Questions on selecting, maintaining, and using cooking tools and equipment.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (5)

9
votes
2answers
30k views

How does a whipped cream charger work?

I recently got an iSi whipped cream container that charges with nitrous cannisters. I don't really understand how the thing works, which I think would help my use of the system. How does this actually ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

What to look for in a Stand Mixer?

I want to buy a stand mixer, a good one. Mainly for mixing dough, but also for mincing meat. I've seen that the KitchenAid has a mincing attachment. So, I've made a list of what to look for, and would ...
7
votes
7answers
960 views

How can I make sifting easier?

I'm at the point where I will completely avoid certain recipes simply because they require sifting and I find it incredibly tedious. Is there a better method? A better tool? A magic sifter?
5
votes
3answers
1k views

How to know whether the teflon coated pan's life has reached end?

I use oil for cooking in the Teflon coated pan. I put the pan on a very low fire. (Simmer) Lately I have found that the onions get stuck to the bottom of the pan. How to know whether the teflon ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Are Non-Stick Bread Pans Destined to Fail?

Bought a pair of generic non-stick bread pans (Ecko or Good-Chef or some such). After 100 to 150 loaves, and gentle care, they're now more prone to sticking bread than the non-coated pans they were ...
3
votes
2answers
6k views

Calibrating a home gas oven

We have a new gas oven which is consistently 30-40F low compared to the dial setting (we've checked with two oven thermometers). While we can get it calibrated as a service call by the manufacturer, ...
15
votes
7answers
3k views

How to find a competent knife sharpener

I have a santoku that I will be wanting to get professionally sharpened in the next few months. This is the first knife I've owned that was reasonably expensive so I want to make sure I take care of ...
40
votes
13answers
11k views

What is the point of a salt mill?

Salt mills and pepper mills often come in pairs. I understand the purpose of the pepper mill: It breaks open the pepper corn and releases the aroma. But there is, to my knowledge, no such thing as a ...
33
votes
9answers
201k views

Does ceramic non-stick cookware “fail”, and if so, how?

I've heard of pans with ceramic non-stick surfaces; it seems some reports on internet say they may "fail" in about 6 months. How can these pans "fail"? Do ceramic-coated pans require non-stick-...
20
votes
14answers
148k views

Is there something better than mineral oil for cutting boards?

I've been using mineral oil to oil my wooden cutting boards ever since I found out this was a good thing to do. I had a couple of bamboo boards up until I bought a really great John Boos carving ...
26
votes
4answers
96k views

Is it normal to see flames inside my self-cleaning oven?

I spilled some sauce, cheese, and pepperoni in the oven last night while trying to transfer some homemade pizza from the pizza peel onto the pizza stone, so I decided to clean it today. I wiped the ...
17
votes
11answers
4k views

What types of cooking are pressure cookers most useful for?

We were just clearing out our kitchen and stared at this brand new, unused pressure cooker we got for our wedding over 10 years ago! We've never felt the need to use it before. I know it's supposed ...
10
votes
6answers
19k views

What is the best material for a cooking spoon?

We use standard wooden spoons, but they soon pick up stains from the various dishes. What are the pros and cons of the various woods, e.g. olive, Cilio Toscana Olivewood, beechwood, maple, bamboo, etc?...
10
votes
9answers
32k views

How to clean a burnt cast iron pot?

I have this cast iron pot that my friend completely burnt. I was wondering what might be done to save this pot. I realize that this question seems similar to this one but in that one his skillet is ...
9
votes
4answers
4k views

How to clean and maintain cast iron lids

I have a number of cast iron lids that fit skillets, dutch ovens, etc. Most have the little cone-shaped spikes on the underside to collect and return moisture to the food. I have no issues cleaning ...
6
votes
2answers
562 views

Knife sharpening equipment

I'm a novice at best when it comes to cooking, but I'm open to learning how to sharpen my own knives. However, I'm a quite overwhelmed with where to start and how to get things going. I have a few ...
16
votes
8answers
17k views

Does it take a special type of blender to make smoothies?

Or am I just doing it wrong? I have what I consider a typical blender that you might find in any American kitchen. It's a glass container with a cross shaped blade. The problem I have is that pieces ...
13
votes
13answers
19k views

Using cast iron on a glass range

I currently rent, and the only problem I have with the house we're in is that it has a glass-top range. I absolutely love my cast iron cookware, and use it as often as possible. I've heard a few ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

Why isn't glass ideal for the fermentation of sauerkraut?

I last made sauerkraut over 20 years ago, so embarking on it again I did some reading and chose an Alton Brown recipe. He specifically calls for the fermentation to be done in a plastic container. ...
12
votes
1answer
5k views

What kinds of pressure cookers are there, and what are they good for?

I have never owned a pressure cooker, nor been in a kitchen which has one. But they have been a topic around the site and the blog lately, so I got curious. When I took a look, I noticed that they ...
10
votes
4answers
4k views

How can I prevent dough from wrapping around a dough hook? [duplicate]

I have a 5.5qt KitchenAid stand mixer with the burnished spiral ("pigtail") dough hook. This is not the C-hook. When I make a small amount (for example, using 250g of flour or approximately 2 cups) of ...
5
votes
4answers
3k views

What's the best option for water for tea in the office?

When making tea at home, I have all the equipment I need to make a fine cup of tea. In the office, however, my options are more limited. It seems my sources for hot water are: Straight from the tap ...
5
votes
3answers
847 views

Fruit peeling techniques

I came across this page (How to peel a mango) while surfing and I found it very interesting. What kind of methods and knives/kitchen gadgets do you use to peel fruits? Are there different tools to ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Blender Buying - Square vs. Round Container

After looking at this blender question, I had a follow-up question. I've seen both square and round containers/lids for blenders. Is either better? I tend to see square blenders at smoothie shops - ...
5
votes
2answers
7k views

Why would heating salt in a pan prevent food from sticking?

Quote from www.saltworks.us: Preventing food from sticking - Rub a pancake griddle with a small bag of salt to prevent sticking and smoking. Sprinkle a little salt in the skillet before frying ...
25
votes
2answers
15k views

Dishwasher safety - “top shelf” vs. “bottom shelf”

The instruction manual for some of my kitchen equipment says "Dishwasher safe (top shelf)". What difference is there between what an object on the top shelf of a dishwasher experiences, and what ...
23
votes
7answers
83k views

When baking, is it better to use a gas or electric oven?

I'm looking for an oven and wanted to know if there is any difference between a gas or electric oven when it comes to baking things like cakes, biscuits and scones?
21
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the purpose of seasoning a skillet?

I've seen a couple questions on how to season a skillet, and this may be a dumb question, but why do you season a skillet? Does it impart flavor onto the food? For how long? (which I guess is one ...
14
votes
3answers
31k views

How does the power setting on a microwave work?

In general, how does the microwave power setting work? Is it a straight percentage of the maximum wattage or is it something less precise? For example, would the time to cook something in a 700 watt ...
13
votes
5answers
12k views

How important is RPM in a blender?

I'm looking at getting a new blender, basically the main things I want to be able to do with it are make curry pastes, ultra smooth restaurant quality purees and soups and grind small amounts of ...
13
votes
2answers
4k views

Do all modern electric stoves have “binary” heating elements?

I've noticed that the burners of some or all of the newish-style electric stoves which have a flat top have a peculiar property. They do not seem to be capable of running at a constant low ...
12
votes
3answers
3k views

Cast Iron vs Steel

1. What is the advantage of a steel skillet over a cast iron one? I currently use cast iron for most everything and am curious what I might be missing. 2. If there's an advantage to getting a steel ...
11
votes
8answers
7k views

How to get a smooth paste from ground chickpeas?

I make Hummus quite often, and use my food processor to chop the chickpeas. This yields a sort of coarse paste, which is a little better if I peel the chickpeas first. Adding liquid to the mixture ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

Suggestions for convenient and safe methods of transporting a few meals without a vehicle?

I'd like to prepare a few meals for a cousin who recently gave birth. She lives about an hour and a half away, and I will be walking and taking public transportation to get there. Does anyone have ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

What are the advantages of using a stove instead of an oven?

Are there any advantages to using a stove instead of oven? As a woman of science, this is a question that has been lingering in my noggin for a very long time. The main points I'd like to see ...
10
votes
4answers
2k views

Utensil to thaw meat

A very long time ago, I was at a friend's house where her father took out this piece of ribbed metal from the cupboard. It was a dark piece of metal about the size of an adult hand. It had grooves on ...
9
votes
3answers
16k views

Cast iron, forged iron or carbon steel pan for induction?

I need a new pan for non-stick applications (eggs) and I want to try using a well-seasoned iron or carbon steel one. I use an induction stove. Normally, the arguments I hear in favor of carbon steel ...
9
votes
6answers
18k views

Does the Philips Air-fryer work as well as a standard deep-fryer?

I've seen commercial ads about the Philips Air-fryer: I'd like to hear answers from someone who actually tried it.. Does the outcome taste the same as if it was fried in a normal deep fryer? Does ...
8
votes
8answers
9k views

What kind of wok should I get?

I saw the question on the site about preparing a wok, but I'm curious what kind I should get. I have heard of stainless steel, carbon steel, aluminum, etc. Also, there's a non-stick variety. I'm new ...
8
votes
9answers
45k views

What can you do with an infrared thermometer?

Infrared thermometers have plummeted in price in recent years, and are now inexpensive gadgets for the home cook, not to mention the pros. What are the primary uses of an infrared thermometer in the ...
8
votes
5answers
5k views

Are there significant differences between different brands/models of immersion blenders?

I'm thinking of purchasing a new immersion blender as a gift for somebody that has a very old one which is quite literally being held together with duct tape. I own a Sunbeam model which I believe is ...
7
votes
12answers
2k views

Best Office Coffee Solution [closed]

What is the best coffee solution for a small office (about 10 people)? We are looking for something that is: Tasty Fast Easy We have fairly discriminating taste, although it doesn't have to be ...
7
votes
6answers
22k views

Do I need to season a stainless steel saute pan?

Okay, I received a nice stainless steel saute pan for Christmas and in looking around online there are people that say I need to season it. Most of the techniques I've seen involve oil and salt and ...
7
votes
5answers
29k views

Ceramic vs Stainless Steel in coffee mugs

My travel mug broke :( Looking at replacements, I find that most travel mugs with designs tend to be stainless steel, whereas my prior mug was ceramic. Is there a difference in heat retention between ...
5
votes
6answers
5k views

How should I clean anodized cookware?

I'd been bought an anodised wok as a birthday present a couple of years back, but recently, when using a honey/mustard marinade, I managed to burn some of the excess marinade, and now can't seem to ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

Olive wood cooking utensils: Seasoning, care, and maintenance?

I just got my dear one a nice olive wood ladle a week or so ago. It's sitting out still since I would like to know what steps I should take in regard to seasoning (first (few) time(s) of use), care (...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Stainless vs Enameled Porcelain Grates?

I need to replace the grill grates on my Weber Genesis grill, and I see that I can get either enameled porcelain (like I already have) or upgrade to stainless steel. A few concerns spring to mind ...
3
votes
2answers
858 views

What is the best way to clean an electric fryer?

I have a Rival RCF15 fryer. I lost the manual and can't find a copy online. It has a fixed metal reservoir for the oil. It has a removable basket. I remember the manual saying something about not ...
3
votes
1answer
5k views

Couldn't make pesto in a blender

I was making pesto one day and couldn't find the lid to my food processor. So first I tried mixing it all in a blender. Didn't work, the leaves wouldn't go down to meet the blade. I had this pastey ...
16
votes
5answers
9k views

How do you clean a pizza stone?

I have a charcoal grill (Big Green Egg) that has a ceramic insert that can be used as a heat shield or as a pizza stone. My stone is black from drippings and smoke. I'd like to cook some pizza on it,...