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Copper pots better? why?

Monica Oct 13, 2010 10:24 AM

Yes, they are beautiful to look at...makes you look like you are a serious cook but other than that, what's the real benefit of having good copper pots and pans? Do they brown food better? i know it is suppose to conduct heat better but so what. Do serious cooks really use copper pots?
They are also so expensive!

  1. h
    Helene Goldberg Mar 1, 2014 03:58 PM

    I inherited a large copper tin lined sauce pan: it's 9.5 diameter and about 6 inches high. It looks like it holds 3-4 quarts. It has a hand made brass handle and "Bazar France-
    New York 666" on the bottom, and "7" stamped on the handle and "24" near the handle. I'm wondering if anyone knows anything about it. It seems pretty heavy. The inside has one very small , barely visible, fleck of copper showing. Is it safe to use without retinning? There seem to be come copper experts here like Kale, so I hope someone will help me out. Here's a photo:

    10 Replies
    1. re: Helene Goldberg
      jljohn Mar 1, 2014 08:03 PM


      I'll leave it to others to tell you more about the brand, but a 9.5" x 6" pot will hold roughly 7--7.25 quarts. The "24" probably refers to the diameter in centimeters, and the "7" is probably the number of this pot in the sequence of saucepans. My guess is that the little .5-.75 qt sauce pan is #1, the 1.25 qt is #2, and so on until this, which is #7.

      I would use it if it had only a small area of copper showing. Enjoy it!

      1. re: jljohn
        tim irvine Mar 2, 2014 11:06 AM

        I think jljohn got all the details spot on. I miss Bazaar Francais. Their catalogue was my preferred reading for much of the 70s. I am pretty sure their copper was Mauviel. All I still have from there are an oval fry pan and a small lollipop handle.

      2. re: Helene Goldberg
        kaleokahu Mar 2, 2014 03:28 PM

        Hi, Helene:

        You have a nice saucepan, so you should hear a bit of the history.

        Bazar Francais was really America's first gourmet outlet, a venerable, quality NYC institution founded in 1874. If it were still in business, it would be the American equivalent of E. Dehillerin.

        From the beginning, it specialized in imported French hotel, kitchen and club equipment and tableware. Its alter ego was a remarkable man named Charles R. Ruegger, who in 1929 relocated his store to 666 6th Avenue (hence the number in the maker's mark). Its pediment proclaiming him, and the lesser banner reading "Bazar Francais", is still there on the 1851 building.

        Ruegger had a long and deep reputation for quality wares. He created the Bazar Francais brand in 1895.

        Around 1929 (what luck, that?), Ruegger opened a second shop nearby on 19th Street for the company to manufacture its own industrial metal wares such as ducts, ventilators, and later (after WW2) copper pans. Ruegger himself was an early casualty of the Depression, dying in 1931 at age 78. His son, Charles Jr., continued running the business.

        The end came in 1975, after a string of Charles Rueggers had run Bazar Francais for almost exactly a century.

        BF competed principally with Waldow and the various Duparquet incarnations. Like its competitors, BF made fine copperware, albeit, like them, usually in gauges <3mm.

        So you have a nice piece of Americana.


        PS: Your pan is perfectly safe to use; do not let a tiny ding affect your use or enjoyment.

        1. re: kaleokahu
          tim irvine Mar 2, 2014 07:13 PM

          What a lovely bit of history.

          1. re: kaleokahu
            Helene Goldberg Mar 2, 2014 10:31 PM

            Thank you all for your responses. I'm so glad I can use it with the ding. I figured it would cost a lot of money to retin. It was sitting on an open high shelf in my kitchen for a long time and was really dirty. I think I created the ding scrubbing it before I read about how to clean it. I worry that it's not really clean yet and it's so big, I'm not sure what to cook in it. I'm thrilled that it has such a history. It seemed like a really good pot and now I'll honor it. No more neglect. Thanks again.

            1. re: kaleokahu
              Helene Goldberg Mar 2, 2014 11:06 PM

              One more question: Is it safe to brown and braise meat in my tin-lined sauce pan. I would use a wooden spoon to scrape the caramelized bits. If it conducts heat well, it would seem like a good use for it, but if it's not sturdy enough I don't want to ruin it. It's big enough for stews and soups. I wonder how it will compare to my All Clad SS pans.

              1. re: Helene Goldberg
                kaleokahu Mar 3, 2014 07:36 AM

                Totally OK.

                1. re: kaleokahu
                  Helene Goldberg Mar 3, 2014 10:48 AM

                  Thanks Kale. Osso Buco this weekend.

                  1. re: Helene Goldberg
                    tim irvine Mar 3, 2014 04:56 PM

                    Yum. What a great choice. I still remember christening my first copper pan with chicken tarragon, forty odd years ago.

                    1. re: tim irvine
                      Helene Goldberg Mar 3, 2014 11:03 PM

                      Mmmm! Next week.

          2. t
            ToxiCom Jan 28, 2014 12:11 PM

            "copper is toxic"

            better read up

            "At least 95% of the population, who have blood type ‘O’ and ‘A’ which are the thinnest blood and lowest blood volume, and blood type ‘B’, have copper deficiency, due to slow poisoning from blood thinners, alkalizing chemicals, copper binders, and copper antagonists that they have saturated the food and food chain with.

            "Copper is essential in the formation of normal healthy proteins, that is, normal amino acid sequences, in that it provides a balanced pH state for the blood and tissues. Copper is acidic at a pH of 5.5 and is important in providing a balance of the numerous alkaline and acidic nutrient minerals.

            "Copper deficiency causes “variant” malformed, missing, damaged DNA/proteins, and is responsible for virtually EVERY “disease” and symptom manifesting now, accelerating aging and death.

            "...many people are dying and suffering needlessly, because they are copper deficient. Blood type is nothing more than the degree of copper deficiency in the vast majority of the population.

            1. HOLLYWATSON Oct 21, 2013 05:49 AM

              I am thinking of opening a web store on the internet and selling french english and amrican copper but thats not why I am posting. I need help from you guys helping me to learn as much as possible about copper. Most of whaI have learned over the years has been by trial and error. It has been reading this site which I finally joined and reading Gingers site 4and20 a lot. I collect Antique copper and buy quite often by the loads from france and have best friend in uk who has stored copper for me for last 1 1/2th that i am now going to start shipping over since i am going to try to open web site by 2nd week in Nov. but I won't have anything running until I think 1st of year. i have bought numerous books on copper. Which i might say are very hard to find and I don't think anyone book written. Is there any books you can suggest? Any help you can suggest? I collect mainly Antique copper and vtg. i just purchased from my contact in France a beautiful 4 piece set of Dehillerin 3mm she found from a Antique dealer. This I am keeping. And i just found and purchased huge candy handled copper bowl also. I want to sell mainly Antique and vtg copper. I think copper was so much more interesting and beautiful then. And usually very thick. I have found someone locally I am talking to today to see if he can work with and tin copper. I do not want to have to send it off but if I have to I will to have job done well. I just bought 2 huge boxes of Antique copper I had sent to uk I should of had sent to me. There is some vtg all over 2mm thick init. I try to alway buy over 2mm thick. I have noticed that stainless steel is very popular now. I prefer tin as I think it is more forgiving if you make a mistake and you have a copper that will last generations. I just think eventually you will overheat and ruin pot. But another reason I am emailing is i saw some Japanese copper fry or sautee pans. I bought them but have not received yet. Has anyone here ever had a piece of Japanese copper? i figured the Japanese are so experienced and experts at metal making that why not copper. So I took a chance. Did I make a mistake? Holly

              5 Replies
              1. re: HOLLYWATSON
                kaleokahu Oct 21, 2013 11:52 AM

                Hi, Holly:

                Re: opening a web store... I say follow your passion! However, there are others who have followed this particular passion and haven't made a lot of money attempting to resell. I know several who have tried it and have given up. IIRC, there are only two regular sellers of copper on the US ebay who have a lasting presence. One finds exquisite collector pieces elsewhere and then sells on ebay at very high prices; the other usually shines up nothing-special 2mm pieces, and relies of high volume and fooling people to make money. I think the only way your idea would work is if you: (a) have an inside track on European sources (that the dozen or so regular European resellers don't have); and (b) can avoid the outrageous small-parcel shipping costs from France and UK to USA.

                Books on copper... There aren't many of interest to this market. You might try Renard's "Les Cuivres de Cuisine", but it is available only in French and Spanish. A fabulous book, but unhelpful for comparing different makers. You might also want to check out oldcopper.org. Also, Ginger has information on an American copper collector's group that meets yearly.

                Retinning... I recommend you stick with an established retinner. I can vouch for Jim at East Coast, Peter at Rocky Mountain, and LJ Gonzalez in New Orleans. One of your competitors is even shipping her finds off to UK for tinning and paying freight both (or 3) ways!

                Japanese... The only pans I'm aware of are the rectangular omelet pans which are usually very thin. When you get these pans you mention, please post photos.

                Good Luck,

                1. re: kaleokahu
                  HOLLYWATSON Oct 22, 2013 08:47 AM

                  Thank you very much. You were very helpful.I bought these fry sautee pans out of curiosity. i wanted to see what they look like. You will have to help me post pics to this site. I have always read this site just never joined. I am buying from france and uk. Thank god i don't have to make a living at this but I would like to make a go of it because of my sister and best friend in UK.I don't plan on ripping people off. I love Gingers site and have learned a lot from her. She's amazing. I do go to Old copper like you suggest and it is amazing how much they have helped me. But you would think there would be a book on copper. I love and I will hold a beautiful piece and just wonder what its story is. i love antique copper. My friend in France did pickup my dehillerin set.She said it is beautiful. She bought it for me from and antique dealer. But it has taken me years of collecting to get to this set.It did not happen overnight. ust like i have 2 pieces of gaillard. i just aquired my 2nd piece 1 month ago. you have to have patience when collecting copper. A lot of it.And be willing to be burned quite a few times. I have kissed a lot of frogs.But the journey has been worth it and it is not over. And those are the customers I want. I can afford to be patience. And honest. Thats where you build a loyal following and friend. I want the customer who loves copper as much as i do or is wanting there first set. You take baby steps at first i tell my customers now what no one told me at first. Save your money and buy 1 god piece a month if you have to and they appreciate my honesty. No one told me that and I bought everything> i learned a lot from this site and you. You were a regular and i always recognized your name. you are very passionate about your copper,I love that. When i get my japanese copper I will let you know and you can tell me how to post my pictures and what to do. Holly

                  1. re: kaleokahu
                    rbraham Oct 23, 2013 10:33 AM

                    This is just a reminder (perhaps K forgot for a moment):

                    Brooklyn Copper, aka Hammersmith, aka the shop that Mac Kolher runs, is superb. What Mac doesn't know about copper cookware and technology isn't knowable.

                    Just talked to him, by the by, and he's upping his shop and designing from scratch a new one in Ohio, and has plans for major production (and of course repair, rerunning, etc.). So far he plans to keep the NYC sales office.


                    1. re: rbraham
                      kaleokahu Oct 23, 2013 11:40 AM

                      Hi, rbraham:

                      This is really good news. Mac and Co. took some body blows that took them out of production. There was Hurricane Sandy knocking out their gas and flooding their shop. Then they apparently lost their lease. Then there were snags in getting reliable tinning going. I can only imagine the headache involved in moving their whole shebang to Ohio.

                      Mac has apparently been so busy he's not returning my e-mails...

                      I hope for everyone's sake they get back to it soon. Because you're right about Mac's knowledge and the quality of their wares. When they're up and running, please let everyone know by posting, OK?


                      1. re: kaleokahu
                        rbraham Nov 14, 2013 10:35 AM

                        Sure thing. He's a good guy, even returned Celan I loaned him :).

                        Oh, BTW: (small, almost greyed-out print here)....

                        (bought an Anova circulator...the Dark Side is inviting me in....)


                2. r
                  rbraham Aug 9, 2012 06:51 PM

                  Has anyone ever seen/bought a heavy-guage fish/oval pan? Or am I chasing the dragon again?

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: rbraham
                    kaleokahu Aug 9, 2012 07:08 PM

                    Hi, Rob:

                    They're scarce. If you want thick, you may be better off using a gratin as you would a rondeau.


                    1. re: kaleokahu
                      rbraham Aug 9, 2012 07:57 PM


                      Yes, I've seen a number of those, heavy ones. But I want a damn hand free, for letting some sole filets know I'm still boss, etc. and for that pans are optimal. In fact, I can't think of a better argument for heavy copper/tin than stovetop cooking of fish.

                      I was even considering going with a Portugall one I found. Someone stop me before I kill again.

                      1. re: rbraham
                        kaleokahu Aug 9, 2012 09:35 PM

                        Hi, Rob:

                        Before killing again, consider the thick gratin, rehandled. If it starts large enough, keep one loop as a helper. Not hard to do--braze shut the old holes, drill new ones, mount the handle... The only tough part is that the handle escutcheon is a an acute elliptical radius.

                        I bet Mac and Jeff at brooklyncopper can fix you right up--if .090 is thick enough for you, they can do you a brand new one.


                        1. re: kaleokahu
                          rbraham Aug 9, 2012 10:06 PM

                          Ok, I was thinking of that, but I thought the price would be prohitive.

                          You weren't seriously suggesting that I do the work/details you gave myself?!?

                          I also got a steal on a casserole with a verdigris-encrusted lid. Can I fix that by myself.

                          Also, speaking of handles, a 7 quart 3mm is available. A) it's not chimney shape like I'm used to with pots so big (”Get in there you goddamn scrawny foul, I'm making stock outta you, and make room for the veg's." and B) and, speaking of adding handles, it's heavy as all get out, naturally, and I would need two grabbers rather than one handle.

                          Bearing in mind the discussion on the need for copper stock pots to begin with, especially heavy guage ones. I'm at a loss for anything else I could do with seven quart volume....

                          Are there any largish pots, not for 20 gallons or something, that are definitely more grain-silo-y than the pure "pot" shape I see?

                          Any guesses on prices for adding handles, removing old ones, etc.?

                          Sorry this note is all disjointed.


                          1. re: rbraham
                            kaleokahu Aug 10, 2012 08:26 AM

                            Hi, Rob:

                            You don't know how much it will cost unless you ask. Adding a 4-rivet helper loop to my big 4G saucepan cost me $50 extra at brooklyncopper. If you *already* have a thick gratin and a thin/cheap oval skillet of the same size, you don't even need them to cast a one-off handle. But the casting cost is pretty reasonable, too.
                            Their shop rate I believe is only $25/hr.

                            No, not suggesting you DIY. If you have a drillpress, you might be OK drilling out the rivets, but unless you're a metalworker, I'd leave it to one who does that for a living.

                            Verdigris... Of course you can clean this up. If it's just the lid, you don't have to worry about retinning. In fact, you don't need to worry about it *at all*--who cares if you strip off the remaining tin with the green? I recently got a 12-lb Belgian jam pan that was heavily verdigris-d inside. Cleaned up beautifully--made orange marmalade in it last night AAMOF.

                            7Q... Braising? One-pot stews? Lots of soup? Entertaining? The perfect blancher/boiler (needs to be big enough to take the pentola, water *and* the food)? This is actually a pretty useful size, just maybe not for sauces.

                            What you call the grain silo shape is the classic stock pot configuration. Mauviel's "soup station" is about the smallest in this shape of stocker I've seen. But there are also "high pans", saucepans with taller walls. AFAIK, no one makes them any longer, and the vintage ones that come up tend to be fairly small. To my way of thinking, they are useful mostly for holding sauces where you want to minimize evaporation/skinning, or submerged in a large bain marie. Why do you want that shape and what size?

                            Disjointed--No worries, that's just the way you roll.


                  2. r
                    rbraham Jun 30, 2012 03:27 PM

                    A question: did turn of the century French cooks have Superman wrists?

                    I just passed on a clean 3 mm "sauce pan" with 6 quart capacity, with only one cast-iron handle.

                    Sheesh, I mean I was looking earlier for a nice 3-quart, and it was designed as a fait-tout/rondeau with two handles, which makes sense.

                    What gives?


                    10 Replies
                    1. re: rbraham
                      Caroline1 Jun 30, 2012 03:51 PM

                      To answer your question about the cooks of the long ago and far away, YES! Not just French cooks, but all cooks had Superman wrists, and then some. But they had no electric helpers. No blenders or food processors or stand mixers. Try hand whisking a dozen egg whites for an angel food cake and you'll begin to understand why. Cooking used to be hard physical labor! I'm sooooo grateful for my electric helpers.

                      1. re: rbraham
                        kaleokahu Jun 30, 2012 04:13 PM

                        Hi, Rob:

                        They probably *did* have better wrist and grip strength. Ever shake hands with a right-handed blacksmith or serious tennis player?

                        Bear in mind, too that those long-handled sautes and saucepans had long handles so that chefs could grasp and move them with *both* hands, and with all the upper body strength that comes with holding them centered and close. None of this mamby-pamby, stand-to-the-side, single-wrist flick for the men (and--apologies--these pans were not made for women) of old!

                        I have a 4 GALLON saucepan that, while not 3mm, was completely and ridiculously unmanageable with more than a little food in it with it's single handle. So I had a loop helper handle made and riveted on the opposite side. The whole thing, custom casting and putting it on, added only $50 to the other work done. I mention this reasonable affordable option for anyone who struggles with a loved copper pan, or who avoids copper because it's "too heavy".


                        1. re: kaleokahu
                          rbraham Jun 30, 2012 05:03 PM

                          I thought of exactly that, adding a second handle--which would necessitate taking of the original handle and replacing _that_ one. That seems like turning a duck into a swan.

                          Of course, only someone like you, I think, would have and use a 4-gallon "sauce"pan.

                          But what is the name of your mechanic? That was a damn good price.


                          1. re: rbraham
                            kaleokahu Jun 30, 2012 07:18 PM

                            Hi, Rob:

                            In this case it was the magicians at Hammersmith, aka brooklyncoppercookware. There is almost nothing they can't do--and well.

                            Here's a hint: If you find one of these behemoth saucepans... You can have Hammersmith (or French Copper Studio, etc.) *cut it down*, relocate the handle (making you the saute you want), AND creating for you a pasty (think quiche) round the likes of which haven't been seen since the 1920s. These diamonds in the rough often go for $100, and the work can be done for $100, yet people pay $400 for the saute alone. Go figure. The same thing happens with cocottes...


                            1. re: kaleokahu
                              rbraham Jun 30, 2012 08:44 PM

                              I didn't get that at all. "Create a pasty?" Huh?

                              When you said "relocate a handle," that's clear enough; but I was desiring a _second_ handle opposite on a ginormous sauce pan. Hell, add a curved lid, and you've got a kick ass fait tout.

                              But that would be expensive. And stupid.

                              We gotta get a life....


                              1. re: rbraham
                                kaleokahu Jun 30, 2012 08:56 PM

                                PastRy, sorry.

                                You're a little slow tonight... You cut down the saucepan. That leaves its handle on the bottomless piece. You relocate it to the piece with the bottom so you can use IT as a saute. Then you use the leftover, open piece as a pastry round. Around $200 for 2 pieces,versus $300-400 for one. Or forget the cutdown, trash the long handle, and pay $100 for *two* loops and call it a cocotte. What's not to understand?


                                1. re: kaleokahu
                                  rbraham Jul 1, 2012 11:02 AM

                                  I guess I was fighting cognitive dissonance. First, I've never heard of a pastry round to begin with, so I didn't correct any typo mentally.

                                  Then I asked myself if he really did mean round pasties, and an image of a stripper wearing these things to cover her nipples. Then, I kid you not, I wondered for a microsecond what would the tassels be (assuming they too would be used from the stripped down (heh) sauce pan; only then did I come to my senses and realize the poor woman's torture that would be, and surely K would not be talking about that, and realized I just didn't know what the hell was going on.

                                  True story. All took place in probably one second.


                                  1. re: rbraham
                                    kaleokahu Jul 1, 2012 11:22 AM

                                    Marzipan tassels, I think.

                                    1. re: kaleokahu
                                      rbraham Jul 1, 2012 12:08 PM

                                      These could do in a pinch (no pun intended, but it works anyway so I'll keep it):


                                2. re: rbraham
                                  tim irvine Jul 1, 2012 09:23 AM

                                  I thought this was our life...


                        2. r
                          rbraham May 11, 2012 05:04 PM

                          Where the heck or what line sells 3-mm thick copper bottoms?

                          Can't find them. Seems that Kaleokahu settles for nothing else....

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: rbraham
                            kaleokahu May 11, 2012 09:43 PM

                            Hi, Rob:

                            Now, now! I own (and use and enjoy) several copper pans thinner than 3mm. I just prefer thicker when I can get and afford them.

                            Finding *new* 3mm pans is difficult. Mauviel plays "hide the micrometer" with its tinned stuff; they like to just give a thickness *range*, even to their retailers. The best you can reasonably hope for from Mauviel USA is to handle one of their few remaining tinned offerings and mike it yourself or make educated guesses. With the possible exception of frenchcopperstudio, I'm not sure anyone here will make 3mm. Brooklyncoppercookware says they will, but a precondition seems to be the *customer* locating and buying sheetstock with a certain uncommon degree of starting softness. Rocky Mountain Retinning I think still has some saucepans that they claim are 3mm, but the set I bought from them (which I love) mikes at 2.8mm.

                            Offshore, if you can speak French politely, the folks at Dehillerin may bird-dog you some of their house extra-fort Mauviel, either new production or older pieces from the recesses of their famous basement. And Mazzetti in Italy (dba Bottega del Rame) does 3mm pans, but the selection is small and the price high. There may be shops in Villedieu or elsewhere in France and Italy where hotel-grade is still made, but I don't know any, and you'd probably have to *go* there.

                            That sorry state of affairs leaves us addicts and collectors scrounging for used pans. The good news is there are a surprising number out there to be found, sometimes in the oddest places.


                            1. re: kaleokahu
                              jljohn May 12, 2012 07:14 AM


                              Re: "That sorry state of affairs leaves us addicts and collectors scrounging for used pans. The good news is there are a surprising number out there to be found, sometimes in the oddest places."

                              I think what Kaleo means to say is that there really is no good copper out there to be found, and when you can find some, you wouldn't want it anyway! So save yourself the trouble and stay away from all auctions and craigslist listings. Go buy All-clad. 3mm, tin-lined copper is big, thick, heavy, and it will cost a kidney! Don't do it!

                              END OF JEST!

                              Seriously, having purchased several AC pan over the years (new, either on a clearance sale at retailers or on ebay), and having purchased several 3mm thick coppers pans, I have found that, with patience, I can get the later, plus a polishing and retinning, cheaper than the former.

                          2. n
                            Ninevah Nov 20, 2011 09:45 PM

                            While tooling around the internet, drooling over copper cookware I can't afford and wondering just how difficult tinning antique cookware myself would be, I stumbled upon this article. I've read people state up and down that it doesn't matter if you keep your copper clean. Just curious as to what you copper cookware people think of it:

                            by CECILE LAMALLE and PRUDENCE McCULLOUGH

                            "James Beard's opinion of copper synthesizes the situation well. "If the pot is heavy and if it is properly weighted, then it is a delight to use. But it is hell to clean" How do you clean copper? In the days when August Escoffier employed a young boy whose only job was to press the trout for trout mousse through a sieve, he also employed another boy whose only job was to scour copper pots all day with vinegar and coarse salt. The various copper cleaners on the market today are probably faster working than that old standby, but even a recently polished pot can discolor within hours on a particularly humid day. Further, if copper cookware is not kept clean and gleaming, the conductive properties you pay so dearly for are rendered inactive. The dark, discolored splotches absorb more heat than the gleaming surface areas, which causes hot spots and uneven cooking. "

                            Found here: http://www.retinning.com/care.html

                            Certainly a logical argument to counter the people who claim that proper cleaning and upkeep isn't a true fault of copper cookware; if not a particularly scientific one.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Ninevah
                              kaleokahu Nov 21, 2011 08:00 AM

                              Hi, Ninevah:

                              "Further, if copper cookware is not kept clean and gleaming, the conductive properties you pay so dearly for are rendered inactive."

                              Utterly false. As someone who has boiled a(n unpolished) pan dry, I wish this had been true in that instance.

                              "The dark, discolored splotches absorb more heat than the gleaming surface areas, which causes hot spots and uneven cooking."

                              This is effectively false, although it has a small amount of theoretical truth to it. A dark splotch somewhere amidst mirror polish *would* have a lesser emissivity and therefore absorb more radiant heat. But I am unsure, given all the variables in play (e.g., oven, conductivity, convection currents within the pan, etc.), that one could leap to the conclusion that a dark splotch would equate with uneven cooking.

                              Copper hardly ever tarnishes in splotches: rather, it does so gradually and generally uniformly. Especially dark discoloration is almost always from spills, and bottoms can develop thin, glassy black carbonization if spilled pots are put back on the hob. If one spilled a lot and *never* cleaned or polished the bottoms, then this emissivity issue might mean slightly *more* heat is delivered to the pan's bottom. I have never experienced this because I never have cooked in a pan whose bottom is completely black.

                              "[A] recently polished pot can discolor within hours on a particularly humid day."

                              Yes, with salt and vinegar. Although a "hours" is a stretch, I have experienced this sometimes, almost always after using the old method or 0000 steel wool. I think this happens because those methods entail abrading the surface with some of the oxidation products that you're trying to polish away. Lately, I've taken to polishing the final time with an excellent, non-toxic polish known as Flitz (it's what the Airstrean trailer fanatics use to mirror-polish their babies). Flitz leaves a shine that doesn't seem to darken, even after MONTHS of high humidity (I'm in Seattle).

                              So if you were drooling over vintage copper, you can keep drooling. What you read is not much of an argument, IMO.


                              1. re: kaleokahu
                                kaleokahu Nov 21, 2011 12:18 PM

                                I need to clarify something I wrote immediately above: Flitz will not render your copperware tarnish-free for months if they are frequently *in use*, but it will extend the periods between polishing AND make that polishing much easier. It is the more infrequently-used pans that stay very very shiny for months.

                                1. re: kaleokahu
                                  rbraham May 12, 2012 06:25 AM


                                  You say "polishing...the final time." What's your sequence of polishing (inside and out) and under what circumstances?

                                  And I always thought you lived in the Hawaiian islands, given your signature...


                              2. tim irvine Nov 20, 2011 09:34 AM

                                got to agree with Kaleo here. A few years ago my two favorite saucepan was out for retinning. I used an All Clad evasee as a substitute.It holds its own for a lot uses, but for something delicate, like a lot sauces, it was enough of a difference that I resorted to using an old copper sautoir as a saucepan.

                                1. m
                                  mpalmer6c Nov 20, 2011 12:25 AM

                                  Copper looks nice (if you do a lot of work to maintain it), and some people just like
                                  having expensive stuff. But it won't make your food taste better. It's
                                  great in those interior-design-magazine spreads, though.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: mpalmer6c
                                    kaleokahu Nov 20, 2011 08:05 AM

                                    Hi, mpalmer6c:

                                    Yes to (1) looks nice; (2) expensive (unless you buy vintage, which is quite affordable); and (3) interior design.

                                    But on average, over time, and with some exceptions, it *will* make your food taste better, because it will help you be a better cook. The quantum of margin over aluminum or good clad is debatable; the fact of the margin isn't, IMHO.


                                  2. cosmogrrl Jul 4, 2011 06:18 PM

                                    I recently acquired two copper pans, one saute pan and a saucier. The saucier is new from Williams Sonoma and is lined with stainless steel and it has a nice lip at the edge that makes it easier to pour sauces from. I love cooking in it. The more even cooking it gives me for sauces is marvelous, it's better than any other pan I've used. I also picked up a used and newly retinned saute pan that I am really enjoying using. I only spent about $100 bucks on it. It is really lovely to cook in, again because it has a more even heat.

                                    I've never used all clad with any regularity. So I can't compare. I just decided that I wanted copper, and I'm not sorry that I have these pieces. I adore them!

                                    10 Replies
                                    1. re: cosmogrrl
                                      ellabee Jul 6, 2011 02:10 PM

                                      Who's the manufacturer of the saucier, and what is the capacity?

                                      1. re: ellabee
                                        kaleokahu Jul 6, 2011 08:26 PM

                                        Hi, ellabee:

                                        I think W-S only carries Mauviel and Ruffoni, and only the former is bimetal. But unless cosmogrrl's pan is the 2Q Windsor, I'm not sure what she means by saucier. The rolled lip sounds like Falk.


                                        1. re: kaleokahu
                                          ellabee Jul 6, 2011 08:56 PM

                                          Mauviel 'Style' pans, the ones with cast stainless handles, have pouring lips. I like the design form of all the pans in that line, but many of them are 1.5mm. The small (1.7 qt/1.5 liter) saucier is, for sure; I'm not sure if there is a larger one, and if there is, whether it's 2mm. That's the pattern with the skillets: the 8" is 1.5mm, but the 9.5" and 11" are 2mm.

                                          1. re: ellabee
                                            kaleokahu Jul 7, 2011 09:16 AM

                                            Hi, ellabee:

                                            I'm confused. Can you link to the SS-handled saucier you're talking about? Is the "Style" line the same as M365?

                                            I ask because the W-S website photos only seem to show pouring rims on the mid-grade, brass-handled pans; I can find none of the table-service pans with such rims (although they probably could benefit some from them in stiffening the thin 1.5mm walls.

                                            If cosmogrrl comes back, we should ask her what metal the handle is done in.


                                            1. re: kaleokahu
                                              ellabee Jul 8, 2011 04:20 AM

                                              This is the pan I was thinking of, and I was mistaken, it's 2mm.

                                              A very appealing pan, except for the price. The Falk 'try me' 1.5 qt saucier is almost $100 less and is 2.5...

                                              Not that familiar with which copper pans W-S offers, so am hoping cg returns to respond.

                                              1. re: ellabee
                                                kaleokahu Jul 8, 2011 08:59 AM

                                                Hi, ellabee:

                                                Thanks. I looked, but did not see this pan on W-S site.


                                                1. re: kaleokahu
                                                  ellabee Jul 8, 2011 12:37 PM

                                                  This Ruffoni risotto pan is lovely, hammered and with a pouring lip, but lined with tin: http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/ruffoni-hammered-copper-risotto-pan/

                                                  Maybe cg was simply mistaken about the stainless interior.

                                                  Or, more likely, she was able to buy separately the 1.5 qt chef's pan that's part of this set: http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

                                                  It's not available in the online listings, but I can imagine a W-S store selling it singly.

                                                  1. re: ellabee
                                                    kaleokahu Jul 8, 2011 02:34 PM

                                                    Hi, ellabee:

                                                    Yes, it's strange.

                                                    But I have noticed that the downtown Seattle W-S store carries every conceivable (in the US) Mauviel copper pan, many that are not listed for sale on line. Go figure.


                                        2. re: ellabee
                                          cosmogrrl Jul 10, 2011 02:12 PM

                                          It's this one: http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

                                          It's the 1-3/4 size. I misspoke, it's a saucepan. The receipt said it was a williams-sonoma pot and they only had the floor model available so there wasn't a box. Since this is going to be primarily made to make sauces I wanted the rolled rim, and the 2 mm is fine for my uses. browned some butter in it last week and it a dream to use for this purpose, I didn't have to watch it too closely.

                                          I know that I probably could have found something cheaper, but it was bought on a whim one Sunday afternoon.

                                          Sorry for the delay in responding, very busy week.

                                          1. re: cosmogrrl
                                            kobechef Nov 19, 2011 07:17 PM

                                            if you want to try new stuff i just discover Amoretti Brothers copper cookware. I just talked about them in another post and I would like to share the news here since I think they look gorgeous. The website is here
                                            they also do hand crafted cookware (never seen before) which are just pretty if you want to really decorate your kitchen.You can also buy them at Dean & Deluca http://deandeluca.com/cooks-tools-mai...

                                      2. d
                                        damiano Mar 26, 2011 02:36 PM

                                        Hi, yes it can be a bit of a mystery why cooks can be so enthusiastic about copper. It was a mystery to me too, until I actually started cooking with copper. Now, they are my favourite pans by far. I also have Spring, De Buyere and Staub. My copper pans are made by Mauviel and are the 2.5 mm copper thickness with stainless steel inside.

                                        There is just one word which describes why copper is the best: CONTROL.

                                        I haven't experienced any pan which gives me so much control in the cooking process. If you find that searing isn't going fast enough, just increase the flame and 5 seconds later you have the desired result. Another example. The other day I was making soup, and while I was browning onions in butter and oil, a friend came by to drop some books. I got distracted, and noticed the onions were going a bit fast. I just moved the pot away from the fire, and the whole process stopped almost immediately. When he left five minutes later, I just continued where I stopped and it was if nothing happened. The soup came out wonderful. By having this control, I feel I am better able to tweak the final result to my complete desire. I can choose between raw power and subtlety with a flick of the wrist.

                                        By the way, my Mauviels do an excellent job of searing and browning. It is now so easy and fool proof to brown food, deglaze, and finish. Cooking will become easier and the end result so much better. My Staub and Spring collection is now collecting dust as I use my Mauviel copper pans for stews, vegetables, pan roasted meat, in fact almost any meat dish which needs liquid, pasta sauces, soups, almost anything. They even have a wok-like reactivity, and I use them for Asian dishes as well.

                                        For me copper pans are the best and I have noticed my level of cooking has increased dramatically with them. They also give me much more confidence in trying new recipes.

                                        Hope this helps!

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: damiano
                                          paulj Mar 26, 2011 02:44 PM

                                          Sounds almost as good as stainless steel on an induction burner! :)

                                          1. re: paulj
                                            kaleokahu Mar 26, 2011 06:29 PM

                                            ...except without the hotspot/donut hole, the slow cooling, electronics, short oven and the beauty of stainless steel.

                                        2. k
                                          kramark Dec 1, 2010 07:03 PM

                                          Does anyone know anything about de Buyer Inocuivre Induction Copper?


                                          This seems to be the only store in the Untied States selling it. It's on the de Buyer website as well but I am not sure how "new" it really is.

                                          30 Replies
                                          1. re: kramark
                                            kaleokahu Dec 1, 2010 07:19 PM

                                            kramark: This is the line I mentioned 'way up at the top of this thread. I think it's new this year. Give it a try and let us know!

                                            1. re: kaleokahu
                                              kramark Dec 2, 2010 09:04 AM

                                              I didn't want to be the guinea pig, especially with the expense. ; ) I would rather put my money in to Demeyere. I picked up the Demeyere 11" ProControl Fry Pan/Skilled for $280 from Amazon (new) and a saucepan from Amazon Warehouse for $98 (open box return, regularly $160new)/

                                              My concern is the only place that has the new de Buyer copper line is Kitchen Universe. Their return policy is basically that you can look at it and return it but anything beyond that and it cannot be returned.

                                              From what I am being told/understand copper pots aren't going to make a difference on an induction stove anyway, which is what I am having installed next week. But I think I was told a line of bull feathers. I don't know?

                                              I looked at the Tramontina line at Tuesday Morning, they are the only place near me that has it to actually look at. I noticed at least a $15 price difference between similar size pieces and I think it's because some of them are made with single rivet and others are made with double rivet. In any event, their price was too high and I might as well buy a complete set from WalMart. The Berndes induction line uses screws in the handles, not an option. Other lines they had, such as Chantal and Caphalon are made in Asia and I don't want Asian cookware.

                                              I think my kitchen is going to be a hodge podge of different pans. I have the Le Creuset frying pan, grill pan, saucier, and au gratin which I got at a very good price from their outlet store and I like them all. I have a Lodge Cast Iron grill pan which I use exclusively for cooking steaks. And then I have the Demeyere. But I need a good saute pan and 1 or 2 more sauce pans.


                                              1. re: kramark
                                                kaleokahu Dec 2, 2010 11:12 AM

                                                kramark: Induction will work well with copper, as long as you use a steel converter disk under the pan. So yes, you were told bull feathers.

                                                1. re: kaleokahu
                                                  kramark Dec 2, 2010 12:46 PM

                                                  This new induction series will work without a converter. I am just more interested in knowing how the pieces perform without spending a minimum of $150 to experiment. I guess I can give them a call or send an email to inquire more about it.

                                                  1. re: kramark
                                                    paulj Dec 2, 2010 01:26 PM

                                                    See if you can find a picture of the bottom.
                                                    "Special innovative ferro-magnetic bottom ensure cookware is suitable for induction cooktops"
                                                    The ferro-magnetic bottom on cast aluminum pans looks like a perforated steel trivet (with aluminum 'pins' filling the perforations).

                                                2. re: kramark
                                                  Politeness Dec 2, 2010 05:28 PM

                                                  kramark: "I picked up the Demeyere 11" ProControl Fry Pan/Skilled for $280 from Amazon (new) and a saucepan from Amazon Warehouse for $98 (open box return, regularly $160new)/ ... Other lines they had, such as Chantal and Caphalon are made in Asia and I don't want Asian cookware. ... And then I have the Demeyere. But I need a good saute pan and 1 or 2 more sauce pans."

                                                  Chantal lines are bifurcated; the better lines are made in Germany, not in China.

                                                  It is not a sauce pan, but here is a genuine bargain: Amazon.com currently is selling a "Chantal Copper Fusion Stock Pot" in Platinum color enamel for $103. It is a real deal. Now, this IS a saucepan from the same source: check out the "Chantal Copper Fusion 2 Quart Sauce Pan with Lid, Chili Red" for $89 at Amazon.com. Another bargain. The Chantal Copper Fusion line is made in Germany.

                                                  1. re: Politeness
                                                    Camote Mar 27, 2011 11:54 PM

                                                    Hello Politeness,

                                                    I'm purchasing some copper pots, and have repeatedly heard that
                                                    the best pots are lined with 2.5mm of copper, and that anything below
                                                    is inferior. There are some pots that are 2.33mm by HammerSmith and
                                                    I'm wondering if that is acceptable.

                                                    A manufacturer wrote that according to their caliper measurements
                                                    only the floor of the pot remains the original 2.3mm thickness. Tinning the interior adds approximately .3 - .4mm wall and floor thickness, for an overall finished thickness of approximately 2.5mm. She stated that variations are attributable to the hand-working processes.

                                                    So the 2.5mm that people suggest is the minimum does that measurement include the tin lining? Or is 2.3mm too low?

                                                    I appreciate any answers I can get.



                                                    1. re: Camote
                                                      kaleokahu Mar 28, 2011 11:45 AM


                                                      Politeness can speak for her/himself, but if you want answers, maybe I can help.

                                                      2.33mm of copper is not only acceptable, it's fine. I consider 2mm the minimum, but Mauviel sells a lot of 1.5mm pans. 2.5mm and over is better, but consider what the 0.2mm difference is--about the same thickness as 2 20-lb sheets of paper. Many clad manufacturers put thicknesses of ONLY 0.2mm of copper in their pans! I have read Julia Child's oft-repeated recommendation to buy 1/8" (3mm) pans, but I do not believe she meant 2mm pans are not worth cooking in.

                                                      Personally, I consider it dishonest to advertise a "copper pan Xmm thick" if the copper layer is not in fact Xmm thick. I believe Hammersmith is honest about this--Falk and Mauviel are a little cagey.

                                                      As for the hand-working (called "planishing"), yes, this will cause slight variations in wall thickness. But the salient question, which you should ask, is: "What gauge copper sheetstock was used to make this pan?" If it's 2mm or above, the pan fits you, and the price is right, I say buy. At that point, even at 2mm, you're in about the 95th percentile of performance.

                                                      One of my favorite frypans is "only" 2mm thick, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

                                                      1. re: kaleokahu
                                                        paulj Mar 28, 2011 12:25 PM

                                                        Is it ok to just state the thickness of metal plate that they start with, or do they have to report the minimum (or maximum) thickness after forming? Forming a flat sheet into a pot shape will stretch the metal. The deeper the pot, the greater amount of stretch. Does it matter whether the stretch and thinning occurs in the sides, corners, or bottom?

                                                        1. re: paulj
                                                          kaleokahu Mar 28, 2011 01:39 PM

                                                          Hi, paulj:

                                                          These are good questions. There are no rules on this as far as I know so, I just have my opinions.

                                                          You are right that the forming and finishing of the metal can change the thickness of the original stock, but not by much. I'd prefer the manufacturers to just tell me the stock thickness they started with.

                                                          "The deeper the pot the greater amount of the stretch." I suppose that would be true if you started with the same size blank and the copper was infinitely malleable. But I doubt that, for instance, Falk starts forming its saute pans using the same size blank as a tall stocker of the same diameter. I have a Ruffoni 14Q stockpot that is not very thick and pretty light for its size. I have not miked it because I the rim is rolled around a wire, and I don't have spanning calipers that are that large or accurate. I bought it with a small deformation in it that I carefully pushed back out, so I'm pretty sure it's only about 1.5mm thick, both bottom and walls. Frankly, I wish Ruffoni had started with 3mm sheetstock for the bottom and then "stretched" the walls!

                                                          If I understand the forming process correctly, I think the stretch only happens above the pan's bottom--the radius and the walls. Probably more at the radius. Does it matter? I suppose it *could*, but not as much as if it were the other way around (thin bottom, thick sides). If the maker started with an undersized blank, and then spun the walls up high and thin, yes, I think the heat conductivity up the pan's wall would suffer, even if you didn't planish.

                                                          I was mostly taking a swipe at Mauviel when I said I'd just prefer to know the sheetstock gauge. Last time I looked, their literature says something like "2 to 3.5mm thick". For what their retailers charge, if the pan is 3.5mm thick, it'd be a treasure and a bargain; at 2mm, more like an overpriced Meh! A swing of 1.5mm is a big one, relatively speaking, and Mauviel won't publish what the individual vessel thickness(es) is. Every time I go into a retailer, I finger every Mauviel there, and so far I've not found anything that looks/feels/tastes like 3.5mm thick. Good luck asking a sales associate for any spec other than what you can read yourself from the worthless insert booklet: 2-3.5mm.

                                                          1. re: kaleokahu
                                                            Chemicalkinetics Mar 28, 2011 04:57 PM

                                                            "If the maker started with an undersized blank, and then spun the walls up high and thin, yes, I think the heat conductivity up the pan's wall would suffer"

                                                            Some people like the idea of "heat not traveling up the side". Have you and Politeness and others reached any mutual agreement on this topic?

                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                              kaleokahu Mar 28, 2011 05:42 PM

                                                              Hi, Chem:

                                                              Thanks for the gasolene for the fire!

                                                              No, we haven't reached any agreement on the topic. I tried to word my answer above so that some might even take thinner to be better (by virtue of being a less effective "heater of the room"). But IMO thicker is better even in s stockpot.

                                                              Yesterday I made a quadruple batch of clam chowder in a 1.5mm-thick (throughout) copper stocker. The bottom of which is thin enough to give some concern about sticking--and eventually scorching). The chowder was viscous and flour-y enough so that convection currents within the pan were not enough to dissipate the heat at the bottom, hence the start of the sticking. The same chowder reheated in smaller quantity in a 3mm saucepan happily came to a heavy simmer with no sticking. My chowder yesterday could have benefited from this kind of three-dimensional heat delivery.

                                                              1. re: kaleokahu
                                                                Chemicalkinetics Mar 28, 2011 06:04 PM


                                                                True. For a very viscous solution, it can be difficult to start a convection current.

                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                  kaleokahu Mar 28, 2011 06:24 PM

                                                                  Chem: Thanks for the validation, but.. I said the chowder was "viscous and flour-y enough".. There was 2/3 cup of flour in about 26 cups of liquid and about 8 cups of solids--mirrepoix, bacon & clams. So it wasn't even all *that* viscous. But 22 Cups of the liquid was heavy cream!

                                                            2. re: kaleokahu
                                                              rbraham Jun 30, 2012 09:49 PM

                                                              Didnt you advise that shelling out $ for copper stockpot is kind of unnecessary?

                                                              The one thing that pisses me off is that I can't get an even, lazy here-a-plop, there-a-plop temperature consistent over the hours it's being cooked.

                                                              Is that solved by $$copper, or a $10 flame diffuser?

                                                              Or, have you vanquished to utter eternity, laid waste to all non-copper pieces because of a maniacal obsession with fin de siècle ways, or just cuz that's the way you ride?

                                                              1. re: rbraham
                                                                kaleokahu Jul 1, 2012 09:50 AM

                                                                Rob, Rob, Rob... "...kind of unnecessary?"

                                                                Very little in any of this is necessary or unnecessary. IMO, a thicker copper stockpot is better than a thinner copper one, or any one I've seen made of a different material. But the marginal return is small. So if you have $1000 to spend, dumping it all into a thick copper stocker while keeping your Corning Visions saucepans would, IMO, be folly. In fact, I'll go so far as to say that it borderlines being per se wasteful for most people--including me--to do that. But if you have the money or find a steal, why not have the better one?

                                                                Now then, go buy the Bella Copper diffuser and TRY it. Tell us what YOU think about how it works.


                                                3. re: kramark
                                                  Chemicalkinetics Dec 1, 2010 09:23 PM

                                                  Well, it is supposed to be made with a 90% copper, 10% stainless steel mixture for the outer clad. I am guessing it is an alloy. This really calls into question of two things: 1) the thermal conductivity of this 90% copper alloy vs 100% copper metal, and 2) the magnetic susceptibility of this 10% steel vs a 100% steel.

                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                    kaleokahu Dec 2, 2010 01:58 PM

                                                    Chem: You're the chemist... It makes intuitive sense to me that the 10% SS in the alloy will bring down conductivity a bit. But would only 10% ferromagnetic actually reduce the heat generated within the pan by the induction field? In other words, does induction work any better with strongly ferromagnetic steels/alloys, or is it a question of a threshold, below which it doesn't work and above which it does?

                                                    1. re: kaleokahu
                                                      Politeness Dec 2, 2010 03:22 PM

                                                      kaleokahu: "... does induction work any better with strongly ferromagnetic steels/alloys, or is it a question of a threshold, below which it doesn't work and above which it does?"

                                                      Anecdotally and subjectively, thresholds are less significant than differences, which may not relate to the degree of magnetic attraction. I am not certain that, for instance, a nickel-cobalt alloy such as that used in the motor of high performance audio speakers -- which certainly is "strongly ferromagnetic" -- would necessarily be a good choice for cookware. Some "strongly ferromagnetic" pots and pans work better with induction than other "strongly ferromagnetic" pots and pans.

                                                      Demeyere is the "standard" that many makers of induction cooktops and ranges use to test their products, and we own and use several Demeyere pots and pans. But the Mauviel Induc'Inox pot that we have is more responsive to our induction cooktop (and was more responsive to our previous induction cooktop) than any of our Demeyere pots or pans. The Induc'Inox appears to have a rather unusual construction: clad, with innermost and outermost layers of stainless steel ("inox" in French) -- but apparently not the same stainless steel in both cases -- with an inner layer of ferrous material that has almost the heft of cast iron, but is more probably (nonstainless) steel, like the plates that the road maintenance crews place over trenches in the roadway to keep traffic from falling in when the workers go home for the evening..

                                                      Given that induction works by causing molecular friction within magnetic material, I am not sure whether high permeability with low coercivity is better for cookware than low permeability with high coercivity; but whatever path Mauviel chose, its Induc'Inox line (now, apparently, replaced by the M'Cook line) certainly lives up to its monicker.

                                                      1. re: Politeness
                                                        kaleokahu Dec 2, 2010 03:41 PM

                                                        politeness: My question--posed to Chem--was based on his premise that the deBuyer Prima Matera line utilized an alloy of copper and stainless to make it induction-friendly. The question was prompted by Chem's statement that the alloy's composition "...calls into question...the magnetic susceptibility of this 10% steel vs a 100% steel." We were not discussing the Mauviel lines which are clad, but I'm happy they work for you.

                                                        Do you have experience with this deBuyer line?

                                                        1. re: kaleokahu
                                                          paulj Dec 2, 2010 04:23 PM

                                                          deBuyer does not claim that their alloy makes the pan induction compatible. They cite a separate ferro-magnetic layer on the bottom.

                                                          1. re: paulj
                                                            Chemicalkinetics Dec 2, 2010 04:57 PM

                                                            Is that right? I know the Prima Matera line is what you just described.


                                                            Such setup make much better sense because the copper has to sit on top of ferromagnetic layer, or else the performance will significantly suffer.

                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                              paulj Dec 2, 2010 05:06 PM

                                                              "Special innovative ferro-magnetic bottom"

                                                              I can't find a more detailed description.

                                                              1. re: paulj
                                                                Chemicalkinetics Dec 2, 2010 05:16 PM

                                                                I understood that phrase and I agree with you that the Prima Matera line indeed has a steel bottom as I have acknowledged above. However, kramark asked about Inocuivre line and that it does have the same description:


                                                                At the end, I do agree with you because I saw this photo:

                                                                1. re: paulj
                                                                  Chemicalkinetics Dec 2, 2010 05:21 PM

                                                                  Here is the image

                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                    kramark Dec 3, 2010 06:19 AM

                                                                    There sure do look nice but I want more than pretty looks, LOL. Maybe at a later date I will pick up one of their pans.

                                                                    I am going to look more closer at the Mauviel M'cook line.

                                                                    Thanks everyone for your thoughts and the discussion.

                                                            2. re: kaleokahu
                                                              Politeness Dec 2, 2010 04:55 PM

                                                              kaleokahu, you asked a specific question, a question that I quoted word-for-word in my post of December 02 at 16:22. My reply was responsive to the specific question that you asked that I quoted. I apologize that I did not respond to your other questions.

                                                              1. re: Politeness
                                                                kaleokahu Dec 2, 2010 05:43 PM

                                                                Politeness: No problem. Your response to my question to Chem was as informative as ever.

                                                                1. re: kaleokahu
                                                                  kramark Dec 3, 2010 06:17 AM

                                                                  So I emailed Kitchen Universe and asked them to "sell me" on the de Buyer line along with inquiring if they could give any insight as to why they are the only ones who sell it here in the USA. Their response was:

                                                                  We import directly from de Buyer; most companies deal with de Buyer distributors in the US whereas we do deal directly with the company; we have a special friendship relationship with them.

                                                                  This makes some sense as I would think most distributors wouldn't import induction cookware when induction isn't popular here. (BTW, I would probably have gas if my location weren't in a "capacity restricted" area so they won't hook me up to the gas main.)

                                                                  More frustrating is he didn't "sell me" on the line. He only repeated a list of the items they are selling.


                                                                  1. re: kramark
                                                                    macbillybob Jan 15, 2011 07:45 AM

                                                                    I have some Falk pieces and they are heavy, expensive and wonderful to cook in. My main cookware before I started acquiring copper was All Clad. Still use the AC and some Calphalon for simple stuff like boiling pasta, stock etc.
                                                                    I am continuing to add to my copper collection a piece at a time.

                                                    2. Zeldog Oct 19, 2010 10:47 PM

                                                      I have 5 tin lined copper pots and pans and a large unlined mixing bowl, all given to me as a gift, and although they are super for some applications, I would not put out the money for them. The exception is the mixing bowl, which is clearly superior to steel for whisking over ice or using as a double boiler. Otherwise their performance is about the same as anodized aluminum with stainless steel interior. And they really are high maintenance items.

                                                      1. Monica Oct 18, 2010 10:32 AM

                                                        Btw, on my recent trip to South of France, I saw some nice vintage copper pots...i saw really really beautiful fish poacher...but it was too bulky and heavy to bring it back and I know i don't poach fish at home...

                                                        1. a
                                                          athanasius Oct 16, 2010 07:26 PM

                                                          Monica -

                                                          "Do they brown food better?"

                                                          Not really. Browning is the result of a whole bunch of different things (temperature, moisture content of food, use of any fat/oil, color and smoothness of the surface of the pan, etc.), and copper doesn't have a distinct advantage.

                                                          "i know it is suppose to conduct heat better but so what."

                                                          Evenness can be important for many applications, but of little value for others. If you're boiling water, for example, even heating doesn't matter. If you're boiling milk, on the other hand, uneven heating can easily result in burned or sticky sections if you don't stir constantly.

                                                          Even heating is often most useful when you're cooking something fairly delicate or easy to burn, but you don't have time to tend to it continuously. If you're someone who doesn't tend to have a lot of pots going at once and likes to focus on delicate dishes rather than multitasking, copper will probably have little benefit, since you can often just continuously stir/shake whatever to keep things from burning.

                                                          That said, you will notice minor improvements even in everyday tasks. For example, say you're just softening some onions in some butter/oil for the start of a dish, but you're in a little bit of a hurry, so you turn up the heat slightly. In a pan with very poor conductivity, you'll have to be careful so the onions won't stick or burn due to hot spots in the pan. In a copper pan, as long as you don't turn the heat up way too high, it's a lot harder to get stuff to stick or burn.

                                                          I'd say that's the most useful advantage of copper to me -- sticking is in part caused by hot spots, so copper avoids some of that. Of course, you can also just use a non-stick aluminum pan and get most of the same advantages.

                                                          "Do serious cooks really use copper pots?"

                                                          Yes, although not exclusively. Copper is best for certain uses. For other things, other materials are just as good or even better.

                                                          "They are also so expensive!"

                                                          I'll echo some other comments and say -- it depends. You can often find really good deals on vintage copper on eBay, yard sales, etc. You have to know a little bit to buy this way, but you could get a nice copper collection for pretty cheap this way.

                                                          Also, you need to consider how long you expect your cookware to last. Many people tend to go through a set of pans every 5-10 years and then buy a new set. If you keep your copper for 40+ years and pass it down to kids, it doesn't seem as expensive.

                                                          Another thing is it depends on what you're comparing it to. Cheap aluminum will give you very good performance that is nearer but not quite as good as copper, but for maybe 1/10 or 1/20 the price. In that case, I'd say cheap aluminum is definitely a better deal for almost all normal cooking purposes. On the other hand, if you're spending the money for expensive sandwiched All Clad or something, I'd say copper is a better deal. Particularly when you start looking at sandwiched copper products -- most of which are just gimmicks because they don't contain a thick enough layer of copper to be useful. All Clad's only useful copper line is the Copper Core, but those prices are pretty comparable to solid copper cookware prices, so I have no idea why you wouldn' t go with copper in that comparison.

                                                          Finally, copper really is more energy efficient for many stovetop uses. You actually require less heat to do the same amount of cooking. The difference is relatively small, and for most people, the cost of fuel for cooking is pretty tiny within their household budget. But, I did a rough calculation a few years back, and over a few decades of use, copper cookware won't quite pay for itself in energy savings, but it does become significantly more "affordable" if you factor that in.

                                                          13 Replies
                                                          1. re: athanasius
                                                            Chemicalkinetics Oct 16, 2010 07:42 PM

                                                            Very well written. Now I do have the answer for the following:

                                                            " All Clad's only useful copper line is the Copper Core, but those prices are pretty comparable to solid copper cookware prices, so I have no idea why you wouldn' t go with copper in that comparison."

                                                            Answer: Dishwasher. :P

                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                              Caroline1 Oct 16, 2010 09:00 PM

                                                              I put my copper in the dishwasher all the time. As I said in another post (another thread?),
                                                              tarnished or polished, copper cooks the same in both conditions, so since I no longer have a huge ceiling rack to hang ALL of my pots and pans from, I don't bother polishing it any more. And if someone does have a huge ceiling rack to hang cookware from, if you go for the antique "country french" look, there's nothing wrong with tarnished copper...! The ONLY time it MUST be polished is for those copper bowls for beating egg whites to maximum fluff. But hey, I've never seen a copper mixing bowl for a Kitchen Aid...! '-)

                                                              1. re: Caroline1
                                                                Chemicalkinetics Oct 17, 2010 02:20 AM

                                                                I must have missed your other post, but yes, I suppose tarnished copper pots cook the same. When you put copper cookwares in the dishwasher, do they mess up other stuffs like other glassware and dishes?

                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                  Caroline1 Oct 17, 2010 07:04 AM

                                                                  I haven't noticed them having an impact on anything else that goes in the dishwasher with them, but let me say I do not put any sort of silver through the dishwasher. I've been putting my copper through it for at least five years now with no discernible ill effects. However, SOMETIMES the copper comes out POLISHED! I haven't figured out why or what the interaction is that ONLY effects the copper and not what is polishing the copper, but when I do I'm going to patent it and make a fortune! '-)

                                                                  1. re: Caroline1
                                                                    Chemicalkinetics Oct 17, 2010 07:16 AM

                                                                    "However, SOMETIMES the copper comes out POLISHED!"

                                                                    Maybe something acidic.... Maybe the same thing will also polish aluminum too. Now, you may able to patent a dishwasher detergent which allow the users to put bare copper and bare aluminum cookware in the dishwashers. There are so many more aluminum cookware, it would be the aluminum cookware bring you the fortune.

                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                      Caroline1 Oct 17, 2010 07:49 AM

                                                                      Well, I have thought aluminum cookware is stupid and unworthy since about... oh, around 1962? It stains. Unless it's anodized or teflon coated you cannot boil anything with onions in it without wearing a gas mask or scuba mask while doing so. It warps badly and the purer and more conductive it is, the more it will warp, no matter how thick it is. It won't stick if you have a magnetic pan rack. You can't use the average aluminum pot as a dinner bell by banging on it with the back of a large spoon because unless specially formulated, aluminum won't ring. Sooooo, in summation who wants a pan that won't ring and stinks up the house really bad if you boil onions? NOT ME, CHARLIE BROWN....!!!! I ended up with copper because I couldn't afford sterling pots and pans. But if I could, boy, would THEY cook great....!!!

                                                                      As for acid polishing my copper in the dishwasher, maybe I just need to add a cup of tomato juice when I run it? '-)

                                                                2. re: Caroline1
                                                                  Leolady Dec 3, 2010 11:28 AM




                                                                  Copper bowls and bowl inserts for a Kitchenaid!

                                                                  1. re: Caroline1
                                                                    cooksaround Apr 27, 2011 03:28 PM

                                                                    frenchcopperstudio.com makes copper mixing bowls for Kitchen Aid.

                                                                    1. re: cooksaround
                                                                      Monica Jul 5, 2011 07:54 AM

                                                                      wow, my mother in law gave me her old copper mixing bowl for Kitchen Aid, didn't realize they were that expensive.

                                                                3. re: athanasius
                                                                  Monica Oct 18, 2010 06:21 AM

                                                                  wow, thanks for the great reply.
                                                                  Perhaps when i have a bigger kitchen later, I will invest a few copper pieces(only for decorative purpose probably..lol) but for now, I will stick with my Le Crueset, All-Clads and Lodge cast iron skillet...though these darn things are so heavy...but I know I can't never live without the dutch oven and the lodge cast iron skillet...

                                                                  1. re: Monica
                                                                    athanasius Oct 18, 2010 07:00 AM

                                                                    No problem - glad my reply was helpful.

                                                                    One other thing, since you mentioned it: solid copper is quite heavy. You mentioned that you find the dutch oven and cast iron skillet to be heavy -- real copper pots are about as heavy as the equivalent size of cast iron pans. That's another consideration for some people with copper. (Decorative copper pieces, of course, tend to be quite thin, so they aren't heavy... but they're also not useful for cooking.)

                                                                    1. re: Monica
                                                                      kaleokahu Oct 18, 2010 09:54 AM

                                                                      Monica: I encourage you to only "invest" in copper pieces that are heavy and thick enough to USE, even if you only display them. The thicker and heavier the better, but to hold their value (other than scrap copper), the wall thickness should be at least 2mm, better to have 3mm or more.

                                                                      1. re: kaleokahu
                                                                        Monica Oct 18, 2010 10:33 AM

                                                                        Thanks..looks like i need to get a 2nd job. lol

                                                                  2. paulj Oct 13, 2010 07:18 PM

                                                                    If I had a budget for one copper pot, what style and size would best. That is, what would show off its advantages the best?

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: paulj
                                                                      kaleokahu Oct 13, 2010 07:31 PM

                                                                      Hi, Paul:

                                                                      I would say a tinned fait tout or Windsor shape (you will like that for stirring), 3 mm in thickness, cast iron handle, maybe 6-8 inches in upper rim diameter. With or without a tongue-handled lid. If you want a lead to a REALLY good used deal (not me, mods), send me an email ASAP at kaleokahu@gmail.com. Sorry to sound mysterious or mercenary, but that shape--even used--usually commands exorbitant prices. This one is a steal.

                                                                    2. dcole Oct 13, 2010 11:33 AM

                                                                      I've never used copper, so I am probably not the one to comment, but I have to imagine there is a point of diminishing returns in cookware. I know that I can perform any task needing evenness of heat or heat response in my stainless-aluminum-stainless triply. I have All Clad, and after having it, while I think it is terrific and glad I have it, I am sure that similar performance can be had for less of a cost. It is a fact that copper has better conduction, but when I perform a task correctly in my cookware, I get the desired result...
                                                                      Also, if you are buying now for a lifetime of use, I would think about its induction compatibility issues (I don't believe it works on any induction ranges). Might seem like a long way away, but some really expensive heirloom cookware that is passed by technology would be a shame. All good quality cookware, regardless of copper/steel/aluminum/cast iron construction should last a lifetime anyways - I know people that still have perfect condition All Clad they got in the 70's. I have a piece of Le Creuset my parents got as a wedding present 25 years ago in perfect condition.

                                                                      20 Replies
                                                                      1. re: dcole
                                                                        kaleokahu Oct 13, 2010 12:32 PM

                                                                        dcole: "I've never used copper..." Then you should try it. You will probably like it.

                                                                        "...diminishing returns." Yes, your imagination is absolutely right about that. However, the same can generally be said about many things, even your Allclad compared with 1950s Revereware. The core issue is: what are the margins, and are they significant to you? For me, there is no question WHETHER copper is advantageous over clad by a margin in many shapes of cookware, it is more a question of what that margin is, and how it applies over different kinds of cooking.

                                                                        Re: Induction and technology leaving copper behind... I submit that you unintentionally have it backwards: In actuality, technologies in induction appliances and materials science are CATCHING UP to copper. Three instances: (1) It was announced just a day or two ago in another thread here that Panasonic is now starting sales of a new high-frequency induction range they claim IS compatible with copper (See, http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/739539?tag=main_body;topic-739539 --specifics given were few). Also, (2) de Buyer is now selling a line of magnetic-bottomed 2mm copper pans they claim will work with even "old" induction appliances. It is called Prima Matera and is new this year. See, http://www.debuyer.com/product.php?id=772&cat=62&background=brun1. Finally, (3) there are induction converter discs that can be used with heirloom-quality tinned copper; the tradeoff in energy efficiencies has yet to be decided. See, http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7374....

                                                                        "All good quality cookware...should last a lifetime..." Yes (if you omit "non-stick"), until you're sold on something better. What passes for "better" these days generally means multi-clad, and what the manufacturers want you to believe this means is something like: "more closely approximates cooking in copper". But why approximate? The real reasons have little to do with cooking, and more to do with other factors, such as price, aversion to hand washing, dislike of non-metal utensils, or induction fandom (and its constellation of claimed benefits, including smooth cooktop, cool cooktop, "green-ness", responsiveness, technophillia, etc.).

                                                                        1. re: kaleokahu
                                                                          paulj Oct 13, 2010 04:44 PM

                                                                          The tin lining of copper needs renewing, which may require shipping the pots off to a specialist in NY or elsewhere.

                                                                          I bought a 3qt copper sauce pan for a reduced price at TJMaxx. It is pretty, and quite heavy (comparable to cast iron of the same thickness). But the better conductivity does not shine in most sauce pan applications. I don't regret buying it, but I'm in no rush to get another.

                                                                          1. re: paulj
                                                                            kaleokahu Oct 13, 2010 04:55 PM

                                                                            paulj; "...renewing..." Yes, either after serious misuse or a decade or more of proper use, copperware may need retinning. While not inexpensive (unless you DIY), it is pretty simple, not unlike soldering a piece of copper pipe.

                                                                            "...better conductivity does not shine in most sauce pan applications." I do not understand; would you please explain what you mean by that?

                                                                            1. re: kaleokahu
                                                                              paulj Oct 13, 2010 05:15 PM

                                                                              Usually I use a sauce pan to cook items in varying amounts of water, whether its a little for some vegetables, a lot for potatoes, or making some sort of porridge. As long as I'm not negligent in stirring the contents, there's little difference whether I use this pot, or a nonstick aluminum of the same size, or stainless steel. Initial boiling time might be better, but 30 seconds one way or the other isn't significant.

                                                                              Copper has a faster response time, but I'm constrained more by the slow response of the electric coils. I might notice the response time more if I used it on the butane hotplate, but I mostly use butane for clay pots, which are at the other end of the response spectrum.

                                                                              For fast response and even heating my tool of choice is an induction-ready cast aluminum frying pan on the induction hotplate.

                                                                              1. re: paulj
                                                                                kaleokahu Oct 13, 2010 05:21 PM

                                                                                So you do not make sauces and reductions in saucepans?

                                                                                1. re: kaleokahu
                                                                                  paulj Oct 13, 2010 06:39 PM

                                                                                  Sometimes, though I prefer a shallower pan with more rounded corners, since it is easier to cover all surfaces with a spatula. While even heat is nice, quick response is not critical. If I need to lift the pan off the burner to quickly reduce heat, a lighter pan is nicer than the heavy copper.. Also I usually make a cup or two of sauce, so don't need the full depth of a 2-3 qt sauce pan. The full depth is more useful when steaming vegetables.

                                                                                  1. re: paulj
                                                                                    kaleokahu Oct 13, 2010 07:16 PM

                                                                                    OK, I get it. It's not the copper per se, it's the shape, utensils and weight. That's perfectly valid.

                                                                                  2. re: kaleokahu
                                                                                    paulj Oct 13, 2010 07:51 PM

                                                                                    Come to think of it, the last time I used the copper sauce pan was a reduction of sorts - candied almonds (Spanish almendras garapinadas). Roughly equal parts of water, sugar, and almonds, cooked on high until the water evaporates, and the sugar crystallizes on the almonds.

                                                                                    But I haven't done this sort of thing often enough to say whether copper was any advantage. My parents used to make the same thing, but with add cocoa and peanuts. They used a deep iron skillet (chicken fryer).

                                                                                    1. re: paulj
                                                                                      kaleokahu Oct 13, 2010 08:27 PM

                                                                                      Wow, that sounds tasty. That application is actually one that does not require good tinning--the best confectioners' pots are commonly unlined copper.

                                                                            2. re: kaleokahu
                                                                              Politeness Oct 13, 2010 06:34 PM

                                                                              kaleokahu: "(1) It was announced just a day or two ago in another thread here that Panasonic is now starting sales of a new high-frequency induction range they claim IS compatible with copper."

                                                                              I predict an early death for the technology. More expensive induction units that will work with copper are the cooking equivalent of four wheel steering. in which Nissan, Honda, and Mazda dabbled a decade or two ago. All three makers offered serious production models with well-implemented four wheel steering. Four wheel steering was and is a GREAT idea, but the marginal benefit it offers simply failed to meet the cost/benefit test of actual purchasers.

                                                                              "(2) de Buyer is now selling a line of magnetic-bottomed 2mm copper pans they claim will work with even "old" induction appliances."

                                                                              Chantal got there first with its Copper Fusion line. If I were buying all-new cookware from scratch, I would invest heavily in Chantal Copper Fusion. But Chantal Copper Fusion has failed to gain any traction on the Chowhound Cookware forum.

                                                                              1. re: Politeness
                                                                                kaleokahu Oct 13, 2010 06:39 PM

                                                                                Mine was a response to one by dcole observing that copper will not work with induction. This is no longer true, and my point is valid.

                                                                                Good for Chantal, garlands for you for pointing that out, and for them for actually doing something. Whoever won the race, technology is not outdating copper, but rather catching up.

                                                                                1. re: Politeness
                                                                                  kramark Dec 5, 2010 04:31 AM

                                                                                  I haven't found much positive about Chantal Copper Fusion. Half the positive reviews I have read sound more like a sales pitch/advertisement for the stuff than a review. IMHO.

                                                                                  1. re: kramark
                                                                                    kaleokahu Dec 15, 2010 06:55 PM

                                                                                    Kramark: Nor will you, unless you listen to Politeness. Which you should. S/he is the final authority. On everything.

                                                                                    1. re: kramark
                                                                                      KansasKate Jan 9, 2011 05:26 AM

                                                                                      Last week we bought a Chantal Copper Core 5 qt stock pot to cook pasta for two on our portable induction hob. It was $99 from Amazon.

                                                                                      I spent a fair amount of time "researching" stock pots. Working on induction was a deal-breaker. Beyond that, several things about the CCC appealed to me: made in Germany; non-stick interior; glass lid; nice handle shape & size; solid red exterior (as opposed to LC's shading which I hate); much lighter than my beloved cast iron Staub; much cheaper than the All-Clad copper core pentola I really wanted.

                                                                                      We've used it only once, to cook gnocchi. I'm not sure how to review a pot used to boil water, but we like it so far.

                                                                                      1. re: KansasKate
                                                                                        kaleokahu Jan 9, 2011 09:09 AM

                                                                                        KK: Congratulations on your new purchase. If you will also be using this stocker for any one-pot dishes that involve browning, keep us informed of how nonstick the lining stays, will you?

                                                                                        Am I remembering right that you are remodeling your kitchen?

                                                                                        1. re: kaleokahu
                                                                                          KansasKate Jan 11, 2011 03:00 AM

                                                                                          Since we have a Staub cocotte and a crock pot, we probably won't be doing much one-pot cooking in the stock pot. But if we use it, I'll let you know.

                                                                                          For use on the portable induction hob and the convection toaster oven, we've bought small(ish) pieces of Staub, LC, Emile Henry, ScanPan CTX, Chantal copper core, WS gold bakeware. Yesterday I ordered All-Clad copper core and Silit. Next on the list is de Buyer copper for induction. Maybe one of these days I'll find the time to review them all.

                                                                                          Yes, you remember correctly, though we're restoring the whole house (an 1884 Victorian), not just the kitchen. And as if that weren't enough, we're updating the kitchen in my mother's house before putting it on the market. We're either crazy or... crazy. :-)

                                                                                          1. re: KansasKate
                                                                                            kaleokahu Jan 11, 2011 07:26 PM

                                                                                            KK: Wow, that's quite the diverse collection! If you have the time, I'd be interested in the sizes of each, and of course your reviews.

                                                                                            Also, if you ever see published numbers for the thicknesses of the Chantal's steel-copper-steel layers, I'd like to know.

                                                                                  2. re: kaleokahu
                                                                                    Caroline1 Oct 13, 2010 08:55 PM

                                                                                    "It was announced just a day or two ago in another thread here that Panasonic is now starting sales of a new high-frequency induction range they claim IS compatible with copper" ............kaleokahu

                                                                                    Just to clarify, Japanese development of induction technology that will excite copper and aluminum isn't "brand new." It's been known for a while now, and Panasonic's copper/aluminum exciting cook tops have been available on the Japanese market for more than a week or so now... And I'm not positive, but I don't think Panasonic is the only manufacturer working on it, maybe only the first to reach the market, but I'm not certain of that either.

                                                                                    1. re: kaleokahu
                                                                                      dcole Oct 16, 2010 04:51 AM

                                                                                      Kaleokahu: Definitely right about margin in cookware...again, I cannot comment on copper's over triply. Certainly appreciate the info on copper and induction...that is great news and without a doubt changes my mind about (increasing) copper cookware's value.
                                                                                      I have no problem with washing by hand, as I don't put any of mine in the dishwasher. I do love the look of the brushed Falk copper, which seems like it needs less care and upkeep and since it sounds like by the time I move over to induction, it will be compatible in any range I were to consider - I very well may look into copper for my next addition, as long as price allows. Thanks!

                                                                                      1. re: dcole
                                                                                        kaleokahu Oct 18, 2010 09:50 AM

                                                                                        dcole: If you like the look of Falk, you should LOVE the look of Hammersmith. See, organic-cookware.com Definitely not cheap, but American-made, and comes with a retinning guarantee. If you don't mind hand washing and using non-metallic utensils, I think tinned copper is the way to go.

                                                                                  3. kaleokahu Oct 13, 2010 11:01 AM

                                                                                    You're going to get a lot of divergent answers here. If you're not cooking on induction, copper is definitely the most energy efficient and most even heat (except for silver). Yes, it browns nicely, although you should avoid searing in it. As for expense, yes, it's expensive new; quite affordable used. If you buy it once and never replace it, it is a great value (as someone here has commented, "You're not rich enough to buy cheap stuff."

                                                                                    As to serious cooks using it, yes they do. "Copper is the best cooking equipment you can have," according to Henri Boubee, the former executive chef of Windows on the World restaurant in NY, and corporate executive chef for Ritz-Carlton hotels. "It heats uniformly, holds the heat best, and cooks the quickest." His opinion is shared by numerous cooks. I believe professional chefs who choose other materials do so because of unfamiliarity and the costs of care, cleaning and maintenance.

                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: kaleokahu
                                                                                      Camote Mar 25, 2011 05:16 AM

                                                                                      kaleokahu I've been following your writings. I have some questions about copper pots.
                                                                                      Will you help me? diagonal@earthlink.net

                                                                                      1. re: Camote
                                                                                        kaleokahu Mar 25, 2011 10:53 AM

                                                                                        I'd be glad to, but you auto reply is annoying. kaleokahu@gmail.com

                                                                                      2. re: kaleokahu
                                                                                        rbraham May 11, 2012 04:57 PM

                                                                                        "Avoid searing"? Huh? So how do I brown chicken, eg? Plus, I've heard that pre-heating SS pans "closes up the pores," which may or not be true; I do like to have the oil hot so that a) it can ake more than one chicken thigh, eg, to bring the heat down, and will "quick fry" the outer skin before it has time to get soggy; b) so soft vegetables don't soak up the oil (low heat), but cook quickly in it ; and c) for quick crisping of fish.

                                                                                        Wassup widdat?


                                                                                        1. re: rbraham
                                                                                          kaleokahu May 11, 2012 07:38 PM

                                                                                          Hi, Rob:

                                                                                          I use 'sear' differently than you, I guess. For me, it's the kind of pan heat (and preheat) that makes oil smoke. If I'm reading you right, you use the term for lower heat, perhaps only sufficient to create a Maillard reaction. Many refined vegetable oils' smoke points flirt with the melting point of tin, 437F, and at least 15 common oils exceed it. So if you use 'sear' the way I do, you must be careful beyond just not heating the tinned pan empty.

                                                                                          But to answer your question, thankfully Maillard reactions can and do happen well before the temperature reaches the red zone, most notably (depending on water content, water activity and alkilinity) a scosh north of 300F--well within copper's comfort zone. Consider, too, that most deep frying also occurs safely within that zone; only with the highest smoke- oils (and without a thermometer) would anyone be taking risks with their tin.

                                                                                          I have not had my IR thermometer long enough to claim to know well the temperature differentials between the well-oiled bottom of a saute or poele and the dry walls. I theorize that it would be possible to hover the oil pool just below 437F and *still* degrade the tin on the walls. Interestingly, my thrice-tortured saucepan only showed evidence of tin melting at the very edge (and only at the tiny 3mm *horizontal* surface).

                                                                                          So I think you're safe in counting on crispy chicken, fish and veggies.


                                                                                          1. re: kaleokahu
                                                                                            rbraham May 12, 2012 06:01 AM


                                                                                            I'll reply in more detail later.

                                                                                            Just want to say I almost always use a 50-50 of canola (or something neutral with similarly high smoke point) with clarified butter (as you know, much higher smoke point)

                                                                                            Also, isn't this all moot since I'm going with SS lining...?


                                                                                            1. re: rbraham
                                                                                              kaleokahu May 13, 2012 08:46 AM

                                                                                              Hi, Rob:

                                                                                              Yes, semi-moot point--I forgot you're going with bimetal.

                                                                                              I would still be uncomfortable getting an empty bimetal pan screaming hot before putting in your fat. Might not ruin the pan all at once, but the coeffs of expansion are different enough that it can't be good long-term.


                                                                                      3. Chemicalkinetics Oct 13, 2010 10:46 AM

                                                                                        I seriously doubt it brown foo better since you won't be using the copper surface as a cooking surface (copper is toxic). It is all about heat conductivity. All I can say is that some people swear by copper cookware due to the better thermal conductivity.

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                          Caroline1 Oct 13, 2010 11:07 AM

                                                                                          Just for the record, You CAN cook in unlined copper pans as long as you observe a few caveats. The copper must be scrubbed and polished to perfection immediately before cooking in it, and you must only do low acid fast cooking foods, then immediately remove them when cooked. I've done it. I'm here to tell the tale. You CANNOT do the same with unlined bronze! And unlined copper bowls for whipping egg whites are a premium choice of upscale chefs. The whites beat up in great volume without adding cream of tarter.

                                                                                          As for Monica's questions, tinned copper pots are a very old tradition with excellent performance records. Before the days of aluminum, tinned copper had the advantage of being comparatively lighter than cast iron pots, and more importantly, unlike cast iron or carbon steel pots, tinned copper is rust free. In today's world, copper pots and pans are something of a status symbol, thanks to all of the multi-plied cookware that has heat conductivity close to copper.

                                                                                          I recently bought a set of induction friendly multi-plied stainless steel in anticipation of going induction, and while they do cook well, when compared to my copper they just look so... so.... well, STERILE! I do very much want to upgrade to induction, but now that copper friendly induction cook tops are on the horizon, I'm undecided on whether to wait or go for it now and use the sterile looking ss. <sigh> Decisions, decisions!

                                                                                          1. re: Caroline1
                                                                                            RGC1982 Dec 3, 2010 03:43 PM

                                                                                            I have to tell you that my copper pans rival my cast iron in weight, and may actually be heavier than cast iron or enameled cast iron in some pieces. Good quality copper is very heavy stuff. What you get with copper is extremely even heating on the bottom due to its great thermal conductivity, which means no hot spots like you find with other pans. If you have ever browned a few chicken breasts in a copper pan, you will see that they tend to brown all at about the same time, whereas even in a cast iron pan, you will have to keep flipping them around in order to brown evenly.

                                                                                            Copper can heat up quickly, and most importantly -- cool down quickly. It cannot be put in the dishwasher, and all varieties, whether tin lined or stainless steel lined with either brass or cast iron handles -- get HOT. You cannot touch the lids or handles without a potholder or mitt versus the stainless steel lines. It is like cast iron in that sense.

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