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I have this pan, but I did not buy it through massdrop. I bought it from Amazon although the reason I bought it is because I saw it on massdrop and missed the drop. I own the 10 inch pan. I also own a lodge 10 inch pan and I will be comparing the both of them quite frequently in this review.
So first off when you get the pan it is covered in a protective wax coating. At least I believe it was wax. The only thing I remember about it was how fucking hard it was to remove it. I have never experienced a protective layer like this. I ran it under scalding hot water for 10 minutes and was still unable to remove it all. I had to use the potato skins and salt thing they recommend to get rid of the rest. This was my least favorite part of the pan but you only do it once so it's not a deal breaker.
Now cast iron is heavy, but so is carbon steel. Not as heavy but heavy nonetheless. I don't believe this really puts carbon steel above cast iron since you mostly leave it on the stove top anyway. The reduced weight does allow you to toss food unlike carbon steel. The shape of the carbon steel pan is better suited to flip food or to make a stir fry while a lodge pan might break your wrist if you attempt to do so. But now you must ask yourself if you want to give up other benefits of cast iron, the most important one being baking. So basically you get a lighter pan which allows you to flip and toss food, but you lose the ability to bake in the pan. I mean it's not impossible to bake in carbon steel, but good luck finding a recipe.
Heat retention is better in the lodge pan, but the mautfer pan heats up quicker. They're equally good in Browning though. I think the mautfer pan beats any cast iron in this regard. Cast Iron takes too long to heat up and cool down. I can't think of a situation where you would want so much heat retention.
Seasoning is definitely easier in a carbon steel pan. The reason for this is because you can see it happen, while in a traditional cast iron you'll barely notice a difference. There are many methods to season carbon steel, but the one I use is the burning method. It's basically just burning oil in the pan. The oil has to be spread pretty thin though. Cast Iron more time consuming to season but I believe the seasoning lasts longer. On my carbon steel a simple spoon or fork will remove the seasoning, but this might just be because of the way I seasoned it. I think in respect to seasoning carbon steel is better since it is easier to apply and is more nonstick, although cast iron holds the seasoning better.
Oh and one other thing I found out while cooking with the mautfer pan was that cold food will stick to the pan. I think it has something to do with the polymerization and what not. So let your food warm up a bit.
TLDR Carbon steel is better than cast iron when it comes to stovetop cooking, but cast iron is more versatile. Regardless the mautfer black is probably the best carbon steel pan out there so just buy a lodge and mautfer and call it a day.
Literally what I did. Have a 12" lodge and got a 12 5/8ths maufter on amazon. Don't have anything to review yet but that was my idea.
While I agree you probably will not find many recipes that explicitly call for carbon steel pans, I would say most recipes that recommend cast iron pans will work with carbon steel pans as well. The flared sides of Mafter Bourgeat pans does mean if you were cooking something like corn bread, the final product will have a different shape, but I wouldn't say that it's not possible to do.
I used Barkeeper's Friend to remove the wax and didn't have much of a problem with it.
When you say cold food will stick to the pan and to let it warm up, are you saying thawed cold chicken from the fridge will stick but room temperature chicken won't? Or just that chicken will stick, cook for a few minutes and it releases from the pan after it has warmed? (eg what it does for me in my wok)
Ok so how I tested the cold food thing was with eggs. I took eggs straight out of the fridge and threw them on the pan immediately. These eggs stuck to the pan. Then I let some warm up a bit, either by placing them in warm water or by letting them sit out. These did not stick.
Ok so meats are very different from eggs. If you put cold chicken in the pan, it will eventually release but will leave significant amount of fond on the pan. Room temperature meat will not leave as much fond and instead will leave it all on the meat.
Those are just my observations and I could be totally wrong, but what I meant about the food was letting it warm up.
Interesting observations; looking forward to getting my pan and seeing what happens. Eggs especially.