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Why does my food turn out poorly using an All-Clad Stainless-Steel Fry Pan?

Is there a way to prevent food that is cooked in sunflower oil from sticking to the pans / wok? Would a low heat help? If the food does stick, how could it be removed?

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For the last part of the question, there are also several existing questions on how to clean stainless steel cookware. –  Aaronut Dec 3 '11 at 17:48
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marked as duplicate by Aaronut Dec 3 '11 at 17:46

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To prevent sticking, your pan surface should be around 150 to 160°C. The farther away you move from that (higher or lower temperature), the more likely that your food will stick. So the temperature is very important, but without knowing how you are cooking, I can't tell you if you need more or less heat.

If you have a layer of food which sticks, but hasn't burned, scratch it with a spatula and stir or turn. If it is burned, remove from the heat, scoop the food above the burned layer, and, if not yet ready, continue cooking in another pan. Be careful, because if you include flakes of burned food, your whole meal will taste burned.

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Also, of course, for meat, its important to leave them alone for a minute; they will stick upon initial contact with the oiled pan, but release shortly thereafter. –  derobert Dec 1 '11 at 15:05
    
If scraping with a spatula doesn't work, deglaze by adding a liquid while the pan is still hot, then scrape the "sucs" with a spatula to make a "fond." If it's burned on, or the oil has lacquered to the pan, Barkeeper's Friend works wonders. … en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deglazing_(cooking) & barkeepersfriend.com –  tajmo Dec 1 '11 at 21:23
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The best way to stop food from sticking to non-Tefloned pans is to season the pans properly. Iron and steel pans have a porous surface and so are prone to stick, not to mention rust.

Seasoning the pan initially involves applying a thin layer of oil with a kitchen cloth and heating the pan gently. This allows the pan to absorb a little of the oil, which forms a protective, non-stick layer on the pan surface.

To keep the pan's non-stick coating, you should avoid washing it in soapy water. Instead, rinse the pan well in hot water and use a brush to remove food particles, dry it, then apply another layer of oil to the pan. Eventually you will build up a good layer of oil that will make the pan very non-stick.

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I think you overlooked the title, he said "stainless steel", your advice is accurate for carbon steel. –  rumtscho Dec 1 '11 at 11:34
    
A good point well made! –  ElendilTheTall Dec 1 '11 at 11:50
    
@ElendilTheTall, + 1 Nevertheless, even though your advise is accurate for carbon steel as mention by rumtscho, but it could come in handy if I had carbon steel pan. –  Anderson Karu Dec 2 '11 at 0:49
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As far as cleaning, I have found that a Sodium Percarbonate-based cleaner (Oxyclean, for instance) works quite well for getting heavy soils off of glass and stainless steel (don't use it on Aluminum, as it will cause pitting). Fill the pan with hot water, then pour some oxyclean powder into the pan, and let it sit overnight. Any remaining soils can be removed with the scotchbrite green scrubby pads and elbow grease.

Again, only use this stuff on non-reactive surfaces, such as glass and stainless steel. Aluminum will degrade quickly, and the scrubby pads will remove non-stick surfaces.

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Wow, Bar Keeper's Friend works so much quicker on stainless. –  derobert Dec 1 '11 at 15:03
    
Well, usually an overnight soak will break things down to the point where you can just rinse it off with no scrubbing. I'm just not in a hurry. –  baka Dec 1 '11 at 17:07
    
+1 Thanks baka for the tips on - Again, only use this stuff (Sodium Percarbonate-based cleaner) on non-reactive surfaces, such as glass and stainless steel. Aluminum will degrade quickly, and the scrubby pads will remove non-stick surfaces. –  Anderson Karu Dec 2 '11 at 0:53
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