Vollrath vs France

Discussion in 'Cooking Equipment Reviews' started by carpenter, Aug 20, 2011.

  1. carpenter


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    Home Cook
    What's the low-down on American made Vollrath carbon steel pans versus the thicker French brands? 

    I bought a Vollrath 12" pan.  I like it so much that I bought a 9 3/8" pan.  The Vollraths measure in slightly more than 1.5mm thick, where as the French made pans are 2.5 mm plus.  I've read the archives and find that quite a few home-cooks prefer the heavy French made pans.  I wonder if that is necessarily because they are better pans or do they assume that thicker is better and that made in France makes a difference.?   Have they tried the Vollraths?  Is there a benchmark for carbon pans?

    The one complaint I hear often about the French pans is that they are heavy.   I enjoy the lightness of the Vollraths, especially for sauteing and flipping food.  I believe a few chefs mentioned that the thicker French pans were better on a hotter commercial range where as the Vollraths were better at home.

    I'm in the market for another carbon pan.  Should I stick with the American pan or go French? 

    Please advise, thank you,

  2. foodpump


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    Professional Pastry Chef
    All carbon steel pans will warp eventually, the thicker ones just take  longer.

    The thicker the material, the more heat it can absorb and retain.  There is a difference in the results of cooking with thicker saute pans vs thinner ones in terms of colouring and crust.
  3. boar_d_laze


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    Cook At Home
    There are plenty of light, Euro carbon pans.

    Vollrath makes great pans. The Vollrath carbons are absolutely top drawer. I love Vollrath (but don't have any right now).

    Everything else being equal, very thin pans tend to warp more quickly than medium and thick pans. 1.5mm isn't thin, it's middle-ish. 1.0mm is thin. 2.5mm is pretty darn thick. Our 2.5mm carbon De Buyer "mineral" pans way a ton -- unless you're comparing them to our 2.5mm Mauviel m'Heritage copper in which case the De Buyers are featherweight. Let me add that the De Buyers aren't too heavy for a cook of ordinary strength to toss turn, but it's close.

    Carbon pans are cheap enough that you can afford to make a mistake. My suggestion is to buy the most comfortable handle. Remember, that most of the time you handle the pan, there will be a towel wrapped around the handle.

    Everything else being equal, heavy construction -- as long as the pan isn't too heavy to handle -- is a plus. You don't want a pan you can't toss turn.

    Another compelling reason to buy a particular brand is that it's sold in the store in which you're currently standing. That's how we got the De Buyers, and they're working out quite nicely.

    Still more important, listen to your wife.

    You're overstating the differences between cookware on residential and commercial stoves. The stove makes 10x the difference of the pan. You couldn't do commercial stove tricks on residential ranges if you were cooking on a sheet of foil. On a residential top, you have to preheat both the 1.5mm and the 2.5mm pans, but the 1.5mm is a minute faster, and... wait... remind me again why that minute's important.

    Don't forget lids.

    Last edited: Aug 21, 2011