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

Dillbert's picture
Dillbert

 


a lot of commerical / professional places use el-cheapo aluminum pans.  they do warp and distort with time but are not very expensive hence one can "afford" to replace them from time to time.


blue steel / black steel - or perhaps best "carbon steel" (as opposed to stainless steel) is another popular option.  with use and proper care they will build a patina very similar in non-stick performance to cast iron.  they are quite a bit lighter - but as with aluminum they do warp / distort with age and use.


in a home setting I suspect they would last for a number of years.


cast iron and carbon steel are the two materials that will "take a cure / season" well.  aluminum and anything with a stainless interior generally does not season.  so far as non-stick goes, the titanium / diamond / green / etc pans have a spotty consumer record - if you search for product reviews (on sites that are not selling the stuff) by name you'll get an impression of how well they hold up.


if you have a restaurant supply house in your area that would be a worthwhile trip -

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Thanks, Dillbert.


Yeah, I've noticed a lot of restaurants use battered-looking aluminium frypans - and they don't seem to stick too badly. However, I don't want to use aluminium cookware.


OK, so from what you've written, it seems carbon steel would probably be my best option. I'll have a look again at the restaurant supply places with that in mind.


I have an old, cheap frypan that I bought from a supermarket so long ago that teflon wasn't even an option and over the years it's gone black and developed a patina that is every bit as effective as teflon or other non-stick coatings. I use it mostly for pancakes now, and it's great. My favourite pan, in fact.


Similar tale with my trusty old wok, which I bought for $5 from an Asian grocery store 20+ years ago.


I figure I should be able to achieve much the same patina on a new pan, with appropriate curing. Hence this query.


Anyway, thanks again. Hopefully carbon-steel is the answer.


 

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

I use my stainless steel pan for everything but eggs. They are fantastic. I have three. A huge 14", a 12" and a small saute pan. They brown, make sauces, anything except make a good egg. I simply have to have a non-stick pan (el cheapo) for making eggs.


I do keep a cast iron dutch oven with a skillet for a lid around but only use for special purposes, rarely need the skillet part except for corn bread. I always use my stainless steel, even for things that go from stove to oven.

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.

JamieK's picture
JamieK

In my opinion, if you are looking for something that will heats evenly, is oven proof, and seasons well, there is nothing better than a good old Lodge Cast Iron Skillet.

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Thanks, Jamie. Lodge is not easy to find here, but I'll have a go.

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

Check the camping, fishing and feed stores if you can't find the lodge cast iron. In Oklahoma, they used to sell them at the big ranch stores. Bass Pro, Cabellas are other stores, as well as Walmart, in the camping section.

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

JamieK's picture
JamieK

Ooooh, Mark...these look like they could become a new obsession!

mcs's picture
mcs

I was in the restaurant supply store with my wife when I spotted them.  I think it went like this (you can guess which parts are mine and which are my wife's)


"Holy ****, look at this griddle!"
"What about it?"
"It's 7 gauge steel!  Feel how heavy it is!"
"No thanks."
"It weighs like 60 pounds!"
"So what?"
"I think we need one."
"FOR WHAT?"
"We could use it for...or maybe...ah forget it."


So that's where I'm at right now.


-Mark


 

JamieK's picture
JamieK

Be persistent Mark and it will happen!!!  Remind her of all the wonderful things you could make for her on it!

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Mark,


Tell Sharon that if you had the griddle, you could:


- make/sell pancakes at the farmers markets


- make English muffins by the dozen (with a double griddle)


- beat the bears away from the garbage cans


- make your own luge sled for the slope below the rink


- start a "Chris Cakes" type of catering business w/o paying any franchise fees (http://chriscakes.com/)


You're an inventive guy.  I'm sure you can come up with other reasons for buying one.  


Paul

Stephanie Brim's picture
Stephanie Brim

Hubby and I have been looking for something like this. We both prefer pancakes cooked on a stainless griddle and, apart from having one made or buying a commercial stove with a griddle, hadn't had luck finding one. Thank you!


I'd go with the fact that it'll make the best pancakes in the world. Now that my daughter is old enough to eat more than a couple bites of something and my husband can devour about 9 or 10 in one sitting, I'm figuring that the amount of pancakes that I make instead of buy will pay for this thing in about...oh...a month. :D

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

gildee's picture
gildee

You are going to have to pay the price for what you want!


Quality cost money unless you can shop at Goodwill, Salvation Army stores etc for bargains and with a lot of luck you can and will find one there.


Carbon steele is all I know about steele, this is used to make a quality grade woks which can be use to fry in; they are carried by Sears if you want to check them out.


Hope this helps.


 

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

You are going to have to pay the price for what you want!

Really, price is not the issue here. As stated, I am after a quality frypan, and in my view the very expensive high-profile stuff like Scanpan is marketed to the domestic cook who equates 'status' equipment with cooking expertise. That sort of posture does not interest me.


In the case of frypans, I think price is a misleading indicator of quality. As mentioned in my initial post, my experience with non-stick pans is not great and I want to move to an old-fashioned curable pan of the type pro restaurants use - they do not bother with high-priced consumer 'status' products!


I was after an informed recommendation, which I now have from several other posters. Carbon-steel or wrought iron looks the go. Currently on the trail...

gildee's picture
gildee

Sorry for hitting a never rossnroller but  as a  women I just don't think purchasing name brand is a bad thing and nowadays it is hard to find quality cooking products without a name attached to it. I generally make my purchases at TJMaxx, Bed,Bath and Beyond, etc,


I learned on these boards that using the best cookware and products is what a good cook does regardless of being a chef or a kitchen magician!


I did suggest carbon steele which is harder than stainless steele but I have only seen this used in handmade Chinese woks and knife making but maybe you can find  a carbon steele skillet, let me know if you do cause I would like one also. 


Wrought iron is the same as cast iron, it is either coated or not coated, but you said that was too heavy for you? 


Carbon steele, blue steele and black steele are interchangable words for steele so your choice as I see it is just what price are you willing to pay?


 

Stephanie Brim's picture
Stephanie Brim

A blue/black steel pan from a restaurant supply shop, meant for high-volume commercial use, won't really run you that much money. I've seen rather nice ones for under $50. All-Clad and such can charge what they do because it is considered a status symbol among a lot of people...I prefer just buying what a restaurant would. I get more years out of it than they do because of the fact that I'm not doing that volume, but I know that once it does start showing its age I can pitch it and just go buy a new one.


However...it should last quite a long time if you take care of it and don't bang it around as much as it would be in a restaurant setting.

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Yes, right with you, Stephanie. This is one of the few instances where it's not necessarily true that 'you get what you pay for'!


My usual policy is to buy the best quality available - of whatever - whenever I can afford it, and it's usually true that the best costs more...but happily, not in this case.


It was always just a matter of whether to buy carbon steel, blue steel, black steel, or if necessary, cast iron - I just didn't know the real difference between some of these. Much clearer now thanks to you and others who have responded. Thanks!

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Purchasing name brands directed at the domestic market is a bad thing in my view if your main concern is quality and there are plain-Jane commercial alternatives that are cheaper and better! That was the point I made in my initial post. I've already arrived at that conclusion via extensive experience, and was not after a discussion on that.


I tend to avoid high-profile domestic kitchenware stores, preferring to inhabit industry suppliers - not out of economic considerations, but because I think it stands to reason that industry cookware is more hard-wearing and of commercial grade quality. However, the staff in the industry supply stores around here are usually not very knowledgable, I've found. Hence my post on TFL.


Yes, I'll report back on my findings once I've made my purchase.

rockfish42's picture
rockfish42

One consideration if you're looking at both cast iron and carbon steel, the carbon steel with respond to changes in heat much faster. This is really only a concern if you're doing something finicky sauce wise and can't wait for the pan to cool down.

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Yes, thanks rockfish42. I've all but decided on carbon steel over cast iron because of the lighter weight, but yours is also a good point.


Cheers
R

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