          I think anodized aluminum is a great choice, but I think mmdad is trying to avoid that as well.

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
            Paulustrious RE: Chemicalkinetics Sep 26, 2009 02:48 PM

            And I do keep on forgetting about the acids and oxidising agents available when we are cooking. My SO has also made the choice to avoid aluminium for cooking - and I have gone along with it, except for the little omelette pan. I am left with a basement cabinet full of circulon, calphalon and analon pots that I do not use. It also allowed me to indulge in some copperware. Unfortunately it's almost too heavy for her to lift.

            I was thinking of an experiment. I wonder if you could place a silpatty thing in a stainless pan and cook inside the silicon? It's not a good conductor, but it should eventually produce a fried egg or omellete.

          2. re: Paulustrious
            b
            bchick RE: Paulustrious Jan 2, 2010 08:37 PM

            From what I understand, cast iron does leech enough iron to be considered "supplemental" iron, which is why it is recommend to people who are anemic. A friend of mine with monthly iron loss issues found she felt better if she had beef (a fairly iron rich food anyway) cooked in cast iron around that time each month.

        2. Chemicalkinetics RE: mmdad Sep 25, 2009 05:15 AM

          mmdad,

          Yes, there were omelette made before telfon, but almost all traditional cookware were made of iron based material. Stainless steel, carbon steel, cast iron cookware ... all have iron in them, through stainless steel is more stable and leaks much less iron than cast iron. Of course, you can always use pure copper cookware, but copper is very expensive and copper is toxic. It is not as toxic as lead or mercury, but it is definitely more toxic than aluminum or iron. So I won't go copper. One option is to consider plain anodized aluminum, not Teflon coating anodized aluminum. Basically, the cookware surface of an plain anodized aluminum cookware has been oxidized, and this anodized surface is very hard and stable and will not react with your food.
          I do agree enamel cast iron is an option. Enameled coating is usually two layer thick or more and iron cannot leach out. The concern of enameled cookware is to make sure the enameled coasting contain no lead or very little. Most colorful enameled coatings have lead in them. It is to make it pretty. The cooking surface enamel is usually white and usually does not require lead. In addition, enamel cast iron cookware heat up slow and cannot heat up to a very high temperature or the enamel coating will crack. So, it is meant for slow and low cooking, not so much for omelette. You can also consider clay based cookware, the oldest fashion cookware, but it also heat up slow and really meant for stew or soap. I don't think it will work well for omelette.

          http://i.ehow.com/images/GlobalPhoto/...

          I think I just went through human history from stone age (clay) to copper age (copper) to iron age (cast iron, steel) to modern age (aluminum).

          All I can really say is to avoid the real hazard first and then worry about theorized stuffs. In your case, avoid what you think is definitely worst, like cast iron and worry less about aluminum. If I am you, I would go for a hard anodized aluminum pan or an enamel cast iron pan.

          1. b
            bogie RE: mmdad Sep 25, 2009 05:54 AM

            There is a new line of cookware from Cuisinart called Green Gourmet that I'm seriously considering, you may want to check it out. It is made of ceramic-coated non-stick material that they call "Ceramica".

            1 Reply
            1. re: bogie
              v
              Val RE: bogie Sep 25, 2009 09:43 AM

              I think OP mentioned they'd tried the green pans. I bought one at Marshall's about 2 months ago and I really love it ... there is no brand at all on it...so I've had success with it but I do know that others have not. Mine is still non-stick!

            2. alanbarnes RE: mmdad Sep 25, 2009 09:14 AM

              The classic old-school approach is to use a carbon steel omlette pan. It's reactive, but not as porous as cast iron, so it shouldn't add much if any nutritional iron unless you cook acidic stuff in it.

              As others have noted, enameled carbon steel (or cast iron) shouldn't be a problem unless you chip or gouge the enamel.

              When trying to avoid Teflon, note that some cookware hyped as "Teflon-free" is PTFE-based. Same stuff, just not made by DuPont.

              1 Reply
              1. re: alanbarnes
                Chemicalkinetics RE: alanbarnes Sep 25, 2009 09:47 AM

                I like to reiterate Alanbarnes points. A lot of the soi called Telfo-free pan are not really that different. They are not exactly the same Telfon made by DuPont, but essentially the same thing. Let take the Swiss Diamond pans for example, it states it uses diamond crystals and it will last you a lifetime because of diamond, but really, it is telfon.

                http://www.naturalnews.com/021059.html

                I have no problem with Teflon as a health harzard. I don't. I just think it is very confusing for consumers. If you read the fine prints or think a little deeper, then you will realize a lot of the adverstizing statements make no sense and are false. It just comes down to common sense, sometime.

              2. Uncle Bob RE: mmdad Sep 25, 2009 11:44 AM

                Nothing fancy....just functional! ---- These pans cook!!!!!!

                Love the 7 in. for eggs......Can be bought in many places.....

                http://www.restaurantsource.com/wear-...

                4 Replies
                1. re: Uncle Bob
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                  ferret RE: Uncle Bob Sep 25, 2009 11:50 AM

                  Except he doesn't want aluminum.

                  1. re: ferret
                    Uncle Bob RE: ferret Sep 25, 2009 12:53 PM

                    Sounds/Looks like he has a decison to make.....and your suggestion to the OP is?????

                    1. re: Uncle Bob
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                      ferret RE: Uncle Bob Sep 25, 2009 02:33 PM

                      MY suggestion is to get a decent quality non-stick pan. My current favorite was purchased as part of a six-egg poacher set at a gourmet shop in an outlet mall. It has a large fitted aluminum ring which holds 6 non-stick egg cups. It also came with a vented glass lid. No brand name to speak of but the non-stick surface still looks new after over 3 years of near-daily use. My only regret is that I can't find another.

                      1. re: ferret
                        alanbarnes RE: ferret Sep 25, 2009 02:51 PM

                        Seriously, there's nothing quite like a good non-stick pan. I got a few Lincoln Wear-Evers (just like the one Uncle Bob linked to above, but with Teflon) from the restaurant supply house years ago. They rock.

                2. m
                  monocle RE: mmdad Sep 25, 2009 02:52 PM

                  Your best bet is likely going to be a decent but cheap teflon/PTFE coated pan;

                  carbon steel will probably have the same iron leeching problems for you as cast iron.

                  porcelain-enamled cast iron isnt really non-stick.

                  clad stainless is definitely not non-stick.

                  If you still really want to avoid teflan pans, you *might* want to try lining a stainless steel skillet with parchment paper and baking a fritata in it at low or medium temperature (probably 300-325). That would take the low-heat control issues out of the way and give you something omlettey

                  1. jayt90 RE: mmdad Sep 25, 2009 06:48 PM

                    Have you tried coating your AllClad with Pam before butter? That is really stick-proof.

                    17 Replies
                    1. re: jayt90
                      m
                      mmdad RE: jayt90 Sep 25, 2009 08:25 PM

                      Thanks everyone for the responses.

                      I did try the green gourmet by cuisinart. It was amazing, and the anondized aluminum and build quality was top notch. However 2 weeks later eggs were sticking. I don't use any metal and I am meticulous about how I clean so its not me.

                      I won't use teflon. I do believe there is a health hazard and we will all hear about it later on in life like when we are 90 and its too late. I have used it for years and I just got sick of it. It eventually peels off and you see bits of it in your food, I just don't think its edible.

                      Cast Iron would be amazing. In fact I owned several until I found out that I shouldn't have any iron in my diet. Doctors only reccommend against cast iron, I am sure iron is released in other materials like SS but cast iron seems to be the problem. Sucks.

                      Aluminum is cool with me in some ways, but from what I hear it contributes to alzheimers. It may sound like paranoia but I started cooking to get away from restaurants and so I could be in control of my diet. Its now my hobby and I want to be as health conscious as possible. My grandmother has alzheimers so I would prefer to not add to a possible genetic disposition.

                      That leaves me with mainly SS. Which I love and I have a great set of allclad. Its just I love making french omelettes. I love scrambled eggs.

                      I can get my 8 inch allclad to work just fine, it just seems that some days it fails no matter my technique.

                      Some kind of enameled pan may be ideal. I have yet to see evidence that enameled cast iron will keep the iron from entering the food. If its true I will run out to WS and buy a nice le creuset skillet. I also have heard that enameled cast iron is only one notch better than SS in the non stick department so is it really going to benefit me? I also refuse to buy anything enameled that is made in china as the cases of lead in the enamel from chinese made cookware seems to just keep going up. I have a problem with that.

                      Thanks for all the suggestions so far. Its been helpful.

                      1. re: mmdad
                        Chemicalkinetics RE: mmdad Sep 25, 2009 09:14 PM

                        mmdad,

                        Everything leach something. The reason is simple. Nothing is absolutely nonreactive. For example, the main concern of stainless steel is not iron leaching, but rather chromium and nickel. If you read this lab report, everything leach something:
                        http://www.debraslist.com/DLimages/ce...
                        Now a company named Xtrema is marketing ceramic cookware, something I told you earlier.
                        http://www.ceramcor.com/aboutXtrema.aspx
                        The problem is that whatever they use in the ceramic will leach out. You just have to pick something you are willing to consume. You will drive yourself insane if you are trying to avoid everything because you are trying to attain the impossible. You will constantly hear this leaches this and that leaches that.

                        You simply has to rank your priority: what you really cannot consume, and what you can. Good luck and let us know what you chose at the end.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                          m
                          mmdad RE: Chemicalkinetics Sep 25, 2009 09:41 PM

                          I agree with you.

                          My priority is iron first and foremost, I just can't have it in my diet. My body can't absorb iron therefore my kidneys will eventually break down.

                          I am ok with stainless. I am not ok with non stick chemicals.

                          I enjoy my set of all clad. Ideally a SS with an enamel type of non stick coating would be great. This is ideally what I would want but I am sure 99.9 percent of the population don't, therefore its not made. The ceramic is a nice idea. I am getting some emile henry for roasting and such as I can't do the cast iron dutch ovens.

                          I have no seen or heard much about a nonstick ceramic skillet. I would be interested in trying one. I just have not seen much yet. Thanks for the link.

                          1. re: mmdad
                            Chemicalkinetics RE: mmdad Sep 25, 2009 11:02 PM

                            mmdad,

                            Best wishes to you. Stainless is a great choice. It certainly leaches very little iron, which any thelassemia minor person should avoid. Anyway, I don't know much about thelassemia so I read up a bit. Yeah, I have not seen or heard of any enameled stainless steel. What about enameled steel? Something to think about. Like these:
                            http://www.amazon.com/Creuset-Enamel-...
                            or
                            http://www.amazon.com/Chantal-Enamel-...
                            It is probably lighter to work with than enamel cast iron, but I also heard the enamel on steel chipped easier. If it is really easy to chip, you can just buy a slighter cheaper set (not dirt cheap), so you can get a set every several years. I am not really suggesting you to get enamel steel cookware, just one more thing to consider.

                            By the way, I wasn't suggesting you to get ceramic cookware neither, just an option, just something to consider. Now, here is an anti-ceramic article. It is not that they oppose the ceramic or clay itself. It is the glaze.
                            http://www.associatedcontent.com/arti...

                            Again, best wishes and please feel free sharing your final decision, as we are all interested.

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                              m
                              mmdad RE: Chemicalkinetics Sep 25, 2009 11:30 PM

                              Thanks I will. Fortunately my version of Thallasemia is a mild form with some mild symptoms. The main treatment is folic acid and staying away from iron. Thats about all you can do. My family is italian so many of us have it.

                              Thanks for the links. I will keep everyone posted. For now I am going to keep practicing on my allclad.

                              1. re: mmdad
                                Politeness RE: mmdad Sep 26, 2009 08:50 AM

                                mmdad: "For now I am going to keep practicing on my allclad."

                                Positive reinforcement of that view: a couple of decades back, we swore off color film (that was before wide use of digital cameras) for a year, and seriously studied black-and-white technique, both shooting and printing. The experience was fun in and of itself, but when we went back to using color film, we found that our insight as to what we were doing had improved greatly; we still could be seduced by color alone, but we had more appreciation for form and shadow and composition. We were better photographers for the experience. The same applies, we think, to cooking.

                                Like you, we have never had any use for nonstick pans; unlike you, it was not for fear of the toxicity of Teflon, but simply because we never seemed to be able to cook anything well in non-stick pans. So we learned how to cook in "stick" pans without the food sticking. That makes one pay attention to pan temperature, the order of adding ingredients, and to acquiring all sorts of other savvy that simply makes one a better cook. Are there some recipes that cannot be followed without encountering some sticking? Of course; and who cares? But -- with the proper amount of butter -- we regularly scramble eggs in a small Descoware enameled cast iron frypan, and they never stick.

                                As for aluminum, when we switched to induction ten years ago, we gave away our few aluminum pots. To the extent that that left gaps in our pan line-up, we replaced the pots with stainless ones. We never have missed the aluminum pots, not for a moment.

                                We do not own any Chantal, but Chantal seems to be very proud of the quality and -- especially -- the _nationality_ of its German enamel. Upthread, we suggested looking into Chantal Copper Fusion, which marries a copper layer to a carbon steel core, all covered with "German" enamel. It sounds as if it would perfectly fit the bill for what you are looking for.

                        2. re: mmdad
                          f
                          ferret RE: mmdad Sep 26, 2009 01:20 AM

                          "I won't use teflon. I do believe there is a health hazard and we will all hear about it later on in life like when we are 90 and its too late."

                          Now there's a tragedy, to make it all the way to 90 only to find out that your days are numbered.

                          1. re: ferret
                            m
                            mmdad RE: ferret Sep 26, 2009 01:34 AM

                            I agree with where your going ferret. I would be satisfied to make it to 90 and beyond. But I was more concerned with the fact that discovery always comes late and by then you fed your children and grandchildren for decades off the stuff. The stuff is not good imo.

                            1. re: mmdad
                              Chemicalkinetics RE: mmdad Sep 26, 2009 08:06 AM

                              mmdad,

                              This is the situation of Teflon as I know it, and you can check. There is nothing wrong with normal Teflon. If you eat a piece of Telfon, it will just go through you system and come out on the other end. It won't be absorbed. The question is not when Telfon is sitting alone, but when Telfon get really hot and start burning and become a fume. Fume from Telfon is known to kill birds.
                              http://theaviary.com/teflon.shtml
                              If you have abird, you really want to keep him/her away from a Telfon kitchen. I am serious. You are killing it. No human has been acutely killed by Telfon fume. But very few people are sensitive to Telfon fume and can develop flu-like symptoms, which is known as "Telfon flu." Keep in mind, people recover from that pretty fast.

                              So in theory, if you only use very low heat on a Telfon pan and have a great vendiation system, you probably shouldn't worry about too much. It cannot be worse than bug sprays. If you are trying to heat it up hot, then there may/may not be something.

                              Also just because birds die from Teflon fume, does not mean human cannot deal with it. Human can eat chocolate just fine, but dogs die from chocolate, so not all animals are alike.

                              1. re: mmdad
                                alanbarnes RE: mmdad Sep 26, 2009 08:23 AM

                                I completely respect your decision to avoid nonstick, but want to toss some info at you nevertheless. Whether it changes your specifications for cookware is totally up to you.

                                The notion that symptoms may start showing up at some point in the distant future confuses me. This isn't some new, untested technology; it's been in widespread use in the US for 50 years or so. If it was poisoning everybody who ate food cooked in nonstick pans, we'd know by now. Or at least have some pseudo-scientific scare created by poorly-conducted studies hyped by the media.

                                Presumably the reason there's no such information chasing around on the internet is that PTFE is one of the more inert compounds out there. It doesn't react with anything, so the molecular exchange between the cookware surface and the food being cooked is pretty much nil. And even if a flake of Teflon is ingested (BTW, a scratched pan should be replaced long before this happens), it passes through the digestive tract unchanged.

                                That's not to say that there are no risks involved with the stuff. The manufacturing process is a pretty nasty business, and must be is carefully monitored and regulated to make sure the workers are safe. And overheating Teflon can cause it to emit dangerous fumes. But we're talking **serious** overheating - as in, you have to get the pan hot enough that food or oil in it has burst into flames.

                                Again, each of us has to make his own decisions. But if you look at the facts that are available, you may decide that properly-used Teflon is safer for you than carbon steel, stainless, or (especially) cast iron.

                            2. re: mmdad
                              Uncle Bob RE: mmdad Sep 26, 2009 02:00 AM

                              Aluminum is cool with me in some ways, but from what I hear it contributes to Alzheimer

                              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                              I have heard this "Myth(?) before...Mostly I've found, and heard it's just not the case....I would be interested to see any factual/creditable/reliable evidence/findings that definitively/unquestionably links the use of aluminum cookware to Alzheimer Disease...

                              1. re: Uncle Bob
                                m
                                mmdad RE: Uncle Bob Sep 26, 2009 02:20 AM

                                Bob, just some quick finds
                                http://www.rense.com/general37/alum.htm
                                http://www.straightdope.com/columns/r...

                                my view is that the connection is still inconclusive and most likely anondized is fine especially if you don't store or use it for acidic foods and use wooden spoons. But, if there are choices then I would avoid aluminum. Thats just me.

                                1. re: mmdad
                                  Soop RE: mmdad Sep 26, 2009 03:16 AM

                                  cool, I was gonna say something like that. As long as you base your choices on the facts available, that's good.

                                  1. re: mmdad
                                    Uncle Bob RE: mmdad Sep 26, 2009 05:23 AM

                                    Thanks mmdad for the links... Even though neither seem very credible or trustworthy. Neither state any definitive link/connection or causal affects between Aluminum Cookware and Alzheimer Disease. They may as well be saying black pepper causes hemorrhoids, and is possibly linked to Colon Cancer! ~~~ I certainly respect your right to avoid All sources of aluminum, Whatever/wherever the source, in your daily life choices.

                                    Regards and best wishes.........

                                    http://alzheimers.org.uk/factsheet/406

                                    1. re: mmdad
                                      f
                                      ferret RE: mmdad Sep 26, 2009 06:19 AM

                                      Not trying to sway you in any way, but that Straight Dope column is from 1983. Many, many studies in the last 26 years have discredited those theories. As for Teflon, it's been in use for over 50 years and is being improved constantly. I fed both of my children from it as did my mother with me. Not saying I guarantee its safety, but the only credible studies to date show POTENTIAL risk with abuse, not normal use. It's always possible that in another 40 years someone will have devised a test that is more precise or identifies some-previously-unrecognized risk, but that's not how I make my decisions.

                                  2. re: mmdad
                                    m
                                    monocle RE: mmdad Sep 26, 2009 02:15 PM

                                    The aluminum cookware/alzheimers thing is based on fairly shaky science.

                                    Also, aluminum is the most common metal in the earth's crust so avoiding it entirely is quite impossible; You also absorb far more aluminum from eating antacid tablets and antipersperant than you do from cookware

                                    1. re: monocle
                                      m
                                      mmdad RE: monocle Sep 26, 2009 03:46 PM

                                      Thats why I won' take antacids, apple cider vinegar is better for gerd and reflux anyway. I also use natural deodorants and drink bottled water. Its true you can't avoid it, and its true the science is shaky. but I see no reason in taking the chance when there are alternatives. Not to mention I have not seen many aluminum pieces that I liked better than steel. But thats just my perspective.

                                2. s
                                  sueatmo RE: mmdad Sep 26, 2009 03:25 PM

                                  I just want to add that I've used non-stick pans for probably 35 years or so. If you use your pan, your only non-stick used only for egg dishes, at medium heat, and you hand wash it, you should have no issues with peeling, and other wear issues will be greatly minimized. If you use high heat and dishwash the pan it will loose slickness and it may scratch if you use metal utensils. However, modern non-stick does not peel the way you have described, in my experience.

                                  Also, aluminum as a cause of Alzheimer's has been debunked, or at least most scientists do not believe it. Alzheimer's is often found in people with uncontrolled high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, There is an inheritance factor with early-onset Alzheimer's. I have been hearing not to use aluminam foil to wrap food, or not to use aluminum pans to cook with for as long as I have been using non-stick pans. This myth deserves to die.

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: sueatmo
                                    m
                                    mmdad RE: sueatmo Sep 26, 2009 03:49 PM

                                    See my complaint about toxicity is one side of it. My other side is that I really don't enjoy the cheap teflon pans. I like to finish off a fritatta in the oven and 90% can't handle that. I believe there is some truth that if you keep it on low heat and hand wash it, etc. then it should be safe. But I don't also feel like worry about that. I love the idea of cast iron and seasoning. I love it but unfortunately I cannot have iron in my diet. I was I guess hoping there was a steel pan that you could see like cast iron. I have not seen one. Or something enamel that wasn't cast iron.

                                    1. re: mmdad
                                      Chemicalkinetics RE: mmdad Sep 26, 2009 04:09 PM

                                      mmdad,

                                      100% agree with you on that. That is my main reason for getting away from Telfon cookware. Telfon eventually wears off, so I end up tossing the cookware every so years, which is really expensive in a lifetime. In addition, the foods cooked from nonstick cookware are so-so.

                                      What do you mean you cannot have a steel pan like cast iron? What properties are you looking for? Carbon steel cookware can also be seasoned too and it develops that nice patina (seasoning surface). Carbon-steel cookware are usually made lighter so it is easier to handle, but not as much heat capacity (due to weight), so it may not sear as well. In theory, if they make thick carbon steel pan, there is no reason why it cannot be used for searing.

                                      My initial guess is that carbon steel leach iron somewhere between cast iron and stainless steel. If I find anything, I will let you know. Bye.

                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                        m
                                        mmdad RE: Chemicalkinetics Sep 26, 2009 09:17 PM

                                        I guess a nonsticking omelette pan is really not in my cards for now. I mean eventually there may be a scanpan or similar made that is non teflon and durable and nonsticking but for now SS is probably my weapon I just need to get better at my cooking ability. I have tried many of the teflons and many of the green nonstick pans and I don't like the teflons and the green versions don't stay nonstick long.

                                        Someone will crack the egg eventually and come up with a non teflon killer nonstick healthy pan so until then...

                                        Thanks everyone for the advice.

                                        1. re: mmdad
                                          m
                                          mmdad RE: mmdad Sep 27, 2009 12:52 AM

                                          I just heated up my pan for about a minute on medium low to low. Added a splash of olive oil and a splash of butter then swirled. I waited till the butter stopped bubbling and then I cracked in an egg and let it cook for about 2 minutes or when the white seemed cooked. I then slowly agitated it and worked it free, no sticking. I then capped the pan with the lid and let it sit for about 3 more minutes. Perfectly done and no sticking. It was still free and not sticking and perfectly cooked. Not an ounce of stick. I think I have that version mastered. Scrambling needs work . I think I can pull off the omelette and a frittata with patience and care. Its not going to be as fast but hey I think I can pull it off without worrying about something other than my SS pans. Scrambling I just don't know how to tackle that one yet. But I must say I saw this video(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dU_B3Q...) and realized he was using a SS saucepan. So...just more practice. Thanks again everyone for the dialogue.

                                          1. re: mmdad
                                            alanbarnes RE: mmdad Sep 27, 2009 09:13 AM

                                            Re: the Ramsey video: a stainless saucepan, very low heat, and lots and lots of butter. It can certainly be done.

                                            Re: frying eggs: lately I've been using prodigious quantities of oil. As in a quarter cup or so for a fairly small pan; enough to submerge the egg whites, but with the yolks standing clear. It's wasteful if you don't re-use the oil, but it produces a perfect sunny-side-up egg (and I re-use the oil). If you keep the heat really low it's probably an effective way to avoid sticking in a steel pan.

                                            1. re: alanbarnes
                                              jayt90 RE: alanbarnes Sep 27, 2009 02:47 PM

                                              Interesting fried egg method, Alan. I'll try that. It is so similar to my method for sunny side up poached eggs: bring a pan of water, 1.5" deep, to a simmer, add the eggs, and continue simmering covered for 3-4 minutes. You'll have perfect poached eggs, and they won't stick.

                                  2. d
                                    drharris RE: mmdad Sep 28, 2009 08:15 PM

                                    Ok, I use a SS pan all the time, and not even all clad. It's a cheapo, because I'm poor, but I get nonstick scrambled eggs all the time. I'll tell you the secret. This technique also works well for cast iron that isn't quite nonstick enough. Also, it may go without saying, but use a rubber spatula here.

                                    Ok, first of all, make sure the pan is hot enough where a drop of water beads up and slides around the pan, and no hotter. For me, it's around medium on my gas stove. If it gets too hot, you can sear the eggs to the pan and thus, sticky mess. Once your pan is hot, put in enough oil or butter to coat the whole pan (and maybe a bit extra), and slide it around to even it out.

                                    Here's the trick: while the oil is still lukewarm, pour the egg into the pan, and pour gently. The goal is to have the eggs floating on top of the oil, instead of displacing it and touching the pan directly. It's the old "Hot pan, cool oil, nonstick" mantra. And here's the second trick: do not start stirring! Wait until it begins to cook a little bit at the top of the edges, and then gently fold it over, allowing more raw egg to take its place. If you do it right, the oil stays where it is, and no raw egg touches the pan. The technique is difficult at first, but basically, you should stop if you feel like the egg is ever touching the pan directly and leave it. So, then you keep this process going, gently folding it over and over until it cooks through. You should not chop through the eggs, do this at the end to break them up.

                                    At no point should your utensil actually hit the pan (this is an exaggeration, but what you should shoot for). Think of it as frying the scrambled eggs; at no point should there be egg on pan, but there should always be oil in-between. As long as you have this focus (along with ensuring your pan is not too hot), it should work out well, even in a cheap SS pan. Good luck! It's really about technique. I personally feel that people who rely on nonstick pans for eggs are probably doing it wrong. Not that I don't have one for those mornings where I just need quick eggs, but you get my drift. :)

                                    Edit: I should mention that they won't necessarily "slide out" of the pan, like teflon, but any egg on the pan will easily come off with a paper towel, no scrubbing. There may be bits left in the pan, but it won't be a sticky mess that you have to scrub or soak; just wipe clean and be done with it.

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: drharris
                                      Chemicalkinetics RE: drharris Sep 28, 2009 08:56 PM

                                      That is a stir fry technique.

                                      1. re: drharris
                                        Soop RE: drharris Sep 29, 2009 04:21 AM

                                        I remember there was something about traditional scrambled eggs, where you don't whisk them before you add them to the pan. This is the way I do it, and unfortunately, it means your technique can't work for that.

                                        I forget the specific differences.

                                        1. re: Soop
                                          d
                                          drharris RE: Soop Sep 29, 2009 07:45 AM

                                          Correct, and that's why I keep my little nonstick around. I personally can't tell the difference too much. Done the SS+oil way, they come out a little less fluffy I suppose, but it's not too bad. Also, you simply can't do it with cheese and expect it not to stick, and I usually love putting cheese in there, so I have to go back to nonstick for that as well. But the SS suffices when I have to cook for more than myself.

                                          1. re: Soop
                                            jayt90 RE: Soop Sep 29, 2009 08:15 AM

                                            My grandmother made delicious scrambled eggs by cracking two into a buttered steel pan (nicely patina'ed), on a hot wood stove.As soon as the white started to cook, the eggs were broken with a fork and finished quickly. These eggs were really delicious, and easily tamed the strong orange yolks that may have intimidated a small urban boy.

                                            1. re: jayt90
                                              Chemicalkinetics RE: jayt90 Sep 29, 2009 08:56 AM

                                              Jay,

                                              Your grandmother used a carbon-steel pan, right? You said there is patina-ed, and I don't think I can develop a patina on a stainless.

                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                jayt90 RE: Chemicalkinetics Sep 29, 2009 07:19 PM

                                                That's right. The pans are still available as crepe pans or omelet pans, from France or China, around $20.
                                                I don't think the patina would be enough to allay the fears of the OP.

                                        2. Robin Joy RE: mmdad Sep 29, 2009 02:54 AM

                                          How about this?

                                          http://www.amazon.co.uk/Glass-Ceramic...

                                          Otherwise it's back to meat on wooden spit over an open fire and a clay pot bubbling in the embers!

                                          1. gulfcoastgal RE: mmdad Nov 25, 2009 04:35 PM

                                            Julia Child used Descoware which was enamel Enamel is a lovely surface and depending on the brand can be lovely It will never be teflon but its so much better than the health consequences of convient no stick Chantal has a lovely thick enamel and I like both versions (EOS and CF) of pans I have the party pan which I got on sale Basically it is a large fry pan with short rounded handles the same size as a fry pan I have both enamel over steel and over copper fusion All you see is the enamel and it is beautiful and functional
                                            Let the pan heat briefly and it can handle eggs and clean up is easy It is not teflon and will never be but it is easy and I do not have to spend 15-30 min cleaning like my LC
                                            Ihave not tried the Staub line for fry pans but I have some cast iron cocottes in 2 qt and they are very very easy to clean just like the Chantal with enamel on the inside and out The Staub are less familiar but have an awesome product and I know I will buy more and my husband has aske dme to buy a Staub fry pan for him Both ( Chantal and Staub) have heavier enamel coatings IMHO than the LC . There is a place in our kitchens for all these quality enamel brands since they are made for different types of cooking Descoware had some type of grey German enamel glass like coating Some was made in Belgium and some in Germany ( but I may be mistaken) I read that LC bought them out years ago I think people have had doing enamel for cookware well years It is not new

                                            1. h
                                              honeybea RE: mmdad Dec 2, 2009 08:50 PM

                                              How about Silit? I just got one as a gift so I don't know much about it yet. It's enamel over steel. It's veery shiny and heavy. I haven't tested it yet, but it may be good for eggs

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: honeybea
                                                tanuki soup RE: honeybea Dec 2, 2009 09:43 PM

                                                I have the Silit Silargan 11" Fry-and-Serve pan. I haven't made an omelet in it yet, but I did fry an egg in a bit of butter to test it out. The egg just slid around in the pan. I recall that another poster with a Silit frying pan reported that eggs tend to stick if you use oil, but not if you use butter.

                                              2. t
                                                taos RE: mmdad Dec 3, 2009 03:28 AM

                                                If butter and stainless steel is not working, try a mixture of olive oil and butter. Get it pretty hot before adding the eggs.

                                                I just made scrambled eggs with vegetables and cheese this morning in a 9-inch All-Clad stainless steel fry pan (I think AC calls it a French skillet). I put the pan on the burner and turned it up fairly high -- my stove knobs don't have markings so maybe it was to medium high -- added butter and olive oil. Waited for the butter to get brown then turned the flame down much lower and added the eggs and other stuff and stir with a wooden spoon. No sticking at all.

                                                1. j
                                                  Jessica Laurel RE: mmdad Dec 3, 2009 05:50 AM

                                                  I use a brand called Swiss Diamond which is non-stick and has some type of diamond coating baked on. It doesn't have the chemicals (whichever ones they are) that teflon has and there is no problem with scratching. You can use metal spatulas in them. Also, they can go in the oven up to 500. They are fairly heavy weight and get evenly hot, they cook similarly to cast iron and even season over time. However, they are aluminum core so that might not work for the OP but maybe for someone else looking for non-stick that isn't Teflon. I only use these and cast iron in the kitchen.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: Jessica Laurel
                                                    t
                                                    taos RE: Jessica Laurel Dec 3, 2009 06:29 AM

                                                    See the post above by Chemicalkinetics. Swiss Diamond cookware has the same chemical that's in Teflon. It's just the generic form, not the Teflon brand.

                                                    I'm not a chemist, but I have a pretty good nose for B.S. and for common sense. I believe that there is not a lot of variety among non-stick pans. There simply are not many different technologies for non-stick cooking surfaces. There are just a lot of guys out there trying to make a quick buck by capitalizing on people's fears. Most of the testimonials you read from people with these so-called "green pans" are from people who have either 1) only used the pan a short while or 2) not used it at all themselves or 3) work for the company but don't tell you 4) have not actually put the pan through the tests claimed by the manufacturer -- like seasoning the coating and putting it in an oven.

                                                    1. re: Jessica Laurel
                                                      alanbarnes RE: Jessica Laurel Dec 3, 2009 06:31 AM

                                                      According to Swiss Diamond, "Our patented nonstick surface uses a nano-composite of real diamond crystals and PTFE; it is applied using a computer controlled plasma gun at very high temperatures." http://www.naturalnews.com/021059_Tef...

                                                      Teflon is just DuPont's brand name for PTFE. So Swiss Diamond has **exactly** the same chemicals that teflon has.

                                                    2. j
                                                      Jack_ RE: mmdad Dec 3, 2009 07:37 AM

                                                      I remember someone, Mark Bittman?, Harald McGee?, doing an article on why eggs stick. Whoever it was says it isn't the pan and described how to cook eggs in Stainless Steel.

                                                      Try looking at some of these articles

                                                      http://tinyurl.com/y9zfwkt

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