I am currently looking at buying my first frypan. I am a beginner cook and have been using an old and scratched non-stick teflon pan.
After spending hours researching, it seems cast iron or stainless steel seems to be the way to go. I am interested in quality, not having to buy a $20 pan every 6 months. I am also slightly concerned about non-stick coatings. However, I do have some questions.
1. I like scrambled eggs. Is it easier to buy a smaller non-stick pan for this?
2. With cast iron - if I cook fish for dinner, will my breakfast the following day taste funny?
3. I have read that some acidic foods like tomatoes ruin cast iron. Does this mean I will have to keep re-seasoning?
I was hoping to buy my pan online (http://www.kitchenwaredirect.com.au/C...), as many are on sale and they are local.
I have considered these -
Le Chasseur Federation Frypan (http://www.kitchenwaredirect.com.au/C...) - This is enamel coated. Does that mean I still need to season it and is this suitable for stuff likely to stick, like eggs?
Scanpan Classic Frypan 24cm (http://www.kitchenwaredirect.com.au/C...) - Non-stick, but apparently different from teflon. Does anybody know what newtek ceramic titanium nonstick is?
They also stock All-Cad, but they are more pricey. Is it worth the extra cost? Anything I should know about stainless steel?
I just want a good quality, all-rounder really. Or is there no such thing?
I'm looking at getting 10 inches as I only cook for myself at the moment.
You won't have to buy a stainless steel pan or cast iron pan every 2 month (or every 2 years for that matter).
Some people do have a smaller nonstick pan just for eggs. Others do not find such need.
taste does get embedded in cast iron pans.
acidic foods does not ruin cast iron per sa, but they do thin the seasoning surface.
Enameled fry pans are not my taste. To answer your question, you won't need to season them.
A lot of green pans have shorter lifespan than normal Teflon pans.
Finally, you should also consider carbon steel pans. They are usually lighter than cast iron pans.
I've never owned just *one* frypan, so I don't know how helpful this answer will be. I currently own a stainless steel Tramontina tri-ply (Walmart - a bargain price for an excellent pan), a Lodge cast iron, and 2 non-stick fry pans. I like to have this variety because, depending on the recipe, each one has advantages.
Stainless steel is great for skillet suppers that include tomatoes, plus it scrubs up easily.
Cast iron is great for a quick sear and a finish in the oven, and for pan frying many meats, unless I'm planning on making gravy - darn pan is so heavy it's hard to pour it out!
I like to keep non-stick pans for making eggs and have two sizes, depending on how many I'm cooking for.
To make all of them last longer I wash them by hand. Stainless cleans up with Barkeepers Friend, cast iron takes some special care - I use a scrub with salt and a little oil, rinse, and dry in the oven. Teflon pans need to be washed by hand and I baby them by putting a paper towel between them to protect that fragile surface. Teflon pans are the only ones needing replacement often, cast iron and stainless are very durable.
I like the old cast iron because the frying surface is smooth. Look for a smooth even black surface. If the black part is chipped, don't by it. The black part is from polymerization of fat and is the nonstick part . Some old ones have been refinished which is ok but then you have to build up the polymerization yourself. Antique malls and sometimes thrift shops are sources.
I find it impossible to recommend a single pan for all purposes. In stainless steel, All-Clad is indeed excellent and I believe it to be worth the expense. Stainless is ideal for skillet dinners, tomato sauces, and anything where fairly rapid temperature adjustments are called for.
Cast iron is great for searing meats, going to the oven, bacon and frying, and general cooking where its heat retention and slow response to temperature changes are appropriate. It can be just fine for eggs, though better for frittatas than omelets. Not recommended for tomato or other high-acid cooking.
A really good non-stick is ideal for eggs and fine for much general use other than searing. Swiss Diamond and Scanpan are better non-sticks, and probably last longer than other brands if properly cared for.
If I was restricted to a single type of pan, I would definitely choose an All-Clad stainless sandwiched pan, it is the most versatile and tolerant of my typical cooking.
Carbon steel pans are an acquired taste, and less versatile than stainless. I don't have experience with the enameled cast iron type, they apparently solve the tomato/acid issue but continue to have slow heat retention and for my uses would be less preferred than a good All-Clad, which you won't replace for 20 years, most likely.
When I first stocked my kitchen in grad school I bought a 8" cast iron skillet. It served me well. I still have it, but it spends most of its time in the back of the pantry.
Over the years I've bought a number of nonstick pans. For some things like scrambled eggs nonstick is hard to beat. I've learned to get the thickest aluminum I can find - usually at a restaurant supply store, though my latest (and best) is cast aluminum induction ready from TJMaxx. To get best life from the coating I try to use them only for things where they are best.
For pancakes, crepes and (quick) omelets, my favorite is a carbon steel French crepe pan. I also like carbon steel for tortillas (using a cheap Mexican griddle). My latest fry pan purchase is a French carbon steel one (relatively deep); for now I reserving that for things that contribute to the seasoning.
I have a couple of stainless steel pots, but nothing shallow like a fry pan.
My advise is to view the next fry pan purchase as a learning experience. Even if you pick the perfect material now, you might find something(s) that you like better ten years from now, or even next year. No one pan is ideal for all uses. Besides the material differences, there are different sizes and different shapes.