Non-Stick Guide

What exactly is a non-stick coating?

Are all non-stick coatings the same?

If PTFE Is non-stick, how does it stick to the pan?

How is the coating applied to the pan?

Why do some non-stick pans costs so much more than others?

Is it all right to use a new non-stick pan straight away, or does it need to be seasoned?

Can I put a non-stick pan in the dishwasher?

Is it okay to use metal utensils with a non-stick coating?

How should I look after my Non stick pans?

Are there any health risks involved in using non-stick pans?

What exactly is a non-stick coating?

Just what it says: a coating on the metal pan which is designed to prevent food or cooking fat from sticking to it. This makes cooking cleaner and easier and makes the washing-up cleaner and easier as well!

Are all non-stick coatings the same?

Not at all. Coatings for saucepans and frying pans are all based on the same slippery substance Polytetrafluoroethylene, or PTFE for short. It was discovered by accident back in the 1930s, and since then has been used for all sorts of low-friction needs. Nearly all cookware manufacturers buy their coatings from specialist suppliers like DuPont, Whitford or Weilburger

If PTFE Is non-stick, how does it stick to the pan?

Well, PTFE is a non-stick substance, so in its natural state it won't stick to the pan. That means it has to be mixed with chemicals called 'binders' - literally to bind it to the metal. And it’s also very soft, so in its pure form it wears very quickly. To overcome this, it’s mixed with hardeners. Most coatings are applied in two layers: the first layer has more binder, to improve adhesion to the pan, and the second layer has more hardener, to improve resistance to wear. And nowadays there are even more sophisticated formulations, using extra elements like ceramic or stainless steel particles. They are all ways of increasing the strength of the bond, and the coating’s resistance to wear.

How is the coating applied to the pan?

It depends what the pan is made of, with a comparatively soft metal like aluminium, the bond between the coating and the metal is so strong that it will stand up to considerable stress - so aluminium pans are usually made by pressing the pan shape from an aluminium disc already coated with the PTFE. With harder metals, like steel or cast iron, the bond between the coating and the metal isn't an strong, so the coating is sprayed on after the pan has been pressed.

Then the coating is cured at very high temperature - more than 350ˆC this makes the coating stratify into layers: the binding agents sink, and adhere to the metal body of the pan, while the PTFE and the hardening agents rise to the surface to create the non-stick layer.

Why do some non-stick pans costs so much more than others?

There are all sorts of reasons, some of them obvious: a lightweight pan made of thin pressed aluminum costs much less to make than a heavy cast one. But there are important differences in the quality of the non-stick coating as well. A cheap pan will probably have a single-layer coating only 7- 8 microns thick, which will wear away quickly; in fact, some cheap pans are better described as 'easy clean' rather than 'non-stick '. At the upper price bracket, however; you can expect sophisticated three layer coatings with a total thickness of 40 microns or more.

Is it all right to use a new non-stick pan straight away, or does it need to be seasoned?

Wash and dry it thoroughly first (remember not to use an abrasive scourer or cleaner), and make sure that the surface is well coated with fat or oil when you cook in it the first time. Never use a non-stick pan on full heat - overheating it will almost certainly damage the coating. ln fact, many more nonstick pans are damaged by being overheated than by being scratched.

Can I put a non-stick pan in the dishwasher?

Yes you can -But given that a good nonstick pan is so easy to wash by hand, why on earth would you want to put it in a dishwasher anyway?

Is it okay to use metal utensils with a non-stick coating?

Yes on the higher quality coatings, read the care and use for each product. To ensure the greatest longevity of your non stick coating play safe, and use plastic or wooden utensils. And never use a sharp knife to cut food in a non-stick pan – no matter what specification it is. See our ranges by Clicking Here

How should I look after my Non stick pans?

Initial research shows that most wear of a non stick coating occurs when the pans are stacked/stored, if you must stack the pans on top of each other please use a cloth to protect the non stick coating, or alternatively use Stellar Non stick pan protector..
Never use metal utensils, or a sharp knife against the coating, and above all never over heat your pan.

Are there any health risks involved in using non-stick pans?

None at all. PTFE is a completely inert substance. In the event of some of the coating coming off during cooking and being mixed in with the food and eaten, if would simply pass through the body in the normal way.
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