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Best type of Cookware Design for Pasta/Stock Pots?

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I am in need of a new pot for (mostly) cooking pasta, and trying to decide on what type of design would be best for my purposes. Looking for a 10 - 12 qt tall slim size. I could also use the pot for making stock (but I rarely make that much stock at a time) or for canning. Basically the main purpose of this pot will be to bring water to a boil quickly on an electric coil stove top.

Would it be better to get a disk-bottom style, something like a Sitram with copper bottom? Or get a cheap bare aluminum stock pot from a restaurant supply store?

In terms of thermal material design, which would bring large amounts of water to a boil more quickly?

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  1. It's really all about BTU's, not pan material. That being said, I have used a Sitram "Professional/Profeserie" with the disc bottom for years without complaint for what you will use it for. Buy the diameter that fits your largest burner. Pay a small premium for a disc bottom Sitram "style" so you can use it for more then just water and stock.

    For canning, get a ~40qt model you store in the garage, garden shed, barn, ..... and get a 6~8 quart for your pasta and stock that is the same diameter as your largest burner and you'll be satisfied with your purchase with nominal cost.

    1. Here's an alternative similar to the Sitram of the same size.

      http://www.foodservicewarehouse.com/m...

      I agree that BTUs are the main thing. The high-tech pots in large sizes are a lot more money for little, if any, value.

      For boiling water canning, nothing works any better that the old-fashioned Granite Ware, which has the advantage of coming with a rack designed for mason jars. Canning without that rack would be a lot more trouble, I think. You would have to adapt something to hold the jars off the bottom, and use a gripper to lift the jars out one by one. So I would say a stainless stock pot with an aluminum disk bottom of about 12 qts for soup and stocks, and a separate canner.

      For pasta you might want a strainer, but the stock pots with pasta strainers designed to fit them tend be expensive. Here's a cheaper alternative which can be usec with any sufficiently large pot:

      http://www.chefsresource.com/42925.html

      1. With a large amount of water, the pot material will not make much difference. The time required to heat the water is a lot longer than the time required to heat the pot.

        1. Any name brand 18/10 SS pot will do. You're just boiling water and making stock. Get a thick disk bottom that will prevent warping. Warping shouldn't even be an issue if you have liquid in the pot.

          1. For just boiling water, probably a disc bottom will do just fine. Copper bottom or aluminum bottom works just as fine.

            1. Hi, Seitan:

              For simply boiling in the 10-12Q range on a home electric hob, the thinner and cheaper the better.

              But there is a lot more involved in making stock and soups. Scorchable things started at the bottom can easily do so in thin pans, and as the viscosity of the contents goes up, so will the peril of scorching in a thin pan. Chili or chowder, for examples, would not be worry-free jobs in such a pot. So I would counsel against going uber-cheap except with a dedicated canner or pasta boiler. I think you're on the right track with a disk-bottomed stocker.

              Aloha,
              Kaleo

              1. Hmmm...that's odd. I've tested disk bottom pots against clad pots and noticed a substantial difference between the two designs in terms of conductivity in bringing water to a boil. Now people are telling me pot material and design makes little difference?

                Let me put things slightly differently then. I'm interested in shaving a minute (or two, or three) off the amount of time it takes to bring water to a boil in a 10 - 12 qt stock pot on an electric coil burner at highest setting. I pay utility bills. Time is money.

                So for any mechanical engineers out there, what would be the best choice of material and design (apart from all copper)..

                Disk bottom, or clad, or straight gage?

                If disk bottom... copper or aluminum?

                If straight gage... a thin stainless steel, or bare aluminum?

                Or any other suggestions.

                5 Replies
                1. re: Seitan

                  This test is somewhat relevent: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rc...

                  With large quantities of water, most of the heat transfer is by convection, there is little heat lost in heating the pot. In theory a disk bottom would loose less heat on the side wall to atmosphere than a fully clad pot, however, the difference is going to be minimal as far as the amount of energy that's consumed. Using the example in the link, you could boil water inefficiently for about 10 years before you broke even on the cost of a new pot.

                  If you really want to save electricity, switch from incandesent lighting to LED lighting, the payback is only a couple of years. You can replace a 100+ watt bulb with the same amount of light and only 10 watts of power. That's a 10 fold change, you can't make a 10 fold change in how much energy you use to boil water unless you change heat sources, and even then you can't make a 10 fold change. Gas would be somewhat better, induction, maybe just a little better yet, but not significant enough to justify the cost based solely on energy cost.

                  1. re: Seitan

                    "I've tested disk bottom pots against clad pots and noticed a substantial difference between the two designs in terms of conductivity in bringing water to a boil."

                    We've read about that test in another thread. In my opinion, your results are not significant, for reasons stated there.

                    1. re: Seitan

                      You might want to consider the less-water-cooked-in-a-sauce-pan method of doing pasta. Some people one this board says it works fine.

                      1. re: Seitan

                        How much money would a minute in boil time save?

                        An 8" burner is rated at 2600 w, so in a minute is consumes about 0.043 kWh. At 12c/kWh (a recent US average) that's half a cent. So with pasta twice a week you would save 50 cents in a year.

                        1. re: Seitan

                          Hi, Seitan:

                          "I'm interested in shaving a minute (or two, or three) off the amount of time it takes to bring water to a boil in a 10 - 12 qt stock pot on an electric coil burner at highest setting. I pay utility bills. Time is money."

                          If this is just a boiling time=money race, you might also consider one of the larger 110V tea kettles. You might need a second one (or a lesser amount of water heating in your pasta pot), and would have to pour, but I think this is a viable way to the tape.

                          Either that or (a) get a new gas cooktop (and hood, and fan, and fire suppression) with dramatically greater output; or (b) an induction cooktop with a 3600W coil.

                          Aloha,
                          Kaleo

                        2. I use the Cuisinart 12 qt multi pot for most of the things you listed. For BWB canning, I used a 20 quart aluminum pot I got at the hardware store for almost 20 years. Now I just use my pressure canner for BWB, if I'm not pressure canning at the same time.

                          1. Great ideas from everyone, thanks a lot.

                            @mikie

                            Already done all those energy saving ideas, but thanks; you looked at the situation very logically.

                            @GH

                            That's the most recent test, not the test I was referring to. It was an earlier one using Demeyere Atlantis pans which were significantly faster at boiling water.

                            @paulj

                            Thanks, somehow I got it in my head the range elements were costing me more. Must be something else I'm using then.

                            @kaleo

                            Good sugestions.

                            Seems like I'll either go with a disk bottom stock pot and/or that blanching basket idea.

                            1. I had to buy a new pasta pot when I got induction. Buying the pot was much easier than getting the cooktop ordered and installed, so I used my new Le Crueset stockpot on the electric stove for about a month. I was shocked at how much faster it boiled water than the Williams Sonoma brand stainless pot that had a thick disc on the bottom. (the stainless did not work on the induction, although my AllClad stainless does)

                              Best of all, the LC stockpot was only $45 (possibly on sale a bit). Handles got hot, though.