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

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43
votes
6answers
12k views

How do you clean a cast iron skillet?

I have a seasoned cast iron skillet, and I don't want to mess up the seasoning when I'm cleaning it. What do I use and what don't I use to get it back to clean? I've heard not to use soap and to ...
83
votes
10answers
8k views

What knives are “required” for a serious home kitchen?

I consider myself a serious home cook. What knives are essential?
34
votes
6answers
5k views

What should I look for in a good, multi-purpose chef's knife?

If I want to buy a good multi-purpose chef's knife, which characteristics should I look for?
42
votes
9answers
2k views

How should I care for my knives?

I've finally put down the money to buy a quality knife and it's sharpness is amazing! How do I take care of it so that the edge lasts and the knife stays sharp?
10
votes
6answers
2k views

How effective are modern home refrigerators at keeping other foods cool when hot food is introduced to the space?

In the comments to this answer, there is some discussion as to whether putting significant mass of hot food into a refrigerator will unacceptably warm the other food already inside. Elsewhere on ...
6
votes
3answers
9k views

How to measure the temperature of a pan?

When I need to know if a pan is above or below 100 Celsius but don't have a thermometer handy, I squirt some water on it. Say I want to check for another temperature, e.g. for the Maillard reaction or ...
5
votes
8answers
2k views

Buying my first set of pots and pans

I have NO idea what I'm doing :). I'm looking to buy some pots/pans for my appartment (just moved out). Considering these: ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

Quinoa in a Rice Cooker?

I’ve recently discovered the loveliness of Quinoa, and the joy of buying it in bulk at Costco, so I’ll be making a lot of it in the near future. I’m wondering if I can use my rice cooker to make the ...
9
votes
14answers
17k views

Is it possible to bake a cake without an oven?

I don't have an oven; is there any way to simulate what an oven does with any other tools available at my home? In particular I would like to be able to bake cakes.
33
votes
14answers
6k views

Nonstick cookware or not?

I am looking to replace my >10 year old Calphalon nonstick cookware. I can see the nonstick surface coming off the pans, and am starting to worry about how much of that is getting into our food. I ...
25
votes
4answers
2k views

Wok preparation and caring

What is a good technique for initially seasoning a wok, keeping it seasoned, and preventing rust?
18
votes
8answers
7k views

Is there any way to sous-vide without a machine

I live in an apartment and have limited space to store kitchen gadgets. I don't really like the idea of having a machine that is dedicated to one specific task. I particularly want to get into using ...
21
votes
13answers
25k views

Induction range vs gas

In the next few months I have a kitchen remodel planned. One item to be replaced is the range/oven. Currently we have a "vintage" electric stove. I am undecided as to whether to choose gas or an ...
8
votes
10answers
42k views

How to clean a clogged Misto oil sprayer/spritzer?

I use a Misto oil spritzer. You fill it up with oil and pump it up and spray a pan with it. It's gotten clogged up so that it just squirts a steady stream of oil (not a spray). Any ideas how to ...
5
votes
5answers
8k views

White stains and stainless steel cookware

I know this question has been asked before in some form or another, but I can't seem to find a definitive answer. I've looked on SA, chowhound, martha stewart, about.com, etc., and answers seem to ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

how to disarm a potentially pressurized whipping siphon?

My situation is much like spongefile's: I'm using my iSi cream whipper for the first time, charging it as instructed out of sweat-deserving fear of pressurized items Nothing is released when I push ...
27
votes
12answers
76k views

Slow cooking without a slow cooker

I frequently hear people telling me about how wonderful their slow cookers (AKA "crock pot") are. In many cases they're right - meat that tends to come out tough in normal cooking comes out very ...
25
votes
5answers
8k views

What are the benefits of using a dedicated rice cooker, rather than just cooking rice in a pot?

For which reasons should I use a dedicated rice cooker, instead of cooking rice in a pot?
20
votes
5answers
5k views

How do you properly clean a cutting board and knife to prevent cross contamination?

I have one very nice cutting board that I like to use with my chef's knife. Because I only use this single cutting board and chef's knife, if I have a recipe that calls for cutting raw meat as well ...
25
votes
8answers
9k views

Why not put knives in the dishwasher?

What is it about the dishwasher that harms knives? The only reasons I've found are: You could get cut... I personally have a greater change of getting cut by trying to wash them by hand. The blades ...
18
votes
5answers
7k views

Is it really necessary to wash a skillet that will be heated up again soon?

I made some eggs in a cast iron skillet yesterday and didn't wash the skillet. Today I want to make eggs again. Is it really necessary for me to wash the skillet before making more eggs? It would ...
15
votes
6answers
3k views

What to look for when purchasing a blender?

I currently don't have a blender after purchasing my own home and am looking to get one for making smoothies primarily, but also for pureeing for soups, etc. I had a smoothie maker that I won as a ...
11
votes
4answers
5k views

Do specialty cheese-cutting tools have specific advantages over an ordinary knife?

I cut block cheese (mostly cheddar or muenster) into slices or cubes using an ordinary non-serrated stainless steel knife. I used to use a T-shaped slicer that had a wire and an adjustable roller (for ...
9
votes
5answers
8k views

What features should I look for in a hand grinder (for peanut butter)?

I want to make my own peanut butter. I've read of various grinders--both hand-operated and electric. I'm most interested in finding a durable hand-operated peanut butter grinder. I know there are ...
5
votes
4answers
627 views

Which knife is best for somone just learning to cook?

I'm just self-learning to cook and I'm looking for a chef's knife. I've read the many differences between a chef's knife and a santoku knife, but it's still not clear to me which one I should choose. ...
7
votes
4answers
975 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 ...
21
votes
3answers
3k views

How does thermal shock affect pans made of different materials?

In another question, I had a little comment-discussion with TFD on the effect of shock cooling on pans. In a nutshell, I said that it is bad for the pan, and he said that especially if the pan is made ...
26
votes
4answers
70k 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 ...
15
votes
7answers
4k views

What to look for in a mandoline?

I've bought two mandolines recently and I've returned the first and will return the second. The first was a stainless steel contraption that: Broke my food instead of slicing it. Was ever so hard to ...
10
votes
2answers
5k views

What to look for when buying a rice cooker?

I think I can best explain the question by using a computer analogy. When buying a laptop there are specific qualities that a person looks for like Processor speed Screen size Amount of memory ...
31
votes
9answers
167k 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 ...
20
votes
7answers
1k views

Cutting boards: What are some general tips on purchasing and using a cutting board?

I have heard various debates on the merits of wood versus synthetic cutting boards, and their affect on food safety, knife edges, and ease of cleaning and storage. What are the pros and cons of the ...
12
votes
1answer
4k views

Is there evidence that adding salt to water prior to boiling can damage a stainless steel pan?

In the context of boiling water for pasta or other purposes, all over the Internet the advise is oft-repeated that salt should not be added to the water when it is cold in order to prevent damage to ...
5
votes
11answers
12k views

Sous vide without plastic bags?

I really like the idea of cooking steak using sous vide. However, I am very wary of heating food up together with plastic, and then eating the food, as I believe that at high temperatures, chemicals ...
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 - ...
23
votes
7answers
62k 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?
20
votes
5answers
14k views

Blowtorch - hardware store vs kitchen store. Is there a difference?

When looking for a blowtorch for the kitchen, you can buy some reasonably expensive tools. When looking for a blowtorch for plumbing, you can buy some reasonably cheap tools. The price is different. ...
16
votes
7answers
2k views

How many ceramic knives do I want?

I've heard that ceramic knives are the new thing. It's far easier, though, to find metal knives that look and feel nice. So, budget notwithstanding (within reason) and assuming that I have to buy a ...
15
votes
5answers
627 views

How can I measure the performance of my stovetop pots and pans?

Am I looking for the ratio of burnt dishes to fine dishes? Well-cooked to not? My general happiness? When should I replace a pot or pan? I am unsure where to begin.
13
votes
2answers
4k views

Is it ok to use a metal turner in a wok?

Is it ok to use a metal utensil when turning or serving food in a (seasoned, steel) wok? I suspect that the wok surface may get scratched, but it doesn't seem to cause any problems so far; is it ...
12
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
12
votes
6answers
5k views

How to keep my stainless steel skillet clean

I have a KitchenAid skillet that I love. But I can't seem to get it cleaned easily. It looks much like this one, but with a brushed exterior and the bottom of the interior is grooved or ribbed. For ...
7
votes
4answers
3k views

Stainless Steel Pan — gray bottom. Why?

Just started using a stainless steel pan. First thing I cooked in it was bacon followed by some fried rice. Stuff stuck to it, but a quick soak and it all came off. However, once I cleaned and dried ...
7
votes
9answers
9k views

What is the proper way to maintain a can opener?

I bought a hand crank can opener (Oxo) because of the good online feedback and only use the "shake" dry approach. It quickly developed rust in between the metal. If I invest the time and scrub, I can ...
6
votes
3answers
14k views

Safe to leave oven on at 180F while at work to cook ribs?

I'm currently at work and I'm having a little panic attack. I followed a recipe that require the ribs to be wrapped in foil and cooked at 180F for 9hours. I left about 30 minutes ago and for who ...
5
votes
1answer
13k views

Can I use the grill tray in my oven for grilling?

My oven came with 2 baking trays, and a small tray which looks like a grill (i.e, its got rows of vertical metal strips the same way as a grill does). Can I use this tray for grilling or broiling, and ...
18
votes
1answer
2k views

Do honing steels wear out?

We have a knife set that's approximately 15 years old, and as we were honing a knife tonight, a question arose. Do honing steels get worn down over the years? Should they be replaced? If so, how ...
17
votes
6answers
28k views

What's the purpose of a bread box?

For some reason I always thought bread boxes were supposed to be wood, and that some property of wood helped keep bread fresh. Like a cigar box, perhaps. But after looking for a bread box, I see ...
15
votes
2answers
47k views

Does water boil faster with the lid on?

When bringing water to a boil from cold water, what effect does a lid have on the time to boil? Does it increase or decrease the time? How much? Why?
13
votes
5answers
2k views

What are other uses for a pizza stone?

I recently acquired a pizza stone to use for baking bread. Other than pizza and bread, are there other uses for it in the kitchen?