Tall or shallow saucepan?
I've decided to get myself a fancy new tri-ply saucepan, and after quite a lot of researching I've narrowed it down to these two options:
Calphalon's normal saucepan - http://store.calphalon.com/calphalon-tri-ply-stainless-steel-2-5-qt-sauce-with-cover/298975
And their shallow one - http://store.calphalon.com/calphalon-...
I will use the saucepan primarily for ice cream bases, custards and the like, but also occasionally for general purpose cooking (such as making custards).
Which type of saucepan is better for these purposes, and why?
Unless you already have a strange batterie, I wold go with the traditional height saucepan.
Both your choices are straight-wall, which means the same surface area is exposed to the ambient air no matter what the volume. But the tall one would give you more *range* in the surface-to-volume ratio.
The shallow one arguably would allow easier evaporation. It's an odd geometry, much more like a rondeau than a saucepan. I suppose this shallow pan might be a good choice as a "desert island" pan. But it does not look particularly untensil-friendly, either.
Both are good. It just depends what you like better.
The regular one will give you more depth, so it is particular good if you need to cook in smaller volume -- even for regular cooking. Since the regular one is the regular one afterall. I will describe the shallow one by comparing to the regular one.
The shallow one have several characteristics. Given the same liquid temperature, the shallow saucepan content will evaporate a bit faster because of the larger evaporation area (the top liquid surface) and because of it shallower wall (reducing the condensation speed). Its can also heat up faster because it has a larger heating surface -- which it can absorb heat. This also means that if you want to cook something for a long time without significant water loss, the regular one is better.
As for your point about the ice cream bases and custards, both will work fine for you. If you like to work with smaller volume, the regular (taller) one will be because because it allows you to have some depth. On the other hand, if you like to work with larger volume, then the shallow one will give you better heating distribution especially in the horizontal direction (depth) which help reduce overheating or burning.
I have the shallow one. It is a good pan.
Ideally, you would have two, maybe three in both styles...sauce pans, that are deeper, and saute pans, that are shallower. That shallow Calphalon pan seems to be sort of a weird compromise, I suppose for someone trying to get the best of both. Thinking, the deeper "classic saucepan" probably suits what you want to do better.