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Old 27-05-2014, 11:26 AM posted to rec.food.cooking
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Default Preference for Carbon Steel over Stainless Steel

When looking to buy a wok, even in the Posh Chinese supermarkets they are
all Carbon Steel. I know I can easily buy a stainless steel or non-stick
coated ones in department stores.

But since the Chinese are the masters of the wok, i wonder if there is a
reason in terms of their use and convenience for this *preference* for
carbon steel ?



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Old 27-05-2014, 01:00 PM posted to rec.food.cooking
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Default Preference for Carbon Steel over Stainless Steel

"T Blake" wrote:

When looking to buy a wok, even in the Posh Chinese supermarkets they are
all Carbon Steel. I know I can easily buy a stainless steel or non-stick
coated ones in department stores.

But since the Chinese are the masters of the wok, i wonder if there is a
reason in terms of their use and convenience for this *preference* for
carbon steel ?


Non-Stick can't get hot enough without destroying the non-stick
coating. Stainless steel works fine but simply costs more is all.
There are also hammered iron woks and cast iron woks.
I don't use a wok, for the oriental concoctions I cook a heavy
stainless steel sauce pot works fine, and never loses its seasoning.
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Old 27-05-2014, 02:33 PM posted to rec.food.cooking
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Default Preference for Carbon Steel over Stainless Steel

On Tue, 27 May 2014 11:26:21 +0100, "T Blake"
wrote:

When looking to buy a wok, even in the Posh Chinese supermarkets they are
all Carbon Steel. I know I can easily buy a stainless steel or non-stick
coated ones in department stores.

But since the Chinese are the masters of the wok, i wonder if there is a
reason in terms of their use and convenience for this *preference* for
carbon steel ?


Adding carbon to iron and making "carbon steel" was the first
metallurgical technological advancement over more pure iron that was
mace by people thousands of years ago. The term "carbon steel" stuck
as being a higher quality steel, that's all.

John Kuthe...
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Old 27-05-2014, 03:27 PM posted to rec.food.cooking
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Default Preference for Carbon Steel over Stainless Steel

On 2014-05-27, T Blake wrote:

But since the Chinese are the masters of the wok, i wonder if there is a
reason in terms of their use and convenience for this *preference* for
carbon steel ?


Go to yer library and check out The Breath of a Wok, a book dedicated
to the mythos of the classic carbon steel wok. It covers all that
how/when/why stuff in detail with a heavy dose of nostalgic reverie
thrown in. Then, make up yer own mind.

I have a 14" carbon steal wok with a perpendicular wooden pan handle
on one side and a helper handle (sqr loop) on the other. The only
thing I would change is to remove the wood grip in the helper handle,
as it's gonna get burned, anyway. Is it better or worse than a SS or
cast-iron or even a hand-hammered wok? Damned if I know.

What is really important when comes to cooking with a wok is the heat
source. I don't care if you have a nat gas/propane stove or an
oversized electric hob or any of that stuff. None of it is hot
enough. I use my wok on my turkey fryer burner, which is 5X-10X
hotter than any kitchen stove and I still wish it was hotter.
Commercial wok burners have an adjustable foot fuel pedal the cook can
step on to immediately supercharge the burner flame and keep the wok
at high stir-fry temps when dumping in a buncha food. Otherwise you
gotta toss in smaller amts of food or wait for the wok to get back up
to s/f speed.

nb
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Old 27-05-2014, 03:46 PM posted to rec.food.cooking
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Default Preference for Carbon Steel over Stainless Steel

On 5/27/2014 9:27 AM, notbob wrote:

I have a 14" carbon steal wok with a perpendicular wooden pan handle
on one side and a helper handle (sqr loop) on the other. The only
thing I would change is to remove the wood grip in the helper handle,
as it's gonna get burned, anyway. Is it better or worse than a SS or
cast-iron or even a hand-hammered wok? Damned if I know.



I have one just like that. Bought it 25 years ago and it's ugly as sin
but it cooks perfectly. Helper handle never did get burned. It was
used on natural gas then two propane fueled stoves and now on the
electric smooth-top where it's not supposed to work, but it does just
fine. :-)

I think stainless steel will stay pretty longer.


--
Janet Wilder
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Old 27-05-2014, 04:02 PM
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by T Blake View Post
When looking to buy a wok, even in the Posh Chinese supermarkets they are
all Carbon Steel. I know I can easily buy a stainless steel or non-stick
coated ones in department stores.

But since the Chinese are the masters of the wok, i wonder if there is a
reason in terms of their use and convenience for this *preference* for
carbon steel ?
I dont mess with many woks but have owned enough pots and pans to know SS is a real poor heat conductor but maybe no more so than regular old carbon steel which suffers from the same bad habits. Copper or Aluminum has much better heat transfer characteristics. If I wanted a good wok I would spring for a hard anodized aluminum model.
Amazon.com: anodized aluminum wok: Home & Kitchen
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Old 27-05-2014, 05:59 PM posted to rec.food.cooking
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Default Preference for Carbon Steel over Stainless Steel

On 5/27/2014 12:26 AM, T Blake wrote:
When looking to buy a wok, even in the Posh Chinese supermarkets they are
all Carbon Steel. I know I can easily buy a stainless steel or non-stick
coated ones in department stores.

But since the Chinese are the masters of the wok, i wonder if there is a
reason in terms of their use and convenience for this *preference* for
carbon steel ?



My guess is that the non-stick ones are made of aluminum. I'd stay away
from woks made of aluminum. You need to be able to get the pan up to
high heat which would really mess up aluminum and non-stick coatings.

I've never seen a stainless steel wok so I don't have anything to
mention about that. The carbon steel woks will develop a hard black
non-stick coating with use and proper cleaning. The great thing about a
wok is that it only takes a few seconds to clean one. When picking a
wok, I'd get a heavy one with a smoother finish.
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Old 27-05-2014, 07:26 PM posted to rec.food.cooking
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Default Preference for Carbon Steel over Stainless Steel

On 5/27/2014 11:59 AM, dsi1 wrote:

I've never seen a stainless steel wok so I don't have anything to
mention about that. The carbon steel woks will develop a hard black
non-stick coating with use and proper cleaning.


Yes! That is why I say my ancient carbon steel wok is "ugly"

--
Janet Wilder
Way-the-heck-south Texas
Spelling doesn't count. Cooking does.

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Old 27-05-2014, 09:16 PM posted to rec.food.cooking
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Default Preference for Carbon Steel over Stainless Steel

On Tue, 27 May 2014 09:46:38 -0500, Janet Wilder
wrote:

On 5/27/2014 9:27 AM, notbob wrote:

I have a 14" carbon steal wok with a perpendicular wooden pan handle
on one side and a helper handle (sqr loop) on the other. The only
thing I would change is to remove the wood grip in the helper handle,
as it's gonna get burned, anyway. Is it better or worse than a SS or
cast-iron or even a hand-hammered wok? Damned if I know.



I have one just like that. Bought it 25 years ago and it's ugly as sin
but it cooks perfectly. Helper handle never did get burned. It was
used on natural gas then two propane fueled stoves and now on the
electric smooth-top where it's not supposed to work, but it does just
fine. :-)

I think stainless steel will stay pretty longer.


I don't care about pretty, I use SS because I don't have to concern
myself with preserving the seasoning, acetic foods have no effect on
properly seasoned SS.
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Old 27-05-2014, 09:22 PM posted to rec.food.cooking
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Default Preference for Carbon Steel over Stainless Steel

On 5/27/2014 8:26 AM, Janet Wilder wrote:
On 5/27/2014 11:59 AM, dsi1 wrote:

I've never seen a stainless steel wok so I don't have anything to
mention about that. The carbon steel woks will develop a hard black
non-stick coating with use and proper cleaning.


Yes! That is why I say my ancient carbon steel wok is "ugly"


Black is beautiful baby!


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Old 27-05-2014, 09:24 PM posted to rec.food.cooking
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Default Preference for Carbon Steel over Stainless Steel

On Tue, 27 May 2014 10:22:20 -1000, dsi1
wrote:

On 5/27/2014 8:26 AM, Janet Wilder wrote:
On 5/27/2014 11:59 AM, dsi1 wrote:

I've never seen a stainless steel wok so I don't have anything to
mention about that. The carbon steel woks will develop a hard black
non-stick coating with use and proper cleaning.


Yes! That is why I say my ancient carbon steel wok is "ugly"


Black is beautiful baby!


It's no uglier than a cast iron pan.


--

Good Food.
Good Friends.
Good Memories.
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Old 27-05-2014, 10:04 PM posted to rec.food.cooking
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Default Preference for Carbon Steel over Stainless Steel

On 5/27/2014 10:24 AM, sf wrote:
On Tue, 27 May 2014 10:22:20 -1000, dsi1
wrote:

On 5/27/2014 8:26 AM, Janet Wilder wrote:
On 5/27/2014 11:59 AM, dsi1 wrote:

I've never seen a stainless steel wok so I don't have anything to
mention about that. The carbon steel woks will develop a hard black
non-stick coating with use and proper cleaning.

Yes! That is why I say my ancient carbon steel wok is "ugly"


Black is beautiful baby!


It's no uglier than a cast iron pan.



I didn't think it was ugly. I would gaze at wonder at the hard, black,
smooth, finish on my wok. Skillets and woks don't get ugly, they develop
a magical patina born of fire.
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Old 27-05-2014, 10:37 PM posted to rec.food.cooking
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Default Preference for Carbon Steel over Stainless Steel

On Wednesday, May 28, 2014 1:02:44 AM UTC+10, bigwheel wrote:

I dont mess with many woks but have owned enough pots and pans to know
SS is a real poor heat conductor but maybe no more so than regular old
carbon steel which suffers from the same bad habits. Copper or Aluminum
has much better heat transfer characteristics.


For typically cookware alloys, stainless steel is three times worse than carbon steel or cast iron (i.e., 1/3 of the thermal conductivity). Aluminium is about 4-5 times better than carbon steel or cast iron, so much, much better than SS. If SS didn't suck so badly thermally, people wouldn't bother with SS-Al-SS composites.
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Old 28-05-2014, 08:27 AM posted to rec.food.cooking
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Default Preference for Carbon Steel over Stainless Steel

notbob wrote:
On 2014-05-27, T Blake wrote:

But since the Chinese are the masters of the wok, i wonder if there is a
reason in terms of their use and convenience for this *preference* for
carbon steel ?


Go to yer library and check out The Breath of a Wok, a book dedicated
to the mythos of the classic carbon steel wok. It covers all that
how/when/why stuff in detail with a heavy dose of nostalgic reverie
thrown in. Then, make up yer own mind.

I have a 14" carbon steal wok with a perpendicular wooden pan handle
on one side and a helper handle (sqr loop) on the other. The only
thing I would change is to remove the wood grip in the helper handle,
as it's gonna get burned, anyway. Is it better or worse than a SS or
cast-iron or even a hand-hammered wok? Damned if I know.

What is really important when comes to cooking with a wok is the heat
source. I don't care if you have a nat gas/propane stove or an
oversized electric hob or any of that stuff. None of it is hot
enough. I use my wok on my turkey fryer burner, which is 5X-10X
hotter than any kitchen stove and I still wish it was hotter.
Commercial wok burners have an adjustable foot fuel pedal the cook can
step on to immediately supercharge the burner flame and keep the wok
at high stir-fry temps when dumping in a buncha food. Otherwise you
gotta toss in smaller amts of food or wait for the wok to get back up
to s/f speed.

nb


I got a large carbon steel wok. Pretty much useless on my gas stove.

Greg
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Old 28-05-2014, 04:41 PM posted to rec.food.cooking
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Default Preference for Carbon Steel over Stainless Steel

On 5/27/14, 6:26 AM, T Blake wrote:

But since the Chinese are the masters of the wok, i wonder if there is a
reason in terms of their use and convenience for this *preference* for
carbon steel ?


Woks need to develop non-stick properties through frequent use. Carbon
steel does that; stainless steel does not.

I once had an All Clad SS wok; I wound up giving it away. Useless.

-- Larry




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