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What does a lid do?

Footballman407 Jun 20, 2012 10:50 PM

What is the purpose of putting the lid on a pan?

  1. njmarshall55 Jun 22, 2012 11:04 AM

    And two metal lids make great cymbals for children! Never had any (metal lids or kids) but that's what I hear.

    1. k
      kaleokahu Jun 21, 2012 08:00 AM

      Hi, FBman:

      Sunshine pretty much covered the field. Under "keeps heat in", there are additional subheads of (b) foods heat faster; and (c) dishes stay warmer longer off the heat.

      Under "keeps moisture in", I'd add that you can control *how much* and *how fast* moisture escapes by only partially lidding the pan,as well as the self-basting features of some lids.

      There are also the minor functions:
      4) use as a strainer.
      5) use as a server or place to turn out food before plating.
      6) in special cases, use as a receptacle for ice or hot coals, etc.
      7) use as a template for cutting dough, etc.
      8) use--in a pinch--as a skillet (e.g., camping with a true Dutch Oven)
      9) use as a trivet or steamer tray in a larger pan.


      2 Replies
      1. re: kaleokahu
        Footballman407 Jun 21, 2012 09:55 AM

        Thank you to everyone for the quick replies. This board is really awesome.

        1. re: Footballman407
          hill food Jun 21, 2012 05:47 PM

          yeah sorry I was just kidding around (as a frustrated boss once put it "you. are. so.FULL OF IT!" and that was from someone who signed my timecards).

          it is a valid question. f'rinstance one can't even try to make a tajine without some kind of lid (even if not the special type). things can heat evenly at a slower pace w/o scorching and the retained humidity counts for something.

      2. tanuki soup Jun 21, 2012 05:46 AM

        I also put lids on my pans when they're not in use. Keeps the insides clean and free of dust.

        1. j
          John Francis Jun 21, 2012 04:52 AM

          Also, if you start some vegetables sautéing in fat or oil, then add a little water and put on the lid, you can finish the vegs by steaming them.

          Nowadays many pots and pans come with transparent lids. Since these quickly steam up so you can't see through them, and since they're breakable, I don't see the point, but there it is.

          6 Replies
          1. re: John Francis
            Sid Post Jun 21, 2012 05:04 AM

            Glass lids are a great marketing gimmick. I'm also guessing that they are cheaper to manufacturer when make 10,000 or more of them per month or week.

            Glass lids, .... yuck. Great for marketing, not so great in real work use.

            1. re: Sid Post
              sunshine842 Jun 21, 2012 10:11 AM

              I love my glass lids - -mine have a stainless "frame", so they are pretty well protected from the bumps and dings that chip the edges of all-glass lids and eventually cause them to shatter.

              1. re: sunshine842
                kaleokahu Jun 21, 2012 10:43 AM

                Hi, Sunshine:

                That rim feature sounds great. Do your lids also have a vertical flange on them (so they will sit inside a plain, straight-walled pan), or do they fit into a groove on the pan's rim? Can you really see the food through the glass when there's condensation on it?

                I need a few lids, so on your rec, I might give rimmed glass a try.


                1. re: kaleokahu
                  sunshine842 Jun 21, 2012 11:11 AM

                  Mine have a vertical flange, and they have a small hole (also with a metal grommet) that allows the steam to escape, so I can almost always see everything -- perhaps not perfectly clearly -- think a rain-streaked window - -but there's rarely any doubt as to what's going on in the pot.

                  I stumbled on a set at Macy's (their house brand -- Tools of the Trade Cookright) - they're all stainless, with a heavy-duty layered base (don't have the packaging any more!) -- bright finish on the outside, brushed inside. There were 3 saucepans, a stock pot, a wok, and 2 saute pans -- with lids, on sale for $79 a few years ago, so I jumped on it - and have been really, really happy with it. The only thing I've added is a Dutch oven, just because I needed something smaller than the stock pot.

                  Mine are straight-sided, but this set looks similar to mine: http://www1.macys.com/shop/product/to... (and hey, it's on sale, too!


                  After 3-1/2 years of heavy use, they're still like new - -it's a good thing I like them!

                  1. re: kaleokahu
                    calliope_nh Jun 21, 2012 06:18 PM

                    While I have matching lids for all of my pans, they stay hurried in the drawer under the stove. I almost exclusively use two aluminum pizza pans, one 12" the other larger.

                  2. re: sunshine842
                    tanuki soup Jun 22, 2012 02:16 AM

                    Absolutely agree!

                    Glass lids should be nice, thick tempered glass and have a stainless steel rim and a vent hole. I also like the ones that use a stainless steel compression cone washer instead of a plastic or rubber washer to secure the knob, which should be oval to keep the lid from rolling around when you put it on the counter upside down.

                    Lots of people say that glass lids are silly because they steam up and you can't see anything, but I suspect they've never actually used them.

                    As you mentioned, after about 5 or 10 minutes, the lid gets warm, the fogging clears up, and you can see inside just fine -- like looking through the side window of a car while you're driving in the rain. You'd probably have a hard time reading a newspaper through it, but you can easily tell if your food is simmering or boiling and adjust the heat accordingly.

                    I have glass lids for all my Le Creuset French ovens, soup pots, and casseroles. Love them!

              2. sunshine842 Jun 20, 2012 11:24 PM

                1) it keeps the heat in, allowing you to turn the heat level of the burner down while maintaining the same temperature

                2) it keeps the moisture in, which is essential for high-moisture cooking like braising or rice, and

                3) it keeps the mess in the pan (heating spaghetti sauce, for example)

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