What's with hardened anodized aluminum?

Discussion in 'Cooking Equipment Reviews' started by markg2, Apr 22, 2011.

  1. markg2

    markg2

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    First some background. We have an extensive All Clad set that my wife purchased many years ago that I hate to use because the stuff doesn't like the DW. Once I'm done cooking and eating, I do not want to stand and wash. Clarification on the preceding. When I do cook for real, I use the All Clad. However, when I cook quick stuff in the morning or quick stuff p.m., I'm looking for quick and easy.

    That said :), I have managed a quiet revolt around here and purchased cheapo Wal-Mart 3 qt sauce pan(s) w/lid and a 10 or 12" (what I incorrectly call) frying pan with lid. Both have some sort of Teflon. I'm shortly going on my third sauce pan and third fry pan within a couple of years. Despite using wood utensils, the cheap Teflon comes off. So I 'manned up' and jumped two price levels at Wal-Mart and brought home a fry pan that was hardened anodized aluminum. Only when I opened the thing up at home and read the info on the inside did I find that: you cannot use in the DW, you cannot use on high heat (a sauté-fry pan?) and high heat causes the surface to give off gases or some such scary thing. I returned it. Yesterday I purchased a set of Tramontina Pro 3004 pans at Costco. The box only said aluminum alloy. Naturally, when I got the thing home and opened and read further--although nothing was said about hardened anodized aluminum, all the previous precautions were mentioned. Must be the same surface.

    So I'd love to get some info from you all that have (probably) no dog in the fight and can tell me straight off. Why there appears to be this plethora of hardened anodized aluminum equipment with caveats to its use? Are the caveats really applicable to home use? If there's no way of getting around the caveats would cheap SS be a good alternative?

    Mark
     
  2. chef7734

    chef7734

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    Most of the time it is the teflon that gives off gasses at high heat. Best option would be purchase a clad set, annodized alumni pans without teflon, or the new cuisinart green cookware that uses ceramic vs teflon for Tue nonstic.
    sent from my thunderbolt.
     
  3. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    The entire issue doesn't seem to be so much material as your unwillingness to care for it properly. That is, your major criteria is whether or not it's dishwasher proof.

    With that in mind, it'll continue to be a difficult buy. Stainless cladware should not go in the dishwasher. Cast- and carbon steel cookware should not go in the dishwasher. Teflon-coated cookwear will, sooner or later, lose it's coating and have to be replaced. Anodized cookware is the current in material. However, the anodizing is neither as deep nor as hard as it was with the older commercial lines. So you have to treat it with kid gloves, and not put it in the dishwasher (as well as use non-metallic utensils).

    My advice is that you choose quality cookware that meets your needs, and invest the couple of minutes it takes to wash it by hand. I mean, it's not like you're facing a whole sinkful of dishes each night. We're talking one or two pots and pans.
     
  4. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Most pots should not go in dishwasher. As KY states neither should SS or crystal or silverware or many other things. As far as Teflon. All teffon is is a plastic coating. It is applied or bonded  ueing geat heat, therefore will come off using great heats. There are other coatings like silverstone that are better and more durable. Keeping teflon on extreme high heat will produce a strange odor and if you preheat which you should not, a funny taste in foods. I will not use anything teflon for cooking or baking.

        You are much better off buying a pan for $75=80 and having it last 30 years then buying one for $20-25 and having it last 4 to 5 years
     
  5. foodpump

    foodpump

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    I don't see the purpose of a teflon pan for anything other than egg dishes or crepes, and such cookware can be wiped out with a paper towel and put away--no washing required.  For these dishes, no great heat is required anyway  Teflon is a super slippery substance--so it won't stick to anything but itself.  This is one of the main reasons why it usually fails after a while, it just doen't adhere to a pan surface very well.

    Really not a big fan of aluminum cookware--be it plain, alloy, or anodized, as all alumium cookware will eventually warp.  S/s cookware will not warp (under normal conditions) but s/s sandwich cookware has it's caveats as well.

    All sandwich cookware starts off as a simple single guage form, then a layer of thick aluminum is put on the bottom.  This layer can be welded on or glued on. After this a s/s skin is put over the aluminum disc.  Again, this can be welded on or glued on.  Many, if not all mnfctr.s are loathe to weld aluminum to s/s so they usually use a high tec. glue.  I have used commercial cookware that was already 20 years old with the discs glued on, and they work just fine--if you don't subject it water and detergents--that is, toss it in the d/washer.  I have also seen 5 yr old commercial pots come unglued from perpetual d/washing too.  One such pot is on my deck doing duty as a peppermint planter, another is jammed in with my camping gear. 
     
  6. onepiece

    onepiece

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    Last edited: Apr 27, 2011
  7. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't see any reason to pay extra for hard anodized on the exterior since they already have a nonstick interior. And I require an all metal handle so I can put in the oven under the broiler. REQUIRE.

    That said, Calphalon makes a good pan though you pay extra for the name brand.
     
  8. onepiece

    onepiece

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    At $40 for an 8" and a 10", $20 a pan doesn't seem to bad.   I believe Calphalon's label at the store said that the rubber handles were oven proof to 450 degrees.
     
  9. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Tramontna 8 & 10 " teflon aluminum pans at Costco for $25 yesterday, rubber sleeve on the handle slips off for oven use.  with the lifespan of nonstick, I go cheap.

    The calphalon are fine quality and if you like them, great.
     
  10. onepiece

    onepiece

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    You have got a good point about the life span of the pans.  Does the Hard Anondized surface hold up much better than Teflon?  I heard it all depends on the pan.
     
  11. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Calphalon does a good job with the HA generally speaking.  Aside from cosmetics and some scratch resistance, I don't find it offers any performance gain. It's not non-stick to speak of, though maybe somewhat less stick than bare aluminum. Well, HA is non-reactive so it's fine tomato sauces and wine compared to bare aluminum.
     
  12. markg2

    markg2

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    As usual you guys provided excellent information. Apparently the type of product I had always thought existed didn't--I suspect a function of marketing and my peripheral knowledge.