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Questions tagged [equipment]

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

46
votes
7answers
21k views

How do you clean a seasoned 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 ...
51
votes
10answers
4k 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?
94
votes
13answers
12k views

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

I consider myself a serious home cook. What knives are essential?
39
votes
6answers
6k 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?
10
votes
3answers
22k 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 ...
11
votes
7answers
4k 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 ...
15
votes
12answers
73k 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
15k views

How do you correctly use a meat thermometer?

I have two meat thermometers. I bought a second one because I thought the first one was resulting in overcooked meat, however the new one is doing the same! They are both standard metal prong 'analog ...
16
votes
17answers
30k 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.
7
votes
7answers
223k views

Is there a substitute for aluminum foil?

Is there a replacement that can be used for aluminum foil in the oven? I don't want to foil in my kitchen. Is there an alternative which can be used in the same way as aluminum foil, but has no ...
25
votes
8answers
77k 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 ...
10
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 ...
6
votes
7answers
14k 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 ...
32
votes
12answers
114k 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 ...
23
votes
8answers
11k 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 ...
25
votes
15answers
37k 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 ...
31
votes
12answers
16k 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
1answer
12k 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 ...
22
votes
7answers
31k 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 ...
11
votes
9answers
48k 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 ...
16
votes
13answers
35k 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 ...
8
votes
5answers
11k views

Are fluted knives a gimmick?

I haven't been able to find a post specifically on fluted knives, so hopefully this isn't a duplicate. I was wondering if fluted knives actually work. I came across a comment (possibly an Amazon ...
20
votes
3answers
7k 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 often?...
6
votes
8answers
3k 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: http://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-MCP-12-MultiClad-Stainless-12-Piece/dp/...
5
votes
3answers
5k 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 ...
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?
23
votes
14answers
188k 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 ...
21
votes
6answers
12k 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 ...
21
votes
4answers
9k 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
5k 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 ...
18
votes
6answers
7k 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
11k 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 ...
12
votes
5answers
10k 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 ...
17
votes
2answers
95k 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?
8
votes
7answers
25k views

Can I use a Wok ring on a gas range?

I have just purchased a GE Cafe gas range. The user guide indicates: Do not use a wok on the cooking surface if the wok has a round metal ring that is placed over the burner grate to support the ...
34
votes
14answers
7k 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 ...
49
votes
13answers
20k 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 ...
31
votes
6answers
21k 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?
23
votes
7answers
2k 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 ...
15
votes
8answers
42k 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 ...
15
votes
7answers
5k 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
955 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 ...
11
votes
6answers
10k 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
13answers
27k 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 ...
19
votes
14answers
16k views

Where did the thin, smooth plastic spatulas go?

20 years ago, the most common type of rigid spatula (or "turner") was smooth, thin (as in 3mm or less with a sharp edge), and generally made of nylon. These spatulas were not very durable (leading ...
16
votes
7answers
3k 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
7answers
12k views

How do you sharpen a serrated knife?

I have some quality serrated knives but over time they get dull. How do I sharpen them?
13
votes
1answer
4k 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. ...
11
votes
2answers
3k views

Catering event for 1st time. How should I prepare?

I'm just starting a catering service for my cooking. I'm not into too fancy style yet, like using metal silverware or china plates, but more casual version like paper plates and plastic-ware. The ...
7
votes
4answers
1k 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. ...