When choosing a paella pan, you must take into account the type of heat you are going to use. Each one is different, has a different calorific value and may not all be adapted to your way of cooking. In addition, depending on the type of paella pan will give a different texture to the food, it is also essential to know how to clean and care for the paella pan after each use, with proper handling can extend the life of the paella pan for a long time. Here are some tips on how to clean your paella pan and should look before buying one.
What is the best material for a paella pan?
The type of stainless steel commonly used in the manufacture of food products is AISI 304, which is an alloy of steel, chrome and nickel with a low carbon content. Its main value is that it is easy to clean and resistant to corrosion. For octopus pots is used AISI 316 which also has Molybdenum. This gives it a special resistance to corrosion (octopus acids), alloy 304 is a general purpose austenitic stainless steel.
A characteristic of these steels is that they are not magnetic. If we approach a magnet this should not stick to them (and if it sticks is that we have been given a jack for hare).
How do you clean a burnt paella pan?
For the cleaning of stainless steel paella pans and maintenance of the parts of the elements made of stainless steel, the following standards must be observed:
• It is important to maintain the shine and polish of the stainless steel. Do not clean it with abrasive products, the “blue” scourer does not damage the shiny layer.
• You can use water and soap or common non-abrasive detergents. No chlorinated substances (as they damage the steel).
• Scrubbing only in the direction of satin. Rinse abundantly with water and dry thoroughly (to avoid lime stains).
• It is important to wash with soap and water before the first use.
The stainless steel forms a thin (invisible) layer of chromium oxide that protects the rest of the material. It is therefore important that it does not lose its shine. Cleaning is important to keep the surface of the steel active and the oxide film that protects it from corrosion.
When cleaning the equipment, never use a jet of water under pressure (karcher), so as not to cause infiltration and damage to the interior parts.
Cleaning food stains or hardened paella pan residue:
Wash the stains left by the food with hot water before they harden. If the residues are already hardened, use water and soap or non-chlorinated detergents, possibly using a wooden spatula or soft stainless steel spade. Rinse with water and dry thoroughly.
Cleaning lime deposits on paella pan:
To remove deposits, lime residues and clean the kettle. The use of a special acidic detergent-disinfectant remover is recommended for the food industry. These products are usually a mixture of organic acids, non-ionic surfactants and appropriate excipients. This type of product is rinsed with plenty of water.
For its handling, the operator must be provided with neoprene gloves, adjusted safety glasses and adequate clothing (Safety and Hygiene Regulations).
Remove scratches on the surface of the paella pan:
If scratches are caused on the surface, they must be removed using very fine stainless steel wool or fibrous synthetic material abrasives. Scrubbing should be done in the direction of the satin finish. Rinse well and dry.
Never use chlorinated products to clean stainless steel. For example sodium hypochlorite, bleach, hydrochloric acid or other similar solutions. These products attack the stainless steel in a short time giving rise to irreversible corrosion phenomena.
Do not use the above-mentioned products for cleaning the floor underneath or in the vicinity of the equipment. Vapours or possible drops that may fall on steel produce the same corrosion effects specified above.
What you should never use for cleaning the paella pan
Do not use iron straw or leave it lying on the surfaces. Very small deposits could remain on the surface, contaminate them and consequently lead to the formation of rust.
If necessary, use soft stainless steel wool or abrasives made of fibrous synthetic material, always scrubbing in the direction of the satin finish and avoiding scratching the surfaces themselves. Then rinse and dry.
Tips for cleaning the paella pan
• Avoid continuous contact or skipping of iron based material to avoid the beginning of corrosion by contamination (stains are produced that cannot be removed later).
• Water supply lines leave rust with more or less intensity, especially by opening the taps after a certain period of rest or for new installations. These iron oxides or deposits must be prevented from remaining in contact with the stainless steel because they produce corrosion phenomena.
• Avoid that saline solutions evaporate or remain to dry the stainless steel surface.
• Never use sodium chloride (coarse salt for cooking) which, being deposited at the bottom and being too heavy, would not have the possibility to be carried in circulation and dissolve completely. This undissolved or long lasting salt can cause corrosion at the contact points. Avoid placing the salt with cold water or worse, without water.
• When not in use, the containers should preferably be left uncovered and without lids so that they can preserve and keep stable the film that protects the steel from possible aggressive agents.
• Never heat a stainless steel container without any kind of liquid inside, as the steel will be exposed to the elements in these conditions.
Tips for choosing the best paella pan to use
If you’re thinking of buying a paella pan, remember about these things:
If you’re using the glass-ceramic or the induction cooker, the bottom has to be flat and adhere completely to the surface. This is important because if the bottom is not flat but a bit curved, the paella pan will not heat up equally all over and one side of the pan will burn (in the middle). Another thing, if we cook with a gas plate. In this case the bottom part is not so important anymore.
• The size of the paella pan – it is important to put the ingredients properly to the number of people who are going to eat this paella. Most manufacturers say:
Four people: 30 cm
9 people: 40 cm
14 people: 50 cm
16 persons: 55 cm
20 people: 60 cm
• The material of the paella pan it is made of – the stainless steel paella pan is super good and will serve for many years. But you have to know how to keep it. After cooking the paella, you have to clean the paella pan, put some olive oil on the whole paella pan and put it in a plastic bag. You have to do this so that the next time you use it, the food/paella does not come out with a metallic taste. And also this paella pan is only used to prepare paella.
• Type of kitchen plate where you are going to prepare your paella:
There are some paella pans just for the induction plates – these paella pans have the fattest bottom, so the plate can heat the paella pan equally all over.
There are also other paella pans for glass ceramics or gas cooktops.
In conclusion, there are many types of paella pans on the market. The most popular are:
• Non-stick paella pan
• Polished steel paella pan – one of the cheapest.
• Stainless steel paella pan – it’s going to be good for many years, you just have to know how to keep it. And it’s quite expensive.
• Enameled paella pans – they’re not very expensive.
• Induction enameled paella pan – for induction cookers, so they are a little more expensive than enameled paella pans.