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May 5, 2012 05:35 PM

Windsor pans or saucers for sauces? I'm confused.

I'm making sauces galore. I see descriptions of the Windsor and the saucier pans matching almost word for word. What gives?

I cook 99% of the time for two.

Finally, as to design. I'm not going to buck a century(?) of evidence, but doesn't the broader the base the quicker the reduction. I don't know the physics; I can't figure out how the sloping sides make up for it. (Something goes on similarly in coal and nuke generators, I guess.)


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  1. I don't know who uses a Windsor pan — I suspect it's mostly a nostalgia thing — but my saucier is my favorite pan. The rounded corners make mixing easier, especially with a whisk, and the aluminum body (lined with SS) carries the heat up the sides.

    1. In a sense, the Windsor and the Saucier are almost identical pans. The common nomenclature doesn't help, but when you think of them by their other, less common, names the relation is more clear. The windsor is sometimes called a "splayed sauteuse evasee" and the saucier is sometimes called a "curved (or "curved-splayed") sauteuse evasee." The point is that they are very much the same type of pan, but the side-wall geometry differs a bit.

      I find the saucier ever-so-slightly better for stirring purposes, because the curved walls match up with a stirring spoon best. There is no place in the saucier that my wooden spoon doesn't easily reach when I stir the pan. But this is a very minimal difference. Both pans provide easy access to the inside for stirring, and both evaporate well. My windsor and saucier get used about the same (one is a 3 qt and one is a 2 qt)--I choose between them based on factors entirely unrelated to side-wall geometry.

      In the end, the Saucier and the Windsor accomplish much the same thing--they increase the surface area of the liquid in the pan to increase rate of evaporation, thereby increasing the rate of reduction. Think of it this way: if you pour a cup of water into a 10" frying pan and a cup of water into a standard 1 Qt saucepan. If all other things are equal (pan conductivity, BTU's, etc), the water in the frying pan will evaporate away much quicker than the water in the sauce pan. This is simply because the frying pan provides the water a greater surface area.

      Hope this helps!


      1. Although similar, I think you will find more Windsor pans in a wider variety of sizes. Windsors tend to take up less real estate due to their height.

        I use Windsor pans and and a saucier. :)

        1. Surface area and reduction rate are only part of the sauce making story. Not all sauce call for much reduction. Ease of stirring covering the bottom is also relevant. And in some cases, sides that reduce splash and spilling are valuable. And for large volumes of sauces, it may be better to use a deep pan that matches the burner, than a shallower one that extends well beyond the burner.

          1. I'd never be with out a Windor pot. They are not as convenient for stirring but not all sauces need that much attention and the sides of a Windsor get more heat allowing a reduction to take place more rapidly.
            I have and like both but my Saucier does get used a bit more frequently.