- Barbara76137 Nov 6, 2010 04:20 PM
I have my AllClad, which I absolutely adore, but with an electric stove, which I hate, I really can't cook certain foods like eggs and pancakes without non-stick cookware.
Every few years I just buy a nonstick set of pans from Costco and then toss them when they are useless. I season them and maintain them all through their life, but until I can have a real gas stove, am I on the right track?
If you are only using your nonstick pan for eggs and pancakes at low to medium heat, they should last quiet long. It is high heat cooking which makes Telfon/PTFE cookware unstable. Now, I don't think it is electric stove vs gas stove.
I also not sure what you mean by "season them and maintain them..." Neither All Clad stainless steel nor Teflon cookwares can be seasoned. Unless you have some strange nonstick cookwares, seasoning them will shorten their lifespan.
Anyhow, you can consider getting a carbon steel pan for eggs and pancakes, it is relatively nonstick when it is seasoned and it can tolerate high heat. Most importantly, it lasts a long time because you can always reseason it if necessary.
I don't do anything to my AllClad, and I absolutely love it. But I thought that non-stick needed to be "seasoned" by washing the brand new pan, then heating up a high-heat oil in it. Then the pan is wiped with a paper towel. Never use soap on a non-stick, only a brush and hot water. Is this all wrong?
Well, washing a new pan is good -- just to get the dust off, but 99% of the nonstick pans do not require seasoning. There are a few new ones do recommand low-deium temperature seasoning, but they are very rare. Heating up a Telfon nonstick pan at high heat in trying to season it will more than likely damage it. Telfon/PTFE cannot endure high heat. I have also never heard of the fact that you cannot use soap. You can use soap.
It also seems like you are describe a carbon steel pan. Yes, for a carbon steel pan, you will need to season it and you will wash it with warm water with a brush and try to avoid soap (though not an absolute no).
I half agree, but suspect that you may be conflating the cleaning recommendations for nonstick and cast iron pans.
I recall buying nonstick pans that recommended a one-time seasoning before first use -- basically, wash and dry thoroughly, wipe some oil on the inside, bring it to medium heat, let it cool, and then wipe it out with a paper towel. After that, no special washing instructions. Just use soap and water.
I think that the "never use soap" rule applies to cast iron (and carbon steel), not nonstick.
UPDATE: Just found this at Amazon UK. It's part of Le Creuset's care instructions for a stainless steel frying pan with Excalibur (PTFE) nonstick coating:
"Before using for the first time it is beneficial to condition the non-stick surface. Rub a film of cooking oil over the surface. Heat the pan for 2 minutes over a MEDIUM setting, then cool and rinse with hot water, drying thoroughly."
Are you buying the nonstick pans from the consumer area at Costco or their restaurant section? My strategy is to buy the heaviest aluminum nonstick I can find, and use it only where the nonstick quality is important (e.g. scrambled eggs). When it looses some of that quality it can be demoted to uses where nonstick isn't quite so important, such as sauces.
For omelets and crepes and pancakes I like seasoned carbon steel.
For searing meat (including steaks) I use carbon steel or cast iron.
Try ScanPan. They have a "new" non-stick surface and some here on this board swear they last a very long time. I got one for eggs about a year ago and after a year it looks and performs like new, but that's not much time. Zen S. claims years and years of service from ScanPan. It's not bargan basement, but it's not expensive either. I have the classic with plastic handle, it's never going in the oven anyway and it was about $50 or $60 for the small pan.
My Gen 1 scan pans were bought sometime in the 80's, shortly after they started selling them in the US as I recall. They're about 20 or 25 years old now. Not sure. There is some delaminating on my large dutch oven but that started when I stored some food in it and the food molded (I was unexpectedly hospitalized). Storing food in them is a no-no. The delamination has not worsened over the years. It's a spot about half the size of a dime, maybe less actually. The Gen 1s were not nonstick, they were only stick resistant, and they're still about the same as when I bought them.
Four years ago I bought my son a set of the new Scanpans, (I call them Gen 2) and these are truly nonstick. They are as slick as the day he first opened them up. They were stored with a cast iron skillet sitting inside the fry pans and neither pan shows any but the faintest of scratches. I make dosai in these pans (a thin Indian crepe-like thing) and basically I only use oil because they don't taste right without it. I dry fry tofu in them all the time. The tofu browns up very nicely, no sticking. I routinely use metal utensils in them. All these pans are 4 years old now and while I like my Gen 1 pans, the Gen 2's are so much better that I intend to replace them as soon as I can afford it. There's really nothing wrong with my old ones, but the new ones are a big improvement.
I have heard stories from people about Scanpans losing their non-stickiness, but as far as I can tell, these are usually the Gen 1s. I think part of the problem is that they weren't nonstick, just stick resistant, and some people who didn't understand that were disappointed. The other thing that apparently happens is that people do not follow the cleaning instructions, which are to take the hot pan and stick it under cold running water to clean it. We don't do this every time we use a pan but we do it often, and all I can say is that his Gen 2's are still truly nonstick and look practically brand new. They cook that way as well.
Do not ever use anything like Pam on these pans. I don't know why you would want to, but don't do it. This stuff tends to leave a gooey residue that can be difficult to clean off any surface. It seems to react badly with the composite surface of the scanpans. You don't need it, so it should be easy to avoid.
I do love my Scanpans! Years ago I tried some of the Calphalon nonstick and it was awful. It was the OPPOSITE of nonstick. It was like it grabbed onto food and wouldn't let go. I hated it! Then I tried the Gen 1 Scanpans and they were the best I could find at the time. I do not know what other current nonstick cookware other than the Gen 2 Scanpans are like, how durable they are or how truly nonstick they may (or may not) be. But I can highly recommend the current generation of Scanpans.
I have a 3 year old Scanpan. When I bought it the salesperson practically made me promise not to overheat it. I haven't, and it is still in good shape. I use it exclusively on med heat or lower. However, after understanding that you should not overheat your non-stick pans, I have a less expensive Cuisinart which i purchased at Home Goods. Guess what? It is is fine shape too, I think the key is not to overheat the pans.
However, I have a wok with a thick non stick surface which I heat on high. It also retains its slickness.
I think there are several sorts of non-stick surfaces available. The trick is to understand what you have.
I bought a set of three T-Fal non-stick pans this year after not having had any non-stick for decades. I bought them to cook fish in, but I've discovered I like to roast fish in the oven most of the time. I've used the non-stick pans for eggs, and recently I've been making grilled cheese sandwiches in the middle-sized one (10"). I use grated cheese, and it's so much easier to clean burnt cheese schmutz out of non-stick than the bare cast iron pan I've always used.
Anyway, the seasoning you're talking about, Barbara, that's what you do with cast iron.
Personally, I cannot be bothered with having to be so careful about not scratching nonstick pans. Plus, some people think the coating can cause cancer. Maybe it does and maybe it doesn't, but I really have no desire to find out.
My favorite pans of all time are cast iron and I prefer a brand called Lodge. The Lodge company is a family owned and operated business based in the little town of South Pittsburg in Southeastern Tennessee down on the Georgia, Alabama border. This just happens to be the same little town where my great-great grandparents are buried so I might be a tad biased. However, the pans are a very reasonable price, come pre-seasoned and last for ever. The pans even develop their own semi non-stick quality over time if kept properly seasoned. Check them out at: http://www.lodgemfg.com/