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De Buyer Carbon Plus - Most useful sizes?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I've been looking at these for quite a while now and want to get a few.  The only place online I can find a decent selection is here:


As you can see, they offer seven different sizes.  My only frame of reference is the two cast iron pans I have.  One is an 8" and one a 10".  I use them both equally and really can't tell if they would be the sizes I would want if I had other choices.  As you can see, the actual cooking area (bottom diameter) does not line up with the pan size between cast iron and the carbon steel pans, due to the flare of the sides.  The 9.5" carbon would pretty much equal the 8" cast iron, etc.


Are there really any sizes that just get used a lot more than others, or is it pretty equal across the board?  There are four of us to cook for, if that matters.  Two kids, wife and myself.


I'm trying to pick out three useful sizes and am just having a really hard time.  There just might not be an answer to this one.  I'm guessing the largest and the smallest might not do as well.  The largest might have trouble on a regular size home stove burner.  I don't know what I would use the smallest for.  I have a really small cast iron in a similar size I use to brown garlic for different italian sauces.  Now I'm rambling.


Well, any input, opinions, etc. would be appreciated.  Thanks!

post #2 of 11

I have de buyer in 8, 10, and 12 inch sizes, and a different brand in 14.


For the way I cook---primarily just me and Friend Wife---the 10" and 12" are the most commonly used. So, for a family, I wouldn't even consider the 8".


14" might sound appealing. But keep in mind that it requires a larger burner, and might not be practical on your stove.


As you noticed, due to their configuration, carbon pans are "smaller" than, say, stainless of the same nominal size. An 8" carbon, for instance, will nestle inside any 8" stainless or cast.


When all is said and done, if my kids still lived at home, I would opt for a pair of 12" carbon pans as being the most versitile.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

A pair of the same size.  I never even thought of that.  Conditioned by the concept of "sets" I grew up with, no doubt.

post #4 of 11

8":  One egg; melting butter; single grilled cheese sandwich; etc.


10":  Two or three egg omlette -- you need one just for that; small servings of protein for two; garnish (vegetables) for two - four; etc.


12":  Everything else.


Family of four:  I recommend one of each, maybe two 10" or 12", and please think about adding at least one non-reactive skillet (such as stainless) as well.  A set like: one 8", two 10" (one reserved for eggs only), one 12", one stainless 10" skillet; a stainless 12" "saute" with a helper handle; one 8" or 10" cast iron; and one 12" chicken fryer, would be close to ideal.  You'll also need at least one lid in each size. 


It makes life easier if you can choose pans which fit your existing lids; or if you're buying an entirely new set -- pans which share lids.


There are other choices just as good as DeBuyer, like Matfer and Vollrath to name just two.  The pans are cheap enough to replace if you don't like something about them, but will last years if you don't warp, ding or abuse them -- which does happen now and then.  They get ugly fast and stay that way.  They don't have ergonomic handles, you pick them up with a towel.  Don't overthink.  One is pretty much as good as another. 



post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thank you both for your replies.  It's already helped narrow things down for me.


BDL, I overthink.  It's in my nature.  However, I have learned to curtail it.  I doubt if I will ever eliminate it.  For example, the Matfer pans are made of 16 ga. steel.  The DeBuyer Carbon Plus are 3mm thick which is almost exactly twice as thick (yes, I looked up steel guage thicknesses and then did a metric conversion).  Of course this will make a difference in weight and even heat distribution.  I have no idea how that balances out (heat and handling) since I have no frame of reference.


I won't even get into how I've calculated the percentage change of cooking surface areas for each size (from smallest to largest) or what the cost per square inch of cooking surface for each pan is.


The practical issues to me seem to be whether the carbon plus pans will be to heavy to handle easily (too much like cast iron?) and how to get covers that fit *any* of the carbon steel pans.  None of them anywhere come with covers.


FWIW, I have in tri-ply stainless: 12" chicken fryer, 10" skillet, 8" skillet (with covers that fit all three).  In cast iron: 10" skillet, 8" skillet, 6" skillet.  I still have the glass cover for the 10", but by the time I broke the cover for the 8" skillet, I couldn't find them for sale anywhere.  You used to be able to buy them in any decent grocery or department store.



post #6 of 11

As to weight, carbon steel pans will run 1/2 to 2/3 the weight of a comparable cast iron pan. With de buyer it's more like 2/3. I do find, however, that the carbon have better balance characteristics, so you don't feel the weight as much as you do with cast.


Another source for carbon steel pans:


BB&B sells "universal" covers that fit most pans up to 12 inches. Worst comes to worse, that's a way to go. Or check out the lids here:



As for the rest, you're getting far too OCD for me. And, frankly, are going in poor directions. My 14" carbon pan is, without doubt, the best deal going on a price per square inch of cooking surface. But if it doesn't work on your stove it's not such a good deal, no matter what it cost. My point being, you should be choosing cookware based on its ability to do the job for you, consistent with overall cost.

Edited by KYHeirloomer - 8/29/10 at 11:34am
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 

Too OCD?  Ya think?!  A HA HA HA HA HA HA!!! 


Naa, I'm not going in poor directions.  I pointed out the real issues; handling and covers.  You supplied the info on handling, so thank you again.  I'll figure out covers later.  I have a pretty good idea on sizes now, thanks to you and BDL, so now all I have to do is decide on Matfer Bourgeat or DeBuyer Carbon Plus.  I'm sure they're both good.  If I still let my OCD tendencies rule my behavior, I would go forever without knowing which to get since I can't get guage information on the Matfer pans.  However, the website gives weight for Matfer, so that tells me they're close enough.  Can't figure out why the Matfer cost significantly less, though...

post #8 of 11

i have only one de buyer carbon pan and it's a 12" model. i use it for a ton of stuff—it's probably my go-to pan for most things—but it is heavy.

post #9 of 11

Heavy is as heavy does, bscepter, and there's often a direct trade-off between weight (or, rather, density) and cookability.


For comparative purposes, though:


12" cast iron comparable to carbon: 153.4 oz (9.6 lbs)

12" de buyer carbon:                        93.6 oz (5.8 lbs)

12" stainless:                                  54.4 oz (3.4 lbs)


The 12" stainless pan I have is not really comparable, however, because it has lower sidewalls and has nowhere near the capacity of the other two. At a guess, I'd say a comparable pan would come in at four pounds or better.


So, while the carbon is heavier than comparable stainless, it's not objectionably so, especailly as it comes in so much lighter than cast iron, but shares many of its benefits.


I'm sure if you're comparing to aluminum that the carbon will, indeed, seem very heavy. But I don't have any aluminum pans, so can't compare actual weights.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 

I have been all over the internet and I can't get any real info on the difference between the Matfer Bougeat and De Buyer carbon plus.  Finest Cookware has the De Buyer carbon plus, and it is much more expensive than the Bourgeat Black Steel listed on the Culinary Cookware site.  Also, Culinary Cookware lists all the bourgeat pans as being significantly heavier than the De Buyer pans on Finest Cookware.  Why the big difference in price?  Why is there such a big difference in weight?  The iron handles on the bourgeat could never account for an extra pound for the same size pan.  Are the shapes of the pan themselves different?  Are the two handles "hold" different and affect comfort?  Is the De Buyer finished "prettier", thereby causing a bigger cost?  I care nothing for the finish.  Ergonomics and thickness of the steel are the only two things that matter to me.


These are the things I wish to know.  This information is not available on the internet as far as I can tell.


If I was single, I'd go really OCD and order one of each from the two places in the same size and to hell with the shipping cost.  It would be worth it just to KNOW.


But I'm not single, and I just ordered a Pro #3 kit from Edge Pro, and a new scale, and a new pepper grinder, and will be ordering new chopping blocks from The Board Smith, and a Masamoto HC, and other stuff I'm forgetting right now.


She would be mad if I did that just so I could know...

post #11 of 11

Would the 12" de Buyer carbone plus frying pan be effective for cooking three-egg French omelets?  Or would it be too large and awkward?  I'm trying to find a pan that would be suitable as an omelet pan but that would also serve for other cooking purposes.  

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