Quality pots pans to abuse/ use with high heat?

MVM

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Joined Apr 21, 2018
I have a few Staub enameled cast iron pieces which I love but only use on low heats because I fear damaging them. I would love to have a pot and pan that I can really treat like s*** without worrying about ruining them. For example, right now I use my enameled cast iron to boil water for pasta and it takes forever on low heat. I imagine the obvious choice for a pan is bare cast iron and the pot is stainless steel - I thought it would be wise to seek the collective wisdom here before making a purchase however. :)
 
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You shouldn't abuse any pans...so I don't understand your wording. Any pan should be able to boil water just fine, I don't know what damage you are trying to mitigate with your enameled cast iron. What exactly do you think will happen if you use staub to boil water?

Even the cheapest aluminum pans can boil water.
 
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Hi MVM

Cast iron is heavy and dense. That's why it takes a long time to come up to temperature, especially when boiling water. However, the benefit to the weight and density of cast iron is that once its hot, it retains heat very, very well and it can take any temperature your home stove or oven can throw at it without causing any damage whatsoever.

That brings me to the point. Aside from dropping your enameled cast iron, you are not going to damage it. I would not recommend the use of metal utensils as they can scratch the enamel. But, there is no heat that you can generate in your kitchen that will cause harm to that pot.

As far as purchasing stainless steel or other cookware, its always a good idea to have some variety in your cookware. Pans will have different characteristics based on what they are made of. Stainless steel, for instance, is very good when it comes to searing and browning proteins (so it cast iron). Like cast iron, you are not going to damage a steel pot or pan with heat or utensils. They are virtually indestructible. Higher end steel cookware will have copper cores to help distribute heat more evenly to prevent "hot spots." Generally, you can pick up a fairly good set of stainless steel cookware for around $250 or less.

So, in closing, don't worry yourself about causing harm to your enameled cast iron. That pot can take anything you throw at it.

I hope this helps.

Good luck. :)
 
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I don't like aluminum. For high heat purposes like searing, it sucks and creates hot spots and tends to either burn the meat or give it a light brown without much crust. It also reacts with acids, so anything like Greek lemon chicken in an alumin pan is going to have an off taste.

I also don't like stainless for heavy searing/meats. It just doesn't transfer the heat as slowly to create a build-up on the crust without overdoing/burning it. It's fine for a light sear on vegetables and fish, but I wouldn't cook a steak or a burger in stainless.

As far as cast iron and heat, I've never seen a cast iron pan be damaged from excessive heat. A friend of mine who is very country actually cures his by having a bonfire party at his house, rubbing the pan in bacon grease and throwing it into the bonfire.

If you're worried about price and damaging an expensive tool, Lodge makes good cast iron pots/pans at a very reasonable price and is the name-brand for cast iron in Tennessee.
 
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Joined May 25, 2015
I have a few Staub enameled cast iron pieces which I love but only use on low heats because I fear damaging them.

Believe me, the pitiful anemic burners on gas consumer residential stoves can barely maintain a rolling boil turned all the way up. No way could they do any damage to a pot filled with water. Electric could be another matter. The "fires of hell" can cause warping and uneven heating because the heat is so intense directly in contact with the bottom of the pot or pan.
 

MVM

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Joined Apr 21, 2018
Wow, thanks for all the thoughtful replies! Sorry for the lack of detail or proof reading :/ Was a quick post but allow me to clarify - It's not that I have issues boiling water in my Staub, as mentioned the heat retention and distribution is great, It just takes up to 30 minutes to get there as I am trying to avoid thermal shock from putting a cold pot on high heat. I use a radiant electric glass top stove which does apply really intense direct heating so I could certainly do damage if I was careless.

Based on what I have read here I'll probably grab a enamel free bare cast iron skillet for my general cooking but there is still the issue of something good for rapid boiling in a hurry...This may sound stupid but would it make sense to just buy an electric kettle and transfer water to the warmed up Staub I already own? Or more sensible to buy a SS stock pot for this?

Thanks again for all your input!
 
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Joined Apr 11, 2018
In my opinion...

I will never again use non-stick ano aluminum. The non-stick coating typically has problems with high heat anyway.

I agree 100% with everything sgsvirgil said about enameled cast iron, FWIW.

Regular seasoned cast iron is terrible for boiling water. I have vintage 2 QT and 3 QT saucepans and it's just too difficult maintaining the seasoning if you use them to boil water all the time. I only use them for popping popcorn or baking smaller loaves of bread. If you're going to use cast iron to boil water, enameled is the way to go.

I also prefer cast iron over stainless steel for searing but I have to say I've been surprised a time or two by how good a sear my stainless steel can make.

Rapid and/or uneven heat changes can warp cast iron. It's less likely with thicker modern Lodge-style cast iron but vintage cast iron was typically thinner and lighter and more susceptible. Some vintage users preheat their cast iron skillets in the oven to avoid warping. A warped pan cannot be unwarped.

All my saucepans and pots these days are stainless steel, I believe that material is the best choice for those items. For those items plus skillets, etc, I use designs with multiple layers not only on the bottom but up the sides. The inner cooking surface is 18/10 (grade 304) stainless steel, probably the best grade for kitchen use (grade 316 is more corrosion resistant but you'd have to be in a marine environment to notice a difference and it's way more expensive). Then there is a middle aluminum layer to provide better heat distribution. The outer layer is 18/0 (grade 430) stainless steel. Not quite as corrosion resistant as 18/10, it has the benefit of being magnetic and thus induction stove compatible. There are fancier lines that use additional layers such as copper but the price gets to a point of diminishing returns.

Of that type of stainless steel cookware, the two leading brands are All Clad and Cuisinart MultiClad Pro. There's minor differences but the two are extremely comparable. The real difference is All Clad is made in the USA and costs about twice as much. While this is one of the exceptions where a made in China product (Cuisinart MCP) is of comparable quality as the USA-made product. I went with Cuisinart and have been very satisfied with them.

And again this is all my opinion, I have no affiliation with Cuisinart or any other cookware company.
 
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Hi MVM,

I just deleted my post because you answered my questions!

Since I am interpreting your primary concern as speed.

Go ahead and get the electric water kettle, put your Staub on the burner with high heat and an inch of water, as the kettle boils add to your Staub.

I would still get a large, sandwich bottom stainless for large batches of pasta, potatoes, and thin soups.

But, I like to make large batches of soups to freeze, at home. My Chicken soup, to freeze, only has chicken, mirepoix, and stock. When I thaw, it becomes Chicken soup with noodles, rice, wild rice, dumpling, every different vegetable, roasted Jalapeño, asian, french, italian, etc., etc., etc.
 
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I use a radiant electric glass top stove which does apply really intense direct heating so I could certainly do damage if I was careless.

You really need to read the instructions that came with your stove. For a ceramic top stove it will tell you to use only flat bottomed pots and pans generally made for that kind of cooktop. The bottoms will be much like those made for induction cooktops. The flat bottom promotes heat even transfer, minimizes hot spots and minimizes warping with those burners. I would say that probably all of what you have is unsuitable for use with that stove. I wouldn't even consider cast iron.

In case you can't tell, don't blame the pots and pans. I consider electric stoves the worst!
 

MVM

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Joined Apr 21, 2018
You really need to read the instructions that came with your stove. For a ceramic top stove it will tell you to use only flat bottomed pots and pans generally made for that kind of cooktop. The bottoms will be much like those made for induction cooktops. The flat bottom promotes heat even transfer, minimizes hot spots and minimizes warping with those burners. I would say that probably all of what you have is unsuitable for use with that stove. I wouldn't even consider cast iron.

In case you can't tell, don't blame the pots and pans. I consider electric stoves the worst!

The pace is rented so was not actually my choice :/

I had never heard this before though, are you suggesting I should not use enameled cast iron on this surface at all? Here is a link to the actual unit I am working with if that is any help...
http://products.geappliances.com/appliance/gea-specs/JBP78BBBB
 
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See "Selecting Types of Cookware" on page 9 of the owners manual. While they do not recommend against enameled and cast iron cookware, there are several cautions with their use. The only cookware that would have no problem is clad stainless steel.

I should also add that these are recommendations as to what cookware to use. It makes no representation as to what happens to the cookware when you use it. They recommend aluminum for instance. Brand new it will work fine, but my experience is that the bottom will turn into a wok in short order making it unusable with electric. So I don't think your concern about damage to your enameled cookware is unfounded.
 
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To reiterate what others have said, I think the enameled CI can take a fair amount of abuse. CI is the original high-heat cooking material, so don't worry about "abusing" it with high heat. And the enamel coating is extremely durable, pretty much the exact opposite of a nonstick PTFA or ceramic. (Actually, ceramic is durable; it just doesn't stay nonstick for very long, which makes enameled CI the better choice for just about everything.)

As for stainless and searing, just wanted to say that it kind of depends on the stainless. If you're using a lightweight tri-ply, All-Clad or otherwise, you're probably not going to get the searing results you want. However, if you're using AC D7--marketed specifically to compete with le Creuset, I believe--or a Demeyere Proline skillet, you'll get good results. It's the heat buildup and retention that make cast iron great for searing, and this is largely a result of its immense mass. Both D7 and Proline are massive, heavy pans, and hold heat very well. They can also both take a beating, if that's important to you. :)

I've heard that high-end copper skillets (2.5 mm Mauviel for example) are also great for searing, but I'm not sure I believe it as copper is known for its lightning fast responsiveness (wouldn't it crash when you throw that room temp steak into the pan?). I've not had the pleasure to experiment with it yet, though.

Tri-ply stainless is my daily cookware and I find it versatile and much prefer it over CI for boiling water--those pots get very heavy when full of water! I agree w/everything kronon said: the Cuisinart MC Pro is of comparable quality to the AC tri-ply for a lot less $$. But neither come close to my Demeyere Proline for quality, durabiity, or performance. It's truly several steps above the All-Clad tri-ply (and you'll see it in the price, unfortunately).
 
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Now that I think of it I have never seared on cast iron, wow! I have noticed no difference between stainless, teflon or ceramic. Teflon has no problem with heat a bit under 700F, like 650 should be fine, and does anyone really go higher than that, except by accident? I guess you could argue against Teflon for the accident part. I am using electrics, so heating is very even.
 
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And speaking of AllClad [prices], there's a sale through this Sunday (June 24th) of seconds at homeandcooksales.com .

The obvious caveats are:

1) What's offered are seconds, no warranty, no returns.
2) Selection is only what's offered, and only what remains in stock. Everything is on a first-come, first served basis.

Having said that, I did buy for myself an All Clad TK BD5 12-inch diameter fry pan, for $100. They also offer the regular D5 fry pan for the same price, so my take is that you have your pick of handle, for 1/2 of the regular price.

GS
 
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Ummm... Have any of you gone to a restaurant supply store to buy s/s pots? They don’t come in sets, or with nice packaging, but they are cheap, and durable.

Speaking of cheap, Ikea has decent, cheap s/s cooware. It takes a lot of abuse, I know because I’ve been using a 2ltr sautoir for about 4years now in a commercial kitchen.

For sautéing, I picked up a beast at my restaurant supply store, a 12” copper pan that has a s/s skin on the inside of the pan, no sandwich bottom, just solid 1/4” thick copper throughout. Heavy beast though....
 
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