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jsmeeker

Sitram Cookware

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Were I specifically looking for an equal-quality but cheaper alternative to All-Clad I'd probably go with Cuisinart Multiclad. It has 18/10 brushed exterior, 18/10 interior, etc. -- it is basically All-Clad at half the street price.

That being said, I strongly agree with those above who note that it's not a question of Brand X or nothing. For different pieces of cookware, it makes sense to look for different properties. The only brand I know of that seems to recognize this is Demeyere (they make clad skillets, disc-bottom saucepans, etc., adapting design to purpose), and the only place where it may make sense to use the same design for everything is with stainless-lined copper (though even that assumption collapses, especially as a value proposition, when you scale up to a stockpot). Assuming one is buying anything other than Demeyere or copper, then, it makes sense to look at the function of a given vessel before choosing a type of construction, which in turn narrows the scope for choice of brands. Sam's eGCI class is a great place to start for a better understanding of the parameters.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I have a set I bought from Costco a few years ago. I believe it's the Profeserie line. While you asked what people like about it, I'll tell you what I don't like -- things often burn around the bottom edge, where the disk stops. Liquids tend to spatter.

Hi,

This is one problem shared by disc-bottom sauce pans. A small pan on a gas burner allows the flame to over-heat the outer edge of the pan, sometimes burning the contents. Obviously there is not problem with water, but reducing a sauce or frying can result in problems.

The limitation is greater for disc-bottom skillets. Burning around the edges in a gas burner; no browning around the edges on an electric burner.

It would be interesting to know the "series" of stainless steel used for the exterior of the Vollrath Tribute pans. 18-0 stainless contains no nickel, an important element for corrosion and stain resistance.

Tim

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I have a couple Sitram pieces I bought at the Costco Business that supplies restaurants. I don't know if it's pro or catering, it just says Sitram on the bottom. I cook on a ceramic top electric and have never had issues with burning around the edges of the disc. I use the saute almost daily, it's my favorite all around pot. I just thought it was a good pot for the money.

Here's a link to what Costco Business sells in Sitram.

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It would be interesting to know the "series" of stainless steel used for the exterior of the Vollrath Tribute pans.  18-0 stainless contains no nickel, an important element for corrosion and stain resistance.

Tim

So is what you're saying is that they will corrode and get stains and that perhaps AC does contain the nickel, hence less corrosion and stains. ?? Just trying to be clear before I go purchasing any Sitram.

FWIW -- I love All Clad but stains don't really bother me. Shows much love and use in the kitchen. :wub:

Rhonda

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Here's a link to what Costco Business sells in Sitram.

That looks like the Profiserie/Pro 1 line. Without seeing the bottom, you can tell by the handles, which look like they're made from an oval metal tube on the Profiserie pans.--

http://www.dvorsons.com/Sitram/Profiserie.htm

On the Catering/Pro 2 pans, the handles look like they are made from a single sheet that has been curved so the cross-section would look like a "U."

http://www.dvorsons.com/Sitram/SitramCookware.htm


Edited by David A. Goldfarb (log)

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It would be interesting to know the "series" of stainless steel used for the exterior of the Vollrath Tribute pans.  18-0 stainless contains no nickel, an important element for corrosion and stain resistance.

Tim

So is what you're saying is that they will corrode and get stains and that perhaps AC does contain the nickel, hence less corrosion and stains. ?? Just trying to be clear before I go purchasing any Sitram.

FWIW -- I love All Clad but stains don't really bother me. Shows much love and use in the kitchen. :wub:

Rhonda

Note that these pans are 18-8 in the interior and 18-0 in the exterior. How that affects anything important, I'll leave to others.

I know this thread isn't about non-stick pans specifically, but I have two excellent Vollrath nonstick skillets that I picked up at a restaurant supply store for about $30 each. The body of the pans are aluminum. The older of the two pans is probably 6 years old and just started accumulating enough wear and tear that the non-stick surface doesn't release eggs that well. The second pan is probably 3-4 years old and the surface is great.

I don't think it makes much sense to buy a relatively more expensive nonstick pan with a stainless body since the nonstick surface will wear out way before the body does.

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Ironically, I'm planning on replacing these with the All-Clad Copper Core. I know that most here would suggest copper instead, but I have one Falk copper saucier and, while I use it often, I don't care for the clean up. I'm not into the well-used copper look. I know All Clad requires clean up to keep it looking nice, but in my opinion copper *deserves* to look clean and shiny! I love how it looks after I scrub it down with BKF. Plus, the handle is constantly rusting, even with the occasional mineral oil application (interesting that this hasn't happened to my Mauviel saucepan).

Please reconsider. The copper layer in All-Clad isn't thick enough to make a noticeable difference in the way it cooks -- I've used all four lines of All-Clad enough to know this -- and the price is much higher than for the other All-Clad lines. If you want copper encased in stainless, I'd recommend Demeyere's Sirocco or Atlantis lines, both of which have a thicker layer of copper. Also, the Demeyere can go in the dishwasher; because of the exposed copper on the A-C Copper Core, it's not dishwasher safe. I've had my Demeyere for 8 years, and it looks great, with very little upkeep.

For an explanation of how Demeyere is constructed, see this video:

. (By way of disclaimer, I used to work for Sur La Table, where this video was filmed. I have lots of Demeyere cookware, which I was able to get for a steep discount when I worked there.)
I would still consider All Clad a bargain compared with pans like Demeyere and Mauviel M'cook. These may be better quality, but in some cases cost more than twice as much as AC.

I don't know how Mauviel M'Cook is priced, but it's simply not true that Demeyere costs twice as much as All-Clad. If you compare All-Clad Copper Core with Demeyere's Sirocco line, you find that from the same retailer (Sur La Table, in this case) Demeyere is less expensive: the 2-qt. Copper Core is $235 and the 2.3-qt. Sirocco is $230; the 3-qt. Copper Core is $310 and the 3.2-qt. Sirocco is $245. In this case, you get a vastly superior Demeyere product for less money.

When you compare the Stainless All-Clad with the Apollo line of Demeyere (both aluminum cores and stainless exteriors), the Apollo is more expensive, but not by much ($160 for a 2.3-qt. compared with $140 for the A-C Stainless; $175 for the 3.2-qt. Apollo compared with $165 for the 3-qt. A-C). In this case, you get a superior Demeyere product for slightly more money.

The only way you can figure that Demeyere is twice as much as All Clad is if you compare the highest end Demeyere lines (Sirocco and Atlantis) with the lowest end All Clad line (MC2), and that's simply not a reasonable comparison.

I have a set I bought from Costco a few years ago. I believe it's the Profeserie line. While you asked what people like about it, I'll tell you what I don't like -- things often burn around the bottom edge, where the disk stops. Liquids tend to spatter.

This is one problem shared by disc-bottom sauce pans. A small pan on a gas burner allows the flame to over-heat the outer edge of the pan, sometimes burning the contents. Obviously there is not problem with water, but reducing a sauce or frying can result in problems.

The limitation is greater for disc-bottom skillets. Burning around the edges in a gas burner; no browning around the edges on an electric burner.

Demeyere solves this problem by making the disc the same diameter as the pan in the case of sauce pans and saute pans, and by not making their skillets with a disc bottom at all -- in those, the core layer goes all the way up the sides (see the video linked to above).

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Over in the "waste of money" topic, many people have suggested that Sitram cookware is a great alternative to very popular (and pricey) brands such as All-Clad.  I am not very familair with this line of cookware.... I see two different stainless steel lines.  The "Catering" line and "Profiserie".  I see the pics of their skillets, and the sides of them look pretty steep.  I would think that would be a disadvantage.

The Sitram Catering frypans do have shallow and steep sides, so are not good if you're flipping omelettes. Their advantage is there is more cooking area in relation to the overall pan size.

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This is one problem shared by disc-bottom sauce pans.  A small pan on a gas burner allows the flame to over-heat the outer edge of the pan, sometimes burning the contents.  Obviously there is not problem with water, but reducing a sauce or frying can result in problems.

Absolutely. For the smallest diameters where some significant direct heat conduction from the flame to the outer edges and sides of the pan will happen, straight gauge design is the way to go. In general, I find that pans of this diameter aren't particularly useful for boiling water and heating thin liquids, due to the size limitations -- which means that they are mostly useful for tasks where straight gauge construction is advantageous (reductions, saucemaking, etc.).

The limitation is greater for disc-bottom skillets.  Burning around the edges in a gas burner; no browning around the edges on an electric burner.

If by "skillet" you mean "frypan" then I definitely agree. I like this also in straight gauge. That said, I mean this with respect to a traditional frypan design, which has sides that angle out widely from the base of the pan and are no more than around 2 inches tall or 20% as tall as the diameter of the pan (whichever is less).

I find that a lot of so-called "frypans" have sides that are significantly taller and significantly more vertical -- such that they are closer to what I would call "curved saute pans" than "frypans." For these, in the larger diameters, I don't find that a disk-bottom design is all that bad. But it's a mistake to use them like frypans.

It would be interesting to know the "series" of stainless steel used for the exterior of the Vollrath Tribute pans.  18-0 stainless contains no nickel, an important element for corrosion and stain resistance.

Vollrath's information page says: "Induction ready. Three bonded layers: 18-8 stainless steel interior, 3004 aluminum core, and 18-0 stainless exterior."

18-0 is used in the exterior because it is ferritic, and this makes the cookware compatible with induction ranges. As far as I know, all the cookware that says it has an outer layer of "magnetic stainless steel" (which would include All-Clad Stainless) are talking about 18-0 stainless.

(Fixed code)


Edited by slkinsey (log)

--

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I would still consider All Clad a bargain compared with pans like Demeyere and Mauviel M'cook. These may be better quality, but in some cases cost more than twice as much as AC.

I don't know how Mauviel M'Cook is priced, but it's simply not true that Demeyere costs twice as much as All-Clad. If you compare All-Clad Copper Core with Demeyere's Sirocco line, you find that from the same retailer (Sur La Table, in this case) Demeyere is less expensive: the 2-qt. Copper Core is $235 and the 2.3-qt. Sirocco is $230; the 3-qt. Copper Core is $310 and the 3.2-qt. Sirocco is $245. In this case, you get a vastly superior Demeyere product for less money.

One should point out, for the sake of completeness, that the All-Clad Copper Core saucepans are straight gauge (with the thermal aluminum and copper layer going all the way up the sides) whereas the Demeyere saucepans have a copper disk bottom (encapsulated and all the way to the edge).

Meanwhile, if I were in the market for a 2 to 3 quart saucepan with an encapsulated disk bottom that goes to the edges, I'd probably get something like this for 25 bucks.

(Fixed code)


Edited by slkinsey (log)

--

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Here's a link to what Costco Business sells in Sitram.

That looks like the Profiserie/Pro 1 line. Without seeing the bottom, you can tell by the handles, which look like they're made from an oval metal tube on the Profiserie pans.--

http://www.dvorsons.com/Sitram/Profiserie.htm

On the Catering/Pro 2 pans, the handles look like they are made from a single sheet that has been curved so the cross-section would look like a "U."

http://www.dvorsons.com/Sitram/SitramCookware.htm

I think you are right, it's the Pro 1 line, the bottom just says Sitram-NSF-sitram france 24 E.

Also, I need to correct that I have the Saucier, not the saute. I love my saucier.

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The limitation is greater for disc-bottom skillets.  Burning around the edges in a gas burner; no browning around the edges on an electric burner.

I think this ultimately depends on the size of the burner and the size of the vessel, however I personally would never buy a disc-bottom skillet/frypan whereas I do buy disc-bottom stockpots. For everything in between, there is probably a best answer per piece. I think if price is no object and you just want to have somebody smart give you a good answer for each piece, having considered many factors, one logical answer has got to be Demeyere, the other logical answer is to get mostly stainless-lined copper and a few other pieces (like a disc-bottom stockpot). But if you're willing to do some work on a per-piece basis you can probably avoid a lot of extra expense and invest most of your money on the few pieces where it actually makes the most sense to have super-expensive cookware. For example, for a saucepan actually being used to make sauce, copper is king.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I have a mix of solid copper saute pans and frypans and a couple of Sitram catering frypans, and with the disk bottom pans, I find it's just a matter of managing the flame effectively to avoid burning at the edges. At a certain point, it's just ineffective to turn the heat up. If the flame is too high, then a lot of heat gets directed away from the pan (which is also true for straight gauge pots and pans), and isn't being delivered to the food, so food outside the disk area may burn. If the maximum flame is kept an inch or more inside the disk, then the copper disk will distribute the heat evenly across the bottom of the pan without burning at the edges. If I want more heat than I can get within that setting, the solution is to use a bigger pan.

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Just so. It's the small diameter pans where this can't do much good.


--

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I don't know how Mauviel M'Cook is priced, but it's simply not true that Demeyere costs twice as much as All-Clad.

I was just looking at 10" aluminum core fry pans. At Sur La Table, AC stainless is $100, Demeyere Atlantis is $199.

I'm glad the other pieces don't exhibit this big a price premium.

And I'd agree with anyone who says the AC copper core pans are a ripoff. I would only consider the stainless and the MC2.

MC2 will heat more evenly and have more thermal mass; stainless will be more responsive and will work with induction.


Notes from the underbelly

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There are several issues that need also to be considered.

1. It is more expensive to make a fully-clad product like All-Clad than a traditional steel pan with a laminated base.

2. Different grades of steel and different thicknesses of both core materials and external steel make for different costs of manufacture. Try Demeyere's Proline which is one of the heaviest around and compare it to one your store brand clones of All-Clad.

3. As with all things, we have to make a decision as to whether we want to buy an American-made (most All-Clad except for Emeril) or European-made product (Mauviel, Demeyere, Fissler, Bourgeat) where people earn more than the cost of a bowl of rice a day, or we buy Chinese (Calphalon, Meyer, or any of numerous no-brand/store brand products.

I don't agree with the opinion that a thin layer of copper does not make a difference. Copper has a much higher heat conductivity rate than almost everything else you can think of, bar gold. So a thinner layer will produce much the same results as a thick layer of aluminum.

I have some old Italian cookware - Le Pentole from ICM with a copper and stainless disk base - which gives me some of the best results possible. And the stainless walls are so thick there is never a problem with warping. It used to be a best seller in the UK until all the cheap Chinese stuff flooded the market there. It is now made by another Italian firm called Morinox.

If I were buying today, it would be between Demeyere and Mauviel. The latter are introducing a 3 layer version of M'Cook soon, which will be the same weight but less expensive (similar to All-Clad Stainless).

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I don't agree with the opinion that a thin layer of copper does not make a difference. Copper has a much higher heat conductivity rate than almost everything else you can think of, bar gold. So a thinner layer will produce much the same results as a thick layer of aluminum.

Well, yes, a millimeter of copper will do more good than a millimeter of aluminum, in terms of improving dispersion without impeding responsiveness.

But a tenth of a millimeter of copper isn't worth much at all unless you're writing the ad copy. Companies like AC seem to include just nominal thicknesses of copper ... enough to let them say there's copper in there. And to raise the price. The thermal differences might be measurable, but I seriously doubt they'd be noticeable.

Incidentally, gold isn't an especially good thermal conductor. It's lower on the scale than copper. Silver is the only metal I know of that's higher.


Notes from the underbelly

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Incidentally, gold isn't an especially good thermal conductor. It's lower on the scale than copper. Silver is the only metal I know of that's higher.

I have been using that information for years, having been told so by cookware manufacturers themselves. That was in the days before Google.

You are right though. Here is what looks like to me (a non-scientist) to be credible evidence:

Thermal Conductivity

I am happy to be corrected, so I can be more accurate in future.

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Just a reality check on the kind of cookware real restaurants use. I was working in the kitchen at Beacon here in New York City tonight. Beacon is a New York Times two-star restaurant, which means its probably in the 99th percentile of restaurants in America (albeit not in the top 1/10 of a percent, which is where you are if you have three or four stars). It's also an economically successful restaurant in Midtown Manhattan, where they can afford expensive kitchen equipment if they need it. And, needless to say, most any home cook would be thrilled to be able to produce food at this level.

Beacon uses mostly Lincoln Wearever and Vollrath aluminum:

gallery_1_295_32645.jpg

gallery_1_295_28951.jpg

gallery_1_295_36719.jpg

gallery_1_295_42604.jpg

A Lincoln Wearever 10" fry pan is $23.70 at BigTray and is all you actually need to cook at a high professional level.

Of course there are various advantages to fancier cookware. They may be more pleasurable to use. They may be objectively better for certain tasks. But Lincoln Wearever is entirely sufficient for good cooking.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Steven - I may be mistaken, but I thought aluminum works well if you use a piece regularly, but not so well if it's one you use infrequently - due to oxidation. Great for a restaurant, but not necessarily for home cooking.

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I've had good luck with plain aluminum for things like stock pots that don't get used for especially acidic ingredients.

I haven't liked it for saucepans and sauté / fry pans. I get deep pits, and sometimes a slight metalic taste in sauces and in deglazing liquid.

Steven's right that it's the restaurant standard, at least at the low end and middle. I've had plenty of great meals that were cooked in $15 commodity aluminum pans.

The off flavors and colors might be purely symptomatic of the types of food I've cooked. And the pitting might happen because I keep pans longer than most restaurant kitchens do. Line cooks beat the bejeezus out of those things. They're probably reduced to scrap metal from abuse before anyone even notices pits and craters in the surface.


Notes from the underbelly

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Steven - I may be mistaken, but I thought aluminum works well if you use a piece regularly, but not so well if it's one you use infrequently - due to oxidation. Great for a restaurant, but not necessarily for home cooking.

I don't know enough to disagree with this, even though I think I do disagree. I'll have to do a little more research and, more importantly, pick up a cheap aluminum pan and play with it, after which I'll start a topic on cooking with aluminum cookware.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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