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carbon steel fry pan - alternatives to DeBuyer Mineral B?

Hi there

I was very excited recently to recieve a 12" DeBuyer mineral B fry pan. My excitement quickly disapeared when I took it out the bag and saw how small the cooking surface is - it's far too small for me. Not only that my wife said she'd never use it cos its too heavy. Looks like its going back!

Are there any alternative carbon steel pan where the cooking surface does reduce so drastically?

I guess the reason the Mineral B is so heavy is that it is 1/8" thick. Are there alternatives that are just as good and not as thick?

Thanks in advance, Andrew

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  1. Go to any restaurant supply store. Never cooked with Debuyer but I know they are beloved among foodies. I worked in French restaurants for many years and all we ever used was un-coated aluminum & carbon steel. Both are very inexpensive.

    1. I use a crepe pan a lot for meats and eggs in addition to normal things like pancakes.

      De Buyer makes thinner and lighter pans too. Another alternative is Paderno which I would call a midweight pan. The really lightweight steel pans are loved by many but I like even heating and searing quality of a heavy pan.

      1. That style is pretty much what you get when going carbon steel.

        You could go for crepe pans, as they have a larger cooking surface, but then you don't have high sides to contain splatter.

        If the Mineral B line is too heavy, look at De Buyer's Force Blue, they're thinner and lighter, but still thick enough to hold a useful amount of heat.

        Paderno as mentioned is another decent brand though I've never tried it and I don't think they provide much weight savings over the Mineral B.

        1. Sirrith is correct. DeBuyer Force Blue is thinner and therefore is lighter. Don't worry, it is thinner. It is not thin.

          Most carbon steel pans have their geometry.

          There are other makers of carbon steel cookware. Lodge actually has its carbon steel line.

          http://www.amazon.com/Lodge-CRS12-Pre...

          Vollrath

          http://www.katom.com/175-58930.html

          1. I mainly want the pan for high heat searing and pan roasting of fish.

            A few people have mention that the thick (1/8") carbon steel pans are better for this, but I just won't be able to get many pieces of fish in a mineral B pan.

            Are the thinner grade pans still okay for high heat cooking of fish?

            I think the DeBuyer Force Blue pan has the same shape as the Mineral B so I'd have the same problem (lack of cooking area) with that pan.

            Do the other brands have greater cooking areas?

            Many thanks, Andrew

            4 Replies
            1. re: fobos8

              Have you considered a cast iron skillet. Cast iron skillets almost always have steeper slope and therefore larger cooking area. They perform very well at high temperature searing.

              1. re: fobos8

                How about the DeBuyer fish pan?

                http://www.checkaprice.com/force-blue...

                Be aware that you may have an issue with fish flavour tainting of carbon steel. It's certainly a problem with bare CI.

                1. re: Robin Joy

                  I have a Mineral fish pan in-bound myself. I'm thinking it will be a great Bass and Catfish pan.

                2. re: fobos8

                  "I mainly want the pan for high heat searing and pan roasting of fish."

                  Get a crepe pan. Sear on the stove/cooktop and then finish in the oven. Easy, simple and. lighter weight without the sides.

                3. "Be aware that you may have an issue with fish flavour tainting of carbon steel. It's certainly a problem with bare CI."

                  is this a typical problem cooking fish in carbon steel pan?

                  maybe I should be looking at stainless steel then? straighter sides and so more cooking area....

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: fobos8

                    "is this a typical problem cooking fish in carbon steel pan?"

                    My DB Mineral pans have a tight grain structure and I do not notice carry over flavors with what I cook. Cast Iron is more 'porous" and has a higher tendency to retain flavors from previous meals.

                    "maybe I should be looking at stainless steel then? straighter sides and so more cooking area...."

                    What is your budget? The Demeyere Proline 5* skillets in a ~10 inch size run ~$150 and cook really nice. The Mauviel M'Cook looks like a tempting option as well and is ~$50 less in a ~10" size. Then you have Tramontina Tri-Ply from Wal-Mart for ~$40.

                  2. Matfer Bourgeat black steel. Perfect thickness. No rivet heads on the inside of the pan (handle is welded on).

                    Some of the DeBuyer pans are too thick which makes them too heavy and less supple when changing heat.

                    Changing heat on a pan and products in the pan shouldn't be like turning an aircraft carrier around.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: JustCharlie

                      if I'm cooking delicate tasting foods like fish is it common to get a funny taste from the pan on the fish as mentioned earlier in the thread?

                      1. re: fobos8

                        That hasn't been my experience at all.

                        Once it's well seasoned it should be washed with hot water and mild dish soap after each use. THE SEASONING WILL NOT BE RUINED. I have a Matfer Bourgeat pan I've used for several years. It gets washed in hot water and soap, I often let it soak, and the seasoning is fine. In my experience, along with the tight structure of the steel itself (as opposed to cast iron) this totally eliminates flavor ghosting.

                        I'll post a pic of the pan sometime. The bottom is jet black and slicker than Teflon and the seasoning is the right thickness. Too much and too bumpy is destined to flake off.

                        1. re: fobos8

                          It's the other way round. I have a CI skillet which has smelled faintly of salmon for 5 years. I'll get round to stripping and reseasoning someday.

                          Or I might do it fully clothed.

                          1. re: fobos8

                            Here's a quick way to "defunk" a pan, from Cook's Illustrated:

                            "We cooked fish in a few cast-iron skillets to deliberately foul them up and then heated the empty pans over a medium flame on the stovetop for 15 minutes and in a 400-degree oven for 10 minutes. Sure enough, both methods worked equally well at eliminating odors—and saved us the hassle of cleaning up oil. We particularly liked the oven method: It’s fast and doesn’t stink up the kitchen."

                            The article is here: http://www.cooksillustrated.com/how_t...

                        2. Have you ever eaten Teppan-yaki, or dined at a restaurant such as Benihana's ?

                          The large grills used are sheet stainless steel, which are seasoned with oil at high temperature before cooking. They sear very well.

                          Something to think about, but one alternative might be a simple stainless steel pan. We use one, or a stainless steel wok when searing.

                          I just don't toss the knife and spatula in the air anymore. The wife gets mad when they stick into the ceiling.

                           
                           
                           
                          5 Replies
                          1. re: SWISSAIRE

                            I keep meaning to ask - how high do you heat your SS woks? For reference, can you tell me the wattage of your preferred hob, and the % of power you use? That would give me a starting point to try it on my range. Oh, and how long does it preheat?

                            Thanks!

                            Edit - You've written before that you oil your SS woks between uses, yes? Or was that someone else?

                            1. re: DuffyH

                              Hi DuffyH-

                              1.) The AEG induction cooktop we use heats our woks at medium or 5 level. 50% if you will, is sufficient. We could go to 6 or more but don't.

                              2.) Wattage states 3,600. Bear in mind this is 220-240v.

                              3.) Preheat: Not long on induction, as our woks are all alu cored stainless steel, or multi-ply as it's called here. Not even a minute on induction.

                              As a rule we don't wok meat, rice, noodles, or vegetable over about 5 minutes on setting 5 to cook well.

                              4.) Oil: Let me qualify what I am about to say.

                              I do like Bar Tenders Keeper, but it is a mild abrasive, primarily of Oxalic acid. I have it, but I don't use it on everyday cookware, due to the abrasiveness.( It does do a great job on brightwork on sailboats, before varnishing ).

                              Most multi-ply or induction core grade pots, pans, and woks will show heat " rainbows, " and the normal potato and pasta film after cooking.

                              We cook, rinse, wash, and hang-dry our cookware, and rarely do they go into the dishwasher. When the inevitable heat marks show, I just take 2 drops of Pressed nut, Sunflower, or Rapeseed oil and rub it into the metal.

                              The photos of our workhorse Pasta pot and insert for cooking pasta, potatoes, asparagus, soup, and which is 2+ years old illustrate this better.

                              No marks and it looks almost new.

                              I hope this is helpful.

                               
                               
                               
                              1. re: SWISSAIRE

                                Swissaire,

                                Thanks for data on your heat settings and cook times. It seems your cooktop is very similar to mine.

                                Thanks also for explaining your oil use. Do you think it aids in nonstick performance? Or is it primarily for aesthetics? I've been rinsing heat stains and mineral deposits with white vinegar, it works like magic. It's not so good on starchy stains, I'll give the oil rub a try.

                                Duffy

                                1. re: DuffyH

                                  Hi DuffyH-

                                  I understand that AEG goes by the name Electroluxe in North America, or perhaps even another name.

                                  OIL:
                                  I think it is both aesthetics and lubricant. Either way they just look better.

                                  I do favour Sunflower, pressed nut, or Rapeseed oil over Olive oil because those oils can take high heat. Again, just a drop or two rubbed in with a paper towel will suffice. If one uses Olive oil and then heats up the cookware, it may smoke. Use too much and it can pool.

                                  The odd thing is we don't get the marks on the stainless steel woks, which like the other cookware is also multi-layered, and alu cored.

                                  The oil of choice is of course, up to you. Let us know how it works out.

                                  We save good Olive oil for finishing a pasta dish, for raw vegetables, Italian "Salsa" mix, or salads.

                                  That version of Italian Salsa is like American salsa, or an Asian Sambal, used as a condiment: Spicy but no chile.

                                  Basil leaves, raw chunk garlic, tomatoes, salt, cracked pepper, and a good extra vergine Olive oil, all hand blended. Great on just about anything ( celery, fresh bread, crackers, pasta, etc. ) and it last for about 1 week refrigerated.

                                  Water spots:
                                  We haven't seen those, but our neighbor did from her dishwasher, which may have been the detergent powder she was using. We probably avoid that by cooking with charcoal-filtered water. That device sitting next to our sink is constantly refilled day and night. It is used for coffee water, tea, cooking, filling the soda stream bottles, and just drinking.

                                  The title "Aquarius" is well earned by my constant refilling of the filter container at all hours.

                                  1. re: SWISSAIRE

                                    Swissaire -

                                    Oils - Right. I generally use peanut oil for frying and leave the olive oil for salads and pasta, as you do.

                                    Your Italian Salsa is exactly what I use to top slices of crusty baguettes. So good!

                                    I get water spots from hard water. They will always show up on a pan I've boiled water in. We've got a nice filtering system at our new sink, so I'll see if using that water makes a difference. I've always used tap water in the past.

                                    In general, I'm pretty tough on my pans, using my chain mail scrubber to get stubborn things right off, and I'm not averse to using oven cleaner to remove ugly grease from the outside of a frypan. This may be why I favor brushed finishes instead of polished; fewer visible scratches. ;-)

                          2. Hi, fobos8:

                            You might be interested in these: http://www.bluskilletironware.com/the...

                            Hand made in USA (forge, hammer, anvil), quite beautiful, and well-balanced. The 13" should be big enough--you have 3 choices. I handled these pans last week at the makers' shop, and they are 2.6mm thick, which should lighten the load for your wife.

                            Not cheap, but worth it.

                            Aloha,
                            Kaleo

                            17 Replies
                            1. re: kaleokahu

                              Hi Kaleo

                              Thanks for the recommendation. However....

                              I think I'm going to get a Mineral B pancake pan. There's plenty of cooking area. I know there'll be more splatter but so what.

                              Thanks everyone for your help. Andrew

                              1. re: fobos8

                                Are you on gas, electric or induction?

                                1. re: fobos8

                                  Hi Andrew,

                                  I've got that crepe pan, in the Carbone Plus line. The pan is the same as the Mineral B, but it has a different coating to protect the pan during shipping. It's also lower in price.

                                  Here are several sources for it: https://www.google.com/shopping/produ...

                                  1. re: fobos8

                                    The crepe pans work well as long as there isn't too much oil or fat run off. Moderate (appropriate) cooking temperatures helps with this too.

                                    1. re: Sid Post

                                      <The crepe pans work well as long as there isn't too much oil or fat run off>

                                      ... and as long as the food isn't too loose and in need of turning/flipping. I've scattered shredded hash browns before. Only once, though, now I'm more gentle when I turn them.

                                      1. re: DuffyH

                                        Loose hash browns?

                                        How would I justify my "Country Pan" if I did smaller things like diced potatoes, vegetables, etc. on a crepe pan? ;-)

                                        1. re: Sid Post

                                          I'm looking to get a country pan not sure what I would use it for. I get most things done on the 12" fry pan.
                                          dB crepe pan: crepes and French toast
                                          dB fry pan: pancakes, home fries sauté veggies tofu ect.
                                          dB country pan: ??
                                          HC Wok: fried rice, wok cooking.

                                          1. re: VeganVick

                                            The "Country Pan" is the one I use the most. The higher sides keep splatters in better. I can toss things with a spoon or spatula without spillage and, it is the largest one they make so it's great for bigger tasks.

                                            Like a "chef's pan", some people love them and some people wonder what you use one for. I must admit, prior to getting my DB Country Pan I used a Chef's Pan for a lot of things.

                                            1. re: VeganVick

                                              I see you haven't listed an egg pan among them. The 14" Country Pan would be ideal. Ask Sid!

                                              0:-)

                                            2. re: Sid Post

                                              Different pans for different cooks.

                                              Or put in context, you say "Potato", I say "Oh, crap! Hand me that broom!" :-D

                                      2. re: kaleokahu

                                        Thanks for the info, kaleo.

                                        The handles look infinitely more comfortable than the typical carbon-steel or blue steel pan. But yow! the price. OTOH, hand-made, virtually indestructible pan. Excellent wedding gifts...

                                          1. re: Sid Post

                                            To each his/her own! That handle's too short for me, and I'm not seeing the attraction in octagonal sides. At the price, I'd go for the Blu Skillet. But I like the machined-smooth aspect, and the heat-dissipating stainless aspect of the handle. Enjoy!

                                            1. re: ellabee

                                              :-D Different strokes for different folks!

                                              I like the octagonal sides for pouring off grease. The handle is larger in diameter and longer with the wire cooling is a step in the right direction IMHO. I'll reserve handle length comments until I use it a while.

                                              With newer cast iron being rough cast with possibly weaker melts, I'm looking forward to this possibly being the type of quality my ancestors knew.

                                            2. re: Sid Post

                                              Hi, Sid:

                                              Maybe it is a better mousetrap. Please post a review if/when you get one.

                                              Aloha,
                                              Kaleo

                                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                                Absolutely Kaleo!

                                                I got in early and have one coming from the second batch. I can't wait to receive it but, with an out of state household move it may be a while before I see it and can give it a proper "test drive".

                                          2. Check for recent post on the topic.

                                            Sid from his cellphone