Copper is generally accepted as the best material available for overall cooking use. It is usually a copper body with either tin or stainless steel inside. Tin lining allows the most heat to pass through, doesn't react with foods and is generally considered the best way to go. However, tin lining will wear off or melt, even if treated well. If you see copper peaking through on the inside of your pot or pan, it is time to re-tin it. This can be done professionally or with the kits sold in kitchen and hardware stores. Stainless steel lining is easier to clean and work with and most importantly won't wear off or melt. If you do melt it off or separate it from the copper, PLEASE STOP COOKING IMMEDIATELY YOU ARE A DANGEROUS PERSON! There is some loss of energy with stainless steel, as it is a poor conductor of energy, but it isn't enough loss to make the copper of no affect. Solid copper allows the reactive nature of copper to improve volume in beating egg whites or making a Zabaglione. Beware of copper thickness and overall design. Just because the manufacturer says it's copper doesn't mean that it is what you imagine. Pure copper cookware is heavy. See the section below concerning copper coatings similar to the old Revereware. The types of handles are iron, brass and stainless steel.
Copper pans come in all styles and shapes. Generally, skillets don't come with lids. Saute pans, saucepans, and some roasters come with lids.
There is no purpose or use in the kitchen where copper cannot perform very well. It is very responsive to heat changes and therefore well suited to most purposes. Copper will provide even consistent heat. As mentioned before, its combination of heat conductivity and heat capacity is unrivaled. Keep in mind that that some pieces are so effective, they affect cooking time. For instance, a copper roasting pan can shorten cooking time, so always cook by temperature and not time. This is always good advice in general. Cooking times will vary depending on your cooking method and pan. NOTE â€“ Copper cannot be used with induction cooktops.
Clad copper â€“
Clad copper is simply what it says it is: a copper core covered by stainless steel. Generally, there is aluminum in the layers somewhere. The idea is that you get the benefits of copper without the cleaning and maintenance hassles. It should only be considered copper core when copper makes up the entire core of the piece. If it is only a base segment, this is called copper base, which I cover below. These are very nice choices and do seem to provide the benefit they claim. They are usually more expensive than aluminum core and in some cases rival the cost of copper. Are they better than aluminum core? I wouldn't say that, but it depends on the manufacturer. The better manufacturers aluminum core products might be just as good. Demeyere is copper core only on their saucepans and saute pans. The handles are generally made from stainless steel.
Manufacturers - Allclad, Demeyere, MIU
Styles â€“ You will find the shapes and styles are mostly skillets, saute pans, saucepans and stockpots. Although, Allclad has the largest selection, you will only find the more standard pieces in consumer culinary stores. Online there should be a more varied selection. I haven't seen roasting pans or other specialty pieces in copper core. Lids that accompany these pans will be stainless steel.
Uses â€“ There isn't a use that these pans won't perform well in preparation. Based on the pans available you will find them functional. As I said, there are just pieces you won't find in copper core. NOTE â€“ For induction cooktops, check with each manufacturer to see if the outer stainless steel layer is magnetic - not all are â€“ or just carry a magnet with you when shopping.
Copper base â€“
This line of pans is similar to the aluminum base line. The company listed, Sitram, produces an excellent line of cookware. Heavy gage stainless steel and good copper bottom. They produce even consistent heat. I am not aware of any other companies producing copper bottom pans available for sale in the U.S.. They are a good value compared to copper, aluminum core and copper core. PLEASE BE CAREFUL HERE...I am not talking about inexpensive pans with a copper coating, which are abundant. I mean cookware with a copper disk attached to the bottom. The handles are heavy stainless steel welded and have no rivets inside the pans.
Uses - Good overall functionality for any use where the pan suites. Compares favorably with against any top cookware line. Not as good as pure copper, but will perform very well for the serious home cook. I love mine very much. NOTE â€“ these pans canNOT be used with induction cooktops.
This cookware can be found in pure form in restaurant supply and some hardware stores around the country. They are generally thick weighty pieces that are found in almost every professional kitchen in the USA. They are highly reactive and not well suited for dishes with citric acids (lemon, tomato, etc.). It won't poison you, but can give foods left in for a long time a metallic after taste. Aluminum cookware is pressed into shape. You will see many thicknesses and styles, but generally, the thinner and lighter the cookware, the less expensive it will be in cost. The other type of aluminum pans available come with a non-stick interior and an optional thin enamel coating. These are in the lowest price range. For aluminum base, core and cast aluminum read on. Handles can be aluminum, stainless and sometimes iron. A caution with uncoated aluminum: in the dishwasher they will discolor and possibly harm other items due to metal interactions.
There are many makers of this cookware out there. The restaurant supply places have various manufacturers. Many department and other stores sell a form of the non-stick coated pans; common brands you may see are Silverstone (all non-stick, outside covered), T-fal, Tramontina; with the store brands you may even see the pure aluminum outside with non-stick inside.
Styles â€“ aluminum cookware can be found in all styles and shapes. They come in skillets, saucepans, roasting pans, stockpots, roasters and saute pans.
Uses â€“ Aluminum is best suited to any task which doesn't use acidic foods. In general quick frying, sautÃ©ing and boiling water. I am not sure they are best for slow cooking stews, or subtle sauces. Roasting pans are very good and respresent the bulk of quality aluminum bakeware. NOTE â€“ aluminum canNOT be used with induction cooktops.
The news come from http://www.bossgoo.com