For a beginner cook, it can be tricky choosing among the growing variety of cookware out there. Among the most common questions asked when selecting cookware, especially for pans, are: What are the types of pans? What is a dark coated pan? When is the best time to use one over a light pan? Read on to find out!
What is a dark coated pan?
Pans come in several categories, from styles, shapes, sizes, handles, construction types, to the material composition. There is one for your every need in the kitchen.
You can learn more about the different types from a cookware supplier by watching this video:
Across all these types, a noticeable distinction for pots and pans is their color. While wandering the kitchen section of your store, you might have wondered why some pans are dark in color and others are in the plain metal finish?
A dark-coated pan is made of metal. Usually, aluminum, tin, or stainless coated with a substance that typically gives it a nonstick characteristic.
In the same way that you wear light-colored clothes under the hot summer sun and avoid dark clothes outside, you use a light-colored pan if you want gentler heat onto your food.
It is just a matter of absorption and radiation. Because its darker material typically absorbs and radiates more heat, thus making cooking relatively faster.
3 Types of Dark Coated Pans
A nonstick pan has become a necessity for cooks everywhere because it is affordable, easy-to-use, and widely available. You don’t have to spend so much time stirring and ensuring your food doesn’t get burned.
A nonstick pan is aluminum or stainless in material and then coated with a nonstick substance called Teflon.
Teflon, also known as Poly-tera-fluoro-ethylene (PTFE), first came about in the 1930s for wire coatings but was eventually used on pans in the 1950s to prevent food from sticking on the interior surface.
Teflon covers the surface and blocks food from seeping through pores of the metal enlarged after being heated to high temperatures.
Since 2013, manufacturers of nonstick pans have stopped using Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a dangerous chemical linked to health problems, in the production of pans. This means that Teflon-coated pans today are free of such toxic binding material and, therefore, safer to cook in.
Moreover, the use of nonstick pans also appealed to more and more people pursuing a healthier diet because of the need for a limited amount of fat in their cooking.
Anodized Aluminum Pans
Aluminum cookware that has been through an oxidation process is harder and more durable than the standard aluminum cookware as it is given a hard inner layer with a smooth, nonstick surface. This is done by immersing the metal in a chemical bath and applying an electrical current to it.
Among the advantages of this type compared to regular aluminum is that it does not dent easily. It is also more resistant to corrosion due to its thicker layer.
Moreover, an anodized pan provides better heat conductivity, so it responds to changes in temperatures quickly. On the flip side, since it is considered an excellent conductor, it is not suitable for high heat.
In terms of maintenance, anodized aluminum pans are easier to wash. The nonstick surface gives a smoother finish, thus less tendency for food to stick on the surface.
Although they are not as expensive as the copper and stainless steel pans, they are more costly than a convenient and beginner cook’s regular nonstick pans. But it is definitely worth the extra bucks!
Ceramic pans are a rising star when it comes to cookware as it comes in aesthetically pleasing looks and colors. They are not entirely made of ceramic but crafted from an aluminum or stainless base material then sprayed or coated with a sand-like mineral component.
This results in a glass-like finish that is nonstick and non-reactive. Aside from having a sleek and modern appearance, it is marketed as a non-toxic and more eco-friendly option than regular nonstick pans.
When to use dark or light pans?
For baking pizza, potato wedges, or pies, consider reaching for the darker metal pan as it will absorb more heat, thus giving them crispier edges and crusts. Make the most out of your dark baking pan with quick-baking items such as muffins and biscuits as well.
When baking cakes and cookies, opt for a lighter metal for an evenly radiated heat. This will also ensure the bottom of your cake does not brown too quickly.
You don’t have to discard the dark metal sheet pans that you have because you can manipulate the baking time and temperature. A general tip is to lower the heat of your oven by 25 degrees to prevent overexposure.
For example, if the recipe instructed you to bake your cake at 350◦F for 45 minutes, set your oven at 325◦F instead. You can also line your pan with a sheet or two of parchment.
4 Tips for Maintaining your Pans
Long-time cooks will advise the same thing about your cookware: Give it some love, and it will serve you an extended period of time, probably just like any other thing in the world.
Use silicone or wooden spoons
To prolong the quality of your coated pan, you should avoid using metal utensils in contact with the surface to prevent scratching and leaving unwanted marks. This is an excellent thing to keep in mind, especially when cooking your favorite scrambled eggs.
Cool before cleaning
When it is time to clean your pans, you should let them cool down first in temperature for a few minutes before throwing them in the sink and soaking it in warm and soapy water.
A hot pan exposed to cold water is at risk for warping, chipping, or cracking due to thermal shock. The amount of time you can wait before it cools also depends on the type and weight of the pan. Heavier pans retain heat longer thus will take longer to cool.
Avoid using the dishwasher unless it claims to be dishwasher-free
Part of the consistent maintenance of taking cake your pans is knowing if they are dishwasher friendly. The extremely hot water plus the chemicals of the detergent in your dishwasher react to the materials of the pan.
In the long run, it will lose the color, shine, coating, and then rust. This is especially very applicable for your dark coated pans. While it is more convenient and time-saving to put your greasy pans on the dishwasher, the better alternative is to hand wash them.
Use a gentle scrub brush and dishwashing liquid
For nonstick pans, no matter how difficult it is to clean and remove stuck residue, don’t use steel wool and other harsh cleansers to wash your pan.
It will be better to use a soft sponge or cloth for the long run, so you won’t gradually scratch away the pan’s coated surface, thus prolonging its life.
Restoring your Blackened Pans
Don’t worry if you happen to be late to reading these tips and have already subjected your pans to the dishwasher, an abrasive brush, or directly soaking your hot pans in cold water!
To restore them, you can follow these three keywords: soak, scrub, and spray.
Soak your pan with water and a few tablespoons of lemon juice, and then boil for 10 minutes. Drain the water and then eventually sponge off with soap and water. By doing this, built-up grease and grime shall be lifted off the surface. Do not forget to dry it afterward with a clean cloth.
Scrub the discolored interior and exterior of pans with a mixture of baking soda and white vinegar. Let the paste stand for a few minutes, and then wipe away with a scrub. Rinse and dry.
Watch this video to see this hack in action:
Spray a solution of equal parts water and vinegar should any more discolored spots remain. Rinse and dry after wiping away with a scrub or steel wool pad.
For years’ worth of neglected burnt grease and rust, you can also spray oven cleaners thoroughly, including handles, interior, and exterior.
Keep the pan in an enclosed bag and remove it after several hours or even overnight. Rinse and dry the pan before using. However, these oven cleaners are very harsh and toxic, so protect yourself with rubber gloves and a face mask while in a well-ventilated area.
Reading up before making that rushed purchase decision will save you not just money but also the quality of the food you prepare. Now that you are informed about what is a dark-coated pan, you are now in a better position to compare and decide whether you are getting the right pan you are eyeing for your following recipe.