Frying Pan Maintenance

Apparently, people like to eat.

Moderators: SecondTalon, Moderators General, Prelates

User avatar
Jorpho
Posts: 6279
Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2007 5:31 am UTC
Location: Canada

Frying Pan Maintenance

Postby Jorpho » Mon Mar 02, 2009 12:47 am UTC

It occurs to me that there are several myserious things about frying pans that I have never understood.

For instance: Is there any safe way to use a metal spatula with a non-stick frying pan? By "safe" I mean unlikely to harm the non-stick surface.

Also, is it bad or at least inadvisable to rinse a hot frying pan out in the sink? Or does that eventually warp the metal severely? It appears the alternative is trying to deal with congealed grease.

User avatar
gerb
Posts: 140
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 6:34 am UTC
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: Frying Pan Maintenance

Postby gerb » Mon Mar 02, 2009 1:36 am UTC

If you want to keep the pans nice and non-sticky I would suggest you invest in a friendly spatula.

I haven't had much experience with the warping, but we usually wait for them to cool down. Congealed grease isn't all that bad...
"In a world where derivatives change functions into other functions...one constant will stand alone....This summer, Leonhard Euler is...ex..."
-Sir_Elderberry

User avatar
PatrickRsGhost
Posts: 2278
Joined: Fri May 04, 2007 5:43 pm UTC
Location: ZZ9PluralZAlpha
Contact:

Re: Frying Pan Maintenance

Postby PatrickRsGhost » Mon Mar 02, 2009 3:31 am UTC

I don't like using those commercial non-stick skillets because I've found the chemical tends to leak into my food, making it taste funny. Almost like eating plastic.

As for a spatula, you're better off with a good rubber or plastic spatula that can withstand high heat. Or if you can find one, get a wooden spatula.

The best non-stick skillet is a well-seasoned cast iron skillet. They're easy to maintain, and you only have to re-season them once in a blue moon, if even that frequently. Unless you're a bastard, and scrub it out constantly with soap and water. Otherwise a paper towel will do just fine. If you have caked-on food, place it on the stove, add 1 cup of salt and 1 cup of water to the skillet, bring it to a boil, then remove from the heat and wipe with a paper towel. The salt water will loosen up anything caked on.
PRG

An important message for you:

010000100110010100100000011100110
111010101110010011001010010000001
110100011011110010000001100101011
000010111010000100000011110010110
111101110101011100100010000001100
010011000010110001101101111011011
1000101110

Carnildo
Posts: 2023
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2008 8:43 am UTC

Re: Frying Pan Maintenance

Postby Carnildo » Mon Mar 02, 2009 3:43 am UTC

Jorpho wrote:For instance: Is there any safe way to use a metal spatula with a non-stick frying pan? By "safe" I mean unlikely to harm the non-stick surface.

Yes: Don't let the spatula touch the surface of the pan.

Jinx
Posts: 20
Joined: Sun Mar 18, 2007 10:56 am UTC

Re: Frying Pan Maintenance

Postby Jinx » Mon Mar 02, 2009 5:09 am UTC

PatrickRsGhost wrote:The best non-stick skillet is a well-seasoned cast iron skillet.


QFT!


Anywho, yeah, as was mentioned, metal + most (read:99%) of nonstick surfaces = instant wear, however minimal. Silicone spatulas are the way to go if there's something you want to flip; brands like OXXO can be found most anywhere (Targets, Walmart, etc.), in addition to your specialty stores. As for stirring things, silicone spatulas (or spoonulas) or wooden tools are the way you wanna go. Long story short, metal = bad.

In regards to cleaning, unless you're in a big hurry, it's always best to let the pans cool down a bit first. Cheaper, lighter stuff is most vulnerable to warping- even heavy, restaurant-grade stuff will eventually suffer damage if you make a habit out of hitting hot metal with water. Heheh, trust a long-time kitchen dishwasher: even the worst messes can be more easily tackled with a long soak in hot, soapy water.

User avatar
cerbie
Posts: 934
Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2008 5:14 am UTC
Location: USA

Re: Frying Pan Maintenance

Postby cerbie » Mon Mar 02, 2009 8:39 pm UTC

PatrickRsGhost wrote:The best non-stick skillet is a well-seasoned cast iron skillet.
Truthiness. It takes very little time for "non-stick" to start sticking more than cast iron, and cast iron can be poked and prodded with sharp edges all day long. I've found that bready things help the initial seasoning/slickifying along (grilled sandwiches, pancakes, etc.).
They're easy to maintain, and you only have to re-season them once in a blue moon, if even that frequently. Unless you're a bastard, and scrub it out constantly with soap and water. Otherwise a paper towel will do just fine. If you have caked-on food, place it on the stove, add 1 cup of salt and 1 cup of water to the skillet, bring it to a boil, then remove from the heat and wipe with a paper towel. The salt water will loosen up anything caked on.
You can do it right on the stove, too. I generally use a few teaspoons of salt, but 2-3 cups of water, and let it boil down by half or so.

For cookware other than cast iron (in my case that's stainless steel), I tend to use vinegar water to get up caked on stuff.
DSenette: (...) on the whole, even a trained killer cow is kind of stupid.

User avatar
Rinsaikeru
Pawn, soon to be a Queen
Posts: 2166
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 5:26 am UTC
Location: Toronto
Contact:

Re: Frying Pan Maintenance

Postby Rinsaikeru » Wed Mar 04, 2009 6:37 pm UTC

The only thing my metal spatula is for is cookies. And I use it on a silicone mat not directly on the cookie sheet. That aside I use plastic/silicone flippers and lifters.

Frying pans certainly warp when washed immediately when very hot. Normally I pour off anything that will pour off when it's hot. Let it cool and then soak/wash.

My crepe/pancake pan--which is non stick but cast and heavy weight--I keep seasoned similar to the way cast iron is kept. I wipe it down with a dry cloth or paper towel before storing and nothing ever sticks to the thing. But then, I only ever cook pancakes and crepes on it.
Rice Puddin.

User avatar
Jorpho
Posts: 6279
Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2007 5:31 am UTC
Location: Canada

Re: Frying Pan Maintenance

Postby Jorpho » Wed Mar 04, 2009 7:14 pm UTC

cerbie wrote:
PatrickRsGhost wrote:The best non-stick skillet is a well-seasoned cast iron skillet.
Truthiness. It takes very little time for "non-stick" to start sticking more than cast iron, and cast iron can be poked and prodded with sharp edges all day long. I've found that bready things help the initial seasoning/slickifying along (grilled sandwiches, pancakes, etc.).
This is a whole new concept to me. You're supposed to use it, and then... not clean it?

User avatar
d33p
Happy Fun Ball
Posts: 1714
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 3:06 am UTC
Location: La Maison de la Liberté

Re: Frying Pan Maintenance

Postby d33p » Wed Mar 04, 2009 7:26 pm UTC

Scrubbing a seasoned cast-iron skillet defeats the purpose, so yes, the "damp cloth wipedown" is preferred. Keep in mind, the heat you've applied to the food is pretty much killing any bacteria worries you might have, and you're not going to get cross-contamination of flavour if you wipe the skillet decently.
Having said that, if you're using saute pans or omelet pans, you'll want something heavy. Thin pans will warp and wear through quite quickly. If the pan you own doesn't make a satisfying *clunk* when you hit someone over the head with it, toss it and buy a heftier one.
I've heard great things about silicon spatulas, but I've been cooking with wooden utensils for so long, I can't see myself switching teams anytime soon. To echo what everyone else has said: metal + metal = wrong.
Parka wrote:I assume this is yours. I don't know anyone else who would put "kill a bear" on a list.

User avatar
netcrusher88
Posts: 2166
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:35 pm UTC
Location: Seattle

Re: Frying Pan Maintenance

Postby netcrusher88 » Wed Mar 04, 2009 11:11 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:This is a whole new concept to me. You're supposed to use it, and then... not clean it?
Pretty much. The seasoning on a cast-iron pan is carbon from burned fats from foods you've cooked in it, or from the initial seasoning process wherein you coat the thing in the fat of your choice - most people like Crisco - and stick it in a 400-450deg oven for 6 hours or so (my roommate says it smells like grilled cheese). I say initial but it should be done every year or so, depending on how much you use the pan. Also, if you pick up a used cast iron pan (these can be had at garage sales for dirt cheap), I recommend scrubbing it out with an SOS pad (which destroys the seasoning along with cleaning it) and re-seasoning it. This is of course optional. Anyway, even just a bit of kitchen soap will reduce the amount of carbon on the pan, thus damaging the seasoning slightly, so most people use a damp cloth or a dry paper towel.

As others have said, one of the nice things about cast iron is that there's pretty much nothing you can do to it physically (not chemically) to damage the seasoning. Metal, plastic, doesn't really matter. Silicone is always best though.

There's basically three types of frying pan other than cast iron. Stainless steel, Teflon, and that new stuff pioneered by Calphalon. Stainless is not at all nonstick and a real pain in the ass to clean properly, but sometimes you need it because it has different heat transfer properties than nonstick. Basic Teflon coating is the old nonstick that's been around (I think) since the 70s, and these days is falling out of favor, because it sucks. It's that greasy-feeling stuff on cheap nonstick pans that is pitch black, scratches easily, and then peels. Teflon also has the disadvantage of breaking down at ~450° Fahrenheit into toxic gases.

Calphalon pioneered using hard anodized aluminum infused with nonstick polymers as a scratch-resistant nonstick surface. This stuff is generally recognizable by having the rivets for the handle stuck completely through the pan material (not sure why, but every pan I've seen with the Calphalon nonstick surface has these), and it's dark grey on the inside with a lighter grey on the outside. I have a set of KitchenAid pans made using this surface I got at Costco, and it's great. I still would avoid using anything metal (like forks), but I have a set of cheap plastic utensils from way back that I use in them all the time with no problems. Still, I'm going to replace them all with silicone when I get the chance.

As far as cleaning, Teflon and stainless are a pain in the ass, but you can pretty much use whatever on stainless (since it isn't coated with anything). For Calphalon, when the soft side of a sponge and dish soap doesn't suffice, I use this stuff called SoftScrub, which is a non-abrasive...abrasive. Not sure how it works, but it does. This stuff should be good for stainless too, but I can't say for Teflon.
Sexothermic
I have only ever made one prayer to God, a very short one: "O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous." And God granted it. -Voltaire
They said we would never have a black president until Swine Flu. -Gears

Carnildo
Posts: 2023
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2008 8:43 am UTC

Re: Frying Pan Maintenance

Postby Carnildo » Thu Mar 05, 2009 4:23 am UTC

netcrusher88 wrote:As far as cleaning, Teflon and stainless are a pain in the ass, but you can pretty much use whatever on stainless (since it isn't coated with anything).


As long as the Teflon is still non-sticking, it cleans quite well. Brush off any cooked-on material with a paper towel or your hand, give it a quick wash with soap and water, and rinse it off. You don't need to dry it because the water doesn't stick to Teflon.

asad137
Posts: 424
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2007 1:58 am UTC
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: Frying Pan Maintenance

Postby asad137 » Thu Mar 05, 2009 5:52 am UTC

My teflon-coated pans are significantly easier to clean than my fairly-well-seasoned cast iron skillet -- mostly, because when something DOES get stuck to the skillet, it takes some effort to remove it (I usually use a dry salt scrub+paper towel). But NOTHING sticks to my teflon pans that a simple light brushing doesn't get rid of.

I've also used teflon to make molds for epoxy casting resins, and it doesn't stick to that either.

Asad

User avatar
Axman
Posts: 2124
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2007 6:51 pm UTC
Location: Denver, Colorado

Re: Frying Pan Maintenance

Postby Axman » Thu Mar 05, 2009 6:52 am UTC

smart people wrote:cast iron FTW

Cast iron is very good all-purpose. I have a complete kitchen set and I use steel spatulas on them all the time, I just don't scratch them. It's pretty hard to even if you're trying.

Some things want stainless steel. Some things will only flourish in copper. Aluminum cookware is a big lie, no matter what's been sprayed on it. The toxic gasses released from baking off all the Teflon from a pan are still not worse for you than inhaling the smoke from a breakfast's worth of bacon. I have never learned to hate a cookware company more than I do Calphalon, but for me, it's personal.

The way to make sure food doesn't stick (sticky foods, like baked pasta, for instance) to cast iron is to pull it off the heat, put a lid on it, and let it rest for a few minutes before plating. (This works for stainless, too. Just gotta be patient.)

The easiest way to clean it is to heat it to a few hundred degrees, add a small amount of water, and when it stops boiling, scrub it fast with a plastic brush. (This is really easy to do after you plate the food, because, chances are, it's got enough heat in it anyway.) Paint it with a little oil and it's done. Never, ever use soap. If it's really stubborn, something like scrambled eggs, boil salt water in it and scrub it. This makes it clean because it's sterile, and doesn't have chunks on it. Trust me, your kitchen is still cleaner than most restaurants'.

(I also wouldn't ever scrub the seasoning off a used pan (in France they say they've got pants on) because it's just carbon, heating it past boiling will definitely kill anything funky. Rust on the bottom isn't really a big deal, either.)

User avatar
Bakemaster
pretty nice future dick
Posts: 8933
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2007 2:33 pm UTC
Location: One of those hot places

Re: Frying Pan Maintenance

Postby Bakemaster » Thu Mar 05, 2009 3:26 pm UTC

netcrusher88 wrote:For Calphalon, when the soft side of a sponge and dish soap doesn't suffice, I use this stuff called SoftScrub, which is a non-abrasive...abrasive. Not sure how it works, but it does. This stuff should be good for stainless too, but I can't say for Teflon.

SoftScrub is a pretty good all-purpose cleaner, but I've never used it on cookware. Are you using one specifically made for dishwashing? Because my instinct would be to shy away from using the regular stuff on anything off of which I plan to eat later. I also really like Chore Boy scrubbers, which are abrasive, but less so than steel wool. I've used them on my nice non-stick, no-coating pans and they're just like they were when I got them years ago.
Image
c0 = 2.13085531 × 1014 smoots per fortnight
"Apparently you can't summon an alternate timeline clone of your inner demon, guys! Remember that." —Noc

User avatar
PAstrychef
for all intimate metaphysical encounters
Posts: 3059
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2008 6:24 pm UTC

Re: Frying Pan Maintenance

Postby PAstrychef » Thu Mar 05, 2009 4:45 pm UTC

Letting grease congeal in your pan, then scraping it into the garbage is much better for your plumbing. And if it's bacon grease you save it in the fridge to use later, when frying spuds or ham, or to coat a cornbread pan before adding the batter or to add some oomph to any dish that gets a bit of fat at the end. It's wonderful to saute an onion in before adding it to mac&cheeze, it will make stuff from a box taste close to homemade.
Don’t become a well-rounded person. Well rounded people are smooth and dull. Become a thoroughly spiky person. Grow spikes from every angle. Stick in their throats like a puffer fish.

User avatar
netcrusher88
Posts: 2166
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:35 pm UTC
Location: Seattle

Re: Frying Pan Maintenance

Postby netcrusher88 » Thu Mar 05, 2009 5:45 pm UTC

Bakemaster wrote:
netcrusher88 wrote:For Calphalon, when the soft side of a sponge and dish soap doesn't suffice, I use this stuff called SoftScrub, which is a non-abrasive...abrasive. Not sure how it works, but it does. This stuff should be good for stainless too, but I can't say for Teflon.

SoftScrub is a pretty good all-purpose cleaner, but I've never used it on cookware. Are you using one specifically made for dishwashing? Because my instinct would be to shy away from using the regular stuff on anything off of which I plan to eat later. I also really like Chore Boy scrubbers, which are abrasive, but less so than steel wool. I've used them on my nice non-stick, no-coating pans and they're just like they were when I got them years ago.

I just use the regular lemon SoftScrub. I try not to use it much, because it takes longer to rinse properly than to use in the first place, but when you get something stuck on there that needs scrubbing it works great.
Sexothermic
I have only ever made one prayer to God, a very short one: "O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous." And God granted it. -Voltaire
They said we would never have a black president until Swine Flu. -Gears

User avatar
Bakemaster
pretty nice future dick
Posts: 8933
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2007 2:33 pm UTC
Location: One of those hot places

Re: Frying Pan Maintenance

Postby Bakemaster » Thu Mar 05, 2009 6:18 pm UTC

Yeah... I don't think I'd be comfortable with that. I don't know if there are any actual bad effects, but to me SoftScrub falls in the category of "household cleaner" along with things like Comet, Ajax, Windex - things I would not use on cookware.
Image
c0 = 2.13085531 × 1014 smoots per fortnight
"Apparently you can't summon an alternate timeline clone of your inner demon, guys! Remember that." —Noc

ThomasS
Posts: 585
Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2007 7:46 pm UTC

Re: Frying Pan Maintenance

Postby ThomasS » Thu Mar 05, 2009 7:39 pm UTC

My pan preference varies with what I'm doing.

While you poo poo stainless steel, note that nearly every commercial griddle is made of the stuff. In my experience if the surface is sufficiently hard and smooth, and you use just a tiny bit of oil, a lot of things cook rather well. I use a stainless clad aluminum cored Kitchenaid pan for a lot of things. With good temperature control pancakes only require a very thin layer of butter. If I'm browning a chop or roast it will stick, but then it is supposed to and nothing scrapes like a thin sharp metal spatula. I'm of the school that if you don't have to disable a smoke detector when browning meat, either you have a very good range hood or you are doing something wrong; being able to turn up the heat without fear of damaging the pan is worth a lot.

Also fried eggs aren't bad in such a pan, especially if you have a little bacon grease, but scrambled eggs seem hard without using more oil than I like. As a result I ended with a Teflon pan mostly for scrambled eggs.

Regarding care of good stainless pans, I normally scrub with dishsoap and medium weight (typically green in the US) plastic kitchen scrub pads, and find that most things come clean quickly. When things get tough, pretty much everything dissolves if you let it sit full of hot water and a little dishwasher detergent.

Now obviously a lot of a lot of these advantages are shared by cast iron. I suppose that my frustration with cast iron would be alleviated with practice. It has always seemed a bit sticky or grimy to me, and it hasn't been clear to me what to do when meat residue or similar does stick to the pan.

User avatar
netcrusher88
Posts: 2166
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:35 pm UTC
Location: Seattle

Re: Frying Pan Maintenance

Postby netcrusher88 » Fri Mar 06, 2009 2:31 am UTC

asad137 wrote:(I usually use a dry salt scrub+paper towel)
I just tried this out on my pan that had some eggs stuck on, and this is my new favorite way to clean cast iron. Thank you.
Sexothermic
I have only ever made one prayer to God, a very short one: "O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous." And God granted it. -Voltaire
They said we would never have a black president until Swine Flu. -Gears

asad137
Posts: 424
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2007 1:58 am UTC
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: Frying Pan Maintenance

Postby asad137 » Fri Mar 06, 2009 5:35 am UTC

netcrusher88 wrote:
asad137 wrote:(I usually use a dry salt scrub+paper towel)
I just tried this out on my pan that had some eggs stuck on, and this is my new favorite way to clean cast iron. Thank you.


Don't thank me, thank Alton Brown -- I learned it from watching him.

Asad

User avatar
Axman
Posts: 2124
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2007 6:51 pm UTC
Location: Denver, Colorado

Re: Frying Pan Maintenance

Postby Axman » Fri Mar 06, 2009 10:04 am UTC

asad137 wrote:Don't thank me, thank Alton Brown -- I learned it from watching him.

Just be sure to rinse the pan a bit--the next meal you cook is going to be zesty otherwise.

User avatar
PatrickRsGhost
Posts: 2278
Joined: Fri May 04, 2007 5:43 pm UTC
Location: ZZ9PluralZAlpha
Contact:

Re: Frying Pan Maintenance

Postby PatrickRsGhost » Fri Mar 06, 2009 11:18 am UTC

PAstrychef wrote:Letting grease congeal in your pan, then scraping it into the garbage is much better for your plumbing. And if it's bacon grease you save it in the fridge to use later, when frying spuds or ham, or to coat a cornbread pan before adding the batter or to add some oomph to any dish that gets a bit of fat at the end. It's wonderful to saute an onion in before adding it to mac&cheeze, it will make stuff from a box taste close to homemade.


If this was the 1940s, during WWII, you would get some money for that bacon grease.

Bacon grease is also millions of times better than sausage grease. I mean, come on! It's from one of the greatest inventions known to man: bacon! I've used it to make excellent gravy for biscuits or mashed potatoes.

I remember when my parents and I were cleaning out my great-granddad's house, there was a lot of cast iron cookery hanging on the walls. Skillets of various caliber, baking sheets, baking pans, some kind of baking pan that had corn-shaped molds in it, and a few others. If we had been smart, we would have taken those down, cleaned them up, reseasoned them, and we would probably still have them to this day. Instead my dad was stupid and threw it all away as scrap metal.

If they were extremely rusty, though, then it stands to reason. Wait. No it doesn't. They still could have been cleaned. Shit.
PRG

An important message for you:

010000100110010100100000011100110
111010101110010011001010010000001
110100011011110010000001100101011
000010111010000100000011110010110
111101110101011100100010000001100
010011000010110001101101111011011
1000101110

User avatar
netcrusher88
Posts: 2166
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:35 pm UTC
Location: Seattle

Re: Frying Pan Maintenance

Postby netcrusher88 » Sat Mar 07, 2009 9:18 am UTC

PatrickRsGhost wrote:If they were extremely rusty, though, then it stands to reason. Wait. No it doesn't. They still could have been cleaned. Shit.
Reminds me, I've heard of putting cast iron in the oven for a self-clean cycle as a last-ditch thing if you have issues with rust or some kind of thing that just won't come off... the self-clean cycle will probably burn off the seasoning too, but if you've got rust you need to reseason it anyway. Anyone ever done this?
Sexothermic
I have only ever made one prayer to God, a very short one: "O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous." And God granted it. -Voltaire
They said we would never have a black president until Swine Flu. -Gears

User avatar
cerbie
Posts: 934
Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2008 5:14 am UTC
Location: USA

Re: Frying Pan Maintenance

Postby cerbie » Sun Mar 08, 2009 2:10 am UTC

netcrusher88 wrote:
PatrickRsGhost wrote:If they were extremely rusty, though, then it stands to reason. Wait. No it doesn't. They still could have been cleaned. Shit.
Reminds me, I've heard of putting cast iron in the oven for a self-clean cycle as a last-ditch thing if you have issues with rust or some kind of thing that just won't come off... the self-clean cycle will probably burn off the seasoning too, but if you've got rust you need to reseason it anyway. Anyone ever done this?
Never heard of that. I've heard more than a few stories of free cast iron skillets (my parents', FI) requiring quite a few SOS pads (so not really free, 'cause those are kinda expensive), but never using the oven...
DSenette: (...) on the whole, even a trained killer cow is kind of stupid.


Return to “Food”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests