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As great and as durable as cast iron pans are, with a brand like Le Creuset you are going to pay well over the odds if you buy new any of their range of cookware. So unless money is no object, the way to go is second hand if you want their brand of cast iron frying pans at a more reasonable price.
The dimensions of this frying pan measures 26cm in diameter. Therefore it's just big enough for frying steaks, eggs, fish, making pancakes etc for a small family. However, because cast iron is weighty, unless you have a very strong wrist you are not going to be able to flip pancakes or vegetables easily like you can with a similar aluminium pan. There are also a couple of odd things about this frying pan.
Normally cast iron frying pans do not come with a non-stick surface, at least not traditionally. But this pan does come with three separate non-stick layers which they claim is 'long lasting'. My experience with PTFE or similar coatings is that they always chip away in time with the result that fragments of the chemical coating end up in your food over a period. That was one reason I stopped using non-stick aluminium pans Having a non-stick pan may be great for making omelettes, or using less fat for frying, but a no-friils, bare cast iron pan is what I would prefer with no PTFE surface or toxic aluminium underneath it. It is down to the user to season a bare cast iron pan to make it permanently non-stick. Then no unnecessary chemical coatings end up in your food. Because this pan has a conventional non-stick surface it also means that you can't use metal handlers such as spatulas or forceps when cooking, which is not a problem with a seasoned pan. So far only anodised non-stick pans seem to be genuinely durable and resistant to metal scrapes, but they haven't really been around that long to see whether they can stand up to heavy use with metal implements. Anyhow this is not an anodised surface pan.
The other oddity is the pan's wooden handle. Normally cast iron pans have a metal handle which means you can bake food with cast iron in the oven. Having a wooden handle rules this pan out for such purposes. As presumably users only intend this pan for frying on a hob it's no real handicap but it's just a little annoying.
If you decide to buy this new then just treat this Le Creuset as an ordinary non-stick pan as you would with an aluminium one until the surface starts to chip and wear away as it will inevitably do. Once that happens though you do not need to throw this pan away. Just sand the non-stick surface down to the smooth bare iron, then season the pan and you will have a non-stick pan that will last a lifetime. It's the cast iron rather than its non-stick surface that is durable.
This frying pan measures a generous 28cm across. Ours was bought before the 'phenolic resin' (whatever that is) handles were introduced, so our old pan has a wooden handle which, to be frank, is looking a bit charred and battered.
The lining is three layers of non stick surface and it really is non stick. You must use the right implements with it, either wooden or nylon, because metal cooking implements can and will damage the non stick surface.
The pans cost around £80.00 new. It is worth shopping around or buying in France if you have your car with you. The pans cost about a third less in France and there is often a larger range of colours and styles and sizes available. You can also pick them up secondhand on eBay at a fraction of the cost.
The only drawback to Le Creuset frying pans is the weight of them. They are of limited use if you are getting on a bit and not as strong as you once were, or if you are arthritic. My mum has had to stop using hers because of this.
The volcanic orange colour is very attractive and durable. Our frying pan is about twenty years old and constant use has not dimmed the colour. There are odd scratches but no major problems, they remain as attractive and cheerful looking as ever.
The pans are available in two sizes, 26cm and 28cm. They are also available in a range of attractive colours but the Volcanic Orange remains the best seller. (Judging by what I see in other folks' kitchens anyway.)
There is a lip opposite the handle which makes handling the pan when full, much easier. The pans do get very hot though and stay hot for a long time so an oven glove or pot holder is essential. Otherwise the dog gets to eat your dinner off the floor.(If it hasn't been brained by the falling pan first!)
Although the Le Creuset range is a large initial expenditure they do last an awfully long time and I see them as an investment, so if you are thinking of replacing any of your cooking or frying pans, think about treating yourself to one of these.
26cm and 28cm / Kitchenware & cookery products / Offering all the qualities of Le Creuset cast iron as well as incorporating the unique qualities of Le Creuset triple layer non-stick surface / Each layer integrates with the cast iron (it is not just a coating) and produces a durable long lasting cooking surface / With phenolic handle and assist handle for easy lifting.