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$1500-2000 to spend on a set of copper pots what would you buy?

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Tin or SS? A set or pieces? Mauviel 2.5 or Bourgeat? French or American made?* I am replacing my Calphalon hard anodized sets completely and my husband has offered to spring for copper as long as I can keep it in the $1500-2000 range. I realize that I may need to purchase other pieces along the way but I want to get enough of a set now that I can pass on what I have to my son who is leaving for college next year (better to have the Calphalon hand me downs than nothing) and not have to mix and match. I cook for 4 most days but like to do a lot of entertaining. I am, what I like to think of as, an above average cook but not a professional chef by any means. I probably know very little actual "technique" and just cook in the pan/pot that seems right so please tell me why you recommend a certain item (such as a stew pot for chili, etc.). I have a dutch oven and three cast iron skillets of different sizes already and I can hold on to my roasting pan for hoildays and such as my son definitely won't be needing that anytime soon. Thank you ahead of time to those that respond. I have been lurking for a while and finally decided to post a bit and I see that there are several of you that are vey helpful and kind with suggestions!

*I ask this because I prefer to buy anything I can American made if the quality is there but I cannot really find much info on the Hammersmith copperware adn though I emailed the company with questions I haven't heard back yet. As for Falk, I just don't like the brushed copper. I understand that they are easier to keep looking nice but I prefer the shiny finish of the Mauviel or even the hammered pieces. I know, I sound like a monkey "shiny, shiny!" That's what I like and these pots will be pretty well on display as my kitchen has hit capacity for storage (pot rack or behind glass panel cabinet doors).

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  1. Bourgeat is supposed to be the best. http://www.amazon.com/Matfer-915901-B...

    1. Hi, mandy:

      Oooh, spending somebody else's money... Doesn't get much better than that!

      For $1500-$2000 you can do really well. I think the Hammersmith pans are quite nice, and considering their retinning guarantee, quality, and USA manufacture, they are actually a bargain. I'm surprised Mac or Jeff haven't gotten back to you. Did you email them at http://www.brooklyncoppercookware.com/ ?

      For just a little more than $1500, you could get their 6Q casserole, the 11" saute, and 1.5 and 3.25Q saucepans. If you add the 9" gratin, it'd be $1735, and for the full $2000 you could add either the larger gratin or the smaller saute. I would suggest the pans in the order of priority listed. In fact, if you would be ordering so many pieces, it wouldn't hurt to ask them for some discount (or maybe free lids for saucepans and saute).

      That's for tinned (which I prefer). By the time you order tinned pans from Dehillerin or Mazzetti, the shipping would kill you. But buy USA if you can, I say. The alternative is to wait for a large set of vintage pieces to come up on eBay. They do come up, but not frequently.

      For SS-lined, your choices are basically Falk, Bourgeat and Mauviel. They are all very good. I don't like the Mauviel handles. The Falk are OK, and the Bourgeat are nice. But these bimetal pans can delaminate and salt-pit, and if that happens then you're sunk--no repair possible. Is it important to you to use metal utensils or to scour the interiors with abrasives? If so, go with the bimetal pans. The 8-pc. (really only 4 pans) Bourgeat set is available for $1320, but it doesn't have a saute and only one saucepan; but the rondeau is nice, and it has a saucier.

      If you like Falk but hate the finish, something to consider is either (a) asking Michael Harp if he'll special-order you a set that is not brushed; or (b) having the finish polished out after purchase. I think in either case you'd have to pay someone to mirror-finish.

      Have Fun,
      Aloha,
      Kaleo

      7 Replies
      1. re: kaleokahu

        Hi Kaleokahu, I was hoping you would reply ;) I emailed Hammersmith through their website and called but no one answered the phone? In fairness it may have been closing time when I called (after 5pm). I will try again in the morning. I am really feeling the pull of Hammersmith as I do my best to buy local and American if the quality is there. I would like to know what custom items they can do also. If I do not go with Hammersmith it will probably be Mauviel. I'm just not feeling the Falk. The list of pans you gave is very close to what I wanted so I'm glad to know I am on the right track! Retinning doesn't scare me, I accept that as part of it but my husband seems to think SS is the way to go (though he doesn't cook at all) because it sounds no/low maintenance. Thank you so much for your help!

        1. re: kaleokahu

          Ever since Kaleo told me about Brooklyn Copper, I've known that those were the copper pots I'd buy if I were to ever go pot shopping again (or if someone drops a few spare Gs on me).

          1. re: Jay F

            Jay F-

            I have been working with Mac at Brooklyn Copper to put together my "must have" set and hopefully will get them some time within the next few weeks! Mac has been great to work with and he has taken an extraordinary amount of time to go over details with me (even discussing some possible custom pieces). Please give them a call if you ever consider pot dealing again--see what I did there ;)

            1. re: mandymoo

              I am so glad to hear this, Mandy. I think Kaleo will be, too.

              Custom copper...<sigh>

              1. re: mandymoo

                Hi, Mandy:

                Please post photos of everything when you get your pans from Mac and Jeff, so that everyone can drool.

                These guys deserve all the publicity we can give them. In this case, Buying American is an easy and fantastic choice.

                Aloha,
                Kaleo

                1. re: kaleokahu

                  I plan to do just that! I'm getting really excited and the pans aren't even technically on the way yet :)

                  1. re: kaleokahu

                    I'm thinking 4 qt. saucepan, maybe a 3 qt. saute pan.

            2. I have mauviel, mostly stainless steel and a couple of tin. You will be polishing a lot if you like things shiny all the time. Falk are apparently more forgiving in this respect.

              If you buy tin, you will eventually have to re-tin them.... due to to wear or mistakes leaving it on the cooker. Stainless steel may pit, but I have never seen it with my pans. If you search for "Delamination of copper and ss" on the internet, you will only find people saying it can happen, but no actual cases of it happening, which makes it more theory than anything.

              Tin is less sticky and you can get thicker pans which is a bonus, although I can't tell the difference with my cooking and I do delicate French sauces with either.

              I think you will be happy with any of the top grade copper out there. Just make sure you don't buy less than 2.5mm thick, or anything with a brass handle.

              17 Replies
              1. re: Fumet

                Thank you for the response! Mauviel is definitely a contender. My husband is OCD (yes, he really is) so I have no worries that the copper will be polished and as shiny as it can realistically be!

                1. re: mandymoo

                  way to look on the bright side ;)

                2. re: Fumet

                  Hi, Fumet: "...you will only find people saying it can happen, but no actual cases of it happening, which makes it more theory than anything."

                  Well, from recently: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/873447 Yes, it's got an extra layer of SS on the outside, but the principle is the same--the coefficients of expansion are different enough that a serious overheating will do this. Here's a case of serious pitting through the lining: http://www.natural-health-guide.com/i... alk specifically disclaims salt-piting from its waranty--why if it never happens?

                  I'll ask Mac for a photo of a delaminated Falk--I'm not sure Mr. Harp would give me one....

                  If you don't think this happens, put one of your Mauviel bimetals on a high hob empty and go walk the dog. If it survives 15 minutes, I'll be shocked.

                  Aloha,
                  Kaleo

                  1. re: kaleokahu

                    This is one of my fears! If I melt the tin it can be fixed, the SS has to be thrown away. I am the poster child for Murphy's Law....

                    1. re: mandymoo

                      Hi, again, Mandy: "I am the poster child for Murphy's Law...."

                      Oh, I'm sure it's not as bad as that.

                      A couple of things to bear in mind. First, realistically, it would take *serious* abuse to tank a bimetal pan. But there is no fixing one if it happens. Second, my experience has been that it's harder than most people think to truly toast a tin lining; tin is far more durable and forgiving than typically gets opined here (mostly by people who don't use it).

                      I think the tin v. SS thing comes down to: Do you want the durability edge and the convenience/look of bimetal, or are you a traditionalist? In the 2- 2.5mm grade, the performance stepdown for SS is slight. Are you a clean freak, or does the idea of a grey mottled look bother you?

                      You appear to have an adequate budget, and that bespeaks of buying a set or all-at-once. But there are single, vintage pans out there of higher quality than anything presently being made. If you buy piecemeal, and don't mind a learning curve and scrounging a bit,, your $2,000 could go very far, indeed.

                      Aloha,
                      Kaleo

                    2. re: kaleokahu

                      Hi,

                      I have left one of my pans for about 15 mins on high and it was fine. Too hot to touch, all the way through the handle, but fine. The cooker is not Mega powerful, but it was on high. I guess it may eventually delaminate, but I know it is more durable than you suggest. I have never had trouble with my tin either.... maybe I am lucky.

                      If I ever need to replace a pan, I can use the money I saved from not retinning. For the tin pans, I can just get them retinned. I don't think the deciding factor is cost in the long run. As you said already .. its more about tradition vs durability, clean freak or not, etc. The op will likely be happy with any high end copper option.

                      As for specific pans, first get the ones where copper can shine. Saute, saucier, windsor, saucepan - in as many sizes as you need. Don't bother with stock frying pans or large oven bound pots - other materials are better in my opinion, and will also look good hanging.

                    3. re: Fumet

                      "If you search for "Delamination of copper and ss" on the internet, you will only find people saying it can happen, but no actual cases of it happening, which makes it more theory than anything"

                      Fear mongering run amuck. You have to love the sheer foolishness of suggesting you leave a pot on the burner empty for 15 minutes and walk away. If you did that with a tin lined pot the copper would warp and you'd have a messy goop of tin. Abuse any thing and you can kill it. SS lining is soooooo much easier to care for, safer and far more cost effective in the end.
                      Tin and SS lined copper both have their strengths. I would suggest mixing it up and not going with strictly one or the other so you can see for yourself which you prefer. Pick SS lining for pots you will use daily and tin for a rondeau or stock pot.

                      1. re: TraderJoe

                        Hi, TJ: "If you did that with a tin lined pot the copper would warp and you'd have a messy goop of tin."

                        Actually no, or at least not always. I have, three times now, boiled the same tinned copper saucepan dry for about that length of time (15 undisturbed minutes--the pan was glowing dull red and the smoke detector triggered), and the pan not only hasn't warped, but there was no melted tin. The lining got very dark, but there is still no exposed copper, and the tin is intact. The only visible effect that looks like melting happened at the *horizontal* surface of the rim--two tiny blisters. Maybe I was just lucky--all three times.

                        The salient point is that if you abuse a tin-lined pan to the point of lining failure, you save the pan and retin. Whereas if you salt-pit or otherwise abuse a bimetal pan to lining failure, it's a total loss.

                        Aloha,
                        Kaleo

                        1. re: kaleokahu

                          Keeps it real.
                          Straight from the manufacturer;

                          "To protect the tin lining from damage, do not heat the pot empty or at temperatures above 450°F"

                          1. re: TraderJoe

                            Hi, TJ:

                            Yes, of course that's what they say, but those warnings are oversimplified.

                            I'm not saying heating past 450F empty is something you *should* do. What I am saying is that I've done it, several times, without the "warping" and "puddle of tin" you state as a certain outcome.

                            It's also my experience that you can go well past 450F with food in a properly-sized tinned pan. E.g., a 500F roast is really no problem if the roast/aromatics occupy the bottom.

                            Note what the quoted warning does *not* say, i.e., that warping will occur. I have handled hundreds of veteran tinned pans and never seen one warped by a hob or subsequent quenching. This contrasts with aluminum and cast iron, where the % of warped pans is significant. I *have* seen very old (and typically very thin) pans that have sagged from decades of unsupported hearth cooking. And even with these, simply pressing them back usually sets them right.

                            Aloha,
                            Kaleo

                            1. re: kaleokahu

                              I think it's highly unlikely you would delaminate a SS lined copper pot as suggested. A tin lined pot will suffer damage far sooner than a SS lined one and there's no way around that. I've sent a ton of copper out over the years out for re-tinning. I've never even seen a single delaminated SS lined copper pot IRL.
                              That's just a little bit of marketing fluff from a particular pot maker to promote what they make - Tin lined copper.
                              The bottom line is that tin will need to be relined with normal use.
                              SS lined copper will never delaminate or require re-lining with normal use and you don't consume tin as it degrades or any of the impurities in tin.
                              In either event I would really hate to have just one or the other. IMO variety really is the spice of life with cook ware.

                              1. re: TraderJoe

                                <I think it's highly unlikely you would delaminate a SS lined copper pot as suggested. A tin lined pot will suffer damage far sooner than a SS lined one and there's no way around that>

                                I think this is very accurate. Tin is already a soft metal, and it has a low melting point of 232 oC. Somewhere between room temperature and 232 oC, the tin is already flowing around on a pan. Whereas stainless steel lined copper pot won't be delaminated at 232 oC.

                                However, the counterargument is that there is no way to fix a stainless steel lined copper cookware when it delaminates, whereas it is possible and quiet easier to fix a melted tin copper pot -- even though it will be expensive.

                                1. re: TraderJoe

                                  Hi, TJ:

                                  I've never delaminated a bimetal pan personally, but I don't think it's as unicorn-like as you suggest. Try Googling "delaminated Revereware" or "delaminated All-Clad". Falk covers "normal wear" delamination, so they must recognize it can happen, too. The coefficients of linear thermal expansion are just too different to expect immortality of a clad pan subjected to very high heat.

                                  IMO, the lion's share of the retinning market is fixing wear-throughs. Of the tons you've sent out, were there many melted linings?

                                  Between salt-pitting and years of stirring steel-on-steel, it is entirely plausible that the 2/10 of a mm SS lining will also wear through, at which point the bimetal pan is done.

                                  But hey, use what you like.

                                  Aloha,
                                  Kaleo

                                  1. re: kaleokahu

                                    Hey Kaleo,

                                    "Between salt-pitting and years of stirring steel-on-steel, it is entirely plausible that the 2/10 of a mm SS lining will also wear through, at which point the bimetal pan is done."

                                    Nah. Just slap a coat of tin over that worn-through stainless, and you'd be good to go for another decade!

                                    Jeremy

                                    1. re: jljohn

                                      Hi, Jeremy, HNY!

                                      Put. The. Tin. In. The. Hazmat. Bin. And. Run.

                                      Tinning steel? Well, then Waxman & Co. would sic the EPA on you--all that lead, dontchankow? And then you couldn't cook acidic foods, and it'd puddle, and be "damaged", and the hob can't go 1F past 437... [head explodes].

                                      Makes perfect sense, though. Was a time when tinned steel was de rigueur. We must've lost a lot of good folks to that evil tin.

                                      In this vein, did you hear that it was actually lead poisoning that finally got Julia Child? Two days shy of age 92, in the flower of youth. Lamentably, she missed the memo on not cooking tomatoes, deglazing with wine, poaching fruits, etc. in (shudder!) tin.

                                      Aloha,
                                      Kaleo

                                    2. re: kaleokahu

                                      "Falk covers "normal wear" delamination"

                                      As does Mauviel with a life time warranty so at least based on my experience and in the context of this thread I see delamination as a complete non issue.

                                      1. re: TraderJoe

                                        I think delamination in SS lined copper is a non issue. I have never heard of it happening. The few places I have seen it argued are based in tri ply or bi metal, which is a different issue.

                                        Copper is ductile, which means it is easily formed. The expansion differences between copper and SS should be compensated by the copper stretching and shrinking. That is what is does with its tin lining. JMO

                        2. So far, everything that I have read here addresses buying new pans or waiting for some kind of set to come up on ebay. Are you opposed to creating a pan list and hunting them down one-by-one on ebay or craigslist? If you are up for this approach (it should only take a month or two to gather the essentials, but it could take a year or more to find everything you want), then you could probably get about 7-10 thick (at least 2.5mm and upwards of 3mm where needed) tin-lined copper pans for your budget.

                          Here's a basic copper lineup (I also use cast iron or carbon steel for frying, so you won't see any copper frying pans here), as it pertains to used tin-lined copper:

                          Sautes (1-2 pans): I would get an 11" first and follow it up with a 9.5" or a 10". I often find myself using two at the same time. These appear regularly in 3+mm thickness.

                          Saucepans, Windsors, and Saucieres (2-3 pans with lids): I would get something on the order of a 1Qt, 2Qt, and 3Qt (or a 1.5 Qt and a 3Qt). They could all be traditional saucepans or they could all be of a splayed variety, but I like having smaller saucepans and at least one 2 or 3 quart windsor or sauciere for making sauces and reductions. These (both as plain saucepans and as windsors) are regularly available in thicknesses ranging from 2.5mm to over 3mm.

                          Casseroles or Dutch Ovens (1-2 pans with lids): At a minimum, I'd get a 5.5-6 Qt Casserole. Cooking for 4, and especially if you like to double recipes, I'd also look for something larger--maybe in the 8-10 quart range. Both sizes are tremendously useful for a variety of purposes. These pans will probably be the hardest to find if you want thick copper. 2mm or 2.5mm won't be too hard, but it will take some patience to find anything in excess of 3mm.

                          Stock Pot (1 pan with lid): This is probably the lowest priority, but keep an eye open for a stockpot. They regularly are available in 12Qt (9.5"x9.5") in 2mm-2.3mm for reasonable prices.

                          Roasting (1-2 pans): Lastly, consider a pan or two for in-oven use. Maybe a roaster or a gratin, or perhaps one of each.

                          When I first started with copper, I was very hesitant to buy this way, but after one or two 'retail' purchases, I decided to start looking at vintage stuff, because (a) I could get much thicker copper, and (b) because my dollar went much further. Also, other than Hammersmith, there really aren't any domestic options for copper. But, with buying used, I have purchased almost all my pans from domestic dealers and when I've needed to have any retinned, I've sent them to domestic re-tinners, so I figure I'm supporting U.S. businesses at two levels this way!

                          I hope this is helpful!

                          Jeremy

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: jljohn

                            I'd start with this (2.5mm Mauviel Cuprinox, new old stock):

                            http://www.ebay.com/itm/Heavy-Weight-...

                            That set would cost over $2,000 from buycoppercookware.com, but here it is new for less than half price. Then I'd add a casserole, saute, windsor, etc as they become available. Very good deals do pop up, but you have to know what you're looking at. Buy the SS, inherit the tin. I've severely abused my bi-metal pans for years, and other than a few dings on the lids, they show no signs of delaminating, pitting, or anything else. I even put them in the dishwasher.

                          2. Thank you all for the responses. You have given me a lot to think about!

                            1. If you use the collect it over time approach, in my collecting since the early 1970s I have picked up, one treasure at a time and in this order, a 9 1/2 inch sauté, a 12" oval fry pan, a 6" sauce, a 7 1/2" sauce, a 9 1/2" casserole, a 9" sauce, a ceramic insert Bain Marie, a large roaster, a small sugar pan, a 9" round gratin, a 12" fry pan, and a pomme vapeur. The only ones with SS are the small sauce and the roaster. If I had it all to do over I'd get the small sauce with tin. SS rocks for a roaster as you can let drippings get brown and deglaze with aggressive use of a Delbor whisk. The oval skillet and small sauce get the least use, although the 12" fry is getting second billing to a 14" DeBuyer fry pan. The pomme vapeur, a lark purchased with a gift certificate, actually gets used a fair amount, as does the Bain Marie, although we all know that both don't really need to be copper. Most pieces are heavy copper, likely Mauviel badged for various stores. While I believe that lighter copper still beats the socks off of anything clad, including All Clad, the very heavy stuff is far better and the iron handles are far more user friendly than brass. For sheer scenic beauty a copper fish poacher would be lovely but my old tinned steel one works fine and was dirt cheap on eBay. My next copper target is a big heavy stockpot.

                              1. I went with a set from Falk. I like the brushed finish...as I am not one to polish my cookware. It is very well made, and I am quite happy with its performance.

                                12 Replies
                                1. re: wabi

                                  My copper cookware has been collected over the past 30 years, a few new pieces but mostly used. E bay is a good source, but you need to be knowledgeable as to what you are buying. Don't be afraid to ask questions. If you want to buy American, your choices are Hammersmith. As far as I know, they are the last remaining manufacturer in the US.

                                  One thing in the tin vs SS controversy which I do not often see addressed is how the cookware is going to be treated. Tin will last a years if treated properly, which means never use metal spoons or spatulas, never heating past 425 degrees, and no scrub pads on the interior. Any of these will destroy the lining instantly. For me, if I had kids or other careless users around, I would go with SS. Other than that, tin is the superior surface, although in my experience not by much.

                                  Copper has huge advantages with some applications, others not so much. Roasters and stock pots have no particular advantage. and a large roaster or stockpot weighs a ton. A big factor for many cooks. My roaster is a Costco special, and stock pot/pasta is SS. Copper skillets have their uses, but high temperature searing is best done in CI or SS. Aside from the copper melting, a large 8-10 pound skillet is difficult to toss food in.

                                  As for brands, aside from Hammersmith, Mauviel, which makes E Dehellerin, Williams Sonoma, and a host of others, is one of the best, although they now make two thicknesses, Ruffoni has some good stuff. Baumalu had some good pots early on, but expect to get them tinned early as they are electroplated, not wiped. Once retinned, they perform well.

                                  I use Rocky Mountain Retinning for retinning, He also has for sale a set of 4 high quality saucepans at a very good price. I think around $275. The lids are gone, so only the pot is available. His tinning work is very good. I have had no complaints.

                                  1. re: Bigjim68

                                    I strongly considered Falk but I have just been so pleased to this point with the help Mac has given me, and the ability to customize to an extent the items I want, that I am going with Brooklyn/Hammersmith.

                                    1. re: Bigjim68

                                      Hi Bigjime68,

                                      "Roasters and stock pots have no particular advantage."

                                      This is exactly what I thought for a long time also. Until . . .

                                      I started using my large copper casserole for my homemade chicken stock. No, I don't make the stock in the copper pot. I use it for cooling the strained stock. I realized it works a little bit better (faster) at cooling stock in a sink full of ice water than my other pots. I also use this pot for making homemade tomato sauce. Any other pot I use will have some level of scorching when making tomato sauce on the stovetop. Never in the heavy copper.

                                      I've owned a copper roasting pan for a long time now and never understood the advantages of it until this past Thanksgiving. (I purchased it because I found it dirt cheap on a clearance table years ago and didn't want to pass it up.) I made four beef roasts on Thanksgiving totaling 12 pounds. I seared them in the copper roasting pan, added my other ingredients, covered the roasting pan with foil then put it in the oven for hours. It was, indeed, heavy. However, NO other roasting pan I own (and I own many) would have been able to sear those roasts that evenly. I was truly surprised by how evenly they browned.

                                      Now, do I think these should be priority pans for someone looking to buy copper. Absolutely not. However, these pans in copper DO have some advantages.

                                      1. re: sherrib

                                        >>Any other pot I use will have some level of scorching when making tomato sauce on the stovetop. Never in the heavy copper.<<

                                        We've frequently discussed the tendency enameled cast iron has to scorch batches of chili if left unattended for too long *because chili is viscous* (at least, I think that's the reason). Is it logical, then, to assume that since Sherri's tomato sauce doesn't scorch, that chili wouldn't scorch in a tin-lined copper pot?

                                        1. re: Jay F

                                          Hi Jay F,
                                          Some of my worst stovetop scorching has definitely occurred in enameled cast iron. It wouldn't be a problem in the oven, but the cast iron seems to retain too much of the direct heat from the stovetop. I don't make chili, so I can't answer for that, but if there's any tomato-ey dish that needs to cook for a very long time on the stovetop, I always prefer the copper.

                                          1. re: sherrib

                                            Hi, sherrib - I have had scorching in my Le Creuset, so I'm careful now (with a timer) to check every 15 minutes when I'm cooking on the stovetop with it.

                                            My tomato sauce is Marcella's Bolognese, which is texturally similar to my ground meat chili (mostly meat, tomatoes, onions, plus carrots & celery in the Bolognese). I've never had scorching with it, but I'm pretty compulsive about using the timer with it, too.

                                            But there are times when it would be nice not to have to jump up from what I'm doing every 15 minutes.

                                            I've noticed when I use my All-Clad stockpot (Dutch oven shape), even once when I let things go for half an hour or so, I've never encountered scorching, or even that sticking that presages scorching.

                                            So I'm also wondering if tri-ply is as good as tin-lined copper when it comes to non-scorching.

                                            1. re: Jay F

                                              Isn't tri ply just laminated SS with a center layer of some other metal, usually copper or aluminum? Is so, why would it scorch more or less than any other SS pot?

                                              1. re: Bigjim68

                                                I don't know. I've never used another kind of SS.

                                                I was asking about tri-ply v. enameled cast iron, which is what I have mainly used for making chili, Bolognese, etc. But since what we're actually talking about is tin-lined copper, I'm trying to see how both tin-lined copper and tri-ply compare to enameled cast iron.

                                                1. re: Bigjim68

                                                  A disk bottomed stainless pot will have relatively thin stainless walls. That's where the scorching would occur in those pots. IMO, a tri-ply like All-Clad is less prone to scorching than enameled cast iron or disk bottomed stainless.

                                          2. re: sherrib

                                            You could be right in both your experiences. The largest copper pot I have measures 12 x 6 inches, and when I make stock I make at least twice that amount. I use a pot made for clam cooking in a commercial restaurant. Cooling should be faster in copper due to the superior heat transfer. How much difference, I don't know.

                                            Searing in copper I don't do often. I use cast iron at temperatures above tin's tolerance. Just curious, do you have a tin lined roaster?

                                            1. re: Bigjim68

                                              The difference was noticeable enough that I'm always sure to cool my stock in the copper now.

                                              My roasting pan is stainless lined.

                                              I've seared in my copper frying pans as well. They're also stainless lined. They're pretty comparable to the cast iron. They've taken plenty of abuse by me. It just feels weird to put an expensive pan through that kind of torture when a much cheaper bare cast iron skillet will do it just the same. It's scary and intimidating.

                                        2. re: wabi

                                          I am kind of jealous. I would love to have a couple of Falk pieces, probably starting with a Windsor pan.

                                        3. CK - What do you think of cooking chili in enameled cast iron v. tin-lined copper v. tri-ply SS? I'm thinking about the viscosity/scorching factor in ECI.

                                          27 Replies
                                          1. re: Jay F

                                            You mean just regular chili? If you can hold the heat setting, then they should be about the same. The problem of cast iron (enameled or not) is that the heat response is slow, so most people (me included) has a tendency to crank up the heat in the beginning. Even if we try to turn down the heat later, it may be too late.

                                            So I think in practice tin lined copper will be better, and then triply SS, and then enameled cast iron -- especially when we are new to the cookware or new to the recipes. But if you are comfortable with the recipe and cookware, then you can just dial the heating setting and never change it. In which case, they should be about the same.

                                            I know this may sound like heresy, but actually a nonstick aluminum pot will work well. The nonstick surface allows the chili to move slightly more freely (because of being nonstick), and the aluminum will respond to heat very quickly. The combination of both actually will be quiet nice for chili.

                                            Yeah, chili is pretty thick, and we just have to stir every once awhile.

                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                              +1 for non-stick not scorching. Every cookware has its place in the kitchen. You have to match the food to the cookware.

                                            2. re: Jay F

                                              "What do you think of cooking chili in enameled cast iron v. tin-lined copper "

                                              Neither tomato sauce or chili should go in tin lined copper. Go with SS lined copper for that task. This is why I like to have some of each. Mauviel warns against acidic foods in tin specifically stating that it will shorten the life of the tin.

                                              "I know this may sound like heresy, but actually a nonstick aluminum pot will work well"

                                              Chem Do you mean like Calphalon anodized? If so I can tell you from first hand experience the acid in tomatos will destroy that surface eventually although probably not as fast as tin.

                                              1. re: TraderJoe

                                                <Neither tomato sauce or chili should go in tin lined copper.>

                                                I didn't know tomato sauce can destroy tin. It will discolor it, but it won't eat through the tin, right? I mean if what you said is true, then it really isn't just tomato. It will be any acidic sauces. I can think of plenty soups which are more acidic than any tomato based soups. But you may be right. Thanks for your insight.

                                                <Chem Do you mean like Calphalon anodized?>

                                                No, not really. I was thinking about typical Teflon nonstick cookware. Teflon should be very inert and stable against acidic soups.

                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                  Chem Mauviel warns against cooking with any acidic food in tin lined copper as it can prematurely deterorate the tin to the point that it will require re-lining.

                                                  TJ

                                                  1. re: TraderJoe

                                                    TJ,

                                                    Ok, if it warns against all acidic foods, then I can believe it. If it only warns against tomato, then it does not make sense to me. Thanks for your information. I will look into it. Much appreciated.

                                                    1. re: TraderJoe

                                                      With nothing to back up my opinion other than experience, I would question whether tin would be removed by using acid sauces. My chili is cooked in the aforementioned large SS lined pot, but I often make sauces in tin lined pots including wine, tomato, and vinegar sauces. Tin is not totally reactive, which is why it discolors. But I have never heard that it will react with kitchen acids. I have always believed that the tin is applied to keep the copper from reacting with acids.

                                                  2. re: TraderJoe

                                                    That's news to me, too, that tomato-based sauce will damage a tin lining. TJ, can you provide a link or other reference that details that?

                                                    I think copper is actually an excellent material for a stockpot if you're after long, slow cooking; since it transfers heat so well, better than steel or aluminum, the entire column of liquid inside a tall copper stockpot would heat very evenly, more so than in a pot made of those other materials, IMO.

                                                    I had several different-sized disks cut out of a plate of 1/4" scrap aluminum, and use them under my better quality cookware (copper, enameled cast iron) as flame-tamers/heat diffusers. The burners on my gas stove are a bit uneven, and the disks really help to prevent hot spots and consequent scorching -- I can almost ignore caramel while it's cooking in my LC French oven; never have had it stick.

                                                    Like everybody else here, I like thick-walled copper with iron handles, but, for what it's worth, years ago someone gave me a 12" brass-handled, thin-walled copper skillet, tin-lined and made by Waldow, in Brooklyn, the predecessors to Hammersmith, I believe. And the pan works really well, heats evenly and efficiently, without scorching (aluminum disk beneath); the brass handle gets hot as blazes, of course. I use it all the time. Of course I'd prefer the same pan in thicker copper, just because, but I really can't complain about the one I have.

                                                    As for the OP's question about buying copper, I've seen lots of heavy-duty stuff offered on eBay; even with shipping costs from Europe factored in, some if it is very attractively priced.

                                                    1. re: VaFrank

                                                      VaFrank, IIR you can find that info on the Mauviel site. I'm sure we all know acidic foods will alter the color of tin faster which is really just the beginning of the process.
                                                      Here's a clip from WS on their Mauviel (3mm) tin lined copper;

                                                      "Depending on the frequency of use and types of food cooked, the tin lining may eventually have to be replaced. To prolong the lining's usefulness, avoid cooking acidic ingredients in your tin-lined cookware."

                                                      My only point here is that any one putting together a set should understand the difference between SS and tin lining when considering copper. There's no reason to only have one type as both are very useful for different tasks.
                                                      What can I say. I'm in the Mix and match camp! ;)
                                                      Tin linings for me work perfect in a rondeau or stock pot but are not at all what I want in a sauce or sautee.

                                                      1. re: TraderJoe

                                                        I did a quick look and indeed acid will certainly deteriorate the tin as well as tin oxides, and the heat will speed it up the reaction. Is it something to worry about in the practice? In other words, will the acids wear the tin off much faster than the regular wear and tear, that I have no idea.

                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                          Cooking acidic foods does speed up the wear process of a tin lining and more importantly you end up with tin in your food. The Hammersmith site mentions a blip about that on their site suggesting a little extra tin in your diet is a good thing..... LOL
                                                          It's nothing to get overly excited about but it's something users should be aware of depending on what the intended use of the cookware is.
                                                          The same is very true of anodized aluminum. Tomato sauce or acidic foods will eat through that finish and I suspect it's a lot harder than tin.
                                                          It doesn't matter if we talk about knives or cookware, picking the right tool for the job is important.

                                                          1. re: TraderJoe

                                                            Hey TJ: "The Hammersmith site mentions a blip about that on their site suggesting a little extra tin in your diet is a good thing..... LOL"

                                                            Yes, and for good reasons. See, e.g., http://www.acu-cell.com/tin.html

                                                            Continuing to insinuate that trace levels of tin ingested from tinned copperware are somehow toxic doesn't make it so. All available physical, medical, epidemiological, metabolic, and nutritional evidence (and hundreds of years of culinary history) is to the contrary.

                                                            And so your insinuation that Hammersmith is encouraging consumers to poison themselves in order to sell more pans isn't funny. It's irresponsible.

                                                            Or maybe you're keeping some bombshell toxicological evidence to yourself and Waxman that would prevent all this supposed tin poisoning. LOL, indeed.

                                                            Aloha,
                                                            Kaleo

                                                            1. re: TraderJoe

                                                              Yeah, I don't think there is doubt that acid does speed up the wear of tin, but tin wears off from just cooking heat anyway, so I am not sure how much "more" the acid actually speeds this process up -- for an average cook. Maybe it is only 20% increase which does not matter much, or maybe it is 300%, which then matters a lot.

                                                              Tin in the body is not a problem. Tin is very nontoxic compare to other things.

                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                I am, of course, without any data to back this up, but my impression has been that virtually all tin leaving a tin-lined pan does so during cleaning, not cooking. Almost every pan I've ever seen that had copper showing through had the tin worn off the numbers on the rivets. That's a place that would only ever see wear during cleaning.

                                                                1. re: jljohn

                                                                  Good point too. Tin wears, and that is part of life, but it can be replaced. Expensive somewhat, but it is part of the investment. However, the cost will go up if indeed acids significantly speed up the process. I don't know.

                                                                  As I mentioned to TradeJoe, the effective upkeeing cost goes up with whatever the wear speed increases. If cooking in very acidic food speeds up the wear by 20%, then effectively the upkeeping cost increases by 20%. If wear increases by 300%, then the upkeeping cost just tripled. Of course, like TraderJoe has accurately stated, there is no set value, since everyone cook differently.

                                                                2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                  "Maybe it is only 20% increase which does not matter much, or maybe it is 300%, which then matters a lot"

                                                                  I'd say even 20% is a substantial wear factor. 1/5 of the lining life lost to choosing the wrong pan for the task is going to be pretty significant to a lot of users.
                                                                  I think it would be hard to put a number on it but clearly enough tin is damaged by acidic foods that Mauviel/WS are warning customers about it.
                                                                  To me this affect is most noticeable after tin has already started to wear. IMO it's a bit like a tire wear pattern. It may start slowly but as it wears it degrades exponentially faster.

                                                                  Toxicity aside I find it sad and amusing that any company suggests ingesting tin released from cookware is a good thing. Clearly they are telling their customers that tin does indeed wear off into food. Not being upfront about it like WS/Mauviel so people can make an informed purchase...Now THAT is irresponsible. (IMO)

                                                                  1. re: TraderJoe

                                                                    <I think it would be hard to put a number on it >

                                                                    I think I agree to this. Everyone work differently.

                                                                    <IMO it's a bit like a tire wear pattern. It may start slowly but as it wears it degrades exponentially faster.>

                                                                    Oh, I didn't know that about tire wear. :) Thanks.

                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                      All of this Copper talk has lead (PUN!) me to order a new Falk stock pot. Gotta love a company that supports the ACF!

                                                                      1. re: TraderJoe

                                                                        :) Heh heh heh. By the way, I don't think I have had the chance to ask you this. I assume that you like Trader Joe's the stores, right?

                                                                        Love to hear more about your Falk stock pot.

                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                          HAHA I know it's a kitchy handle. I found CH when I was googling parts for a Viking range and I saw a thread asking for help with a repair. I knew the answer so I signed up just to respond to that thread and TJ is the first thing that popped in my head. I guess I had shrimp gyoza on da brain!
                                                                          I'll report back when I get the Falk. Actually I ordered a 3.5 qt Mauviel Sauce pot from Amazon this evening and I'm waiting for a shipping conformation before I order the stock pot. I don't want to cheat myself out of a bigger discount from Falk if Amazon ends up being out of stock. I hope to have both by the middle of next week.

                                                                          1. re: TraderJoe

                                                                            <I signed up just to respond to that thread and TJ is the first thing that popped in my head.>

                                                                            Still, even if Trader Joe's is the first thing popped up in your mind, you don't name yourself after something you dislike. :) For example, I cannot imagine I sign myself up as "TacoBell". :P

                                                                            1. re: TraderJoe

                                                                              TJ, what made you decide to go Falk for the stock pot and Mauviel for the saucepan?

                                                                              1. re: iyc_nyc

                                                                                The Falk Stock pot was over $100 less and a better shape for what I wanted this time. I also like owning all brands and both SS and tin lined copper.

                                                                                1. re: TraderJoe

                                                                                  Makes sense - thanks!

                                                                      2. re: TraderJoe

                                                                        This is crazy. Where's the data? Where is there *any* report of anyone complaining that their tomato sauce, coq au vin, etc. "damages" the tin lining fast/faster/at all? This "wear factor" might as well be imagined to be 2,000% or 0.0002%.

                                                                        On the one hand, you dismiss even the *possibility* that a bi-metal pan can delaminate (even though Falk specifically mentions it in their warranty). To do so, you resort to the fallacy of never having seen it happen.

                                                                        Yet on the other, you seize on Mauviel's mention that acidic foods may shorten the times between retinning, ignoring the absence of reported evidence, and pronounce that somehow this makes a tinned pan "the wrong pan for the task".

                                                                        Your latest pronouncement about exponential degradation is equally unsupported--not to mention contrary to the laws of physics.

                                                                        Speaking of the "best tool for the job", where are you buying your SS-lined hotel-grade (3mm and above) copperware? Can you point me to someone who makes it?

                                                                        Aloha,
                                                                        Kaleo

                                                                        1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                          I would agree. I don't know much about the science of cooking in copper, CI, stainless, or glass or ceramic. All of my data is derived from my experience of using copper cookware over the past 30 or so years. The past 10 or so almost exclusively with the exception of a few cast iron and a couple of large SS pots. Of the thirty + copper pots I have, about 25 are tin lined, and I send out on average slightly over 1 a year. Not a problem. I cook tomato sauces, use vinegar, wine, and other acids. If there is a problem with acid using up the lining, it is so minor as to be a non problem. I don't think tin wear increases, exponentially or otherwise as you reach the end of its life. Rather, you may notice the point at which copper is showing through more than when the original surface is diminishing. Likewise health issues. You may or may not need more or less tin in your diet, tin lining may or may not add to that need. To sum up. I cook in copper because I like to, and I will continue to do so.

                                                                          To the original poster who asked what I would buy with a fairly large budget, I would say that you have made a good choice with Hammersmith. Used properly, your descendants will have to worry about tinning, not you.

                                                              2. re: VaFrank

                                                                Hey, Frank: "That's news to me, too, that tomato-based sauce will damage a tin lining."

                                                                Be not afraid. It's--literally--angels dancing on pinheads.

                                                                If the current scare-mongering is to the effect that tin is not perfectly non-reactive, then by all means we should collectively wet ourselves and commit seppuku. However, by that standard, salt, heat and acidic solutions also degrade "stainless" steels to some degree, so perhaps we should also -monger, micturate and self-eviscerate over *that* damage. See, http://www.azom.com/article.aspx?arti...

                                                                It follows from the above that cooking salted tomato sauce 24/7/365 in a SS-lined bi-metal copper pan will "damage" the lining (and shorten the life of the pan) more so than simmering oatmeal in precisely pH 7 water 24/7/365.

                                                                If reactivity to *any* degree (or lead at 0.02%) turns anyone's pants yellow, there's always Visions...

                                                                Aloha,
                                                                Kaleo

                                                          2. I have been using copper for 40 years, now, both at home and professionally. Bourgeat with a stainless lining is the way to go. You won't worry about the wear, or scratching off the lining, or melting the lining-yes, that can be done. You can use it for sugar, something you cannot do with a tin lining, as the tin melts at a lower temperature than the sugar. (Which is why traditionally, unlined copper pans are used for sugar work.) Soaking the pan before cleaning it is still the best way to get stuck or burnt food off, but stainless is more resistant to that, too, it seems. My theory is because tin has very small scratches already in it, from the tinning brush, so is easier to catch stray particles.

                                                            The other reason to go with stainless is it does not react to things like tomato or tomato sauce. Plus, finding someone to re-tin your copper is sometimes hard. 40 years ago, it was easy. But now, well, things have changed.

                                                            As for Mauviel or Bourgeat, I just find the rounded lip of the Bourgeat is easier to pour with. But both are quality items that will last for years.

                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: chefupnorth

                                                              "You can use it for sugar, something you cannot do with a tin lining, as the tin melts at a lower temperature than the sugar."

                                                              I believe this is incorrect; the melting point of tin is around 232° C (449.6°F), while sugar melts (it actually decomposes) well below that temperature; it depends on how quickly it's heated, but let's say from about 160º - 186º C.

                                                              1. re: VaFrank

                                                                Copper sugar pans are indeed unlined. The melting point is not the only issue. Tin softens at a lower temp. The acid in zabaglione and jam pans is a non issue because of the minute amount used by volume.
                                                                Setting all of that aside I hope the OP gives us a report with photos when the cookware arrives. Brooklyn Copper cookware appears to be a middleman that's not making any thing but rather has contracted Hammersmith to make their pots. The online company has only been in existence for about two years so there's not a lot of on-line info. I can not find a BBB listing etc for them so it would be nice to have some balanced first hand feed back.

                                                                1. re: TraderJoe

                                                                  I plan on reporting in, with photos, as soon as my order arrives. Mac will be back in the shop this week and will be taking my order at that time. Hopefully it won't take too long to get them!

                                                                  1. re: mandymoo

                                                                    Hi, Mandy:

                                                                    Yes, please do report back. Many years of happy cooking!

                                                                    Aloha,
                                                                    Kaleo

                                                            2. Well I received my first copper pan last night! I ordered two copper/stainless pans by Mauviel (2.5) and the larger of the the two arrived last night just in time for dinner. I heated the pan at 3.0 (my stove goes from 0-10) for a few minutes and added some butter for my baby portabellas. I was amazed at how even the heat was and how well they cooked. I set aside the mushrooms and added chicken breasts with a bit more butter and they browned beautifully without sticking! I pulled the chicken and added ingredients for a sauce and stirred up the bits in the pan without any burned pieces or scorched sauce. All of this set on 3.0-3.5! Amazing to me that there were no hot spots on the pan and after removing the pan with sauce from the stove top it immediately began to cool down. The pan was actually cool enough after I poured the sauce that I could rinse and wash it quickly before placing the dish on the table. I cannot wait to get more pieces and I am in love with my new pan!

                                                              My husband was a little skeptical about whether or not copper is worth the expense but he is now convinced. I appreciate all the advice I have been given here and hope to get some tin lined pieces to go with these SS lined frying pans soon.

                                                               
                                                               
                                                               
                                                              12 Replies
                                                              1. re: mandymoo

                                                                Congrats! I received a Mazzetti sauce pot last week and I'll post a review soon.

                                                                1. re: TraderJoe

                                                                  Cool! Which thickness did you go with? Also, how was the communication with them; I understand they speak only Italian?

                                                                  1. re: jljohn

                                                                    I'd rather not comment on the thickness just yet but I did order the 3mm. I'll do a detailed review with photos in the next week.
                                                                    Communication is fine until you order. I hate to say it but if you have any issues or questions after that they are just non-responsive.
                                                                    Shipping was super fast. Quality is good. The lids are terribly thin and the measurements on their web site and capacities are not accurate (at least for my order). I really have to give it a few more days before I could suggest ordering from them on line or not.

                                                                    1. re: TraderJoe

                                                                      Funny, each of the issues you allude to are some of the reasons I've been hesitant to order from them. I've wondered if he starts with a given thickness and hammers it down to a thinner gauge in the process. Their stuff looks fantastic, and I've heard great reviews from others, so I look forward to seeing your review however you come out on it.

                                                                      1. re: jljohn

                                                                        It is a wonderful looking piece. There's a number of issues with their on line set up but I'll talk about that in my review. I want to give them every opportunity to correct the order first. I doubt they could hammer the Copper down this much. If they do it's really far different than Mauviel hammered 3mm. It is worth noting that the thinner Mazzetti copper is nearly as expensive as the 3mm so it's not a big financial loss either way. Just disappointing.

                                                                2. re: mandymoo

                                                                  mandymoo,

                                                                  Nice pan! I hope you enjoy it. Just a tip, so you don't find out the hard way. Preheating an EMPTY pan, even on low heat for a short time, is probably not a good idea. This will be especially true once your tin-lined pans arrive. Without anything in the pan to absorb the heat coming through the copper, it will build up rapidly in the tin. Go ahead and slap the butter in the pan before turning on the heat. It works just as well, and the butter will tell you when the pan is ready to cook. When the butter foams up, and foam subsides, you are ready to saute, and when you see the first wisps of smoke you're ready to sear. If you get much hotter than that, you'll start smearing your tin. I hope this is helpful, and your meal sounds delicious!

                                                                  1. re: jljohn

                                                                    Thank you jljohn, I was wondering if I heated the pan correctly or not. I went with the tips I had been given on SS as a "test" of sorts since I have never used SS before. I will definitely use your butter method next time though :) I really hope to hear back from Brooklyn soon so I can order those tin pieces!

                                                                    1. re: mandymoo

                                                                      Brooklyn seems to have shut down taking orders at the present. This message appeared today when I went to their site.

                                                                      We are pausing our acceptance of new orders and intake of new retinning work until at least summer 2013. We've made this decision based on receipt of a large number of new regular and custom orders during the 2012 holiday season, recent favorable publicity, a standing backlog of retinning work, persistent difficulties from Hurricane Sandy and, finally, the high likelihood of relocating our workshop by spring 2013.

                                                                      Looks like it will be a while until Brooklyn is back in business, if ever.

                                                                      1. re: Bigjim68

                                                                        That explains a lot (sort of). I've been trying since Christmas to place a large order and every time I've made contact with Mac, which took a while each time, he gave me another reason as to why he would have to take my order the next week...then two weeks later, then it'd be the next week...then nothing. Last heard from him around January 9th. No more responses and I still didn't get to place my order. Oh well, I ordered several pieces (some SS lined, some tin lined) elsewhere. I was rather disappointed since I really wanted American made but I do love the pieces I recently received. Thanks for the update!

                                                                        1. re: Bigjim68

                                                                          Hi, Jim:

                                                                          They lost their lease, and they had a big problem with the Sandy damage. Moving huge machine and metal-working tools is an absolute nightmare.

                                                                          We should all hope Mac and Jeff are back soon.

                                                                          Aloha,
                                                                          Kaleo

                                                                    2. re: mandymoo

                                                                      Many years of happy cooking in your new pans. But don't crowd your mushrooms. ;)

                                                                      1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                        Thanks, I got a little excited <blushing> and dumped in the whole lot!

                                                                    3. Nice frying pan Mandymoo! I like my Falk sauce pans..but now having explored carbon steel fry pans, and seeing their limitations for sauce making, and acidic foods...I am seriously lusting after some Falk fry pans...

                                                                      Must resist..........

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: wabi

                                                                        Thanks, I am loving my copper so far :). The frying pans have been getting lots of use!