warped pots and pans
Hi, chowmates.Please help. Throught my "gourmet" cooking career, I have been cursed with electric stoves....AAARRRGH. My pots and pans are warped, and will not sit flat on burners. Can you give me suggestions about how to correct this problem? I have mostly All Clad, Calphalon, and the like, and can't afford to just replace them. Even the heavy duty pans I bought in good kitchen supply stores have warped. I have tried hammering, but with limited success.
Thanks, in advance,
Did you have any luck in unwarping your pans? My husband has a 25 year old, hand made, stainless steel pan. It was in perfect condition. For it's age. My mother used it and it is now severely warped. She sat it on the stove's burner to melt butter and burned and warped the pan. This pan was made by my husband's grandfather, and I am wondering if there is any way to successfully restore it to it's previous condition.
I think alanbarnes is on the right track -- better cookware usually has long warranties, so worth seeing if you can get relief that way. Either way, you either need to replace or to be satisfied with your pots and pans wobbling about and spinning like tops.
Cold-working metals (beating the hell out of them with various and sundry hammers, mallets and other blunt objects) might make you feel better, but most decent cookware is thick enough that you will probably hurt yourself in the process of making the warpage more interesting. Pretty sure it voids the warranty, too.
All pots and pans warp. That said, high-quality (not necessarily expensive) cookware will stay acceptably flat a whole lot longer than cheap (not necessarily inexpensive) junk. And even the best can be ruined with aggressive use. Temps need to go up and come down as gently and evenly as practical (as opposed to, say, dumping cold stock or wine into a blazing hot pan to deglaze, or letting an empty pan heat up over a high-output burner cranked to 11) .
I'm really wondering if you somehow got some defective All-Clad? Did you buy it all in one lump sum? I had to cook on electric stoves (rental houses) for the entire 12 or more years since I started purchasing stainless All-Clad (oh, thank you, Fates! I finally have a five burner, cast-iron grated gas stove!!!) and none of them are warped at all.
In a nutshell, no, there's nothing you can do for them.
Unless you have access to a foundry, because the only way to 'unwarp' them is to heat them up HOT, press 'em flat and let 'em cool down while held flat. And possibly some metalworking.
Hot on one side and cold on the other over repeated cycles does that to pans, especially on electric stoves where pans are in direct contact with red-hot elements.
Oh no! One issue you may be aware of, is that many high end pans are not designed to be used on the highest heat settings.
However I was considering that the layered structure of all-clad could be at fault. Considering the metals will all have different expansion rates, could this not cause them to cool and contract at different times, causing this warping? Admittedly I haven't heard much else apart from this, but I throw that out there for wiser hounds.
If you haven't been overheating them, you could consider going to the manufacturer (may have been a wise move before the hammering!)
Maybe one idea would be to create a weight of some kind that fits exactly in the pan (maybe something that sets hard, and can then be inverted flat side down). Then heat the pan in the oven or on the hob, and hammer the weight down, and clamp it down with something heavy while it cools. If you have a vice, you may be able to do this with enough pressure to avoid heating?