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copper mixing bowls

mixer34 Oct 18, 2007 09:31 PM

I recently priced some copper mixing bowls for my wife and was blown away at the price. Why is copper better than stainless steel? Why are some brands ie Mauviel so expensive. Is there a difference in types of copper bowls? That is some are 49.00$ and some are 249.00$.

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    renov8r RE: mixer34 Oct 19, 2007 06:01 AM

    The biggest factor is going to be origin -- bowls made in countries with high labor & commodity costs (France) are going to MUCH more expensive than the same style/weight bowl made in a country with low wages and theri own copper mines (India, China).

    A copper bowl tends to add a bit to the volume & stability of whipped egg whites, but there is no advantage to using them for other mixing chores.

    Concievably a bowl with some sort of handle could be used to make zabaione/sambayĆ³n. Still, not something you'd more than a few times a year...

    4 Replies
    1. re: renov8r
      chazzerking RE: renov8r Oct 22, 2007 09:23 PM

      Actually, to amplify, if you mix anything with any acid in it, it will react substantially with the copper, and discolor the food, and give it a metallic taste. If it is something significantly acidic, it can be pretty bad for you to eat. It does do a great job on egg whites though.

      1. re: chazzerking
        maria lorraine RE: chazzerking Oct 22, 2007 11:02 PM

        chazzerking, would you mind differentiating for me the different kind of acid interaction from a beneficial acid added to a copper bowl, like cream of tartar (tartaric acid -- 1/8 tsp usually of this white powder added to a batch of egg whites) and the acid in a food, like in fruit?

        As it is, the copper ions that get into the whipped egg whites cause them to have a whisper of yellow color. I'm guessing the amount of acid in some fruit would leach a lot more copper from the bowl and that would cause a greater or different discoloration.


        1. re: maria lorraine
          chazzerking RE: maria lorraine Oct 23, 2007 09:34 AM

          you hit on it exactly. the acid in fruit and other foods is quite a bit more reactive, in my experience. I rarely use cream of tarter, and definitely don't if I'm beating eggwhites in a copper bowl. I usually use it when I'm making a souffle' and don't use c of t in those.

          1. re: chazzerking
            chocolateman RE: chazzerking Oct 24, 2007 10:26 AM

            When you add an acid you are stabilizing the proteins in the egg whites that are stiffening up. This helps prevent overwhipping, the way a copper bowl will. I do not use copper bowls for anything else because there is a chance food can react with the bowl and cause food poisoning.

    2. maria lorraine RE: mixer34 Oct 20, 2007 01:02 PM

      You only need one copper bowl -- and that's for whipping egg whites.Renov8r is right -- the copper stabilizes the delicate foam so it doesn't deflate...essentially little copper ions get into the foam and form a lattice structure like girders in a building. Using a copper bowl eliminates the use of cream of tartar.

      Otherwise plain old mixing bowls are fine. You want durability and various sizes. I actually like the set of nestled metal mixing bowls -- they work fine and last forever. But maybe your wife wants something prettier that she can also display in her cupboard or hutch. Perhaps go shopping with her or ask her?

      1. c
        charlesbois RE: mixer34 Oct 20, 2007 01:23 PM

        The price of copper is at an all time high, and this translates to higher prices for copperware. Although never cheap, it is expected that the price will keep going up as the demand for metal, especially for wires, keeps increasing. (You may have seen recent stories in the news of copper thieves stripping wire off telephone poles, etc.) So you'll potentially be making a smart purchase buying now, as in a year or two, the bowls will probably be even pricier.

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