My new Iwachu :-)
After a year of using a cheap, but serviceable Ikea castiron frypan, we finally took the plunge and bought an Iwachu from the Takashimaya store here in Sg.
The Iwachu came packed in a no-frills cardboard carton. It's comes unseasoned, which was a plus for me, as I would like to be involved in the entire process of making my pan ready to use.
The handle is wood and removable, so it's possible to plonk the pan in the oven to reseason if needed.
There is no metal handle on the far end of the pan, so it might be considered to be a bit unwieldy, since I can then hold it only at a single side with one hand(the handle is not long enough to permit a two handed hold). That said, the pan is not as heavy as the Lodge equivalent, so probably in use, it will not be very uncomfortable.
The Iwachu seems to be , thinner-walled than the Lodge - maybe they made it that way to reduce the weight and make it more"user-friendly". However, I wonder if part of the reason why cast-iron gives superior heat distribution across its surface is the extra-mass itself. So then, I am not sure is this lesser weight is desirable, or not. I hope more experienced people on this forum will comment and help me learn.
Merry Christmas to everyone and thanks for reading my first post !
I once had a wok with a wooden handle, and it was very 'twisty', (how to put this) the handle and wok did not stay tightly together and the wok twisted and spilled food when you lifted it by one handle. Does the Iwachu handle/pan interface stay stable? Also, does the metal piece at the end of handle get hot eventually? Also, is the pan surface very smooth? Thanks.
Hello ! The Iwachu handle construction is such that the metal screw-rod that goes through the wooden handle tightly presses it against the pan. The pan therefore remains very stable when you lift it by the handle. Over a few days of use, the rod revolves back over a quarter turn, but it can be tightened periodically and not a problem at all. The metal ring at the end does get a bit hot, but not uncomfortably so. In my experience so far, I learnt to be careful not to touch the metal collar in the handle at the near end of the pan, which gets very hot :-( . That is in my opinion one area where they could improve the design - the wooden handle is quite short, even for my asian hands.
The pan surface finish is very smooth, much better than the Lodge against which I compared. For seasoning the pan, I, or rather my significant other, followed the method provided by Sheryl Canter, using flaxseed oil. So, all in all, the pan is a pleasure in use !
Merry Christmas. What a wonderful pan it is.
<It's comes unseasoned, which was a plus for me>
Same feeling there. I think the wood handle is a nice thing. It keeps the handle cool and long.
<However, I wonder if part of the reason why cast-iron gives superior heat distribution across its surface is the extra-mass itself.>
Your assumption is correct. A thicker cast iron pan has better heat distribution across its surface than a thinner cast iron pan. That being said, heat distribution is just one of the many attributions for a cookware. Your thinner Iwachu pan will have better heat response than the thicker Lodge cast iron pan. A thicker pan also has greater thermal mass, so it stores more heat than a thinner pan. Like Sid said, the thicker Lodge pan has a bit more advantage for searing a thick piece of meat due to the greater thermal mass. On the other hand, your Iwachu pan is a little better for frying an egg or making omelette.
I really won't say a thicker cast iron Lodge pan is better or worse than your Iwachu. It does something better and something worse.
A Debuyer carbon steel pan is a thinner than a Lodge cast iron pan too. Does it mean a Debuyer carbon steel pan is worse? Not really, they are just different.
Hi Chemicalkinetics ! Yes, I particularly liked the comfortable artisanal feel of a wooden handle, which does not need glove in use and that was one of my criteria to choose a pan, over the one piece CI pans. I was considering some nice designs earlier online from Skeppshult, Gense and Oigen, before I went in for the Iwachu. Perhaps I will go in for a grillpan from one of these companies later, for thicker meats.
Yeah, wood is a great heat insulator too, which means your handle will stay cool while the pan get very hot. The only problem is that it isn't great for finishing the pan food in an oven. I rarely do it, but it can be inconvenient to take the wood handle on and off. However, I personally would really like a wood handle pan - since I rarely finish my food in an oven.
Congrats. That's a nice looking pan. I hope you enjoy it.
"...I wonder if part of the reason why cast-iron gives superior heat distribution across its surface is the extra-mass itself."
This is the classic fallacy of a false premise: CI does not have superior heat distribution; it is a terrible conductor of heat.
What it *does* have over other materials is its high specific heat. Copper is nearly as good by volume, and aluminum is better by weight. But in the realm of "normal" thicknesses and budgets, CI holds heat well. And it follows that a thicker CI pan will hold more heat and longer than a thin one.
However, your thinner Iwachu should work well for you if your hob is even. It will be somewhat faster responding to setting changes than the Lodge you mention.
Mele Kalikimaka (Merry Christmas),
Merry Christmas and welcome!
On normal household applicances, the greater mass of a Lodge skillet will sear meat better, especially if it is a larger cut. For fish, eggs, and similar things the thinner and lighter pan is going to be fine.
I find I use my DeBuyer Mineral pans a lot for bacon, eggs, and similar things. When I'm doing a roast or similar large cut, I sear it in the Lodge skillet first and then toss it in the oven to finish.