cookware

Stainless steel cookware use and buying tips

Stainless steel cookware is an essential tool for the kitchen not only it brings an elegant display but also helps in better cooking. It does its job quietly and professionally without requiring care (like cast iron) or any public drama (like Teflon nonstick pans). If cast iron is the Leo who is flamboyant and lives for praise, then stainless steel is the Capricorn who is efficient and confident. (I’m not sure what a non-sticky sign is, but it’s Gemini because they have a bad rap and are rarely truly understood.)

I have a cast iron pan and a nonstick pan, but the rest of my cookware is stainless steel. Shiny metal may seem a little intimidating to the little home cook, but once you learn a few of its quirks, you’ll find it’s responsive, easy to clean, and easy to maintain. Unlike cast iron, stainless steel can be cooked in sour ketchup for longer and then thrown in the dishwasher. You can bake, boil, steam, steam, and even fry eggs without them sticking to the pan.

More responsive and durable than cast iron

Cast iron retains heat well but dissipates heat poorly, and it takes a while for the entire pot to reach the required temperature. Stainless steel, on the other hand, is more sensitive. Although it heats quick and evenly but cools down when needed. Stainless steel listens when you turn off the burner.

It’s also about being patient. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve left a greasy, sticky stainless steel wok in the oven for days. Do you sulk and complain when stainless steel corrodes or rusts? It is not. It sits comfortably and doesn’t require any significant cleaning on your part until you’re ready to clean it. You can throw it in the dishwasher. If that doesn’t work (sometimes regular laundry detergent doesn’t react to greasy, burnt food), a quick scrub with Barkeeper’s Friend will restore it to its original shiny shine.

Stainless steel cookware is made from a variety of metals

Stainless steel pots are not made of one metal. Instead, they are metal sandwiches with three or more layers of alternating materials. Something conductive (but reactive) like copper or aluminum is sandwiched between layers of harder, non-reactive stainless steel to create a pan that heats evenly and responds quickly to temperature regulation but won’t rust, tarnish, or deform. Prolonged use, hot dishwasher cycles, or acidic ingredients.

There is one exception: you want cookware that is “fully lined,” which means the conductive metal layer extends to the slider and edges of the cookware rather than having a disc on the bottom. This ensures an even temperature throughout the pan or pan so your food doesn’t burn on the fragile, uncoated edges of the pan.

Start with three pieces

That 12-piece stainless steel set you see at Macy’s may look tempting, but you’d rather spend a little more and get fewer parts that will last longer. These sets rarely come fully equipped, and you don’t need that many parts. Most home cooks have access to three pieces of cookware: a 10- or 11-inch wok or skillet, an eight-quart (or larger) stockpot, and a three-quart saucepan or saucer. Stainless steel is generally compatible with all types of burners, but not all burners are induction-compatible. Therefore, please make sure your device is induction-compatible when using it.

Buy a good quality skillet or griddle

Although the terms are often confused, a pan and a frying pan are two different things.

The sides of the pan are sloping so food can slide along the edges, like a skateboard on an incline. This makes them better suited for cooking while the food is still moving, such as stir-frying or sautéing vegetables. (Don’t yell at me. I don’t make the rules.) A wok has straight sides, making it perfect for frying and braising significant cuts of meat, cooking and reducing sauces, or working with anything that tends to flake.

The most important thing to remember is that sloping sides translate to a less flat surface, so if you go the pan route, add a few inches and make sure the sides are relatively high so you can control the amount of Sauce, and Sauce can be reduced. We steamed juicy meat without too much bang.

In the grand scheme of stainless steel cookware, the quality of your Dutch oven (or pan) is the most important and should be the most versatile piece in your kitchen. Don’t worry too much about the number of layers in the pan. Instead, focus on getting a pan that’s fully coated so that the entire pan reacts to any temperature changes you make and ensures that anything you grill or fry browns evenly. If you’re going to spend some money, make sure it comes with a warranty or a trial period to make sure the handle is comfortable in your hand, and you can use it without any discomfort.

Some quality stainless steel pots and saucepans for beginners:

You can save a little broth

Metal is expensive, and the pot is a large piece of metal. Fortunately, the pan’s primary function is to boil, steam, and boil liquids, which keeps the temperature around 212 degrees Fahrenheit, which is well below the temperatures required for grilling food (which occurs in the 300 degrees F – 500 degrees F range). While technically a fully lined pan gives you more control, you can use a pan with just a lining on the bottom, which will prevent the tomato sauce from burning during the long cooking process. (Thick soles are essential.)

In addition to this liner, you’ll also need a storage jar that can easily store a whole chicken (for poaching and making stock) and store long pasta shapes without destroying them. A sturdy handle that’s comfortable to hold is also important, as water can get heavy quickly, and you’ll want to make sure it can accommodate not only your hands but your oven mitts as well. Handle. When choosing between riveted and welded handles, choose riveted handles for better durability. You’ll also want a lid that fits snugly, is secure, retains steam, and allows the water to boil quickly.

The Best Starter Stock Pots for Easy Cooking, Steaming and Cooking:

A beautiful pan or plate doesn’t have to be expensive

The pot or dish is where you make your Sauce (duh), but you might also use it to poach eggs, make a modest soup or stew, boil oatmeal for breakfast, or stir rich custard and cheese for dessert. Unlike noodles or potatoes bobbing in a stockpot, food cooked in a pot or plate is more likely to be in constant contact with the bottom and walls of the pot, so it’s even more important to cover it completely. Fortunately, both are smaller than a stockpot so that you can afford the extra metal.

Just like casseroles and pans, pots and pans are a little different. The sides of the pot are straight; the sides of the board are beveled. I prefer saucers because the rounded edges make mixing and whipping easier and prevent food from getting stuck in the corners between the walls and bottom. Sometimes, you’ll come across dishes that are even called “pans” by their manufacturers; look for a round bottom, and you’ll be fine.

In terms of size, three-quarters is the sweet spot. Large enough to cook moderate amounts of food but not so big that it feels awkward when reheating small amounts of soup or Sauce. You’ll also want a lid that fits well and a handle that feels comfortable, as well as a rim that allows for easy, clean pouring.

Repair panels that won’t break:

This prevents food from sticking to the stainless steel

The most significant concern people have when cooking with stainless steel is that food will stick together, which is bound to happen if you don’t know what you’re doing. However, it’s entirely possible – easy, even – to fry eggs or fish in a stainless steel pan without it sticking. You need to heat it enough.

I’ve covered this topic in depth before, but in summary, it all comes down to the pores of the pot:

Stainless steel is a porous material, and these pores expand and contract with changes in temperature. When you place cold food on a hot pan, the temperature difference causes these pores to shrink quickly and stick to the food.

To further complicate the problem, proteins, including raw meat and egg whites, can stick to the metal in the pan. Eggs are especially tricky because they come out of the shell as a liquid that can flow into those tiny pores and strengthen their adhesion to the egg.

It sounds like a recipe for a gooey disaster, but heating the pan to the right temperature creates a barrier between food and pesky pores—all thanks to the Leidenfrost effect.

The Leidenfrost effect is one of my favorite effects to talk about because when you understand it, you feel like some culinary wizard:

The Leidenfrost effect occurs when the temperature of a material is much higher than the boiling point of the liquid in contact with the material. It allows you to dip your wet fingers into molten lead without burning yourself and poach eggs in a stainless steel pan without getting too dramatic. The high temperature of the metal causes the liquid to evaporate, creating a protective layer of steam between the metal and the food (or your fingers) and preventing the liquid egg white from making full contact with the pan and seeping into the pores.

The easiest way to test whether a pot is hot enough to cook eggs is to add a drop of water to the pot. If it sputters and steams, your pan is not hot enough for the Leidenfrost effect to occur. But when that drop of water falls into the ball rolling in the pot, you’re ready to take action. However, if it breaks into small balls, the pan is too hot. Let it cool and try again. (This test is often called the “mercury ball test” because a water ball looks and behaves like a drop of mercury.)

How to Clean Stainless Steel Cookware

As I said before, cleaning stainless steel is relatively easy. Toss it in the dishwasher and let it soak in the sink, but avoid using abrasives, harsh chemicals like bleach, or physical cleaners like steel wool, which can damage the surface.

A quick clean of the pan is the easiest way to make sure nothing sticks to the surface, but lazy and forgetful people like me don’t have to despair. If your stainless steel pan is badly scratched, the bartender’s little friend will help you get rid of the slimy mess.

Stainless steel may have a different appeal than tried-and-true cast iron pans, but when it comes to versatility, ease of use, and workmanlike quality, stainless steel is hard to beat. (Plus, there’s nothing more impressive than frying an egg in a shiny metal pan and coming across as very grown-up.)