Sauciére or Windsor shape? I just gotta know.
I'm trying to decide on the style for two copper pans. Either the Sauciére shape from Falk or Matfer Bourgeat, or the classic straight side Windsor from Mauviel (all stainless lined). I have no experience with either shape. I'm considering Mauviel tin-lined but I believe that the new stuff available in America is under 2mm (rounding up 1.6-1.8mm to 2 even, with no decimal). Two pans in smaller sizes as I mostly cook for myself (16 & 24mm). Two thoughts: tin is not so happy with metal whisks, and a curved corner should be much friendlier to the usual metal whisks than the classic Windsor.
So what do you think about the curved corner, and about tin vs stainless?
(Please, not trying to start religious wars).
1. The thicker the copper, the better, minimum 2.5 mm.
2. Shape and lining have negligible practical differences, in my opinion, wooden spoons are common, and high quality plastic wisks are widely available.
What I've noticed is that a substantial factor in the decision are peoples sensibilities. I'm old school. I tend to prefer old-but-good stuff. I tend to subscribe to the "they just don't make them like they used to" mentality. As a result, I chose the tinned Faitout (Windsor) straight walled variety.
My wife on the other hand, she tends to lean toward new technology, and she prefers SS-lined rounded sides of the Bourgeat/Falk variety. She also feels newer SS-lined copperware is just cleaner and more sanitary than the 60 year old pan I tend to reach for. Or at least that's the impression of cleanliness she gets from the new school pans.
In the end, I think the only thing that might make a difference in the flavor of your sauce might be the thickness of the copper. The rest is more a result of your personal aesthetic.
My 2 cents.
The curved saucier shape will be easier to work with for most everyday type uses. Personally, I don't use the Windsor much.
Also if you don't have a copper fetish, take a look at the Demeyere Atlantis line of cookware. I really like the welded handles and the heating is very even. I'm keeping my Mauviel copper hoping to one day live in a house with Natural Gas appliances again but, until then I am a high quality stainless steel convert (along with cast iron). Spring 5-layer and Demeyere Atlantis have won me over. Don't confuse these with the stuff you find at the big box stores at the mall either ;-)
I use my Windsor (Cuisinart Everyday Stainless) to make larger amounts of sauce, and to make cooked cereal. It works well for both.
I use my smaller All Clad saucier for making smaller amounts of sauce. It works well with its heavy bottom. Its a nice pan.
I use my wisks in both pans effectively.
The Windsor came with a lid; the saucier did not.
Straight sided, ss lined Falk has served us well for stock reduction and sauce prep but the base angle necessitates wiping into that 'crevice' with a scruffy if we use that pan for solid foods. We have a rounded base version, copper with polished ss lining that is perfect for things like risotto or polenta that require stirring as the smooth transition prevents food from accumulating along the perimeter. As for ss vs tin, we inherited several old tin lined pieces that essentially we mothballed in favor of our Falk and AllClad pieces.
I like traditional tin linings, and am habituated enough to using wood utensils that the difference in durability between tin and SS doesn't matter to me. There are pros and cons to both, but IMO they are relatively minor. For me, the most important factor would be the thickness of the copper beneath the lining--if you want 3mm and up (and you should), your choices for SS-lined are nearly nil. There are comparatively many more tinned 3mm+ pans that come to market.
As to shape, I think too much is made about whisks fitting into corners. Frankly, a straightwall saucepan's corners are pretty whisk-friendly unless you persist in reaching for your largest balloon. And all 3 types have inaccessible corners to some degree.
Another thing to consider is that the "sauciere" shape is a true newcomer to the classic batterie--so new it is not even mentioned in Renard's "Les Cuivres de Cuisine", written in 1992. French cuisine and its family of sauces was not exactly wanting for lack of this shape pan.
It is the *upper* part of the pan, rather than the "corners", which deserves more attention. That is, for reduced sauces, the increased surface area of both the Windsor/fait tout and the sauciere facilitates reduction. Of the two, however, the former maintains something closer to a linear surface-to-volume ratio as your sauce is reduced. So if a goal in your saucing is to minimize the number of transfers to progressively smaller pans while maintaining a fairly constant S-T-V ratio, I would go with the Windsor, and a larger size than you think you need.
Finally, a cautionary note about Falk... The US rep and the owner of the company have been, er... difficult to deal with lately. Check out traderjoe's recent thread about their customer service. Don't say you weren't warned.
I do not have a Windsor, but I am completely satisfied with my SS-lined saucier with the curved corner. I have one pan with a tin lining, and my opinion is that it is an impractical and obsolete cooking surface. I know there are those who like it, and I won't argue the point.
The Windsor shape is interesting, but a curved corner seems better to me for any sauce needing whisking. The Windsor is a traditional shape which probably was invented before metal workers had the technology to make complex curves. There's no reason today why a modified Windsor with a curved corner couldn't be made, I expect.
My brief, generalized, reply is that if you want it for sauces that require whisking, you will do best with a sauciere shape that is stainless-lined. I've had both (Stainless-lined Falk Sauciere and Mauviel Tin-lined Windsors), and my personal preference for most common uses is the Windsor. In fact, my single most used in my entire batterie is a 3 qt tin-lined windsor with a lollipop lid. So, if you want it for whisked sauces, go for the stainless-lined saucier, but if you want it for more general purposes, I happen to like and recommend the windsor.
Edited to add:
Keep in mind that we are really talking about very minor differences here and either would likely be fine. Also, check out this site for new, reasonably priced, windsors: http://www.buycoppercookware.com/spla...
The 18cm Falk try-me suffices and excels for just about everything I'd whisk. Every now and again you can find a 2-qt or bigger Windsor thick and tin-lined for less than than that offer, but not every day. [Note: in the UK, the try-me seems to be 16cm; that's too cramped to be very useful to me.]
A year ago I got a 2mm, stainless-lined 3-qt Mauviel/William-Sonoma saucier for $100 on ebay, and it's only in the last few months that I've really begun to give it a workout (for curries, especially; it's the shape of a kadhai). If I were ever to do caramel or creme anglaise or the like, it would be my pot of choice.