The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Wanted: a good commercial-grade frypan

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Wanted: a good commercial-grade frypan

Hi folks. I've had a few teflon-coated non-stick frypans, but all have eventually lost their non-stick quality after a few years. I've decided my relationship with teflon is over.

I know about Scanpan and other brands offering titanium alternatives to teflon, and of course, very high quality - and expensive - stuff like Le Creuset. I'm not much interested in that sort of high-end status gear. Also, wrought iron is too heavy for my liking.

I am after a quality frypan (about 28cm) with an oven-proof handle that can be put in the oven when the occasion calls for it, and can take high stovetop heat when necessary. Nothing fancy. Just a good quality, hard-wearing pan that can be cured in the old-fashioned way - the sort of thing that is relatively cheap and that is found in commercial restaurant kitchens all over the place.

Thing is, the commercial restaurant kitchen suppliers around my area are staffed by folk who don't have a lot of real knowledge about the gear they sell, and my efforts to ascertain the sort of pan I'm after have not been successful so far. I have read that blue-steel is the best option, but can only find "black steel" ones here. Does anyone know if this is the same as "blue-steel?"

If any informed person can recommend a quality brand of commercial-grade frypan of the type I've described above, I would be much appreciative.

Cheers
Ross

breadbakingbassplayer's picture
breadbakingbass...

Not sure if they are commercial, but I use something similar to these:

de Buyer French Carbon Steel Fry Pan

http://www.chefscatalog.com/product/24499-carbon-steel-fry-pan.aspx

Or:

http://www.bowerykitchens.com/frstfrypa.html

I don't have this brand, but I've had mine for over 10 years, and it makes the best fried eggs and hash browns without sticking

Tim

alabubba's picture
alabubba
breadbakingbassplayer's picture
breadbakingbass...

The paderno ones look good...

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Thanks Tim and alabubba. Yes, the carbon-steel ones look like what I'm after.

I do know a curing method, but interested in what you did to cure your pan, Tim?

breadbakingbassplayer's picture
breadbakingbass...

You are welcome.  I washed it with hot soapy water, then dried it, and just started frying bacon, eggs, and potatoes on it...  Also, seering steaks is good too.  The more you cook on it, the better it gets...

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

OK, so I take it yours is a Lodge pre-seasoned, Tim?

breadbakingbassplayer's picture
breadbakingbass...

No, I have a French steel pan.  It was brand new and unseasoned when I bought it over 10 years ago.  I just washed it down with hot soapy water, dried it, rubbed it with cooking oil and started cooking on it...  That's about it...

And no, you can't have it! ;oP

blaisepascal's picture
blaisepascal

Any seasonable pan I'd get new from the store I'd want to wash with soapy water.  To prevent rusting, carbon steel and iron pans are shipped with a coating of oil already.  That needs to be washed off before use, for safety.

The "preseasoned" pans may be different, as the seasoning process effectively rustproofs as well.

mcs's picture
mcs

Ross,
I realize you posted about a fry pan, but if you're interested in a griddle w/handles or something like that instead, these guys have some heavy-duty cookware

http://www.rockymountaincookware.com/index.html

It's stainless steel (some as heavy as 7 ga.), made in Montana and all that jazz.  Just thought I'd toss that out there-depending on what you're cooking it may work for you.  I personally don't have any, but I've been eyeing it at the local restaurant supply store for the last couple of years.

-Mark

http://TheBackHomeBakery.com

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Thanks for the suggestion, Mark, but that's not really what I was after. Don't let that put you off though - and I'm sure it won't! Haha. Good luck convincing The Higher Power!

Cheers
Ross

Sean McFarlane's picture
Sean McFarlane

have y ou looked into the ceramic fry pans? i jsut got one...not 100% sure of the companyoffhand...honest to god best frypan ive EVER used...heats evenly, and does not stick at all...ill have to get back to you on the brand htough.

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Hi Sean. Actually, I would be interested in the brand if you don't mind getting back on that. Ceramic is the only option that I might consider other than carbon steel. I have heard good things about them.

Sean McFarlane's picture
Sean McFarlane

is the brand name of the pan i bought just recently, and as said above i am very happy with its performance..shows no ware at this point when teflon pans would be begining to show ware.

ericb's picture
ericb

You know this is one of those threads that one starts out reading innocently enough, and by the end of it, has rationalized paying hundreds of dollars for cookware.

Thank goodness for the great spousal equivocator, "Don't you already have like five frying pans?"

A boy can dream.

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller
You know this is one of those threads that one starts out reading innocently enough, and by the end of it, has rationalized paying hundreds of dollars for cookware.
I hope that's not the case, ericb. My thesis right from the start has been that commercial pans offer a much cheaper and better alternative to high-priced 'status' brands with fancy non-stick surfacing that are clearly aimed at the domestic market.

It speaks volumes that my non-stick pans all lost their non-stickness after a few years or less, while my cheap trusty old aluminium pan, now very well cured, has outlasted the rest by 20 years! Top restaurants do not generally use expensive high-profile domestic cookware, and I think that says a lot. Will be most interested to put a modestly priced carbon steel (or maybe ceramic surfaced) commercial pan to the test.

ericb's picture
ericb

I was actually trying to be a little silly in my comment. I love this kind of thread, because it gets me interested in something new, but by the end of it, I'm thinking to myself, "Wow, I could *really* use another <insert product here>," and spending a couple hundred dollars on it actually seems reasonable. I do this all the time... it's a kind of online window shopping. :)

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

All valid observations. It's easy to be commenting at cross purposes or from different vantage points without realising it.

ericb's picture
ericb

I would recommend Calphalon's line of hard-anodized steel utensils.

I received this 10" frying pan as a wedding gift 7 years ago. It was given to me by my uncle, who is famous in our family for his cooking skills. It is, perhaps, my favorite pan. Depending on my mood, I use either that or my cast isron skillets. They all heat evenly, retain heat, go into the oven, etc. The Calphalon pan has the advantage of being lighter and easier to maintain than cast iron. It's really a workhorse.

After so many years, I have noticed that the middle of it is starting to wear a bit, and some scratches from where others have used metal forks while cooking.

Now, it does cost $100+, so I'm not sure if this is one of those "designer" pieces of cookware. Regardless, it has served me well, and I really enjoy using it.

 

ericb's picture
ericb

I would recommend Calphalon's line of hard-anodized steel utensils.

I received this 10" frying pan as a wedding gift 7 years ago. It was given to me by my uncle, who is famous in our family for his cooking skills. It is, perhaps, my favorite pan. Depending on my mood, I use either that or my cast isron skillets. They all heat evenly, retain heat, go into the oven, etc. The Calphalon pan has the advantage of being lighter and easier to maintain than cast iron. It's really a workhorse.

After so many years, I have noticed that the middle of it is starting to wear a bit, and some scratches from where others have used metal forks while cooking.

Now, it does cost $100+, so I'm not sure if this is one of those "designer" pieces of cookware. Regardless, it has served me well, and I really enjoy using it.

**CORRECTION** The term "hard anodized steel" is incorrect. These pans are made of heavy aluminum.

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Yeah, I've heard some good things about Calphalon stuff, ericb. In the end, it doesn't matter whether something is 'designer' or not if you love using it and find it excellent in its function. That anti-designer-cookware thing is just a bit of a personal hobbyhorse of mine...you could call me a neigh-sayer (sorry).

:)

Cheers
Ross

 

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

I have this old aluminum pan which says Club on the bottom. It's non-stick and who knows where it came from. Probably one of my husband's ex-wives or a garage sale hand-me down from my parents.

I don't know how long it's been around, it looks really old. It's heavy duty aluminum, big and gets abused about 4-5 days a week when I make scrambled eggs, my almost oil-free fried potatoes or something else that might stick on anything else for breakfast.

It's abused. I used to use plastic utensils but I melted most of them and can't stand how they turn fried eggs so now I use a metal spatula. Usually I use a wooden spoon but sometimes I just use a fork or metal spoon.

Anyway, after upteen years this thing has only a few minor scratches, is still totally non-stick and I love the way it cooks evenly. The heavy aluminum is a great conductor. I used to have a big aluminum pot until one of the two men (the dishwashers) seems to have misplaced it or used it as a garage utensil. It was my favorite pot, another garage sale find from about 20 years ago, shortly out of college.

I still use my stainless steel for all other things but this old workhorse is my must have breakfast skillet. Can't live without. Wish I could tell you what kind of finish it has but I'm just about positive it isn't teflon.

Tracy

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

Sounds like the "holy grail" of nonstick: totally effective, durable, sounds practically indestructable, and not teflon to boot. Sounds too good to be true.

Wonder what company kept that gold mine of a product such a secret.

However, I do suspect it is teflon of some sort, or a very similar formula(silverstone?).

JoMama's picture
JoMama

Hi Ross ...

If you are looking for Lodge ... Amazon.com has a nice selection at reasonable prices ... and if you are a 'Prime' member, then more often than not the shipping is free.

Don't by any other brand than Lodge Logic Pre-Seasoned ... I guarantee you will not be disappointed with Lodge ... I am the voice of experience.

Good Luck!

ehanner's picture
ehanner

After many years of not fully understanding the relationship between the ingredient being cooked and the pan, I have come to realize that the dutch oven my great grandmother handed down is an exceptional piece of cookware. The next best pan I have is a cast iron skillet. It is non stick if you know how to cook in it. Fried eggs are a breeze. My wife complains about the weight so we also have some non stick modern stuff that makes up for lack of skill (sorry the truth hurts).

If you want to fix an old cast iron pan that has a rough finish on the inside bottom and make it a super pan, take an orbital sander and with progressively finer grits down to say 200, slowly smooth out the steel. Clean it out and season it correctly a couple times upside down in a gas BBQ on low. You will have a perfect carbon finish that will last forever and if used properly, nothing will stick, for a few dollars at a thrift store.

Lodge does make great pans that come pre seasoned and sort of ready to use. The seasoning you can do to an old pan in 30 minutes, easily overtakes the convenience of a pre seasoned pan.

Eric