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Pan Frying with Stainless Steel
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kashirat



Joined: 20 Feb 2008
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 5:50 am    Post subject: Pan Frying with Stainless Steel Reply with quote

Hi all,

I'm a newbie to cooking and I just bought a new saute pan to pan-fry steaks / chicken breasts. My first attempt.... was relatively unsuccessful. I have burn marks all covering my new pan! Disbelief

Basically what I did was put some canola oil into the pan, heat it up until smoking and put my salt & peppered steaks on to the pan, and seared both sides for about 3 minutes.

Why is my pan all burned? Did I use too high of a heat? Should I have rubbed oil into the steak instead of heating it on the pan?

Hopefully my pan isn't ruined... 'tis a pity... Disbelief
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1617
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 8:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since it's stainless steel, it's probably okay. To clean it you can try boiling some water in it and scraping with a wooden spoon or spatula. If that doesn't work, boil some white vinegar in it and scrape. Still nothing, you can go in with an abrasive cleaner such as Barkeeper's Friend. If that still doesn't work, you can almost move up to a scratchy pad like the green scrubber pad up to steel wool (it is stainless steel - it'll survive but as you go more harsh it'll be less and less attractive as you start to scratch the surface up).

As to the cooking technique, I don't know how thick or heavy this pan of yours is. If it's really light and the metal is pretty thin (pushing on the bottom will cause it to flex a little), then you'll need the stars to align and have a lot of practice on the thing before you can get it to pan fry to your satisfaction.

If it's thick and perhaps has an aluminum core or is clad, then things are much easier. Bring your oil up to temperature over medium heat. The oil surface should be shimmering (like it's moving in little ripples) but not really smoking (at least not smoking like crazy). A bead of water tossed onto it should sputter and jump a little. If it flies out of the pan or jets around the surface like a mad rocket ship, then the pan is too hot. On an average range with a heavy All-Clad saute pan, this takes about 2 to 3 minutes of heating.

Put your steaks in and don't move them for the three to four minutes you stated. push on it with a spatula to see if it will release by itself - good steel and hot oil will release with almost no prodding. If not, then work around the edge with the spatula doing tiny lifting actions, just a couple millimeters to loosen it. Usually it's just some edge part that's stuck. If you scrape at it haphazardly, you'll probably lose a layer of meat to the pan and then that will burn. If you can be certain to go between the meat and the pan, feel free to scrape in small amounts to help release the meat so you can flip it. It should be nicely browned with almost no residue or a hint of brown with some browning bits that fell off on pan.
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YoKitty



Joined: 18 Nov 2007
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For pan frying, I never put oil into a cold pan. I heat the pan empty and put the oil in just the instant before adding the food. Once the food is in the pan, its steam helps keep the oil from getting overly hot.

Another option with steaks or burgers is one I learned from my mom. No oil at all in the pan, and I just toss in a bit of salt immediately before putting the meat in. Again, the pan must be well heated for this to work.


Last edited by YoKitty on Thu Feb 21, 2008 1:11 pm; edited 1 time in total
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kashirat



Joined: 20 Feb 2008
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, the pan has an aluminum core... it has pretty decent weight so the heat should be (relatively) evenly distributed.

I'll have to try this again, I must've had the heat on way way to high.

Thanks for the responses!
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Watt
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2008 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

science says that salt slows the browning rate of meat, though iron ions speeds it up. Animal fat will break down under heat, but not as much as vegetable oil (unsaturated at least) producing extra flavor. Much of the flavor from cooking a steak is from the pyrolysis of the protein, (so a high temperature is need), and not from caramelisation because of the lack of significant amounts of sugars.
thoughts
Watt
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alison - uk



Joined: 17 Jan 2008
Posts: 17
Location: UK

PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 3:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If your pan is still blackened, try half filling it with water
with a handful of biological washing powder & setting it to
boil on the stove top. Allow it simmer for about 10mins
then drain off the soapy liquid & wash as normal then rinse
in plenty of clean water.
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baseball mama
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 4:12 pm    Post subject: frying eggs in stainless steel Reply with quote

Okay, I need some help. I've just recently switched from Teflon to Stainless steel with a cooper bottom for health reasons, and I can't seem to fry anything in it, most especially over-easy eggs. What is the trick? I am not even used to using oil, as I typically use a cooking spray. Any tips would be GREAT!
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 998
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

baseball mama -

well, first I have to digress on the "for health reasons" issue. Teflon aka PTFE has been in common use since the 60's, and to date not a single health agency has discovered a human condition, disease or affliction that can be attributed to "cooking your food in Teflon."

there's several billion dead people who have been found to be not killed by cooking in Teflon.

that statement includes the entire "advanced world" of recognized authorities.

which is not to say the late night infomercials / country fair / street corner hawkster will not tell you so. multiple posters here and elsewhere have been challenged to provide factual data about "green non-stick" pans. they all say "does not contain Teflon" - ah, could be true. Teflon is a brand name of PFTE owned by DuPont. if a pan is non-stick by virtue of a generic PTFE formulation, does that make it not PTFE dangerous? none of the hucksters have responded. none of the "no Teflon" websites actually say _what_ is used to make the pan, it's just not the trademark "Teflon"

nor does it warranty that some mail order PhD will not, paid sufficient money, turn and twist fact into scary stuff.

there are two issues with PTFE:
(1) the production / application of same involves some nasty chemicals which when not properly controlled are without question an immediate danger to humans and the environment.
(2) overheating a PTFE pan will produce gas(ses) which are harmful to lung function. most notably in birds, to a significantly less degree in humans. a human does not share the exact lung function biology of a bird.

well, perhaps if you can fly - but that limits the whole discussion to one individual: Superman.

/<digression off>

you did not mention much specifics about your stainless pan with a copper bottom. I have solid copper pans - 3 mm of copper with a stainless interior. these are a different animal than for example Revereware stainless which has a pretty, but essentially ineffective, copper bottom. feels good, in reality makes no difference.

so, how to do eggs over easy in a thin bottomed stainless pan:
(I only care because I'm a really big over easy fan....)

two issues:
technique
mechanics

on the mechanics, if you are using an electric coil burner, you need something to spread the heat. coils are quite famous for causing way-out-of-control hotspots in the pan which results in "it's all okay but it's glued down here"

get a 1/4 inch thick aluminum plate the diameter of the pan bottom - put that on the coil, pan on top. that'll give you a "more even" heat distribution. you'll probably have to have that cut/made by a local machine shop; you won't find it in stores.

propane or natural gas will provide a much faster temperature control. if you got it, use it; if you not got it, you need a flame tamer (the aluminum thingie....)

technique:
"Hot pan, cold oil, foods don't stick"
quote: the Frugal Groumet aka Jeff Smith. it's true.
use butter.
why?
butter contains water; as it heats up, the water boils off (foaming) which is a really good indicator of pan / fat temperature.
can you do it "otherwise" with other fats? yup, you need an infrared non-contact thermometer and some practice. regardless of butter brand, water still boils off at 212'F and that's a real life visible cooking clue.

after the butter has finished foaming, turn back the heat, put the eggs in, give it 90 seconds, added a blast of water to chill shock the pan / reduce the cooking temp, and cover.
this reduces the cooking process, the free water steams and acts to release the "stuck" bits from the pan.
after 4-5 minutes, use a wide spatula to ensure the eggs are floating freely in the pan and flip.

cook another 2-3 minutes for over easy.
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IDontUse
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

pleeeeeease don't bring up Jeff Smith. Cold oil doesn't change anything, you just need to learn how to saute. I've never had problems with sticking with anything. One of the main reasons for sticking is because you didn't dry off your food (like sauteed chicken supreme). Of course with eggs this has nothing to do with it. Yes butter is nice for flavor but a traditional fried egg is cooked at a pretty low temperature, and any fat or oil will do. If your egg starts bubbling in the pan, it's too hot. Very simple. Season, Cook until the thick albumen is partially cooked, flip, and finish.
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twoblink



Joined: 17 Feb 2010
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 8:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let me recommend some cleaning methods.. That require little to no elbow grease, and works great.

First method: stick and release. Go ahead and take your pan, and heat it on medium heat, at the first sign of smoking because it's still got burnt food, go ahead and pour a cup of room temp water onto it.. Let it bubble out.. turn off the heat.. Then.. LET IT SIT UNTIL ROOM TEMP. The metal conducts heat better than the water; and so your gunk are going to release from the metal and stick onto the water.. This is true for most food items.. unless you have something very sugary (like burnt teriyaki sauce) in which case, we move to the 2nd method..

Second Method: The ionization method. 1 cup water, 1 tablespoon salt, 1 tablespoon baking soda. Mix it around, and then pour into pan, get it up to bubbling, turn down to medium for about 5 minutes.. then again, LET IT COOL to room temp. While you are heating it though, take a wooden spatula and kind of GENTLY scrape it around.. Let the heavily ionized water do its job..

Recommendations: Try Ghee. The high smokepoint will give you non-stick characteristics.

The other thing is; I'd probably not pour cold oil into a cold pan and heat it. Hot pan, and then pour in oil when it gets hot. If your oil looks very "runny" and has what wine people call "legs", then your oil is hot. Smoking oil is never a good thing. If you can't tell if the oil is hot, easy way is to stick a wooden chopstick or spatula in the oil.. If it's bubbling around the wood, the oil is good to go.

Remember though, stainless is a "STICK AND RELEASE" item, which means, when you slap down your chicken breast, it will stick, and eventually release when it's browned, assuming you put enough oil in before hand.

The other culprit I assume is that the chicken breast is REALLY COLD, like you just got it out of the frig. All your meats should be as close to room temp as possible before you throw them on the pan. If you have cold breasts, well, it just spells trouble.

I'm not a fan of teflon, health issues aside; it just doesn't brown. Cook a piece of chicken in teflon, and one in cast iron.. and I guarantee you, you'll never cook in teflon again. My cast irons are so non-stick they put teflon to shame.. So why bother cooking if you are going to use an inferior product that's harder to clean, produces lousier tasting food, oftem more expensive, and might kill you or give you cancer? See them little flakes?? It ain't pepper, it's PTFE! Not good..
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DrBiggles



Joined: 12 May 2005
Posts: 355
Location: Richmond, CA

PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 9:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Pan Frying with Stainless Steel Reply with quote

kashirat wrote:
Hi all,

I'm a newbie to cooking and I just bought a new saute pan to pan-fry steaks / chicken breasts. My first attempt.... was relatively unsuccessful. I have burn marks all covering my new pan! Disbelief

Basically what I did was put some canola oil into the pan, heat it up until smoking and put my salt & peppered steaks on to the pan, and seared both sides for about 3 minutes.

Why is my pan all burned? Did I use too high of a heat? Should I have rubbed oil into the steak instead of heating it on the pan?

Hopefully my pan isn't ruined... 'tis a pity... Disbelief


Keeripes and lordy. It's dead simple. Warm pan under medium high heat for 2 minutes, apply oil/fat, wait for smoke and cook. Clean with BarKeepers Friend.

xo, Biggles
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kgb1001001



Joined: 21 Dec 2005
Posts: 107

PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2010 1:02 pm    Post subject: Can I make a suggestion? Reply with quote

This is actually a variant on the ionization method -- after you take the steaks out, add some chopped onions (maybe 1/4 cup) and a little salt (maybe 1/4 tsp). Stir and scrape vigorously with a wooden spatula as the onions start to sweat out their liquid. As they begin to turn really brown, add some white wine (a couple of tablespoons). Let that reduce down to a thick brown syrup with the onions. Ta daa! Not only have you cleaned most of the gunk our of your pan, you have a killer pan sauce to add to your steaks...

Cause if you think about it (a) The water and salt from the onions dissolved some of the gunk (called fond, which is culinary magic). (b) The vigorous scraping and stirring removed more, and (c) the Alcohol dissolved away even more of the gunk.
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tealcosmo
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:26 pm    Post subject: Cooking on Stainless Reply with quote

Unlike Non-stick, cooking on good stainless requires pre-heating. Preheat your pan till water balls up and rolls around like mercury. Then you apply your oil or butter, and your cooking item. With meat, just let it sit there for a moment, it will stick, but it will also release when it is near done.

ok. "Good Stainless" Almost anything you buy at walmart is NOT good stainless. This makes an astounding difference. Getting a quality stainless pan is an awesome investment. $80-$150 is a good price for a 12" fry pan. Go with the brands you've heard of. Brands
"All Clad"
"Calphalon"
"Fissler"
"Gourmet Standard Tri-Ply" Also rates very well on cooks illustrated

12" seems impressive, but its a great size and you can make stir-frys for 4 in it. I wouldn't go any smaller.
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Jim Cooley



Joined: 09 Oct 2008
Posts: 314
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2010 10:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think keeping the stainless steel immaculately clean and polished improves the "STICK AND RELEASE" properties.

I recall many years ago when I worked in a restaurant the chef had an omlette pan made out pf aluminium which he would only clean with salt and a rag. The inside was smoother than glass and eggs (after the obligatory pat of butter) would never stick.

I've been using a 3-M scrubbie sponge and Barkeeper's Friend in my SS pans for years and they seem to be fairly non-stick.

Might make a good experiment: polish one side of a SS pan and leave the other untouched, then see what happens.
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4evermin



Joined: 28 Dec 2010
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 3:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Check the oil. The oil should begin to ripple, and spread quite quickly over the pan. If your pan was hot enough, this process should only take a few seconds. Ideally you want to add the food right before the smoke point. Ifyou wait too long your pan will get too hot and the oil will start to smoke, then turn brown after which damage to your pan can occur. The pan is hot enough if a few small drops of water flicked from your fingertips vaporize immediately, or if a larger drop of water hisses and floats across the surface of the pan on a cushion of its own stream. Many types of food stick to surface of stainless steel unless proper techniques are applied. But stainless cookware makes excellent sauces after sauteing by dissolving products of caramelization and mallaird reaction.
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