I have been on a tenacious pan hunt, lately, looking for something that won't leach, degrade, or require me to look up the meaning of any 3 or 4 letter acronyms.

Iron seemed like a safe bet, here.

In my search, I found a pan that has a strange cross-hatching to it, like this:

What strange grooves you have.

Why would someoen intentionally make their pan harder to clean?

I thought it might be to change the appearance of browned food, but I don't think something so thin would be the only reason for the grooves.

Is this to store seasoning or something?

  • 1
    Several clues that that is steel, not cast-iron.
    – Ecnerwal
    Aug 15, 2016 at 3:44
  • @Ecnerwal how did you come up with steel? This is not a steel pan.
    – rumtscho
    Aug 15, 2016 at 8:09
  • It's thin, the handle is welded on - it's blatantly not cast-iron, as it quite clearly has not been cast. Whether it's sheet iron or sheet steel is not going to be evident from a picture, of course.
    – Ecnerwal
    Aug 15, 2016 at 15:19
  • 1
    Just FYI, the pan pictured is from the German company named Albert Turk. It is a carbon steel pan. They make several styles of pans, Their claim to fame is an all one piece piece of carbon steel pan (handle and cooking surface are forged out of just one piece). Which costs a lot. But they do make this type which is a two piece pan, handle welded on later.
    – JG sd
    Mar 30, 2018 at 15:25

2 Answers 2


This kind of pattern seems to be added to a pan to increase its cooking capabilities. This advertisement here suggests that the pattern itself is useful for making "crispy potatoes or a juicy steak", though it doesn't happen to say why the scoring helps, it does mean some people believe it will improve the food cooked in the pan.

It is possible that the lines give some texture to the sides of the pan, letting pieces of food be pushed up on the sides for a while without sliding back down, and so spreading the food out and giving better control over access to direct heat for browning, or letting pieces rest away from direct heat after they're done or until there's room for them. Sort of similar to the theory of cooking in a wok, only not because woks depended on quick hot cooking, so smooth sides and falling back to the center were positives.

It is possible that when dealing with single larger pieces of food, the scoring gives a kind of access to the underside, letting oil or other liquids run underneath (and be wicked up by or rendered off of the food as needed) without disturbing the food before it is finished cooking - especially if there are reasons lifting or flipping shouldn't be done too often, if it needs the uninterrupted cooking time to hold something delicate together or form a crispy crust.

It is also possible that one of the reasons might be the pattern of grill marks or patterns of the scores left on food cooked in it (aesthetics does matter to some people), or that somebody had a theory as to why the score marks let the pan cook better, and so the pan is made whether or not it actually does cook better. It is possible it had to do with visible effort - that this kind of pan was intended as art or display as much as cooking pan, and the extra difficulty cleaning it was secondary to that.

  • 1
    // , Good answer, but these are all possibilities, not facts. Aug 15, 2016 at 11:29

This pan is not cast iron, it is forged iron. As far as I am aware, the grooves are simply a side effect of the manufacturing process in which the iron is "stamped", not intended to have an effect on cooking.

update This site (in German) claims that they are intended to reduce warping when heated, so cooking related after all. For me, they were not effective, as my pan did warp quickly and badly despite having them.

I have such a pan and must say I'm not too happy about it. It is more difficult to season, and the seasoning may wear out unevenly. Also, due to its thinness, it doesn't work as well as standard cast iron. But enumerating all its problems would take us way too far from grooves.

  • 2
    These pans come with a strict warning to only use them on a hob that is as large or larger as the pan bottom, maybe there is your warping problem? PS if you look at a pan like that with a thermal imager you will see where the coils in your hob are, so sideways thermal conductivity/equalization seems to be very low. Aug 15, 2016 at 9:31
  • @rackandboneman the producer of my pan must have forgotten to place this in the booklet. Also, the pan's bottom is much larger than any electric hob I have seen around. I have induction (with a rather small coil), I wonder how it would look differently from a resistive coil in a thermal imager. (Sadly, I don't have the imager to check).
    – rumtscho
    Aug 15, 2016 at 9:33
  • Got one from Gräwe, and it definitely comes with that kind of warning ... if they had found a way to use blinking letters on paper, they would have used it. And heeding that, it stays dead flat. Aug 15, 2016 at 9:37

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