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Best All-Clad general purpose pan for electric coil?

i
isotherm Jul 24, 2013 01:30 PM

Greetings all, this will be my first post, so please bear with me! I've been reading many very helpful replies in the course of my research, and now have a question of my own.

Recently, our 4qt Club aluminum skillet warped, and this got us moving to get some new cookware. We came up with a list that we think will suffice, but I'm not sure what saute pan to get. In the now-warped 4qt, 10.25" (on bottom) skillet, we would occasionally be frustrated by only being able to brown 3/4 of the meat at once. More generally, we are sauteing a lot of vegetables and/or browning 1-2lb of meat and then adding pasta, rice, etc. to make one pot meals.

Keeping existing:
* SS Revere Ware: stock pot, 8qt
* SS Revere Ware: sauce pot with double boiler and steamer
* Cast iron skillet, 10"

Replacing Club set with:
* Le Creuset dutch oven, 7.5qt
* All-Clad MC2: sauce pots, 2qt and 3qt
* All-Clad MC2: ???, 4-6qt

I liked the 4qt saute and simmer pan offered by Williams Sonoma, but it doesn't come in MC2. I would like to stay with MC2 if possible as we will be hand washing and prefer the thicker aluminum core. I did find the 12" chef pan (4qt), which seems to be some hybrid of many styles. The rim is 12", but the base is about 6.5". Would that work well as a general purpose pan, or will it be too frustrating to have the small base? When browning a lot of meat, would it still cook on the sides of the pot (as well as part of a large saute pan that's not touching the burner)?

I would just get the All-Clad 5qt sautee pan, but my concern is that the bottom surface is 11.5", but the biggest stove coil is 8", meaning half the pan won't be in contact with the coil. We would like to get a gas stove someday, but it would probably have to be at a different house. Am I correct in assuming that would cause trouble with heating on the coil stove? Or, are there other suggestions of what could fit on the burner but still hold at least 4 quarts?

Also, if our list of other pieces above is missing something I would appreciate any suggestions there too. Thank you!

  1. i
    isotherm Aug 1, 2013 05:49 PM

    I'm listing below the results of my purchases, in case someone coming across this thread should be interested in specs.

    The Regal Ware 12" Stainless Steel Covered Fry Pan (AK112-FP1) is about 11.5" interior diameter at the top and 11" at the bottom. The aluminum disc is more than 1cm thick.

    The Sur La Table private label sauce pot (made in Italy and pictured elsewhere in this thread) is stainless lined copper approx. 2.1mm thick.

    1 Reply
    1. re: isotherm
      k
      kaleokahu Aug 1, 2013 07:06 PM

      Hi, isotherm:

      Good choices and prices, too. With those on a coil, you should have *very* even heat. Congrats.

      Happy Cooking,
      Aloha,
      Kaleo.

    2. c
      Cam14 Jul 25, 2013 03:47 PM

      This is my favorite everyday pan, an exclusive to WS, the Essential Pan. It's in the All Clad D5 so a heavy pan, great performer, with lid, deep sides to contain pasta and sauces. It's advertised as 4 qts, but it's just shy of 5 qts up to the rim. The price is great $149.00 for a D5! It has rounded sides, excellent for stirring risotto or sauces, browns wonderfully. It also comes in a 6 qt but that would be too large for my needs and I have no experience with it.

      http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

      1. i
        isotherm Jul 24, 2013 09:49 PM

        Thanks to the replies so far, it seems I will be okay (better, even) to use something with a bigger base.

        Is it worth focusing on the MC2 line for the thicker core and fewer layers? Or, are there other quality brands that offer aluminum with stainless lining on the interior only? My understanding is that the extra layers beyond two don't really help the cooking behavior, which is what I'm interested in.

        1. Sid Post Jul 24, 2013 07:08 PM

          My Demeyere Proline 5*/Atlantis skillets heat very evenly, even on a 6" electric coil. They blow away the All-Clad I own.

          The 9.5" skillet at $150 and the 11" at $200 are bargains IMHO for what they offer and how they cook. How that little 6" burner gets all that heat to the edge of the skillet is almost like magic.

          Add no rivets and a superior handle and what's not to love?

          2 Replies
          1. re: Sid Post
            i
            isotherm Jul 24, 2013 09:29 PM

            I'm not necessarily opposed to other SS brands, although as an all purpose pot I would need it to be a few inches deep and have a lid. What in particular do you find better about the cooking performance of the Demeyere as compared to the All-Clad?

            1. re: isotherm
              k
              kaleokahu Jul 25, 2013 06:45 PM

              Hi, isotherm:

              I would also suggest you take a look at Viking's sautes. They are made by Demeyere using Viking's design parameters. Our CH friend mikie (?) speaks very highly of his.

              Aloha,
              Kaleo

          2. k
            kaleokahu Jul 24, 2013 03:26 PM

            Hi, isotherm:

            " ...will it be too frustrating to have the small base?" Yes, I believe you would be unhappy with the lack of floor space. This chef pan would function as a 6.5" saute.

            "...would it still cook on the sides of the pot (as well as part of a large saute pan that's not touching the burner)?" To some degree, but probably less than would the same construction conventional saute.

            "Am I correct in assuming that would cause trouble with heating on the coil stove?" I do not think this would be a big problem. Yes, whenever a pan is oversize in relation to a hob, there will be a temperature differential. IMO this *would* be problematic were you to want a 12-inch cast iron saute-type
            pan. But the A-C you mention has substantially greater effective conductivity; the aluminum core mitigates the "problem".

            I also urge you to consider *why* you might want a large saute. It's not just about volume. An overcrowded pan *steams* as much as it sautes. By allowing food pieces room to "breathe" (as opposed to being piled atop one another), you drive off moisture and encourage Maillard reactions.

            FWIW, a properly-functioning 8" electric coil is an excellent hob for sautes. They get an A for power and evenness, and their C+ in responsiveness isn't as important.

            I would get a conventional saute, perhaps like this one: http://www.restaurantsupplypro.com/product/frieling-a18437/stainless-steel-saute-pans Or, if you want induction compatibility, perhaps this one: http://www.restaurantsupplypro.com/pr...

            Aloha,
            Kaleo

            5 Replies
            1. re: kaleokahu
              i
              isotherm Jul 24, 2013 09:34 PM

              Thanks for the extensive answers! Since crowding was already an issue in the current pan, going smaller on the bottom seems like trouble. It seems like maybe even the 6 qt saute could be useful here.

              1. re: kaleokahu
                i
                isotherm Jul 26, 2013 07:49 PM

                After some more reading, I decided I don't really need fully clad in a saute pan. And thanks to your links, I think I will actually go with the 7.5qt Sitram rondeau as the saute pan, with a nice big 12" surface - unless 4" is too deep for a saute pan. Is an aluminum core best for this task to keep the temperature steady while searing, or will copper core work too? I guess the idea is that the copper would lose heat faster but also gain it back faster from the burner?

                I'm left looking for a 1.5-2qt sauce pot. It seems like stainless lined copper could be the way to go here. I saw the Falk "try me" piece which has a pouring lip and seems suitable, but I'm balking a bit to spend as much on the sauce pot as the saute pan. I know a difference of Falk vs. Mauviel is the finish; will Mauviel eventually look the same as Falk, and then it won't make a difference? (I don't intend to try to keep them shiny.) Or how about the pictured pot (made in Italy)?

                 
                1. re: isotherm
                  k
                  kaleokahu Jul 26, 2013 09:07 PM

                  Hi, isotherm:

                  Sensible choice to look at options other than clad. Also a smart move to go with a rondeau--a 12" would not (or not easily) fit in your oven, and jumping a quality 12" saute is a strength challenge. IMO, the versatility of a rondeau more than compensates for the marginal downtick in evaporation that comes with a 1" taller wall.

                  In the choice between copper and aluminum cores, the good news is that most reputable makers try to approximate a good thickness of copper with at least a 2x thick aluminum, so there is rough parity as far as evenness is concerned. The bad news is that other than the copper bimetal makers (Falk, Bourgeat, Mauviel), the thickest copper is 2mm. A 2mm core will hold heat fine by dint of the cladding.

                  More on the other questions later. I have a pot boiling over...

                  Aloha,
                  Kaleo

                  1. re: kaleokahu
                    k
                    kaleokahu Jul 27, 2013 07:16 AM

                    Now then...in terms of heat loss, the approximation I mentioned earler (thicker aluminum used to approximate a thinner copper core) also applies to responsiveness. And if we're talking about clad, remember there're sheets if SS effectively insulating the conductive layer anyway.

                    No, a Mauviel will not ultimately look like a Falk--unless you brush the Mauviel. Falk's brushed finish will continue to look pretty consistent for a long time, and once again after scouring. The Mauviel will go through stages of patination until it is polished again. I suppose if you scoured the s@#t out of the Mauviel with dry BKF for a long time, it would sort of start to resemble the Falk finish.

                    1. re: kaleokahu
                      i
                      isotherm Jul 28, 2013 06:43 PM

                      I was able to get the 2 qt saucepan pictured above for $75 (2mm copper, made by Ruffoni maybe). No pouring lip, but nice price I think. I don't need it to look like the Falk (and don't plan on scouring it to death!), but I'll just let the patina build probably.

                      And for now I got a 12" skillet by Regal Ware (3" deep, 1/4" core) factory direct. It seemed to be a quality piece based on the few mentions of it on these forums. Hopefully these pieces will allow us to keep on cooking as we see how they work out, what other pieces we might still need, as well as be able to have patience for better deals and clearance.

                      Again, thanks for your replies!

              2. b
                bitchincook Jul 24, 2013 02:47 PM

                The 11.5" pan will work just fine on the 8" coil; the entire pan doesn't need to be in direct contact with the coil for it to conduct heat just fine.

                I have had an All Clad pan of that size for maybe 25 years and five different stoves. It worked fine on two separate electric coil tops and two gas stoves. Where it was awful was on a smooth top electric. Though I blamed that on the stove, not the pan.

                I got rid of that stove and kept the pan.

                1 Reply
                1. re: bitchincook
                  i
                  isotherm Jul 24, 2013 09:30 PM

                  Thanks for that input! It's nice to have the assurance of first hand experience.

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