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Jan 30, 2010 08:10 AM

questions about copper cookware

I just joined today. I have gotten lots of good info on copper pots by reading this site. Thanks everyone for their advice. I will say that i checked out the site and the prices were much lower than other sites for the Bourgeat. I'm trying to research all the copper cookware before I buy. Has anyone used the dodici copper cookware from Napastyle? it's beautiful but is it a quality copper? they don't mention the copper thickness. I've e-mailed them today and asked. Anyone have any advice? And I really like the look of the hammered copper. Any suggestions on which brand is best?


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  1. I have several tin-lined hammered Mauviel pieces, and I'm very happy with them. Some of them are 3-4mm thick, which is heavier than the stainless lined cookware from Mauviel, Bourgeat and Falk. Ruffoni is beautiful, but isn't as heavy.

    2 Replies
      1. re: crna cook

        Mauviel has 3 lines with different thcknesses. covers them pretty well.

    1. It is hard to tell from a photo unless it is up close from a certain angle, but the stuff from Napastyle does not look heavy. Bridge Kitchenware used to have some really good sales on Bourgeat, but I have not seen any lately. seems to have always competitive prices and a very wide selection. Ditto for Dehillerin, especially when exchange rates are favorable. I like the look of traditional shiny copper, having picked up hammered pieces and smooth ones over the years. Everyone raves about Falk, but I just don't like the brushed look. I also steer away from anything that does not have an iron handle unless it is a specialty piece like a pomme vapeur that only comes with brass handles. Some people like everything in a single style so it all matches, like All-Clad stainless or whatever. I figure everything I have, from copper pans to steel pans to Apilco terrines to tinned molds to carbon steel knives matches. It's all in the "Old French kitchen" pattern. Different knowledgeable people will weigh in on all of these issues and even though they are all knowledgeable and authoritative, they still disagree. Cooks Illustrated put Mauviel copper pans at the bottom on their recent saucepan test. I candidly admit I didn't acquire these pans over the years because I needed them to cook better. But they do cook exceptionally well, and I love each of them. They are idiosyncratic as all get out. They are heavy. The handles get hot. You have to watch the tin and clean them gently. If you require them to look nice, they take work. I have adjusted to all of those things. It is second nature to use a towel or a pot holder to grab anything. I'd spring for a really fine workhorse pan, maybe a 2.5 quart Mauviel professional saucepan with a tin lining, get to know it, and build out from there if you love it as much as I would. My first high quality copper was a #24 BIA sautoir I bought in a Seattle suburb in the early 70s. Someone bought it, bubbled the tin, and returned it. The lady at Yankee Kitchen (now long gone) sold it to me for half price. It is about 2.5 mm, hammered, with an iron handle. The tin still has the bubbles but is still serviceable. Little local shops like that can offer some deals. They aren't big enough to afford to hang onto a large inventory the way W-S or Sur La Table can and they are usually run by a softie that wants each piece to find a good home.

      4 Replies
      1. re: tim irvine

        hehehe... I just did a one-day trial for CI, just to see what they hated about the copper saucepan... funny read!

        1. re: mateo21

          I'm not giving them my credit card number. What did they hate about it?

          1. re: mateo21

            I'm with Goldfarb--those greedy bast@#ds at CI really piss me off. Do tell... synopsize their copper article for us pikers, will you please?

            1. re: kaleokahu

              as i recall they mainly didn't like the shape...said the corners were hard to reach. Also found them too heavy. I enjoy CI when I see it but take most everything they say with a grain of salt. Also, I have to say when you are weighing a product like All-Clad against Mauviel professional, it really is a sort of ridiculous comparison. Plus, they didn't even look at heavy copper with tin linings which, IMHO is vastly superior plus cheaper than SS lined. Last quibble, if they are so hung up on reachable corners in pans, get an evasee won't work as well for what as a saucepan for what a saucepan was designed to do, but it will have no corners to evade your wandering spoon!

              In fairness to CI, I have never read any source that reviewed an array of products for publication that I agreed with. What I like about this site is that I can read a variety of posts and figure out who approaches things the way I do. Their opinions I value. Others inform and entertain, but I am not going to follow their recommendations because I know they will be wrong for me. I can visualize the CI test kitchens and the way they work and cannot imagine cooking the way they do! They obsess on things I don't care about and spend their lives looking for shortcuts and substitutes...yuck. But I do enjoy their recipes and do get ideas.

        2. I am contemplating buying a copper Windsor splayed pot off the DeMeyere website. However I have a question - I know that Tin heats faster and that steel lined heat up slower, (although are easier to clean and last longer than tin)

          Which would heat up fastest - a 2.5 mm thick copper pot with stainless steel lining, or a 2mm thick tin lined copper pot? Which would be best to cook with?

          10 Replies
          1. re: GregWebdale

            go with 2.5mm or more copper; regardless of what it is lined with.

            if you live in Theory (everything works in theory.....) the tin vs. stainless debate is true.

            in real life, it doesn't make a whit's worth of difference.

            1. re: GregWebdale

              The thinner pot will heat up fastest. Is this really the question you meant to ask?

              1. re: randallhank

                It was....sorta. I suppose what I really want to know is which one will be the best to cook with, and why?

                1. re: GregWebdale

                  Hi, GW:

                  The difference in copper thickness is likely only 0.3mm. This is because most 2.5mm bimetal is comprised of 2.3mm copper and 0.2mm of SS.

                  There is a theoretical optimal thickness of copper, based on evenness. I have long lost the equation, but the number is something like 2.87mm.

                  So your contemplated 2mm pan is almost a full millimeter under ideal, and the bimetal 0.6mm under. But as many folks discover, finding new 3mm in this shape is extremely rare, and even vintage can be difficult.

                  The 2.3mm is the thickest that is widely available, so I'd get that, unless you have weight/strength limitations. The tinned 2mm would be a great pan too, though, you you'd be safe choosing either.

                  I put together my copper batterie almost exclusively by scrounging first-grade vintage pieces. If you have the time and interest to learn the stratagems on eBay, etc., this can save you a ton of money *and* oftentimes get you a better pan with character and a life before you.


                  1. re: kaleokahu

                    Ive bought some nice stuff off eBay, and yes, its hard to find smaller 3mm pieces. Some of the 3mm pieces I have bought were great deals but need re-tinning. Problem is, I want a great small Windsor NOW and the price difference between the tin lined 2mm and the bi-metal 2.5mm is about $80 CDN.

                  2. re: GregWebdale

                    ...the best to cook with....

                    okay, this is a question with a never ending answer because there are so many properties, aspects, intents, purposes, etc etc etc to "why this pot?"

                    copper conducts heat better than cast iron, aluminum, steel, etc etc. roughly twice as 'better' as aluminum (the next 'best') this is a wonderful statement, but it does not reflect 'real life' because.... the way 'heat conduction' is measured is "through a cross section" - so for equal thickness of copper and aluminum, the copper conducts / distributes heat faster. the reality check comes at at "equal thickness" - aluminum is almost always 'thicker' than the 2-3mm copper, so the 'advantage' is not as great as it sounds. that said, in broad brush strokes copper is still a better choice for fast even heat distribution with minimal 'hot spots'

                    the other 'biggie' in 'pot performance' is the 'gosh it holds heat well' - browning / searing / etc..... if you look up the 'metallurgical data' aluminum is 2.5 times better at holding heat than copper, and twice as good at holding heat than cast iron and 304 stainless steel. again, there is a real life reality check - the ability to hold heat is measured on per unit mass aka weight. so again, aluminum holds heat 2x better but an aluminum pan is not as heavy as cast iron/copper/etc.

                    in the 'look Ma - it holds heat' debate the 'copper advantage' is that it does _not_ hold heat. turn the flame down, the pan cools off quickly - isn't that why you turned the heat down to begin with?... and clearly coppers disadvantage in the heat holding contest is when you plunk in a whomping big steak to sear - because it 'chill shocks' more readily - but of course it conducts heat more readily so a flame under copper 'comes back' more quickly....

                    in the end, it's the cook's choice. the combination of how well a metal conducts heat and how well a metal holds heat is why some pans are good for some things and not so good for other things. and pushing it a bit further - it's not so much the metal - but the weight/thickness of the pan that is the real factor.

                    I have a bunch of copper and I love it. but if I'm cooking big scallops, I go for the cast iron. why? well check out the thread on why stainless makes a better crust / sear.... the food sticks to stainless until the surface is dried out enough to 'release' - well loved cast iron is much more 'non-stick' and releases sooner. if you cook a scallop to the point it releases from stainless, it's over-done......

                2. re: GregWebdale

                  I'm thinking about a windsor pot too, what do you plan on making in yours? I actually think I want a lighter weight one, because when I pour I want to be able to stir and pour at the same time.

                  1. re: inkblue01

                    I want a Windsor pot for soups. I have a 2.5 Qt. All-Clad copper-clad Windsor and love its usefulness, but want a smaller Tout-Fait and All-Clad doesn't make one. I agree with the above about Cast Iron - I have Cast Iron and Carbon Steel for meats.
                    The small Windsor will be for small jobs. Why should I pony up for steel lined 2.5 mm copper over the 2mm
                    tin lined copper (both pots are in the Dehellerin site and I will buy one of them online)

                  2. re: GregWebdale

                    Also, I assume you meant de Buyer, not Demeyere.

                    1. re: randallhank

                      Oops...Dehellerin, actually. I plan to buy from their website