Best interior finish for clad cookware
So I am looking at different clad cookware sets to purchase and was wondering what the performance differences are between the mirror and brushed finish on the interior of the pans?
Is one superior to the other?
One more stick-resistant?
OK, your question is a good one, and since no one has hazarded a guess yet, let me try...
As far as performance issues, I do not believe the degree of polish on a SS interior layer will make much difference when it comes to sticking. Very high-end $$$ SS-lined copperware almost always has a brushed finish inside; one would think that if polish to mirror helped, the manufacturers would do that. Conversely, smooth borosilicate glass is notorious for sticking.
I HAVE heard that very smooth surfaces (e.g., glass) will tend to simmer, fry and boil with larger-sized bubbles than will a coarser finish, causing more slops and spatters. This is probably an issue of nucleation, and related to the reason for the now-common practice in stemware manufacture of etching a small "rough" patch of glass at the very bottom-center of a Champagne flute to encourage smaller, consistent bubbles.
As a practical matter, a mirror polished pan (even SS) would be difficult for the consumer to maintain at that level of finish. Utensils, scrub pads, cleanser powders, the abrasives in DWs all will "mar" the mirror finish, and quickly too.
Therefore I think mirror finishes are a way of enticing consumers to believe more polish=higher quality. IOW, marketing and aesthetics.
keleokahu: "As far as performance issues, I do not believe the degree of polish on a SS interior layer will make much difference when it comes to sticking."
Actually, in our experience, highly polished appears to be less than optimal. We have some old banged, battered, and marred stainless steel pans; some Demeyere Apollo "Silvinox" pans which have a matte, but not brushed, interior finish; and some highly polished newer pans. The most stick resistant are the Demeyere Silvinox. (I think that the Demeyere Atlantis line also has a Silvinox finish on the interior.)
But Silvinox apparently is proprietary to Demeyere; it is also just a bit fragile, not as bad as Teflon, but you are advised to use wooden and silicone spoons and spatulas with it rather than metal ones.
Politeness: You may be right. Some degree of roughness might make a matte SS surface a little less terrible at sticking than mirror polished. Perhaps something to do with the passivation layer? My "heirloom" Revereware is all pretty matte at this point, and it sticks to everything, no matter what. Maybe it was even worse when shiny-new.
ellabee: "Do I understand that you have a Demeyere saucier/conic sauteuse?"
"Would you be willing to weight it (without lid) and let us know the result?"
Other than a small postal scale (maximum capacity, about 6 oz), the only scales on our home are designed to weigh objects in the 100 lb to 300 lb range. The precision of those scales is not sufficient to get a reliable reading on the weight of a 2 lb to 5 lb (rough guess of the minimum and maximum heft of the Demeyere sauteuse) object.
I think it all come down to look. A mirror finish looks better, at least the initially. A brushed finish has more or a long-lasting look because little scratches do not "stand out" on a brushed surface.
It sounds like overall, the interior finish is an insignificant factor. Thanks for all the input!
Sorry to resurrect a year-old thread, but I had this exact question. I'll post a link to this thread in the two other threads I posed the question.
Just to add my two cents: I figured the additional surface area would make a difference in terms of proneness to sticking. My guess was it would grab more food particles, but I now realize upon reflection on the experiences of other posters to the contrary, that the additional surface area probably grabs the oil better, allowing a more even lubricant layer between the interior of the cookware and the food.
Thanks to all who gave their valuable input!