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An alternative to cast iron.

 
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Very cool new pans from Lodge. Cast Iron health benefits without the weight.
http://www.lodgemfg.com/Seasoned.asp
 
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Location: Central Ohio, Zone 6A - High water table, heavy clay.
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If you're interested in this type of thing, I would also look into high-carbon steel pans by DeBuyer and Paderno. The Paderno's are priced similarly and are heavily reviewed/compared and also available on Amazon. My understanding is that not all carbon steel pans are created equal.
 
Dave Bennett
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Matt Smith wrote:If you're interested in this type of thing, I would also look into high-carbon steel pans by DeBuyer and Paderno. The Paderno's are priced similarly and are heavily reviewed/compared and also available on Amazon. My understanding is that not all carbon steel pans are created equal.


De Buyer are the best. I have a set of them but they are very expensive. It is good to see Lodge making a leas expensive alternative. I spent enough time in high end commercial kitchens to know how great De Buyer pans are but the average home cook more often than not won't pay that much for a "frying pan."

PS: I mentioned De Buyer on Paul's video about using cast iron.
 
pollinator
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@ Matt

After studying material science, I can say that the only difference between cast iron (2.1-4 percent carbon) and an even "higher" carbon-iron material is the difference between ductility and brittleness because of interstitial spaces being filled by carbon atoms. What makes a good cast iron skillet is thickness which allows the skillet to store enough thermal energy for sauteing and searing (not boiling from thin walls), smooth polished cooking surface, and lack of impurity metals. It is possible to have trace amounts of lead or cadmium.

I know that Lodge Cast Iron cookware tests their metal quality, and a bonus they are made in America. Their prices are very reasonable, but my only complaint is that their casting process produces a semi gritty surface that takes a couple years to wear down unless you grind it yourself (recommended). Dont be fooled by expensive gimiky cast iron products, the material works the same way so buy according to your preference.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgTKTh1UfiU
 
Matt Smith
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Location: Central Ohio, Zone 6A - High water table, heavy clay.
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Just for clarity's sake, in my post above I was referring to high-carbon steel, not higher-carbon iron. I actually was not aware that there is a difference in carbon content within cast iron.

I also dislike the sandy texture on the Lodge pans (the same texture appears on most cheapo modern cast iron pans, and some vintage ones). My old Wagner pans are nice and smooth. I prefer that, and I don't feel like I should have to start off my usage of a newly purchased modern product by grinding it smooth (which would also interfere with their seasoned coating, no doubt).
 
                    
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Matt Smith wrote:Just for clarity's sake, in my post above I was referring to high-carbon steel, not higher-carbon iron. I actually was not aware that there is a difference in carbon content within cast iron.

I also dislike the sandy texture on the Lodge pans (the same texture appears on most cheapo modern cast iron pans, and some vintage ones). My old Wagner pans are nice and smooth. I prefer that, and I don't feel like I should have to start off my usage of a newly purchased modern product by grinding it smooth (which would also interfere with their seasoned coating, no doubt).



Older manufacturers had a two-step forming process: 1) pour the metal into moulds 2) machine down the bumpy metal to a smooth finish. Then they seasoned, packaged, shipped, and so on. Wagner skips the machining process. That makes for a much bumpier surface which I find difficult to care for and certainly not "nonstick"... though cheap.

You get what you pay for, I guess.
 
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I have a "blue steel" or "carbon steel" crepe pan, and I love it. It's got similar qualities to my cast iron skillets, except it's light enough to easily pick up and tip when you're spreading out the crepe batter.

Here's an article from Serious Eats about the joys and qualities of carbon steel pans.

. . .if you're at all a fan of vintage cast iron, with its thinner build and smoother surface than the new stuff sold today, carbon steel will appeal to you: It's stamped or spun from sheets of metal, not cast like cast iron, which gives it a smooth surface similar to vintage cast iron. This also means that a perfectly seasoned carbon steel pan will have better non-stick properties than a perfectly seasoned modern cast iron pan.



The author makes the case that there's not a lot of difference between a high quality carbon steel pan and a nice vintage cast iron pan. I can't speak to that, since the only carbon steel pan I have is the crepe pan. He also points out that if you're going to toss things while sautéing, the sloped sides of a carbon steel pan make that easier.
 
pollinator
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Buyuer here is quite cheap compared to Le Creuset

http://www.johnlewis.com/browse/home-garden/home-brands/le-creuset/cast-iron/_/N-5s43

David
 
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if you are looking for a pan that Griswold made, I would recommend buying a vintage one. The difference between a new bumpy lodge pan and the machined smooth old Griswold pans I found are night and day. Ebay and flea markets are great places to find cast iron. Why lodge makes them and doesn't polish them somehow seems ridiculous besides the fact that polishing or machining would be an expensive step. A smooth seasoned cast iron pan is as non stick as it gets.
 
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