Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >
Dec 2, 2011 08:47 PM

Interesting YouTube video about disk-bottom and fully clad cookware

Although this video is blatant marketing material for the manufacturer (Demeyere), it includes an interesting discussion of the advantages/disadvantages of disk-bottom and fully clad cookware. Since the manufacturer makes both types depending on the specific application, their analysis should (presumably) be pretty unbiased.

PS. The video also finally taught me how to pronounce "Demeyere" correctly ;-)


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. That is interesting. I noticed that he said that for saucepans and stockpots, the object of the construction of the sidewalls is to contain the heat. Poor heat conduction in the sidewalls is an advantage for stockpots.

    7 Replies
    1. re: GH1618


      "Poor heat conduction in the sidewalls is an advantage for stockpots."

      Yes, so it said. The stainless steel sidewall is quoted unquoted used as a insulator in comparison. The idea is that the heat is absorbed through the bottom of the cookware. Liquid convects the heat. The stainless steel wall minimize the heat loss to the surrounding. This is more energy efficient.

      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        It seems that having the heat conducted up the sides might be preferable than just keeping it in, though. In my very unscientific tests, it seems like triply all the way up the walls helps more than it hurts.

        1. re: will47

          It is somewhat an opinin things on this. The cladding on the side help for cookware like frying pans. A stock pot is a tougher one. Politeness and I had a discussion about this, and I understand where that argument comes from. The idea is that when you boil most liquid, the fastest routine of thermal transfer is through mass transfer, not conduction (molecule to molecule) transfer. As such, it is best to keep the heat concentrate at the bottom and have a more insulated sides. The bottom is going to absorb the heat -- that is a given. Now, let the bottom deliver the heat to the liquid, and have the side contains the heat. If you think about it, it is more like a water heater design. Heat comes from the bottom, and have the insulated vessel. This is nothing new of course, and is an effective design.

          The triply arguement is to let the heat distribute further and go up the side and have it also deliver the heat.

          Personally, I don't think it makes a huge difference in term of how your food will turn out at the end. Like I always say, how your food turns out is really 90% your ingredients and your skill, and 10% of your cookware.

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            I agree with that last point, but might put it at 95/5.

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              "Personally, I don't think it makes a huge difference in term of how your food will turn out at the end. Like I always say, how your food turns out is really 90% your ingredients and your skill, and 10% of your cookware."

              So glad to hear this statement. Only because I like the tri ply better, because it just feels better to me. Those heavy disc bottoms seem all out of balance to me. I prefer the weight distributed all over the pot. For me it is just easier to handle.

              It also seems to me that all the heat remaining at the bottom could lead to more scorching of food.

              1. re: dixiegal

                If the bottom got hot enough to scorch the food, wouldn't you just turn the heat down?

                1. re: torso

                  "If the bottom got hot enough to scorch the food, wouldn't you just turn the heat down?"

                  Well I guess so if you knew about it before it scorched. LOL, but for me. I don't know I have something hot enough to scorch, until it IS scorched.

                  I don't have a clue if a disk bottom is more apt to scorch food than tri-ply. For I have been known to scorch stuff in my tri ply too. :o)

                  Just seems like all the heat holding in one place might cause burning issues if anything should settle on the bottom and lay there too long.

                  I guess I don't always stir my pots enough. ;o/

                  Anyway, disc bottoms seem to be very popular. I found more of that than I did the tri ply when I was looking for my cookware. So I am guessing that those disc bottoms are liked for good reasons.......

      2. Hi, tanuki:

        Thanks for posting that. It's interesting.

        I'm not sure I'm believing in the "frying on the frying pan's walls" thing.

        Have you ever handled one of those cutaways? The disc-clad pans all have a void or airspace before the two SS layers are welded, all the way around. I've wondered whether this is a possible drawback in terms of longevity.

        I think you need to buy one of each line to A-B-C with your deBuyer Prima Matera. How *is* that cooking for you?


        5 Replies
        1. re: kaleokahu

          Hi, Kaleokahu,

          Glad you enjoyed the video.

          The de Buyer Prima Matera frying pan is GREAT! Thanks again for the heads-up -- it was your initial post about PM here at CH, as well as your other informative posts about the advantages of copper cookware, that made me decide to take the plunge.

          I have to confess that I was a little hesitant to use the PM pan after it arrived. First off, it just looked too damn pretty to use -- its beautiful, warm, almost pink, mirror copper finish just screams "Cookware Porn". Also, I'd never cooked on stainless steel before (I went directly from nonstick to carbon steel, cast iron, ECI, and ceramic on steel), and as you know, PM is SS-lined copper cookware.

          Based on all the horror stories I'd read about cooking on SS, I had visions of my food sticking to the pan as though it had been Crazy Glued on and then immediately burning to a hard charred mess, followed by hours of futile attempts at cleaning it up with Barkeeper's Friend, baking soda, vinegar, green scrubbies, steel wool, oven cleaner, chisels, etc., etc.

          Nothing could have been further from the truth.

          As my initial attempt, I decided to try cooking up four boneless pork cutlets. They came out great and cleanup was a snap!

          The first thing that I noticed when using the PM pan was its incredible responsiveness. The butter in the pan melted immediately after I turned on the induction burner. (Seriously, four pats of cold butter became a pool of melted butter in seconds.) The second thing I noticed was how fast the heat spread over the whole pan, with the butter foaming up quickly and evenly over the entire bottom. When my IR thermometer read about 200C, I tossed in the cutlets. No sticking whatsoever, and they quickly developed a beautiful, perfectly even brown crust. Frankly, I was amazed at how quickly and evenly they cooked. Afterwards, the pan cleaned up easily with a soft sponge and some soap followed by a bit of Kleen King Copper and Stainless Steel Cleaner to restore its beautiful pinkish-copper glow.

          It's funny that you mention your doubts about the "frying on the frying pan's walls" comment. That was one thing that I noticed while cooking the cutlets. The PM pan is quite shallow, with very gently sloped sides (maybe about halfway between a dinner plate and a wide shallow bowl -- see attached photo). Even where the cutlets were pushed up a little onto the side walls, the fatty bits were sizzling and bubbling as vigorously as near the center. And that's on a relatively small induction burner!

          Well, I hope I didn't bore you with the long-winded descriptions above. I realize it's kind of like a recent convert preaching to a long-term believer. Just wanted to fill you in on my personal experience with the de Buyer Prima Matera frying pan.

          Thanks again!

          1. re: tanuki soup

            Hi, tanuki:

            Really glad the PM is working out for you. It is SO expensive that few adventurous folks are willing to shell out the money to even try, so they just talk out of their A**e*. Please, keep reporting!

            No boredom at all here--I like your musings, you stay on point. But I need to clarify about my cynicism about Demeyere's "frying on the walls" claim. I have no doubt whatsoever that a quality highly-conductive skillet/poelle will do this. In fact, if you get a PM saucepan, and do boils with it, I'm sure you will see the water vapor bubbles emanating from high up on the SIDES of the saucepan. What I meant as the cause of my cynicism is that a cook would actually *fry* on the dray sidewall of the frypan, i.e., out of the fat. I find Demeyere's claim in the video that their 9.5" skillet cooks like an 11" while others don't is preposterous.


            1. re: kaleokahu

              I agree -- and either way, there are plenty of skillets out there that are 1/5 the price of Demeyere and have the same "benefit".

            2. re: tanuki soup

              Your post makes me drool so much that I'm seriously thinking about getting of these for myself. On the other hand, I don't know how to justify buying yet another skillet (I have 7 already!!!) Wish they had a size that I don't already have.

              1. re: cutipie721

                Hi, cutiepie721:

                Yes, that Prima Matera certainly is attractive. And I'm sure it performs really, really well.

                You realize, don't you?, that PM is functionally the same as a Falk or Mauviel bimetal pan sitting on its very own, personal converter disk.

                I'm hoping to soon have progress to report in comparing tinned copper+disk+induction with clad+induction, both in terms of performance and energy use.

          2. Thanks. Disk bottom and full clad designs have their advantages and disadvantages. Any other things have to do with the construction availability.

            1. I actually believe this is a video shot for Sur La Table as training -- the man speaking is from Demeyere, not Sur La Table, so I'm not sure about the "unbiased" opinion of the speaker.

              6 Replies
              1. re: mateo21

                Agree. I think tanuki comes to this conclusion because Demeyere sells both kinds of cookware (disc bottom vs full cladded), therefore they are not biased. While the information may be true, the presentation was definitely biased. The presentation is certainly biased in the sense that its goal is trying to justifying Demeyere's design decision and that any other manufacturers who sell you a full cladded stock pot is wrong.. If it the presentation was truly unbiased, then it would have probably also pointed out the cons of a full cladded frying pan and of a disk bottom stock pot, but it ddin't discuss any downside of the Demeyere's design.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  The speaker was a factory rep telling Sur la Table people how to sell his product. He's an interested party. Of course he's not impartial. That doesn't mean he's wrong, however.

                  1. re: GH1618

                    I know. I agree with you. He is definitely not unbiased, but that also does not mean he is incorrect. The information, however, is not unbiasedly presented -- if you know what I mean :)

                    I can only tell you the good things about my product and the bad things about my competitors. Yet, these information can be 100% accurate. I am just holding up certain information from you. You need look further when you listen to most politicians. :) How often do they tell you the disadvantages of their policies? There is no perfect policy. All policy decision has its pros and cons. Raising taxes... lowering taxes, you name it. Universal healthcare, not universal healthcare. A politician who is for the universal healthcare will only tell you all the potential good things about it, and one who opposed it will only tell you all the potential problems of it.

                    When Verizon FiOS sale people stop by my home several time to talk to me.... you bet they were telling me fairly accurate information, but in a very biased manner. I didn't pick the FiOS, not because they said anything inaccurate, but because all the other things they didn't say. :)

                    When you listen to the Demeyere presentation, the things he said are very reasonable, but it is a biased presentation.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      There is another one where he demonstrates waterless cooking ;)

                        1. re: SanityRemoved

                          "There is another one where he demonstrates waterless cooking ;)"

                          On the other hand I would be very surprised to see him demonstrate a Ginsu knife cutting through a can, then slicing a tomato so thin you can see through it. That French accent just would not cut it.

                2. I did find the logic between saucepans and the saucier interesting. It appears in DeMeyere's logic that a saucepan is basically a small stock pot and a saucier is what should be used for sauces.

                  I can understand the rationale for their saucepan design if you used for stocks or relatively clear (mostly water) sauces . However it does force one to purchase a saucier when one wants a creamier sauce to change relatively en masse. Take a bechamel for example, I find that the additional heat coming from the side walls is beneficial as it reduces the amount of cool areas in the sauce therefore bringing the sauce to completion sooner.

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: SanityRemoved

                    Of course you're supposed to buy two pots! They are selling pots. I do like my saucier, though.

                    1. re: SanityRemoved

                      I believe their argument is that the disc bottom saves energy, especially for stocks that are supposed to simmer for hours. The lower heat loss is also saves time when bringing liquids to a boil over high heat.

                      Thick sauces (particularly emulsions) are heat sensitive, and should typically just be brought up to temperature rather than simmer for a long time. An cladded design is preferable, as it will heat the contents more evenly.

                      That's not all there is to cookware design though. For stocks, a tall narrow vessel is preferable, as a small surface will lead to less evaporation. When reducing sauces through evaporation, a wide shallow pan is better because increased surface area will speed up the evaporation process.

                      The very best pot for stock making is a pressure cooker with a spring loaded valve. Demeyere's PC looks like it will work perfectly for that.

                      There really isn't a single design that is best for all cookware. I would have liked to see Demeyere offer some cladded pots with a flat bottom though.

                      1. re: torso

                        I haven't looked at the video, so maybe it doesn't come across there, but the Demeyere sauciers have flat bottoms; it's just that the sides curve smoothly into the flat bottoms. I assume the same thing is true for their cladded skillets.

                        1. re: ellabee

                          I guess I view them differenttly. To me they have a curved bottom, but I guess it might be more accurate to say that they have curved sides. What I really want is a wider bottom. The cladded construction seems better for jam making. That's an application that requires both high and even heat.

                        2. re: torso

                          Hi, torso:

                          "For stocks, a tall narrow vessel is preferable, as a small surface will lead to less evaporation."

                          Well, I think that is *one* reason tall & narrow is advantageous, but IMO it's not the chief advantage. The big advantage is keeping the water-to-solids ratio low while keeping the solids immersed. It's really the same principle as sizing a braising vessel to the cut or joint. Therefore, unless I've missed a tall & narrow pressure cooker, I'm somewhat skeptical that pressure-cooking stock in a wider-than-tall PC is ideal.

                          I'm also of the opinion that a burble at the extreme low-end of the boiling scale is a necessary, if not sufficient, element of`an excellent stock.

                          There is also the downside of evaporation to consider (which I think may be the *real* reason PCs make good stock, since they minimize it). I have been slowly working my way through Mary Middleton Rutledge Fogg's "The Cook's Own Book" (1832), and she makes a very strong and sensible case for covering stock while it is cooking. It makes me wonder if the turkey perfume I was putting into my Thanksgiving kitchen with my uncovered (diluted) stock would have been better put *into* my gravy.

                          Another thing to consider for stock is the "bulged" sort of pot configuration that Ruffoni has popularized, although it doesn't necessarily solve the "right sized pot" problem. This configuration requires spilt chucks to turn, so we will not be seeing many other options in this shape anytime soon.


                          1. re: kaleokahu

                            You're right about sizing. I was too lost in theory to think of such things. I wouldn't believe the shape of a PC matters much when operating under pressure, apart from sizing (heh). What does matter is that it doesn't release much vapour, but pressure also matters. I only got mine recently (Kuhn Rikon), and from my experience so far it is mostly different and only a little better than conventionally cooked stock. Bolognese also seems to benefit from the PC treatment, but I'll have to keep modifying the recipe to make it turn out less wet due to the limited evaporation...

                            I do believe that turkey perfume would have been better somewhere else than in the kitchen air, but it might not make a big difference if it was in the gravy. I always find that going for a walk and returning just in time for dinner makes it taste better than if I've been close to it while cooking. Might be the same reason that everyone else's cooking tastes better than my own, but those people are claiming the opposite. Another win for the PC, as it doesn't release much smell into the air.

                        3. re: SanityRemoved

                          I have both clad and disk bottomed Demeyere Atlantis pieces, and they are some of my favorite pots. I would never use a disk bottomed saucepan for bechemel. My disk bottomed pans serve other purposes.

                          For long cooking sauces, like tomato sauce, my favorite pots are disk construction with very thick bottoms. You could put a Le Creuset Dutch oven side-by-side with a Paderno Grand Gourmet or Sambonet Rondeaux, and you will notice that the tomato sauce NEVER burns on the bottom of the Paderno or the Sambonet, (as long as you don't set it too high, of course), while you will find a little tomato burn circle on the bottom of the LC, no matter how much you lower the burner setting. I've often wondered if the very thick 5 to 7 mm bottom of these Italian manufacturers were designed with tomato sauce in mind. Clad just doesn't cut it for this application. It gets the same burn circle as the LC. Even my beloved clad Demeyere saucier did this when I tried making a smaller amount in it. It burns just like the LC after a long time simmering.

                          Of course the guy in the video is hawking pots. So are the sales people from every other manufacturer when they preach about the superiority of their tri-ply, clad, disk bottomed, non-stick, anodized, convenient glass lids, etc. Different strokes for different folks, I suppose.

                          1. re: RGC1982

                            Well, there you go. Thick disk bottoms are LESS likely to scorch.
                            Thanks! RGC.

                            1. re: dixiegal

                              Yes, that's right. But these are very thick disk bottoms, not your average cheap pot. I have turned to them exclusively for this use, as they perform so well. The Paderno has a 5 mm disk, which is quite visible from the outside, and the Sambonet has a 7 mm disk. The sides are pretty good, but not as thick as the walls of Demeyere clad. I guess the very thick bottom prevents scorching better than the more uniformly made (and therefore, thinner-bottomed) Demeyere clad saucier.

                              1. re: RGC1982

                                Most of the European disk bottom pots (haven't used Paderno, though they look to be the same way from the pictures) don't have disks that extend to the side. This is fine as long as you don't use too much flame, but can cause problems, esp. with sauciƩres, skillets, and sautoirs.

                                To me, there are cases where disk bottoms are not inferior, but I haven't seen any cases so far where a good quality, heavy duty fully clad pan isn't at least as good.