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May 16, 2014 10:29 PM

Aluminium vs Copper Canele molds?

Hi, in preparation for my trip to France next month, during which I plan to buy some canele molds, I thought I'd ask for some advice.

I can find next to no information out there on the aluminium version of the molds. There is plenty on the silicone molds, which I am not interested in.

So I have a few questions:

Has anyone done a straight up comparison between aluminium and copper canele molds?

How does a canele cooked in aluminium compare to one cooked in copper?

Is copper worth ~2x the price, if I don't care much about the bragging rights?

Does the tin specifically in canele molds ever wear out and need re-tinning?

How sticky is tinned copper compared to bare aluminium?

How thick should a good quality canele mold be?

Are the E. Dehillerin ones considered good quality? What about the ones in the Lemoine store which seem to be cheaper from what I've been hearing?

Should I go for the slightly smaller 4.5cm ones instead of the full 5.5cm (rather subjective question, but I'm wondering if this actually affects the quality of the canele in terms of texture: bad, or if the only thing that changes is the size: good)?

I know there are several massive canele threads here, but I've tried wading through a couple of them, didn't find the answers I was looking for, and gave up.


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  1. Sorry, Sirrith, caneles are not my strong suit.

    To most of your questions, I could only venture guesses, but if they cost much, I doubt 2x the price would be justified.

    IME, if you season the aluminum, it is less sticky than tin. If you scour and wash the aluminum molds, then more sticky than tinned.

    You might also consider tinned steel if you find them.


    6 Replies
    1. re: kaleokahu

      Hi Kaleo,

      Thanks for your experience re: sticking. Unfortunately there are no tinned steel molds that I know of. Nor stainless-lined copper for that matter.

      I've now come across some nonstick coated aluminium molds, they are very tempting.

      Hopefully the canele experts will come across this thread :)

      1. re: kaleokahu

        Kaleo, I have a more general question about tinned copper. The canele recipes I've seen call for very high heat for the first part of the bake. Around 250C, which is above tin's melting point. The recipes generally call for preheating the oven to 250C, then reducing it to ~230C (pretty much exactly the melting point of tin) as soon as you put the molds into the oven for 15 minutes before reducing it further to ~190C. How would this affect the molds or the food in the short/long run?

        1. re: Sirrith

          Hi, Sirrith:

          It can be hard for people to get their heads around, but tin linings do not instantly melt at tin's melting temp (437F) as long as: (a) there's moist food in the vessel; and (b) you haven't grossly oversized the pan.

          These molds should be very melt-tolerant because the canele batter is touching almost all the interior surface area. Just as a pan of water would need to boil dry to risk melting a saucepan's lining, your caneles would have to be carbonized to jeopardize the molds.


          1. re: kaleokahu

            Thanks Kaleo, that is good to know. I was just worried there would be some negative effect in the long run.

            Would you happen to be able to guess how long the tin lining would last on something like a canele mold where no cooking utensils need to touch the inside at all? I ask because retinning is impossible here in Hong Kong as far as I'm aware.

      2. There are several threads...simple not easy...devoted to caneles. I'd ask one of the canele junkies like Cynsa.

        2 Replies
        1. re: tim irvine

          Hi Tim, how do I contact chow members directly? I can't seem to find any private message function on these forums...

          1. re: Sirrith

            I'd just ping 'em like this and ask if they'd share their email. You could even put yours in the post to provide that come hither sense of familiarity.

        2. Never made them myself, but just by chance, I was looking at canele recipes yesterday and happened to come across this detailed recipe/slideshow over on Serious Eats on making caneles.

          Among the images is a side-by-side comparison of results using aluminum vs. copper molds.

          3 Replies
          1. re: mcsheridan

            Thanks for that, I did read the article but did not click on the slideshow. That is a surprisingly big difference, and I can't help but think something went wrong there, I get better results with silicone than she did with aluminium.

            1. re: Sirrith

              I think it's no surprise you'd probably get better overall results from silicone than aluminum. There's an article out just this week on SE on the best canele in NYC; all the bakeries mentioned are using either copper or silicone. None use aluminum.

              1. re: mcsheridan

                It's surprising to me because silicone is the least conductive of the 3 materials. Or am I wrong in thinking this?

                I have no idea why none use aluminium, maybe it isn't as widely available?

                In any event, I will find out shortly, I think I will be buying a mix of copper, bare aluminium, and nonstick aluminium :)