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Saute pan for xmas present!

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I'm a cooking noob so bare with me :) I'm looking at buying my girlfriend a saute pan, 4-5 qt size range in size, 11 inch diameter max. After lots of research and some reading on this forum and whatnot, I'm leaning towards something indestructible with a bottom that stays flat when heated on a flat top oven (not induction) with a "copper core" base, stainless steel interior, riveted handle that can be put inside the oven. I'm not concerned with looks or brand name.  Looking for a single saute pan in the $200 or less budget range.  My problem is that I almost found what I was looking for with the "Sitram Catering" brand name but the handles are weak and spot welded prone to braking off (?? from what I've read)

I don't think I want Aluminum cores because when heated, aluminum has a thermal expansion that is quite a lot different than stainless steel, so prone to warping the bottoms.... whereas copper and stainless steel have very similar thermal expansions so less prone to warpage, but I suppose an aluminum core base isn't the end of the world..... also I've read that the side walls of the pans are not as important to have aluminum or copper cores, so I suppose I'm mainly just concerned with the base having the even heat distribution and thickness.  Can anyone recommend any types of pans? there's just so many for a noob like me to research!

Also I'd like to stay away from non-stick surface pans.

Thanks.

post #2 of 7

A well made clad pan will last for decades or longer. Don't worry about the aluminum cores. They know how to make them work right. And for a stainless saute pan, I would only consider a three layer or more clad pan. You don't want a disk bottom saute pan. Cast iron and carbon steel also are good saute pans, but heavy and not what everyone wants to use.

 

A non-stick saute pan is useful for somethings, but coated aluminum ones are inexpensive and work well for that purpose. Not the go-to pan for sauteing though.

 

A saute pan isn't normally measured in capacity, but in diameter. 8, 10 and 12 inches are the common sizes though you can find others.

 

10 is fine for cooking for 2 but the 12 is much more versatile, even just for two people. Two steaks would crowd a 10" pan but cook wonderfully in a 12. I strongly suggest the 12 over the other sizes.

 

Tramontina makes a 12" clad 3 layer pan you can find for under $50 and it is well regarded.http://www.walmart.com/ip/Tramontina-12-18-10-TriPly-Clad-Stainless-Steel-Saute-Pan/5716483   Riveted handles and all. Other good brands for clad saute pans are All-Clad (very expensive around $150), and Calphalon. You can find Calphalons on sale in that $50 range, but you probably have to look.

 

Lastly, consider induction compatibility. Most pans made today are compatible with induction. Induction is the future of the home cooking surface so it's worth having that compatibilty in my opinion for as long as a good pan will last.

 

I have both a Tramontina and a Calphalon 12" 3 layer stainless clad  saute pans. They perform very similarly and I'm happy with both. The Calphalon is older and not induction compatible. I don't consider All-Clad worth the high price though they are well made pans.

post #3 of 7

FWIW, a 12" diameter pan is 44% larger than a 10" pan in surface area.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by phatch View Post
...10 is fine for cooking for 2 but the 12 is much more versatile, even just for two people. Two steaks would crowd a 10" pan but cook wonderfully in a 12. I strongly suggest the 12 over the other sizes...

 

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks phatch!

It's really difficult for me to find anybody that sells, or will even ship the 12" Tramontina pan.  I wonder if Cuisinart multiclad 12" stainless would be my best bet substitute in that price range?   http://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-Multiclad-Stainless-12-Inch-Skillet/dp/B0009W38T4/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1323389907&sr=8-3

It's not advertised as 18/10 stainless, I wonder if that makes a difference since I use a non-induction (flat top stove with electric elements).

Thanks.

 

post #5 of 7

I don't know anything about the Cuisinart pans. At least nothing that sticks out in my memory. 

 

18/10 steel is just a range of Chromium and Nickel content respectively. Many steels meet this  content and some are magnetic, some aren't. The interest in 18/10 steel is more about its high stainlessness and durability of the finish than anything else.

 

If you like the Cuisinart, the reviews are generally favorable and you'll likely be happy with it.

 

So Walmart won't ship to Canada? Odd.

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

phatch thank you so much for the Tramontina hint... saved me a lot of money and the pans are great !!  They feel heavy in the hand and sturdy, and so far for the past 2 weeks they work perfectly and the heat seems to be very even.  Instead of just getting one pan, I got an entire set (the 8pc Tramontina set for $150, the 12" fry pan for $40, and Walmart was so nice they sent me an extra pan for free!! I also got a 12" and 10" Calphalon no-stick pans set for $50, and also got a Lodge Logic cast iron combo cooker (which is a 10" pan and 10" deep pan, combined makes a Dutch Oven, combo for about $50), AND I bought for $70, the Tramontina 12" jumbo cooker pan with the straight sides and lid.  I probably won't need to buy any pots or pans for many years, these are all great.  Being in Canada I wasn't able to get them here so I had a friend drive them up from the USA in time for xmas so all is well.

It surprises me that Walmart USA refuses to ship anything to the Canadian stores or ship anything to Canada at all!

post #7 of 7

You're welcome. I think they're a very good pan at reasonable prices.

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