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Customer Review

1,437 of 1,441 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All you need to know - Cook's Illustrated WINNING PAN * * *, April 9, 2010
This review is from: Vollrath 5314 Wear-Ever Sheet Pan, 18 x 13 x 1-inch, Half Size (Kitchen)
After looking through customer reviews on Amazon for the "Lincoln Foodservice Half-Size Heavy Duty Sheet Pan," I came away with more questions than answers. I wanted the sheet pan that Cook's Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen named their winner, but there were so many conflicting reviews about whether this pan was/was not the winning model. So I set out on a quest, and this is what I learned:
In 2007 Cook's Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen published the results of their baking sheet (jelly roll pan) equipment review. The winning sheet pan rated "highly recommended" was the 13-gauge aluminum Lincoln Foodservice Half-Size Heavy Duty sheet pan. Cook's listed Superior Products as a source for this pan, and MISTAKENLY listed the model number as 806188, and this is where the confusion starts.

806188 is Superior Product's ITEM number for this sheet pan sold on their website. If you visit the site you can see for yourself. This is a Superior Products number, and it IS NOT THE MODEL NUMBER of the pan. I phoned Superior Products and they confirmed this. ====> MAY/2010 UPDATE: I notified Cook's of their mistaken model number, and am happy to report they corrected it on their website.

The trademark name for a line of Lincoln Foodservice "smallwares" is WEAR-EVER®. The Cook's-recommended sheet pan is part of this line of smallwares (pots, pans, bakeware, trays and other kitchen utensils). In late 2009 the Vollrath Company acquired the Lincoln Smallwares division. . . .BUT the Lincoln WEAR-EVER name goes on, and nothing has changed with this sheet pan. I phoned Vollrath and they confirmed this.

If you are looking for Cook's winning sheet pan, THIS IS IT. The bottom of the pan should look exactly like the picture I added to the "customer images." Neither "Lincoln Foodservice" nor "Vollrath" are stamped anywhere on the pan; however, the pan might have a Lincoln Foodservice barcode sticker on it. This model is made of 13-gauge aluminum and the heaviest of three similar Lincoln WEAR-EVER half-sheet pans - the higher the gauge number, the thinner the aluminum.

=> Model 9303 - is the 19-gauge/closed bead pan called ECONOMY. Vollrath 18" x 13" Economy Half Size Sheet Pan (12-0420) Category: Cake and Muffin Pans
=> Model 5303 - is the 18-gauge/closed bead pan called STANDARD DUTY (Lincoln Wear-Ever® Standard Duty Half-Size Sheet Pan)
=> Model 5314 - is the 13-gauge/open bead pan called HEAVY DUTY.

The heavy duty model 5314 is the one tested by Cook's Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen and chosen the winner. I have no idea what is stamped on the back of the two other pans, but I suspect the model numbers would be on the pan somewhere.

"Open bead" means the side rims roll over, but not completely, which some cooks like because it's easier to clean and is considered more sanitary. "Closed bead" means the side rims roll over completely forming something of a tube. Some cooks feel this makes for difficult cleaning and a place for gunk to collect and become foul. Others feel the closed bead adds to the overall strength of the pan.

Clearly some folks have received the wrong pan, one or more citing they'd received EKCO brand pans. But others here who have received the WEAR-EVER 5314 pan thought it was wrong because it didn't say "Lincoln Foodservice" or "Vollrath" on the pan - but this IS NOT SO. If it is stamped on the bottom like the picture I posted, then it IS the right pan.

====> DECEMBER/2010 UPDATE (thanks to J. Kendall): new-production pans are now being stamped "Vollrath by Wearever/5314." Read his/her comment for further information, and see his/her picture of the stamp of the new-production pan in "customer images." Nothing has changed, it's still the same pan, only the stamp on the bottom has changed.

Numerous people have complained that the pan warps, and that Cook's claimed it wouldn't. Cook's DID NOT MAKE THIS CLAIM. The following copy/paste comes from their published review:

Cook's says ====> While we experienced varying levels of warping with our pans during testing, warping can happen with any sheet pan, even a heavy-duty one, under certain conditions. Abrupt temperature changes are likely to result in warping, for example, if an empty, cold baking sheet goes into a hot oven. Similarly, having only a few scattered pieces of food on a baking sheet creates different temperature zones on the metal, with some spots where the pan is shielded from heat under the food, and others where it is fully exposed to heat. Different temperature zones contract or expand at different rates as they are heated, which causes warping.

Slight warping does not affect the pan's cooking performance, however, to help prevent warping in your baking sheet, cover the pan's entire surface with food as uniformly as possible, and heat the pan gradually rather than abruptly. Using a wire grid cooling rack inside the sheet pan can help distribute heat better than cooking meats directly on the pan surface. We found a few brands of cooling racks that fit well inside our winning baking sheet. <====

Finally, if you want Cook's winning cooling rack that fits inside this sheet pan, this is it: CIA Masters Collection 12 Inch x 17 Inch Wire Cooling Rack, Chrome Plate Steel .
At last my review - short and sweet. I got my pan for a song somewhere else on a special sale, but have had it now for several months. I agree with the Cook's Illustrated description - it's solid as a rock. The "open bead" rim is not remotely sharp. Following CI's advice, I've not experienced any warping, and am abundantly pleased.
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Showing 1-10 of 35 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 17, 2010 1:26:59 PM PDT
Busy Mom says:
THANK YOU for your supremely helpful, definitive review. I have delayed buying these pans for over a year because the conflicting reviews made me uncertain as to whether this was really the CI-recommended pan. I also wondered whether the quality had drastically changed or something. You provide EXACTLY the info that a prospective buyer needs; thanks again!

Posted on May 31, 2010 4:46:10 AM PDT
hums2 says:
Great review and clarification of confusing information. I am order both the pan and rack now thanks to your (and Cooks Illustrated) reviews.

Posted on Aug 20, 2010 4:43:35 PM PDT
Awesome review! All the research and tracking is awesome. One question, where else (other than Superior Products) have you found this pan? Where did you find your smokin' deal?

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 20, 2010 4:59:57 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 20, 2010 5:00:23 PM PDT
UpperDown says:
Thanks. I got my pan on some sort of online blue-light special at KaTom Restaurant Supply. About $12-$13 back then.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 29, 2010 7:31:12 PM PDT
I believe the price at KaTom is still about $12 to $18. They have it advertised as a Vollrath model 5314. Sounds to me it's the same item but $10 cheaper.

Posted on Oct 1, 2010 1:42:00 PM PDT
A. Reader says:
Not much more to say but to add to the chorus of thanks. Unbelievably helpful - one of the best reviews I've ever seen and a service to fellow shoppers.

(As an aside it is surprising that sellers/manufacturers don't make it easier to find their top-rated products and buy them; quite often I find top-rated products have been discontinued, model #'s obfuscated, etc.).

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 31, 2010 10:10:45 AM PDT
Jean C Smith says:
Thank you SO MUCH for taking the time to write this detailed review! I too read the Cooks Illustrated review of this pan and the CIA cooling rack, and was searching all over for it and getting more and more confused. Then I thought, why not try Amazon and Voila. I plan to use mine mainly for roasting chicken pieces (e.g. thigh, leg etc) that have been marinated in a tasty marinade, and then roast so that they get real crisp. I had been using a pyrex dish but the chicken pieces never get crispy. The sheet pan that I have warps but I was finding that it was cooking the chicken the way I wanted it to turn out but not perfect. I think this will do the trick. Thanks so much. Jean in Decatur, GA

Posted on Nov 4, 2010 3:51:18 PM PDT
Valerie says:
Brilliant! A huge "thank you" for the enlightening review...and now I am finally ready to order!

Posted on Dec 5, 2010 5:56:10 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 5, 2010 6:04:18 AM PST
spygrrl says:
Hello there! I just wanted to say thank you, not only for posting this, but for saving me the hassle of doing all this myself! You appear to be as dedicated (or OCD as my boyfriend likes to accuse!) as I am when it comes to finding out information AND sharing it with others. Until now I thought I was the only one who was that thorough and my family and friends think I'm a bit of a nut. I've been harangued for taking too long to find something and just purchase it - but for me, I have far less money and more time to spend, so I'd rather research something to death and buy it once, and have it work (!) than buy something quickly, be disappointed, and have to start over. Now that I'm buying on Amazon I look forward to sharing with people who might actually appreciate this kind of sleuthing (when it's required. I can't believe you actually contacted CI...I really thought I was the only one who takes things that far when necessary.) In the meantime I am swamped with school finals, so thanks for saving me the legwork...and in the process, assuring me that I'm not crazy or alone in my attention to detail and need to describe every aspect, regardless of what my loved ones think! Thank you thank you for being what my parents call "excruciatingly pedantic" and proving that attention to minutiae, in the right context, IS a positive thing!

Perhaps when I have time I can contact the supplier so they can edit the description here in Amazon to be something more accurate and user-friendly. It's AMAZING how little thought the clearly put into advertising this gem of a pan. You'd think they'd be falling all over themselves to clarify everything so as to increase sales!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 6, 2010 1:42:32 PM PST
NCFoodie says:
Thank you also, i do have this baking pan (4) and love it.Am just purchasing the Vollrath COOKIE sheets for my daughter again based on CI.However I have not yet seen the cookie sheets. Am wondering are we confusing a BAKING sheet with a COOKIE sheet?
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