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Jun 30, 2010 06:04 PM

Matfer Bourgeat Black Steel Round Frying Pans as an Omelette Pan: Break- Period?


My 8" Calphalon non-stick fry pan has seen its day (about 10 years old). I have used it almost exclusively for preparing eggs, but a decade of wooden spoons and srubby sponges has taken its toll and it is time to replace the pan.

I decided to replace it with a 8-5/8" Matfer Bourgeat black steel pan. This size is only 3 lb and should be easy to handle. I noticed the MB pans had welded handles as opposed to the riveted handles that de Buyer offers. In most cases, I would prefer the more durable riveted handle, but in the case of an omelette pan a smooth surface sounded preferable.

I wanted to get some sense from you high carbon steel pan users just how long the seasoning process (number of uses or seasonings) takes until you achieve good non-stick performance?


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  1. I got my first carbon steel pan, omelet pan, about 30 years ago. All of the carbon steel pans I have had have been very easy and quick to season by simply cooking in them with equal parts butter and peanut oil. After one or two uses that way I shifted to all butter for omelets, and it has worked fine. After use I wipe it well with a towel but never wash it. A few times something like a little cheese has stuck...I have pried it off with my fingernail, buttered and heated, and wiped. I am astounded how forgiving carbon steel is when compared with cast iron. I have cleaned my large (14") fry pan with soap and water ..even a light use of a Scotch Bright pad -- when things have gotten cooked on, and it has bounced right back. There is a reason working kitchens swear by them.

    I snagged a little crepe pan once and after tossing two torn crepes it started yielding perfect, stick-free crepes ON THE FIRST USE!

    12 Replies
    1. re: tim irvine


      You have a guess why carbon steel pans are not very popular in US? You can find stainless steel (triply or 5-ply or 7-ply....), Teflon coated aluminum, anodized aluminum, cast iron, greenpan, even expensive copper in typical stores, but you just don't find many carbon steel pans. I never understand why. I bet if you tell people that you are looking for a carbon steel pan, 1/3rd of the people have no idea what you are talking about.

      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        Chemical, sad but true. When I read posters rave about AC I shake my head in wonderment. I can admit I have succumbed to the lure of copper on occasion, but I have come to appreciate that for a lot of high heat tasks copper is a bad choice. If it is tin lined it will not handle the heat really high and if it is tin lined it is a huge investment without commensurate benefit. I have yet to find anything at which AC or the like truly excels other than the fact you can clean it with an SOS pad. Hopefully people reading these threads will have their interest piqued and try a Matfer or BeBuyer carbon steel fry pan... They used to be more common in high end cooking stores and they seem to have been nudged off the shelves of restaurant supply places by aluminum. I truly do understand why so many people like non-stick, but I am guessing they are into a very different style of cooking ("Fond? Ew...yuck...pan gravy? Gross!"). Then there are also the debate on Teflon and dead canaries and the issue of replacing it every two week because somebody used a steel spatula to scramble eggs. I love CI, as do many others (especially in the South), but I really do prefer the Matfer or DeBuyer steel pans in all respects...easier to season, easier to clean, generally easier shapes to work with.

        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          Julia Child and Jacques Pepin both exalt (?) the use of non-stick pans for delicate dishes. This is a big endorsement in my book. So, I bought a non-stick pan and figured that I would learn to make their recipes (from their Cooking at Home series), and once I became more adept, to branch out into more types (carbon steel, I think) cookware.

          Also, I am still confused as to whether I would need a separate pan for eggs, so that the crepes and so forth doesn't absorb other dish smells (onions and fish). AND, that demeyere fry pan looks so fabulous and versatile. On the other hand, it is outrageously expensive. And frankly, I am trying to avoid buying 6 fry pans.

          Confusion abounds.

          1. re: E_M

            Hi E_M,

            That is a good point. Carbon steel and cast iron pans will absorb favor from previous dish.

            Demeyere fry pan? If you are talking about a Demeyer frying pan, then I will assume you are talking about that stainless steel clad pan now.


            In that case, you should have to worry about residue favor. Yes, the proline expensive. It is a 7-ply stainless steel-aluminum pan.

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              Yes, that fry pan. You mean I would NOT have to worry about residue flavor, right? It is oh so expensive, and it still (apparently) doesn't do fish or eggs very well, but it handles everything else, and goes into the oven also if I wanted to do a small braise. Can I do a braise well with carbon/black steel?

              Confusion really abounds.

              1. re: E_M

                I think I am right. If we are talking about any stainless steel pan, I don't think there is much residue flavor -- as long as you wash the cookware. Yes, I presume it may have some challenge in doing eggs and fish meats because they will tend to stick to it. A pretty normal thing to all stainless steel surface cookware. There are ways around that, like using butter or cooking at a particular temperature. Still, foods have a greater tendency to stick to stainless steel, but you shouldn't have to worry about residue flavor.

                Just to be clear, I don't believe Demeyere Proline is a carbon steel pan. It is a 7-ply stainless steel cookware.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  Yes, it is stainless, and as such, does not keep flavor. And if it can generate as good a sear as steel, it is attractive to me as a more multifunctional pan than steel. I think.

                  1. re: E_M


                    I love to sear on my cast iron pan, but I don't think searing should be a problem on a stainless steel pan as long as you heat it up hot and it has a good thermal mass. In this case, the Demeyer proline is known to be a pretty heavy cookware, so there is a lot of thermal mass. (I read it is heavier than All Clad, but I have no first hand experience).

                    Most complaints about stainless steel cookware is that food stick to them, but searing should not be a major problem. You can make a separate post about this and see what other people think.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      I guess my point is only that stainless steel is not necessarily something to be avoided at all costs. While it doesn't conduct heat on its own, properly bonded (as in the case of Demeyere), it seems to overcome that limitation. It is more expensive than cast iron but comparable to copper, and unlike copper, it can be put in the dishwasher and is induction capable. It many cases, it is lighter than cast iron and copper (though maybe not the Demeyere brand.) Unlike cast iron or steel, it doesn't keep flavors, it doesn't rust, and unlike enameled CI and tin-lined steel, doesn't scratch from metal utensils.

                      1. re: E_M


                        I know, which is why stainless steel cookware are pretty popular. I think it just get down to what properties you are seeking for. For example, an enameled cast iron dutch oven makes sense to me, but a an enameled cast iron wok does not -- my opinion.

                        Tim and I were just wondering why carbon steel is not more popular because we always hear about people wanting a cookware that is: nonstick, light, has decent heat response and high heat tolerance. Carbon steel cookware fit that bill. We were not bashing stainless steel. Stainless steel cookware are very popular as you can see them everywhere. We were just wondering why we don't see carbon steel cookware much. I mean I don't remember the last time I saw a carbon steel cookware in a regular store (not including Chinese stores because they sell carbon steel woks all the time).

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          I agree with you there. I wonder why, too. I cannot find a store that sells them, and I would like to handle the item before purchasing. Thanks, btw, to whomever who posted the link to this manufacturer. I had only seen de Buyer and wasn't keen on rivets for a pan that I would use for crepes. (OK, I found a store that sells one de Buyer crepe pan, but having seen this, I wish I could find a store with a larger selection.)

                          The last time I was in Fante's in Philadelphia, they had carbon steel woks. I love Fante's.

                          1. re: E_M

                            D'oh! I feel so stupid. I BOUGHT that carbon steel wok at Fante's and gave it to my dad as a gift. He couldn't master the seasoning and oil-before-storage concept so he didn't use it more than twice or so. I wonder where it is. I see a stir-fry in my future...

      2. Jazzcook,

        I have the DeBuyer carbon steel pans. I first boiled some potato peels in them to remove the coating and then I cooked bacon in them. After that, I rinse them in hot water, dry them, and rub them with a little oil. They were ready to use.

        They did season more over time. When making eggs, I put a little butter and/or olive oil in the pan and fry eggs. When making scrambled eggs, I let the eggs set for a while, lift the edges (omelet like), and then mixed them up.

        I love these pans and can't figure out why I never heard of them before. I've retired my non-stick and cast iron. I do have 1 stainless pan that I use when I want dishes with fond.

        I have 4 of the carbon steel pans and after 6 months or so, still smile when I get to cook in one.

        1 Reply
        1. re: pguidry

          Thanks for all of your detailed response. I actually purchased the pan from Fantes in Phily. I like different pieces for different things:

          all-clad stainless for general stove top cooking
          Le crueset for stove top grilling or braising
          lodge cast iron for searing
          hopefully matfer bourgeat for eggs & omelets


        2. FYI for those who want to see something before they buy it, my local SLT has stacks of DeBuyer pans, both the medium and the heavy gauge, in a wide variety of sizes, which is weird since they don't show them on their websites. W-S only seems to get the crepe pans. Of course these pans are not outrageously expensive, but even if they didn't cost an arm and a leg, they will last. So I guess it makes sense to heft one before you buy it.

          1. I just recently bought a set of Matfers pans: 5", 8", 10" and 12 3/4". I pretty much settled for these French made pans when I couldn't find some pretty cool Japanese made "SS" pans. I find the Matfers pans to be nice and heavy, but made haphazardly. A case in point are the welded metal handles, which are not quite properly attached. The smaller pans have two welds, and the larger pans have a triangular pattern. None of the welds are centered and neither are the handles. They are all set at different angles as well, so they don't nest inside each other very well either.

            But I will say they do season very easily and heat up quite evenly as well. I was able to season them within 10-15 minutes each. I took a carbon steel wok method to season them...washed them very well and peeled that blasted plastic sticker. Then heated the pans on the hottest setting of my gas range, about 7 minutes turning the pan every minute or so. In this time the pan started to change colors, from a silver, to a blue, brown, purplish and blackish hues can be seen. At the end of the heating period I let it cool slightly and then turned on the blower on high, and then very, very lightly oiled the pan and returned it to the super high heat for about 5-7 minutes. And voila...a nicely seasoned pan. First job is either a deep fry or something with a lot of oil and or butter. Two or three dishes this way and the pan is pretty much stick resistant. Now I need very little oil/butter at all.

            Still looking for those Japanese made "SS" pans, which are very well made. I prefer them cause the metal handles are riveted and also have a gentle "V" shape to them. The pans are also thick but not quite as thick as the Matfers pans. I have a previous post actually looking for the "SS" pans here in California. But no luck, hence I "settled" for the Matfers pans.