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Eggs and non stick

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This is one of those posts that I kept telling myself to go back and put in my experience. You know how you are investigating a new product and can usually only base your experience on the negative reviews? If someone doesn't like a product then they usually tell everyone. If you do like a product you usually aren't posting on boards.

A while back many people on here helped me with a transition away from Teflon coated cookware and I thank them for all of their opinions.

We had Analon and T Fal that we got when we got married. I wore out the Analon. And by that I mean wore the coatings off until they replace them. And then did it again and decided I didn't want to use something like that anymore. So this started my journey.

I switched to a few things. I have some stainless for pots and a fry pan. I have some cast iron, Le Creuset for that. And I have some Scanpan stuff too. Fit that in whatever category you want.

I wanted to eliminate my Teflon coated stuff. And the Analon I had lasted well through its life. Since the kids have been born, for the last 12 years we have cooked at least 98% of our meals in house. We used to eat out very little. A little more so now.

I wanted to replace my egg pan. And we cook on average five eggs a day in this pan. This was a main focus of finding good pans without Teflon. I bought a Le Creuset stainless 2 quart saucepan and a 11" fry pan. The stainless fry pan was my first attempt for eggs. I had read so many people having great luck using butter and it working well to cook eggs. It didn't work so well for me. I still absolutely love both items and use them frequently.

Next I tried a 10 1/4" enameled cast iron Le Creuset skillet. This thing is great, but still not perfect for eggs. We use it for tons of other stuff.

Next I tried a 9" Le Creuset skillet that you can't even find on their web site. I bought mine at the outlet store by my house. It's a cast iron skillet but it has the white coating like the roasters and gratins have on their site. It works great, but not perfect for eggs. If you wash the pan and then do everything you can to make the eggs not stick on your first try, they stick. The second try that day they come out great. It seems to repeat each day for me.

Next I tried a Scanpan 11" skillet. This thing is awesome. We wash it once a week. I put olive oil in the pan the first time and wipe it around with a paper towel. And the eggs come out perfect. My wife will use it right behind me in the morning and she does nothing but put the eggs in it. We go the rest of the week with doing nothing but taking it out of the oven (where we store it between uses) and dropping eggs in it. I make mine scrambled with yolks. She makes hers with just the egg whites. Five eggs a day, never a problem.

From there I bought a big Scanpan skillet for a chicken fryer. That thing is awesome too. Nothing ever sticks to it. It's a breeze to clean as well.

Now, keep in mind, I love the Le Creuset stuff as well. I have some Calphalon hard anodized stuff that I tried too, but never had any luck with eggs.

The Le Creuset stainless stuff cleans up like a breeze too. We make mac and cheese in the saucepan and it's never a problem to clean.

I have just thought from time to time that I need to get back here and post what we worked through. All of the pans that we have can make eggs perfectly with out sticking. It's just that they require sometimes a quite of bit of extra effort and loving care during each step to make it work. We don't have time for that in the morning routine.

I turn my electric burner to number five of ten and put the pan on it. I crack two eggs in a bowl and then drop it right into the pan. Once it's ready I turn it over and take the pan off the burner. If I get behind and the wife is closing in on me I will turn the burner to ten and do the same ritual and when the egg starts getting pretty fluffed up I will pull it off the burner and flip it over. It's brown, but I can cook the first side in usually a minute this way and then flip it over and put the other stuff I put in it. Once I fold my omelette and move out of the way the wife will put it back on the burner and drop her egg whites into it with nary a problem.

Your mileage may vary. But good luck with the journey. And don't forget to roll the windows down and take pictures along the way.

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  1. Wow. Thanks for this.

    As a (adult) family of two, we are down to two "egg pans".
    1. A cheap 8" Teflon pan bought at the grocery store and easily replaced (as soon as we see any wear). Good for a quick morning "fry" (no fat) or scramble.
    2. A well seasoned Lodge cast-iron 12". Good for larger group scramble or fry applications. Excellent for frittatas that need to be popped in the oven.

    1. I have not broken the non stick skillet habit yet. I keep 1 or 2 non stick coated aluminum non stick skillets for eggs mostly..(and my wife likes them..) I have gone to cast iron and carbon steel skillets (DeBuyer). I love the carbon steel. After having seasoned it, and using it over and over for bacon and searing meats...I love them. Yes you have to take care of them...but the performance of them merits their care.

      1. So in short, you wanted to cook eggs without Teflon but ended up back with a PTFE-based product?

        2 Replies
        1. re: GH1618

          From the Scanpan FAQ

          What is PTFE? Did it not get some bad press recently?
          PTFE (short for polytetrafluoroethylene) is the base compound for any and all nonstick coatings. PTFE provides the food release. The SCANPAN formula works with the patented ceramic titanium surface construction to provide long lasting nonstick performance. This PTFE is safe to use for food preparation and is FDA approved. Only if the pan is accidentally overheated or cooked dry could temperatures be reached that may cause the PTFE portion to break down and emit fumes that have been known to be harmful to exotic birds, due to their extra sensitive respiratory system (they would, for instance, be harmed by burnt butter fumes, as well). It is a good idea to keep birds away from the kitchen!

          1. re: paulj

            From Wikipedia:

            Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is a synthetic fluoropolymer used in various applications including non-stick coatings. Originally developed by a DuPont-General Motors joint venture, today it is commonly known by DuPont's brand name Teflon, though other producers exist producing PTFE compounds under various other names.

        2. welp the real answer was the way great grandma did it, lard about 1/2" thick in a iron skillet the egg basicly floats and poaches then you remove to a cooling rack to drain.

          heck lards better for you and seriously your eating a colesterol bomb anyway atleast make it super good. or render bacon then make a bacon fat based beschemel

          1 Reply
          1. re: elkahani

            You don't need that much fat to cook eggs in bare cast iron. I do it daily with the tiny amount that is left on the pan ( which you cann't even feel) from the last time I cleaned and dried it. Even with omelets I don't have to use added fat.

          2. Good read. To reiterate GH's point, keep in mind that Scanpan is a PTFE (aka Teflon) based cookware as well. The coating will last longer.

            It seems you have tried stainless steel surface and enameled cast iron and anodized aluminum cookware, but have not tried bare cast iron or bare carbon steel cookware. A well seasoned cast iron or carbon steel cookware is probably the closest thing there is to the nonstick ability of a PTFE.

            1. Pam cooking spray is your friend. I use it all the time in my clad stainless chef's pan and it makes it just as easy to clean as Teflon. I add some EVOO to the pan just before adding the eggs. Results have been less satisfactory with other brands of cooking sprays. One thing I have noticed is that eggs cook best at lower temperatures. If they start sizzling when you put them in, the pan is too hot.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Big Easy

                I also am a big fan of a little blast of PAM. I don't know if its bad for me, I don't think so, but I do know that a little shot in any application makes clean up easy. I do have a cheapo nonstick that I use for eggs, but between the PAM, using lower temps and only nylon spatulas, the pan has lasted for a few years now with no wearing at all.

                1. re: Big Easy

                  I used Pam for a short time about 40 years ago. Then we noticed that almost immediately after spraying it, our daughter, then an infant, would start coughing in a back room. I've never used it since.

                  1. re: Big Easy

                    OK, but it's not a friend to your lungs. Those tiny particles of oil disperse through the air like nobody's business. I can't be around the stuff at all, I can't breathe when somebody uses it near me. It also gets all over everything in the general vicinity where it is used. Over time you get this oily gunky film that just won't come off - even if you wipe your stove down ever single time, the particles are so small they get into places you just wouldn't believe.

                    Wait a few years, you'll find out what I'm talking about. We had to throw my stepmom's stove out after she died - she had been using PAM for at least 10 years and even though she was the very living breathing soul of cleanliness in the best Dutch tradition, it had got into the works of the stove and gunked it up to where we all felt it was better to dispose of the stove, even though it worked just fine, rather than pass that mess on to someone else, even for free.

                    Also do not ever ever EVER use any oil spray on any nonstick surface - the emollients and aerosolizers in the stuff (probably some surfactants in there as well, it's just generally very chemically stuff) will grab onto your nonstick surface for dear life and quickly cover it over and ruin it. Much worse and much more quickly than old baked on oil.

                    1. re: KitchenBarbarian

                      What KitchenBarbarian said.

                      (That aerosol stuff isn't a friend in the kitchen, or the rest of the house.)

                  2. You can make stainless steel temporarily nonstick:

                    Heat some veggie oil over medium/high heat until it starts to smoke - enough to generously cover the bottom of the pan - then throw in a handful or so of kosher salt. Let it cook for about 5 minutes, shaking occasionally. Pour out the salt and oil, wipe out with a towel or paper towel, and go about you business. I do this all the time for crepe-making and they never stick. I've never used it for something like a nice fried egg, though, so can't say it'll work for sure with eggs. Might try it today, just for kicks.

                    1. I agree, enameled cast iron is not the best pan for eggs. I use bare cast iron for everything from scrambled, fried and omelets. I do love my enameled cast iron for many other things though, like gratins, mac and cheese, curries ect.

                      1. I love my Scanpans, but nonstick or not, you still need to wash them after each use. If you don't, oil particles you can't see build up and eventually occlude the nonstick coating - and that baked-on oil gunk won't clean off, either. It will void your lifetime warranty. I promise you, your Scanpans will stay truly nonstick much longer if you just take the hot pan when you are done and run hot water into it and swipe it out with a soapy rag, then rinse. THEN you can store it away.

                        You do NOT need to "season" it the way you described either. Doing that does nothing to protect the surface or to increase the non-stickiness - it just creates a layer of oil to bake on and do the damage as above.

                        It only takes a minute.