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Copper vs Stainless Steel Clad Cookware: Is it worth the $$$?


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"""   Matfer Bourgeat copper that has rolled rims (although not that rolled like the pictures above), and that is definitely thick copper (2.5mm). ""

 

​I also have a 6 piece set of this same stuff.   I love the rolled edge  it was given to me by very good friends that thought it was way too heavy for them

 

they knew I like to cook and knew I had a good collection of  the 3.5 stuff I got in France

 

I love both.  but when I use this stuff, I pull down the 2.5

 

Ive used both for > 20 years

 

Ill always be pleased I have  " 3 star grade FR Restaurant Grade copper " 

 

and I do mean that

 

but it tastes the same on My Plate   ( if you know what your are doing , and have been around the block.  at least twice )

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are the pots heavy ?

 

try them out.  do you have something else in similar sizes ?

 

that way you can pick which you like better and give the lesser away as you want to unclutter.

super thin Rotuts   actually no right now I have purged so much I barely have any pots at all! 

I am wanting my last "set" (although I have never had a" set " of pots other than this I buy the pot I need for the thing I need it for or one good multi purpose …Ok I will give it a try and see how it goes thanks so much ..it will be good to see if copper was something I would adore ..your pots you posted are beautiful! they took my breath away and are far thicker than what I have here 

Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)
why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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here is the mark if it matters ? /22058353225_3e734451f1.jpg

yes they are thin light pots 

thanks so much for this it really helps 

I will do the cook testing and see how it goes that makes perfect sense

I PROMISE I am not trashing anything ..I donate to either kids moving out to their first places or to local organizations that have kids cooking programs ..I  am an advocate of finding new homes not trashing I should have been more clear no way in the dump does anything go from my house if possible ..

thanks again I am going to cook as advise and if they are good they are good …right? 

 



the rolled edges/rims indicate they are probably on the thin side.

 

here's why copper nuts go off on their tangents, time to time:

first, copper transmits heat better than all the common materials.  only solid silver is better/faster at heat transfer/'distribution

second, copper does not "hold" heat as much/as well as other materials.  this translates to:  copper is "responsive" - it heats up and and it cools down fast, as the dude/dudette requires.

 

'how thick' is an important consideration.  the copper flashed Revereware bottoms really don't do much in the area of fast heat transfer.

 

the induction top people are very bonkers over how fast it heats up / cools down - well, ditto for the copper people.

the benefits of copper are largely lost on electric coils.  the coils react (ie heat up / cool down) much much slower than the copper.

 

'what's the best cookware' is not a valid question because the real question is:

'what's the best cookware for _________(fill in the task)'

 

you can easily do a few "tests" to see if you think they will help:

- tomato soup, heat it up without burning anything

- any kind of a roux based sauce, make without noted hot spots/crudding up

- chili / thickened beef stew, cooked/heated through with no stuck on bits

- bacon strips, sizzling end to end without undercooking spots.....

 

above all else, I would not recommend trashing them - you may well find an interested buyer.

 

Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)
why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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..if they are good they are good …right?

 

ah-bet-so-lutely.  try some in real life cooking - I get the impression you've been at the cooking bit for a while - so either you will or will not notice a difference.

 

I have Bourgeat stuff - from the last century (TRUE!) which I chose over other brands because at that time Bourgeat was citing 3mm thickness vs. "everybody else" at 2.5mm.  that situation apparently changed at some point as Bourgeat is now in the 2.5mm camp as well.

 

lips . . . difference between 'flared' and 'straight' and 'rolled' - the rolled stuff is thin enough that it actually forms a hollow round bead.

flared lips gush outward - but they are cut flush.  see the pix.  straight lips got none of the above - the sides go up and end in a 90' flush cut.

 

Bourgeat flared lip:

 

DSC_1075s.jpg

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Thank you for the response. I love my gas stovetop and copper pans. Induction is appealing to me more so in the way that not every house I look into buying may have gas, so I could always install an induction since it would have electricity. But I think I'd prefer gas more.

 

You're welcome.

 

The latest data released by DoE show that induction is not nearly as efficient as was originally claimed (up to 90%).  Any small % saving in electricity cost becomes truly minuscule when you understand what a tiny share of total household electricity is used by cooking appliances.  Gas only becomes prohibitively expensive (in USA) if you have to put in your own infrastructure extensions; even then, there is propane.

 

I greatly value being able to see, feel, and hear a gas flame.  It makes my cooking easier and faster, and I feel more involved.  I find cooking by preset digital displays on opaque sheets of cool glass somewhat soulless.  But to each her/his own...

Edited by boilsover (log)
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You're welcome.

 

The latest data released by DoE show that induction is not nearly as efficient as was originally claimed (up to 90%).  Any small % saving in electricity cost becomes truly minuscule when you understand what a tiny share of total household electricity is used by cooking appliances.  Gas only becomes prohibitively expensive (in USA) if you have to put in your own infrastructure extensions; even then, there is propane.

 

I greatly value being able to see, feel, and hear a gas flame.  It makes my cooking easier and faster, and I feel more involved.  I find cooking by preset digital displays on opaque sheets of cool glass somewhat soulless.  But to each her/his own...

 

 

Souless. Yes. I'm with you there. Love that feeling of involvement with gas.

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I have some 1/8 inch thick copper plates that I use under pots when I am concerned about scorching from uneven heating. I can make any pot a copper pot.

 

Sorta.

 

I do plan on eventually buying a long copper plate fitted to a section of my stove top. I'd either use it over two burners to act like a faux flat top or over the long griddle section that is common on a gas range stovetop (but hoping I don't end up with one of those). I've actually been in contact with someone who does this and was able to fit 5 pans on their copper plate and kept them all warm. It's a bit of an ingenious move.

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Sorta.

 

I do plan on eventually buying a long copper plate fitted to a section of my stove top. I'd either use it over two burners to act like a faux flat top or over the long griddle section that is common on a gas range stovetop (but hoping I don't end up with one of those). I've actually been in contact with someone who does this and was able to fit 5 pans on their copper plate and kept them all warm. It's a bit of an ingenious move.

Wait.  There are griddles coming to market that will do better than 1/8" copper.

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just a little back atcha about the pots? To cook in?  they absolutely with out a doubt crap to cook with …so in my humble opinion and with out any doubt these were never intended to be used as cooking pots I bet they were hang them on the wall and pretend pots..(I would never call this a true test of my ability to cook with copper pots) ..but these? ..the heat is not even it is like cooking in cheep aluminum pots and I was just not sure about the lining… I dented the lid when I dropped it on the floor then accidentally stepped on it and really if it can not even pass that ..what would happen when I finish a stone floor drop one of these and step on it ?

my husband is turning them into a fountain outside the kitchen window 

because we need more projects up cycling more crap

thanks so mjuch for the input! 

Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)
why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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No no no. I meant copper plates that will go over the griddle.

I know.  You were clear, I was not.

 

I meant there is technology coming that will obviate the need for copper sheets.  It will be in griddles and pans alike.  I hate to say it (because I adore my thick copper), but this technology will obsolete much of the stuff on today's market.  It will be a paradigm shift.

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...with out any doubt these were never intended to be used as cooking pots I bet they were hang them on the wall and pretend pots...

 

There are also light copper pans that are made to be used for tableside service rather than cooking.  So, for example, if the idea is that the server will spoon freshly sauteed mushrooms over the risotto tableside, the mushrooms will be sauteed in the kitchen and then dumped into a small "table service" saucepan which is carried to the table.  Looking at the size of these, I'm guessing that is not the case.  They may be "display pans" for decoration purposes only.  But we shouldn't ignore the extent to which companies will slap a tiny layer of copper on the outside of an otherwise crappy piece of cookware in the hope of duping someone into overpaying for it.

--

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  • 1 month later...

I have received a rater puzzling to me inquiry about a large copper preserving pan I put up on ebay a few days ago. It's an antique and has been used a lot - I used it a lot when I was still doing a lot of canning.  The bottom is black and has been for decades, I always cleaned the interior but didn't bother with the bottom because it didn't matter to me.

 

Now I have received a question, "How do I know the pot is 100% copper when the photos do not show all of the outside bottom without the black coating?" 

I answered that the copper on the inside is clearly visible and when this was made in the 1890s there was no process to produce a pot with a different metal on the bottom. 

He or she came back with, "you haven't answered my question.  Why don't you clean off the stuff you have painted on the bottom?"

 

I hate to be rude but I feel like telling this jerk to look elsewhere.  It takes a lot of work to remove the fired-on stuff and I am not physically capable of doing it.  Frankly, I thought it would be attractive to someone who is going to display it.  I really don't think many people would actually use it, unless they were really dedicated to preserving or candy making in the old-fashioned ways. 

 

Do you think I should have it cleaned and polished or leave it as is?  It would cost me about $50.00.

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 2.04.37 PM.png

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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  • 1 month later...

Host's note: the following discussion was moved from the Brooklyn Copper Cookware topic.

 

These are lovely as collector's pieces, but it would be foolish to expect any functional advantages over stainless-lined copper from Mauviel / Bourgeat / Falk (which are all essentially the same). And tin brings with it significant disadvantages. No matter what anyone tells you, it is fragile. In a saucepan you will abrade through it with a whisk if you whisk a lot (which you will if you are making things like emulsified egg sauces, which are arguably the only kinds of sauces delicate enough to demonstrate the benefits of copper). Forget about sautéing. A proper sear requires preheating above tin's melting point.

 

The conduction differences in a metal layer that's less that 1/10mm are insignificant. There is no "non-stick" advantage to tin. If food sticks to your cookware, you've got technique issues.

 

There are still a couple of places in the country that re-tin cookware. Look at $70+ for most pieces. Not a big deal if the cookware is decorative, but that will add up if you use the stuff hard.

 

I wouldn't consider thickness beyond 2.5mm an advantage. You will get more heat retention and more evenness, but at the expense of slower responsiveness. And responsiveness is the real reason to use copper. You can get evenness and heat retention for miles from heavy aluminum, at a fraction the cost.

 

Unless decoration is your primary concern, I would be wary of spending money on any copper. I love my 1.5L windsor pan because I'm a sauce geek, and because this pan is made for the things copper does best. But let's be honest ... look in the kitchens of Michelin 3-star restaurants around the world. If it isn't an open kitchen (on display) and if they bought their cookware this side of World War 2, they're probably using some kind of laminated stainless. The differences are vanishingly small in practice. 

 

I use my 2.5mm copper because I bought it when the stuff was pretty affordable. I also use laminated stainless / aluminum, disk-bottom aluminum, heavy aluminum, cast iron, spun steel. The laminates get the job done as well as the copper. They just don't look as awesome when they're doing it. If you work out the physics calculations, copper has an edge in some situations, but it's not going to influence your real world results. You could save the money and get an immersion circulator or pressure cooker or something that will give you serious new powers in the kitchen.

Edited by Smithy
Added host's note (log)
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Notes from the underbelly

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2 hours ago, paulraphael said:

These are lovely as collector's pieces, but it would be foolish to expect any functional advantages over stainless-lined copper from Mauviel / Bourgeat / Falk (which are all essentially the same). And tin brings with it significant disadvantages. No matter what anyone tells you, it is fragile. In a saucepan you will abrade through it with a whisk if you whisk a lot (which you will if you are making things like emulsified egg sauces, which are arguably the only kinds of sauces delicate enough to demonstrate the benefits of copper). Forget about sautéing. A proper sear requires preheating above tin's melting point.

 

The conduction differences in a metal layer that's less that 1/10mm are insignificant. There is no "non-stick" advantage to tin. If food sticks to your cookware, you've got technique issues.

 

There are still a couple of places in the country that re-tin cookware. Look at $70+ for most pieces. Not a big deal if the cookware is decorative, but that will add up if you use the stuff hard.

 

I wouldn't consider thickness beyond 2.5mm an advantage. You will get more heat retention and more evenness, but at the expense of slower responsiveness. And responsiveness is the real reason to use copper. You can get evenness and heat retention for miles from heavy aluminum, at a fraction the cost.

 

Unless decoration is your primary concern, I would be wary of spending money on any copper. I love my 1.5L windsor pan because I'm a sauce geek, and because this pan is made for the things copper does best. But let's be honest ... look in the kitchens of Michelin 3-star restaurants around the world. If it isn't an open kitchen (on display) and if they bought their cookware this side of World War 2, they're probably using some kind of laminated stainless. The differences are vanishingly small in practice. 

 

I use my 2.5mm copper because I bought it when the stuff was pretty affordable. I also use laminated stainless / aluminum, disk-bottom aluminum, heavy aluminum, cast iron, spun steel. The laminates get the job done as well as the copper. They just don't look as awesome when they're doing it. If you work out the physics calculations, copper has an edge in some situations, but it's not going to influence your real world results. You could save the money and get an immersion circulator or pressure cooker or something that will give you serious new powers in the kitchen.

 

Do you own any 3mm tinned copperware?  Have you ever used any for any length of time?  Let's just say we disagree on most of what you wrote:

 

1.  There certainly is a difference between 3mm pans that have been tinned, and the 2.3mm and 1.8mm pans that Falk, Bourgeat and Mauviel make.  Those latter makers may say their wares are 2.5mm thick, but (with a few exceptions within Mauviel) they are not 2.5mm of copper.

 

2.  Tin linings are not "fragile".  Even pans used for sauce work will last 10-15 years provided you use birch or coated whisks.

 

3.  Tin linings are great for searing and saute.  I don't know how you define heat for searing, but I say it starts at 200C/400F, which is below the melting temperature of 450F.  Moreover, you can easily go higher with oil in the pan, and higher yet with food in it.   If for you searing is flopping into a bare pan at 550F, then I wish you well.   Tin linings, like SS to some degree, "season", but a seasoned tin lining always sticks less than a freshly-scoured SS one.

 

4.  There are substantial and growing numbers of American retinners who do excellent work at reasonable prices.  The going rate is  $5 x (diameter + height in inches).  Considering that the pans are also finely polished, it's not a bad deal. 

 

5.   Look in the state kitchens of France--copper predominates.

 

6.   The responsiveness of 3mm tinned is a lot closer to SS-swaddled 2.3mm than you think.  Without the evenness. There is a qualitative difference in the heat delivered from sidewalls, too.

 

7.   If you do work out all the physics calculations (including thermal diffusivity and emissivity), copper is clearly superior to clad and aluminum in most applications.  Superior enough for you?  Maybe not.  Bare aluminum wins every time on a cost:benefit analysis.

 

8.  The BCC pans are definitely not just "collector pieces".

 

 

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Edited by boilsover (log)
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" restaurant copper " pan, tinned or steel/nickel are historical items

 

I doubt any restaurant  in this century has equipped itself with 2.5 or 3.5 pans

 

if there was a 'made in " date on all the pans we see, that would tell the story nicely.  

 

copperchef7.jpg.436f754a2661d4c319672094

 

this picture is interesting.  most of the copper is on the shelf or hanging up  

 

BTW  most of the pans you see in this series of pics radiate a lot of heat from the sides into the kitchen

 

anyway    Im very lucky.   I have over 15 different pots and pans.  from dehilerins.  mid- 80's    the FF was 11 to the dollar.

 

a 200 $$ identical pan in NYC at the time was one $ 20 traveler's check away.   I had to go to the bank to get it changed into

 

real money.  FF.

 

I love them all, but its not for today.  OK, a few if  you can get the prices I got way back then

 

Edited by rotuts (log)
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Yes, sadly, "restaurant grade" (I prefer to call it "hotel grade" or "extra forte") is becoming historical, because so few makers can and will make in that thickness.  Brooklyn and DH&M are doing it here in USA, Mazzetti in Italy, and Soye in Turkey, too.  Smaller atelliers in France, no doubt.

 

I find it amusing that the photographic proof fails to persuade you that high-end, busy, modern restaurant kitchens are happily using thick tinned copperware.  Doubly so the idea that hanging pans is evidence of nonuse.  I can assure you they're not ornamental.

 

So, it's the price that makes it "not for today"?  The solution to that is pretty easy--I scrounge my copper pieces (now somewhere around 50 pieces), and I've only ever purchased one new pan.  None have cost more than their equivalents (not equals) in the premier-grade clad lines like Demeyere.  I've had some new (to me) pieces retinned and silvered, but so far not any of the pans I've put into service needed retinning.

 

There are cost and convenience issues with copper that can lead reasonable people to avoid it.  But as far as pure performance goes, there's not much of an argument.  Even today.  However, there will be a new paradigm soon... 

 

   

 

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no, not the ' price '  but the expense.

 

BTW  D.H. still seems to sell 3.5 mm tin lined pans.  they don't say how many they have in stock

 

bet those were made a long long long time ago.

 

still, one or two copper pans, of the Cook's choice, belong in every serious person's kitchen.

 

none of the copper pan's in the pictures you have shown us are new.  there is perhaps one, w the 'brass' handle

 

I think there is a reason for that, aside from durability.

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Great, so they function better, but you deem the expense too high.  I get that for tools I don't use much, but not for cooking. 

 

Well, if you went in to E. Dehillerin or Mora or A. Simon or Atelier du Cuivre you would likely find new in the >2.5mm range only those tin-lined pans still made by Mauviel.  Last I checked, these were the rondeaux and some of the sauteuses.  Or the very large, custom-order (80-800L) stockpots.

 

I'm trying to follow your logic...  If a pan is not new, it is unworthy?  If the finest pans are generally older, then they're somehow not the finest or they shouldn't be in modern kitchens?  

 

This thread started with news about new thick, tinned copper, made in USA, being available.  Would you be happier if I found photos of restaurants using those specific pans? 

 

The BCC pans are workhorses, much like the venerable pans in the photos.  I think those pans will still be in service in 2116, when someone else will undoubtedly be branding them "not for today".  

 

 

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"""   The solution to that is pretty easy--I scrounge my copper pieces (now somewhere around 50 pieces), and I've only ever purchased one new pan.  ""

 

Q.E.D.

 

A Scholar, and a Student of History !  Kudos your way !

 

( its a joke  of sorts  more like a chuckle   I do agree its a fine hobby to have, and you are doing it the right way )

 

I almost had a 3.5 mm  steel/nickel  ( sorry )  asparagus pot.  It was Taking to Me in Paris, at DH.  it was next on my list.  a thing of Great Beauty.

 

My father, whose french was perfect, mine not so much, had a touch of Angina, so I stopped drooling, and we went to the Bank and I cashed

 

My Travelers.

 

he saved me at lest 15 Bucks  USA

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