How important is it to cook using an iron frying pan

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georgevan

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I noticed some recipes call for a iron frying pan stressing that it is important. Why can't any old pan due?
I have a iron pan but the rust is too deep to get out.
 
Are they asking because it then goes into the oven? Could just be its ability to hold heat evenly.
I'm sure there are several perfectly good reasons. Unless I know the recipe I don't think I could hazard a guess.
 
"...iron pan..." is the full version "...cast iron pan..."?
the usual reason is the "heat holding" thing....

as for 'the rust' - that's iron oxide - clean it up and launch it into service.
absolutely no "health threat" - and regular use keeps up your iron intake so you don't have to eat so much spinach . . .
 
Thank you Andy. Sorry georgevan, I didn't answer your direct question.

No, it is not horribly important to use a cast iron pan.

Would be nice, but as Andy says, use what you have and are comfortable with.
 
I am in the minority, but I am not a huge fan of cast iron pans. I have a couple and use them occasionally, but normally just use a stainless steel skillet. Like Andy said, use what you have/want.
 
I love my cast iron, although it is coated, so it is easier to maintain.

But, I don't use it for everything. What is does best is get HOT and retain heat better. I like it for braising and swimming. Like GG, I use it for baking cornbread. It is great for putting a fast sear on meats -- I use it to sear steaks and chops cooked sous vide.

For things like eggs, I prefer a non-stick pan by a long shot.

My substitution to cast iron would be stainless trim-ply, like All Clad.

CD
 
I have a bunch of enamelled cast iron pans. I use them a lot, but I also use stainless and a non-stick pan. I tend to use those cast iron pots for things that work better with more uniform heat. For a recipe where you need to be able to lower the heat quickly, I will won't use the cast iron. Its thermal inertia is too high. I didn't write "or raise the temperature quickly" because, I have an electric stove and nothing is going to get hot quickly on that stove.

If the recipe is from a reliable source and they stress the importance of using cast iron, they may be right. But do think about why. Some recipes from more random sources may not need cast iron. It could just be a whim of the person presenting the recipe or because their grandmother always used cast iron for it.
 
georgevan - we've all pretty much said the same thing, some of us love, some couldn't care one way or the other. Many don't use because they are very heavy. I love and use all mine - but I think twice when I have to tip a large one to transfer foods to another dish. It is hot, heavy and extremely awkward. Not as young as I used to be!

"...iron pan..." is the full version "...cast iron pan..."?
the usual reason is the "heat holding" thing....

as for 'the rust' - that's iron oxide - clean it up and launch it into service.
absolutely no "health threat" - and regular use keeps up your iron intake so you don't have to eat so much spinach . . .
'Back in the day' when most main meals were cooked in cast iron - it was rare people suffered from iron deficiency.

and an elbow assisted good scrubbing with an SOS pad will take care of the rust. If it is really pitted, probably might need a grinding.

So there yuh go! To do or not to do... that is the answer! :mrgreen:
 
I have 1, gave away 3 that I found used over the years. I pretty much never use the one I have left. I use carbon steel, copper and stainless. I do use cast iron baking molds all the time though including 1 bread charger.
 
What's 'a bread charger'?
A bread oven basically. It's like a fry pan with a domed lid.
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