Picking The Right Pan For Every Recipe | Epicurious


hi my name is tim music i am the current executive director at jb prince company and today i’m going to show you how to pick the pan that’s right for you one looking for a pan you should really ask yourself a few questions what do you like to cook how many people you’re cooking for and probably the capacity of your stove over your oven one of the more common or popular shapes in cookware are fry pans a fry pan typically has an elongated handle a significant surface area for you to sear food in and generally flares out the flaring is what allows for some steam to escape for browning of food it’s also used when you want to toss or manipulate product maybe without using a utensil with a kind of simple flick of the wrist now keep in mind the size is important depending on what it is that you’re cooking in most situations you don’t want to overcrowd a pan and you also don’t want to have too much negative space volume is key in this pan that’s here in front of me that’s about an eight inch pan typically used for maybe a single possibly two smaller appetized portions of a protein or something to that effect the one next to me would probably comfortably fit maybe three portions of a protein you can cook identical foods in them but again it’s in relation to the volume of what it is that you need to cook in some situations it might even be ideal to have two smaller pans rather than one large pan if you aren’t able to meet the pan’s actual capacity you could wind up a situation where that section of the pan becomes too hot and you could get some scorch or some discoloration there are also regional differences in the shape of a fry pan the one here is kind of more typical of what you would see i guess in american households in american kitchens the one on this side here is leona’s or a shape that’s inspired from lyon less surface area on the bottom the diameter of the actual cooking surface is slightly smaller and it flares out quite a bit more the reason this is is so when you’re browning product you have a lot more of moisture releasing aiding the browning process if you were searing exclusively this might be a great benefit to have that additional flare whereas this one if you look the outside diameter and the and the base are pretty close you get a little bit more bang for your buck in terms of surface area and this one you get added benefit of more moisture coming off of the pan in front of us we have two sauce pans they’re great for heating up sauces or any kind of liquids and in the restaurant world there tend to be a lot on the smaller side because we’re heating up sauces ala minute but at home you may want something a little bit bigger another thing to consider when you’re electing cookware is the output of the burners in your home you generally want to match the diameter of your pan as close as possible to the size of the burner the cost of the material may come into play so if you wanted to have something or not necessarily spend as much money on it don’t feel too bad about it you may want to shift those dollars into fry pans where the material becomes a little bit more relevant in terms of cooking or contact with food for me a saute pan is an interesting combination between a traditional sauce pan and a fry pan unlike a fry pan the sides on a saute pan are much straighter or almost meet the base at 90 degrees and when adding liquids or stirring it will contain the liquid and you’ll have less of a mess on your hands the saute pan here is going to be beneficial when you want to concentrate liquids or evaporate flavor and the saucepan should be better at preserving or keeping those liquids and maintaining temperature in this particular case we’re going to use a saute pan the increased surface area allows you to put liquid in there and help you concentrate flavors and evaporate liquid more rapidly a lot more steam coming off of the saute pan meaning that there’s the reduction has begun to happen a lot more quickly things are boiling in there the other distinct difference between a fry pan and a saucepan is that you have similar diameters in the base and the top gives you maximum surface area and points of contact when you’re actually frying something when you’re shopping for or looking for a pan these are things you consider do you tend to do more dry cooking with less liquids do you want to have something that’s a little bit more of a hybrid these are all important factors and getting the most effective product for your needs another feature or add benefit when using a saute pan is for you to be able to use a lid remember you’re being able to add moisture to this pan in a greater volume than you normally would with a fry pan so using a lid is perfectly acceptable another tip for when you’re shopping or looking for cookware is if you can find a common diameter amongst pans what that will allow you to do is pick a lid that’s somewhat universal the french refer to as a saucier or a rounded bottom saucepan it has a unique feature where it’s kind of a rounded shape between where the base and the sides of the pan meet it allows you to get a tool like a whisk inserted into that corner there to make sure that you’re getting maximum contact with the pan and moving product around efficiently the benefit of this is in other situations where you’re working in a traditional saucepan you may leave some product behind it may not efficiently get scraped out of the corners and you can get some things that burn or scorch in that process here we have a rondo it’s kind of like the big brother to the saute pan it’s for situations that need a little bit more capacity than a saute pan or when you’re not gonna maybe be shaking or manipulating or tossing the food as much great for shallow frying great for searing and great for braising this pan would be used in situations where you may start with a sear and need to add a liquid and then a lid if you tend to be cooking a lot need to cook in a certain volume and like braises or stews this could be a good option to get you in between half stock pot and a larger fry pan you’ll often hear the term skillet usually associated with cast iron in essence it’s a variation or another name for a fry pan or they fall into the same category or family this particular one has some interesting features cause cast iron skillets tend to be relatively heavy they have an added helper handle on the opposite side for lifting handles also tend to be a little bit on the shorter side and cast pieces because they are integral to the actual pan and this one has some unique pour spouts on each side as they tend to be slightly deeper than fry pans with a little bit less of an ability to toss simply because they’re too heavy to do that with anyway the next pan i have here is a [ __ ] pan very very very specific not something you necessarily need to add to your repertoire unless you love to make crepes a fancy pancake if you will i think some french guy is going to beat me up for saying that you could use it for other things as well store-bought tortillas that you maybe want to heat up this might be a good option for you another very specific piece of kitchen cookware is wok wok cooking is prevalent in chinese or asian cooking the heat that you need to adequately heat a wok is something that’s typically not available to in your home you may want to try and adapt some of those recipes or techniques to your standard fry pans wok burners have a tremendous amount of control and variants of heat i’ve seen them cranked up as high as where they’re actually almost hitting the edges it’s that ability to get it super super hot that makes it as effective as it is wok cooking is also very active when people cook with woks or people who do it well are moving food around constantly and the utensils they use inside this round shape accommodate that movement in front of me is another variation of a wok that looks like it’s been manipulated to work on a home stove the bottom seems to be a little bit flatter wooden handles on each side to accommodate heat transfer and it has this helper handle on the opposite side for when you may need the added lifting power there’s some discoloration along this side here that discoloration looks like it was formed by kind of overheating and too much oil that was built up here it’s actually the signs of probably a bad break-in process on a carbon steel wok this wok that we have in front of us has a non-stick coating inside something i would never recommend while cooking is meant to be done at a really high heat non-stick coatings are really not friendly to high heat the marriage here just doesn’t make sense just because it’s made that way doesn’t mean it’s good or you should necessarily buy it we’ve covered but a few different shapes and sizes in the cookware world there’s many more this was just an introduction to what we thought was necessary and practical to get you started certain cookware is very task specific and costly so make sure you’re picking pans or cookware that’s right for your needs if you’re not going to be making things in a tagine you don’t need to buy one another thing to look at and consider when you’re looking at pans is how handles are attached this particular pan they’re riveted a rivet is basically a mechanical fastener of sorts they work well because they allow you to have a good sturdy strong handle and additionally they allow manufacturers to mix metals a lot of pans will transfer heat into the handle and sometimes a manufacturer will intentionally pick a material that’s less conductive to heat so to keep you a little bit safer with that being said i always recommend that you use some kind of protective thing like a dry towel or an oven mitt this particular handle is a flat construction it’s something that i actually prefer it gives you a firm grip and allows the pan to stay firm in your hand without tweaking to the left of the right when you pick it up another little added interesting feature they punch out a little bit of material here which again reduces the heat transfer into the handle this pitch like this is really kind of beneficial for saving you a little space if you were to crank it down here just it would probably come out to here with professional situations makes a big difference another way of fixing handles to pans is with welds welds are actually traditionally stronger than rivets they generally have a smoother finish on the inside making it more sanitary there’s no place for kind of bits to accumulate you should always look for a pan that has a significant amount of welds to make sure it’s fixed on properly and stays there i’ve seen as few as one which uh i don’t recommend this particular handle is a hollow stainless steel handle not really my favorite shape because it’s rounded they did do something that’s interesting that i haven’t seen on a lot of rounded panel pans they’ve put a small indentation on the front side and the back side to give you a place for your thumb to firmly rest so when you are tossing or manipulating food it feels a lot more secure in your hand another technique used to fix handles is with a mechanical fastener like a screw or a bolt you tend to see this in cost effective or budget cookware i simply don’t recommend it if that screw loosens or fails there’s a high likelihood you’re going to hurt yourself another thing that you will see from time to time is one piece construction where there is no fasteners for the handle this is actually a carbon steel construction and you notice it’s completely seamless and fixed all the way through with one piece also notice this one is done in a flat style as well again making a little bit more comfortable or less prone to tweaking in your hand there’s probably a higher likelihood of a heat transfer from the body into the handle and these one-piece constructions hence the cut out and the vent but again keep in mind no matter what cookware you’re using you should always protect your hands with some kind of dry side towel or oven mitt some handles are not necessarily friendly to heat a lot of inexpensive pans have plastic handles which you never want to put into the oven some handles like this one actually have inserts or covers that fit over the handle which may be appropriate for the oven but in the case of open flames or if it comes exposed to an actual gas stove they could melt and it could be kind of gross and toxic because stainless steel by itself tends to be a relatively poor conductor of heat it generally married to some other materials they can do it with a sandwich bottom construction but they actually fuse or add a disc to the bottom of the pan this is a sandwich of stainless steel aluminum and then the stainless steel body itself that brings more heat to the base of the pan and gives you better heat retention or higher heat at the cooking surface the other is a clad construction and what that basically means is that there is this identical material from the base all the way to the top nothing’s fused or added this is actually five layers of material that alter between aluminum and stainless and there’s also some ferrous or magnetic material in here to make this induction friendly already the material used in this pan is the same thickness and same density from top to bottom there’s no variation in a sandwich bottom the thickness is just here at the base but that density of aluminum or that thickness allows for great heat retention and also lowers the cost of a pan so it’s kind of an economic or good value point for a quality stainless piece the one thing that you have to be cautious of in sandwich bottom construction is if you begin to send heat beyond the disc you may experience some scorch between that disc and the actual pan itself so be careful to control your flame if you elect to buy this style of cookware when you’re talking about clad cookware they’ll generally offer millimeters and thicknesses a rule of thumb is that most quality clad stainless steel cookware starts at around 2.5 millimeters picking it up and feeling it are good indicators of the quality because weight and density are an important factor in that a pan that’s heavier or has more mass is a better retainer of heat one of the reasons why people love cast iron so much the more dense the pan is or the heavier it is it generally takes longer to heat and on the opposite side longer to cool when it’s time to clean up you have to let it come down in temperature in front of me i have an aluminum fry pan it’s around eight inches really really common in the restaurant industry aluminum is a good option for value it has great conductor of heat is also lightweight it’s cons are it tends to be reactive it can spot and at high heat it’ll misshapen this pan is great for someone who’s just starting out and looking for a good value and performance aluminum pans are made in a variety of shapes and sizes you’ll see stock pots fry pans rondos there’s a process called anodizing which is a basically a hardening of aluminum it’ll add a black color to the aluminum it’ll make it less reactive and also add a little bit of a better heat exchange because of that dark coloration anodizing is probably worth the extra investment for the longevity in my experience if you take care of your cookware it should treat you well for an extended period of time stainless steel is fantastic for mostly reasons related to maintenance it’s extremely durable it resists rust and is very easy to maintain its downsides is that it’s typically not a great conductor of heat in most cases of better cookware it’s usually blended with another material to enhance its thermal conductivity and make it a better vessel for cooking it so what would happen in terms of poor heat conduction is that it’s very spotty and blotchy so you won’t have a good even heating surface so it could be a situation that you put a protein into your pan and there may be a side that is actually cooking faster than the other side which is obviously something that you don’t want you’re always looking for even and consistent heat when cooking stainless steel is the universal cookware in the sense that anything can go in it it’s not reactive stainless steel is the most dishwasher friendly of all the materials keep in mind that stainless steel doesn’t mean that it will never rust there’s one very important point that you always have to remember in any cookware that you use before you clean it let it cool if you can you should wash all of your cookware by hand if you could towel dry or remove as much moisture as humanly possible from your pan that’s also a great idea any water on any metallic surface for an extended period of time you run the risk of rust the one on my left hand side is one that has never been used before out of the box the blackened one has been broken in over an extended period of time makes the pan naturally non-stick carbon steel pans are very well suited for searing carbon steel pans tend to come to heat faster than cast iron pans which are thicker material in addition the break-in period for carbon steel pans is generally quicker because the surface is smoother the simplest way to force a patina or to get the pan to be blackened is by warming it and rubbing it with very very thin coats of oil i like to do the inside and the outside to make sure the coloration is even and then put it in a low oven at about 250 degrees for extended period of time remove it let it cool and repeat the more you use it that color will also come with it carbon steel pans are generally very affordable for the durability and longevity they fall somewhere in between the price of aluminum and stainless steel there is a certain amount of maintenance that is involved if you tend to be the kind of person that wants to get in and out of the kitchen fast this may not be the right cookware for you and i’m about to break one of my own cardinal rules to demonstrate something we’re going to saute some onions and add some acid to it what probably will happen is that there will be actually some of the pan patina we’ll pull into the onions and discolor them leaving some lemon in here this pan is pretty well broken in has a pretty strong patina but i just squeezed literally probably the equivalent about a teaspoon it’s starting to actually strip out some of the patina in this area here i’m 100 sure i’ll have a pretty gross and metallic taste the acid is not friendly to the kind of polymerization of the patina that you’ve built up on this pan and it actually kind of breaks it down and you’re stripping it away with this with the acid in essence the lesson here is if you’re going to be making pan sauces or you’re going to be using acids or kind of reductions carbon steel is probably not for you in front of me we have a cast iron skillet or fry pan probably one of the more iconic materials in cookware as a material it’s really not a great conductor of heat but because it’s generally made so dense and so thick allows you to develop and hold heat for an extended period of time which makes it great for searing it’s also a great option if you want to go from stove to oven it is also reactive with acidic foods the maintenance of cast iron is similar carbon steel it is definitely not dishwasher friendly if it’s not dried and handled appropriately it will tend to rust because of its durability it tends to last an extremely long time if you were to buy a brand new cast iron pan you can do it very very inexpensively there are certain brands in cast iron that have become highly collectible i think large pieces from a certain period there’s another company called erie and griswold that will go for hundreds of dollars at auction so in front of us we have a cast iron enamel dutch oven and in essence what that is is a cast piece that’s been coated with a ceramic or an enamel coating it allows you to cook with reactive foods it reduces the amount of rust that could occur in the pan and just a little bit more user friendly the coating doesn’t necessarily make it around this entire lip here this is actually exposed cast iron so if you were to put it into a dishwasher you would wind up having rust they put these dimples on here so water returns back into what it is that you’re cooking cast iron enamel is super easy to maintain all you have to do is let it cool use a mild detergent and wipe it out this particular cast iron enamel piece happens to be a dutch oven but it is available in different shapes and sizescopper cookware is a classic material for making pots and pans you see it often hanging in very very classic french restaurants it gets hot fast and it keeps heat even which is essential to cooking its downsides are that it is highly reactive and very very difficult to maintain and lastly super expensive i think this is probably 180 bucks just to give you an idea of the degree of maintenance associated with copper it doesn’t stay shiny and beautiful for very long these are just fingerprints this was brand new out of the bag it will get a really strange tinge and color if you don’t polish it and take care of it you see that it’s lined with stainless and that material is necessary in order to make the pan usable and not reactive if you will and then there’s the copper exterior once you have copper that has a stainless steel lining there’s no limitations to really what you can cook in it if you were looking to outfit your kitchen with copper and have a deep collection it could cost you thousands of dollars non-stick is really a reference to a coating not necessarily the pan’s overall material non-stick surfaces are common in cookware in this country they’re often referred to as teflon which is could be a brand name for that coating in recent times there’s been some bad press related to teflon to address this manufacturers have started to remove the harmful chemicals from non-stick making it safe again it’s highly recommended if you’ve purchased japan before year 2013 that you should replace it with one of the newer versions where the chemicals have been addressed and removed nonstick cookware has also become popular for people who have health concerns and need to use a limited amount of fat in their cooking most non-stick pans are generally priced reasonably they usually adhere to aluminum pans you can see them on stainless as well i wouldn’t recommend making a big investment into a non-stick pan simply because the coatings do tend to fail after an extended period of time i personally use non-stick for one thing in my house and that’s to cook eggs in front of me i have two pans one with a non-stick coating and one that’s a traditional straight stainless steel we’re going to add an equal amount of fat to each to try and demonstrate the benefits of a non-stick pan when frying an egg you notice a stainless if i just even kind of do a light tilt even with fat it’s really not going anywhere non-stick with like a simple little nudge from a high heat spot here start to move around pretty easily even after i loosen it it’s kind of stuck in place so i think i’m going to do something a little dangerous here with the non-stick i’m already able to flip it no utensils and no extra manipulation this bad boy it ain’t going anywhere he’s stuck on there that’s really the benefit of the non-stick pan especially when you’re cooking eggs it tends to be not so durable under high heat and not last for a particularly long period of time and it is not recommended for the dishwasher as it will deteriorate from the detergents in there too ceramic is used for a substitute for a non-stick coating it became extremely popular when people had health concerns related to the chemicals in non-stick or teflon is rated at a higher temperature so you can bring it up to a higher temperature but its non-stick properties tend to be not as good so i think their honor about what nonstick costs maybe a little bit more i literally had one for a week it sucked and i never used it one again literally that’s my my synopsis of ceramic price of cookware is influenced by a variety of different areas it could be where it’s made it could be the construction it could be the material it’s very very important to make sure you have a good understanding of all of those things before you make an investment make sure you do your research and you don’t overpay or overbuy you want to buy pans that are appropriate for your needs in your home or in your kitchen it’s not necessarily advantageous to always buy the most expensive cookware hopefully the information today will help you pick your next piece of cookware

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Is HexClad Cookware a scam?

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