Despite the health risks of PTFE-based coatings and the distinct problems associated with the long-term quality of the coating, as was explained in a previous blog post ‘Lotus Rock vs other non-stick coatings’, PTFE is still the most popular non-stick coating used today. Lotus Rock has numerous advantages compared to PTFE, and in order to demonstrate some of them we have carried out a fried-egg test using two pans, side by side, one from our Lotus Rock collection and another from a well-known, widely sold pan which uses a PTFE coating.
The purpose of the test was not to demonstrate that Lotus Rock has a better non-stick release than the PTFE non-stick pan. PTFE non-stick coated pans have been used in households all over the world since the 1960s; the quality of the non-stick release is not doubted. The test did not use more than two eggs per pan because we know that PTFE would easily win a contest to determine which pan could cook the most eggs before sticking. Instead the aim of the test was, first, to demonstrate that the Lotus Rock pan’s non-stick release could, for two fried eggs, match that of the PTFE-coated pan. Second, to show that Lotus Rock could fry an egg much faster than a PTFE-coated pan. And third, to examine the quality of the fried egg to see whether there was any discernible difference between use with a Lotus Rock pan and that of a PTFE pan.
Both pans were 24cm in diameter, with a bakelite handle welded to the pan. Neither had been cooked with beforehand; they were both brand new. A ceramic cooking-top surface was used for both pans. It is generally agreed among cooking experts that the optimum temperature for cooking is between 140-180 degrees, so it was at this temperature that each egg was first released into both pans.
The test can be seen in the video below.
For the rest of the world: http://youtu.be/6IwEF9klkkA
As the video clearly demonstrates, the quality of the non-stick release of the Lotus Rock pan for two fried eggs was equal to that of the PTFE pan. A hairdryer was used on both pans to show that the egg had not stuck to the pan. Even when the hairdryer could not easily lift the egg away from the pan, a spatula could be used without any of the egg sticking to the pan.
The test also demonstrated two more distinct advantages of the Lotus Rock pan over the PTFE coated pan:
- Heating effect. A normal PTFE coating is sprayed on either an aluminum or a stainless steel substrate. Neither of these conducts heat as quickly as carbon steel. In this test the PTFE coated pan used an aluminum substrate. As you can see in the video, the eggs fried more quickly on the Lotus Rock pan, because carbon steel, which is the substrate used for Lotus Rock, conducts heat faster than aluminum. This demonstrates one clear benefit of Lotus Rock – it not only saves time and energy, but also has a superior heating effect compared to PTFE – the egg can fry and sizzle much faster, meaning that it is crispier and tastes better. In the video the fried egg on the PTFE coated pan has heated evenly and looks good, but because it was heated more slowly it is not as crispy and well-cooked as the egg on the Lotus Rock pan. A faster and better heating effect also enables the egg on the Lotus Rock pan to retain more of its vitamin content than the one cooked on a PTFE-coated aluminum substrate.
- Scratch resistance. In the test a metal utensil was used with the Lotus Rock pan, but not with the PTFE pan. A big difficulty with PTFE is that over time the coating has been known to peel off – if a metal utensil was used daily on a PTFE pan than this would increase the likelihood of the coating peeling off. Lotus Rock however has no non-stick PTFE coating to be damaged, so the customer can use any type of utensil, metal, plastic or wooden, without worrying about impairing the surface of the pan.
When promoting their best PTFE non-stick coating many coating manufacturers boast about how many eggs their coating can fry before one of them sticks. One of them has written the following:
“In the Dry-Egg test, xxxxx’s nonstick/release lasted 26 times longer than a leading brand, and 10 times longer than the premium nonstick tested.”
However, what most of these marketing advertisements don’t promote is the durability of their non-stick release. Their coating may well be able to release 60 or so eggs without sticking when the pan is first used, but what about after 6 months or a year? Can a frying pan with a PTFE non-stick coating still maintain the same non-stick quality after lengthy use, and after daily, intensive washing and scrubbing?
When a customer first buys a non-stick frying pan it is unlikely that they will cook more than 3-4 eggs during its first usage, so being able to cook a dozen or more without any sticking is not really that useful. What most consumers want from a pan is an excellent non-stick release not just at the beginning of a pan’s usage, but over a number of years. It is exactly because a Lotus Rock pan doesn’t contain any PTFE, or any other chemical coating that gives an artificial non-stick effect, that Lotus Rock can claim its non-stick release is so durable. There is no non-stick chemical in the pan’s coating which can be damaged by either intensive cooking or a tough clean-up. If a Lotus Rock pan’s use & care instructions are observed its non-stick quality should still be the same 5 years from purchase.