Here are the
Apr 16, 2018
what type of pan do you recommend for cooking? sautéing, shallow fry, searing, etc...? stainless steel, ceramic, copper, etc...
And what brand?
Happy Call Plasma series. Nothing ever sticks! Do note, it scratches relatively easily though
If you're new to cooking, anodized aluminium is more forgiving and convenient, and you can achieve fond with it (not as easily with steel and iron though). Calphalon's great, I also had a Cuisinart pan that lasted a while (~7 years daily cooking). The anodized layer does eventually come off, even if you use wood and silicone tools (don't use metal with it!) but by then you'll be experienced enough to graduate to something better. Just make sure it's got metal handles and it's oven safe so you can toss 'em into the oven, too. Possible downside is you can't use it on induction (some manufacturers add a magnetic layer, though).
If you're bold and can take care of a pet/sourdough starter, then jump right into carbon steel or cast iron and get more upkeep responsibilities. Note that it takes longer to heat up compared to stainless steel. So if you want 30 minute meals after work, factor it in. Also, carbon steel tends to be thin to speed up heating, but this also means uneven cooking. Consider 3mm minimum thickness to alleviate that. I picked up a carbon steel pan in China so I couldn't tell you where to get it, sorry. But there are plenty of other options already mentioned.
If you're not too into maintenance, then copper core stainless steel gives great performance with low burden. Copper is a great conductor, which means the heat spreads, so you get more even cooking. The stainless steel is what will hold onto the heat once it receives it, and it heats up fast. Most also let you use it on induction cooktops (needs to be magnetic grade stainless). You can take them off the cooktop and throw them in the oven, or even under a broiler. They can take it. For cleaning you can use Barkeeper's Friend and it's like new.
For copper core SS, All Clad is the standard suggestion but Demeyere is the best. I've had a CIA 7-ply pan for a decade now and I think it's equal to, if not better, than the All Clad. Also have a few Bonjours for about the same length and it's great, but it's discontinued. You can find them on eBay. Viking is perfectly fine too. So whatever works with your budget, basically.
Carbon Steel or Cast iron if you're not afraid of taking care of it. Otherwise, a good heavy 3-ply stainless steel pan will serve you well.
Matfer/DeBuyer/lodge for carbon steel, Lodge for Cast iron, and Any reputable company for stainless, though All-clad is always a safe bet if you have the budget for it.
For Sauteing, searing, stay away from copper and aluminum. They don't have enough heat capacity to brown food well. Thermally responsive metals like copper and aluminum are better served for fine processes like candy making, and professional kitchens with jet burners for stoves that output so much heat that the pan's capacity doesn't matter.
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