TYPES OF PAELLA PANS.
We can differentiate two large groups according to the heat source in which it is going to be cooked. Thus, we distinguish between pans for gas or wood stove and pans for induction or glass-ceramic.
1. Paelleras for Gas or Firewood (also grill and oven)
1-1 Polished or Carbon Steel Paelleras
These are the traditional paella pans and they are also known as “iron paelleras”. They are the most used by professionals in restaurants since they are the ones that best absorb and distribute heat throughout the surface.
There are thicker ones that are more resistant to heat. They are usually used to make traditional Valencian paella over a wood fire.
The drawback of these paella pans is that they rust and therefore require treatment before being used for the first time and after each use.
The base is slightly convex so that the oil accumulates in the center and to help distribute the heat evenly.
Our 50cms family iron Paella.
1-2 Enameled or Vitrified Steel Paellera.
They are the same as iron ones, but covered with black ceramic enamel with white specks that prevent rust, so they do not require maintenance after using them.
The paellas are the same in both paella pans and only an expert chef could notice any difference between this one and the traditional iron one if there is one.
This is the paellera we use on our cooking classes in Malaga
These are the paelleras we always use on our cooking classes
1-3 Stainless Steel Paelleras
As the name implies, they do not rust, so they do not require any special maintenance or cleaning. They are very recognizable due to their mirror finish and are the ones that are usually gifted for this same reason.
On the other hand, they don’t do as good a job distributing heat as the first two paelleras and if the fire does not heat the entire surface equally, it can deform it.
That is why for this type of paella pan it is always recommended to use a paella burner or stove the size of the pan so that it distributes the heat evenly. Its slightly convex base also helps. Also, a support feet is recommendable for leveling.
2-Induction & Vitro-Ceramic Paelleras
The difference with traditional pans is that the induction paelleras are completely flat at their base to optimize the contact surface. They are also thicker to withstand the highest concentration of heat.
There are the same types as in traditional paella pan, depending on the material:
2.1 Polished steel or iron paella pan
2.2 Maintenance-free enameled steel paella pan
2.3 Maintenance-free stainless steel paella pan and very shiny.
The previous paella pans do not have any non-stick treatment so the rice (or what is going to be cooked) can stick to the surface.
For this, there are, like non-stick pans, non-stick paella pans to prevent food from sticking.
But you have to take into account a fundamental characteristic of paella: the socarrat
No self-respecting paella can be considered a paella without socarrat. It is a thin toasted layer of the rice that is in the bottom and that is formed just before the rice begins to stick, at the end of cooking. For many it is the best part of the paella and I couldn’t agree more.
Therefore, if you want to make a good paella in good conditions, this type of paellera is not recommended.