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Old 02-16-2009, 12:08 PM
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Question Saute Pans: Carbon Steel vs Stainless Steel

Hi There,

A few months ago I bought a counter top induction unit and since then have been purchasing new pots and pans
that are induction compatible. I recently purchased a couple of carbon steel fry pans to use for high heat searing, realizing carbon steel is much better for this purpose than stainless steel.

When I was searching for quality carbon steel fry pans I also found carbon steel sauté pans. What are the advantages of a carbon steel sauté pan versus a stainless steel sauté pan???? There must be some rewards as stainless steel is much easier to look after!!
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Old 02-16-2009, 12:20 PM
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Default Re: Saute Pans: Carbon Steel vs Stainless Steel

I have an 13" All-Clad stainless French Chef's pan that I use most of the time for searing or even for pan sauces. I prefer my carbon steel, cast iron though for frying however. The stainless cleans up easy for me but others complain a lot about stainless though mine are tri-ply so have aluminum cores, 18/10 interiors and magnetized stainless exteriors. I have a couple of these and thinking of getting the 11" or 9" in the same pan. It has replaced my sauté pan completely as it holds as much as well as being a bit lighter.

Love my counter top induction burner so much my new kitchen will have a full size in counter setup with a cabinet mounted electric/convection oven. Will be putting in all new cabinets anyhow so will go all out when we do it. Since having it I lost all interest in gas, it just out cooks it. Oh and mine works great with my flat bottom carbon steel woks also.
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Old 02-16-2009, 01:30 PM
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Default Re: Saute Pans: Carbon Steel vs Stainless Steel

Carbon steel pans (black steel's heavier brother) can be seasoned the same way as cast iron, making a fry or saute virtually non-stick. The heavier carbon steel heats quickly and evenly, and is great for searing/stovetop to oven finish. I don't worry about getting my searing pan scrupulously clean, as I might with ss. Thus my searing pan has a nice character, and would be considered well-seasoned for what it is.
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Old 02-16-2009, 02:42 PM
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Default Re: Saute Pans: Carbon Steel vs Stainless Steel

I never have understood the desire to own SS saute or fry pans. To me, the lack of conductivity is a real issue with SS.

There is no substitute for good Carbon steel/CI/Copper pans IMHO.
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Old 02-16-2009, 02:54 PM
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Default Re: Saute Pans: Carbon Steel vs Stainless Steel

Actually the few I have are all triply like I said earlier with aluminum sealed between stainless and they are excellent especially when it comes time to clean. As for heat these and the copper core both are as good as cast iron though can't be seasoned but then they can be washed. I might add they actually have less hot spots than cast iron at least for me they do but don't hold the heat like cast iron once removed from the heat source. This is a good thing in some instances. Also they are great for pan sauces that would be reactive to carbon steel or plain aluminum. The also don't tend to be as heavy either so that can make a difference to some.
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Old 02-16-2009, 02:59 PM
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Default Re: Saute Pans: Carbon Steel vs Stainless Steel

I have no experience with induction tops, however if 'magnetism' is a factor in efficiency then I believe the closer a material is to wrought iron the better.

I cook over fire and I'm not hot for stainless but I have to face reality and I'm looking to getting 'ply' cookware, at least a few pieces.

I have a iron wok, it seasoned well and is almost non stick. almost as in it matters the order items are added, or how their added.
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Old 02-16-2009, 03:20 PM
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Default Re: Saute Pans: Carbon Steel vs Stainless Steel

For pure frying or browning cast iron and carbon steel are really the best however for sauté where once an item is browned you turn it down to build a sauce the multiply pans are hard to beat. Cast iron and other materials such as 18/0 stainless which is also a magnetic steel are all you can use. They won't work if the outside of the pan is 18/10 stainless for example nor with cooper or aluminum however the cores steels can. Induction works using magnets to cause the pan to actually heat to a given temperature not a burner under it. The burner stays cool no wasted heat like a typical electric or gas burner which means much cooler kitchens. It also holds temperatures dead on unlike the electric or even gas tops as well as allowing very low accurate simmer temps. It is possible for example to melt chocolate for example without using a double boiler perfectly with induction stoves.

I have a 14" Cast Iron wok I was forced to buy on my electric stove due to the temp. variations or use smaller batches with my carbon steel woks. Which by the way work great on my induction set to highest settings. I would say it works better with my induction than even my out side turkey fryer burner which flat puts out a blast of heat. I wouldn't own anything but a multiply pan for sauces for example as they don't burn the bottoms and sauces cook perfectly provided you have the heat correct. Oh and when I say stainless it sure isn't a fully stainless steel pan those are useless due to its heating charastics but clad types where the stainless comes in contact with the food, so hence easy clean up.
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