HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >

Discussion

Looking for pots and pans advice please (copper and LeCruset)!

Hi! My fiancé and I are starting to look at kitchen stuff for our wedding register.
We love the idea of copper pots and LeCruset. After years of peely Teflon bottoms and hand-me-down oil-burn-stained alu, it sounds like copper is a great plan. However, I'm not sure where to start. I don't want to put pots on the list which cost the earth either.
Generally we cook fairly basic stuff. But the more we cook the more we love it, so we're thinking long-term for our kitchen ware. We would like stuff that will last a long time and give us great results as our recipes become more complicated! Also, copper looks gorgeous and warm!

So I have a few questions to which any answers would be greatly appreciated:

1.could anyone let me know whether they think the copper pots from this set would be good please? Or does the triply render the copper ineffective?

http://www.johnlewis.com/john-lewis-c...

2.I've read, on other threads, that pure copper with tin or steel lining is better. I'd be worried about messing up the tin by overheating. So would steel be beter? Where would we find that in the uk?

3. Also, would LeCruset be better for casseroles than the pot from the range above? What applications should we use LeCruset for over copper(or other) pots?

4. Except polishing the outside of copper pots for shine (which I'm not sure we'd do because we quite like the rustic look), what upkeep of copper pots is there?

5. Will copper pots do a similar job wrt no sticking as new alu with Teflon pots?

I generally cook with rape seed oil as it has a much higher smoke temperature than olive oil, and it has nice nutty taste and more omega 3 as a bonus! I think that is causing the burns on my old alu pots. Is cooking at higher temperatures an issue for sticking or burning with copper pots? (Hope that doesn't sound too ignorant!

)

6. Will using copper pots for frying in butter help me not burn the butter?!

7. Is there a recommendation for utensils for use with copper pots?

Any help/advice appreciated!!

moonlittree x

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Hi, moonlittree:

    1. Without knowing the specifications of how thick the aluminum and copper layers are, it is impossible to tell. I'm not familiar with this maker or line, but if it is like others of similar construction, the copper exterior is almost completely decorative.

    2. Messing up the tin... Yes, this can happen, although it happens far less than new buyers fear. The steel is obviously more durable; you can use metal utensils in it; and you can scour it clean. If you're buying new pans, the SS-lined comes as thick as 95% of all makers' tin-lined, so that is a wash.

    3. I think either pan would be equally good for oven-cooked casseroles. The LC casserole might stay warmer a little longer after it comes out of the oven.

    4. Necessary upkeep... Other than basic cleaning, there isn't any. You should only hand-wash, and never use any chlorine-based cleansers. If you buy SS-lined, you can scour both the interiors and exteriors with BKF (although if you want a mirror polish, I would avoid BKF on the exteriors).

    5. No. Nothing is as non-stick as PTFE linings. I find that tin is less sticky than SS, but neither is particularly non-stick. This is actually an advantage when you want to develop fond for sauces. Many cooks keep one PTFE/Teflon pan just for eggs.

    6. Maybe. You can burn butter in anything, but all things being equal, you will have more even heating in thicker copper (2mm or more), and therefore less hot-spotting to tempt your butter to burn.

    7. Utensils... If you go with SS-lined, you can use anything you wish. If you choose tin-lined, go with something softer than the tin, like plastic, wood, or silicone. I use all of these, but I favor wood.

    Congratulations on your betrothal,
    Aloha,
    Kaleo

    1. it's quite simple. all the billion layer cookware advertising copper anything is just hyperbole.

      if you want for lifetime copper pots - look for 2.5mm to 3.0 mm thick solid copper with stainless interior.

      there are a limited number of companies making this - and it ain't cheap.

      stainless is the neo-version of tinned. infinitely more practical. tinned will last 4-8 years, it'll cost as much as the pot did to get it re-tinned.

      forget about polishing the outside to bright and shiny. you'll need 2-3 scullery maids to make that happen. buy copper for the way it performs, not the way it looks.

      ...not burn the butter
      they make knobs to solve that problem, not pots.

      3 Replies
      1. re: PSRaT

        Hi, PSRaT: "[I]t'll cost as much as the pot did to get it re-tinned."

        Speaking of hyperbole, no it won't.

        Tinned copperware can be near immortal. The jury is still out on longevity of the bimetal stuff, but it does occasionally delaminate, and when it does, the pan is a total loss. When bimetal pans have a century or two of track record, there'll be more of a basis for comparison. For now and for me, the only advantages of SS-lined are utensil resistance and scour-ability.

        Oh, where are you finding new bimetal copperware with the copper layer any thicker than 2.3mm?

        Aloha,
        Kaleo

        1. re: kaleokahu

          I've seen people do the math on $ per inch / dia x depth, etc, etc , etc, etc for retinning. tain't cheap - and horror stories about lost pots / long delays / etc abound. no, it's not "every company" - but judging from the quantity of unhappy campers, getting stuff retinned can be challenging.

          when I bought most of my Bourgeat it was advertised at 3.0 mm thick copper. that's why I opted for Bourgeat over Mauviel - which was then (and still) advertising 2.5 mm. meanwhile Bourgeat is also specified as 2.5 mm thick copper.

          over the years I've seen a number of copper users express the thought it's nothing special. turns out their copper stuff is a Blue Light special with 0.5 mm copper and such nonsense. there are a lot of thin gauge copper products out there - not even started on the 4 micron thick Layer Number 14 of 623 stuff.

          my understanding is Mauviel owns the patents / processes / whatever and is the sole producer of the copper/ssteel sheets. perhaps that's why Bourgeat has 'retreated' in thickness? going with a 'standard product'?

          1. re: PSRaT

            I think it was Falk who owned that patent, but if I remember correctly, the patent has expired.

      2. Since the add claims the cookware is induction compatable, there isn't enough copper to amount to any benefit, it's just there for decoration. Induction takes a base at least that has magnetic steel, typically a stainless that's magnetic. Even the copper on an old Revere pan is too thick for an induction cooktop, the remainder of the pan is SS. If you want ply cookware with a copper look, this is your set, however, if you want the cooking advantages of copper cookware, you will need to buy the real deal.

        1. 1. Gimmicky, avoid

          2. For steel-lined copper in the UK, Falk Culinair is great. Their customer service is absolutely outstanding. Other choices are Mauviel and Matfer.

          3. I like Le Creuset for general things like stews, braises etc... Nice thick copper is going to be better, but is quite a bit more expensive. Good quality clad cookware is going to be better than LC in terms of even heating, but it won't retain heat anywhere near as long, nor be able to hold the heat when you dump cold food in. Also look at Staub. I think everyone should have a nice large LC or Staub cocotte in their kitchen.

          4. If steel-lined copper, not much else at all. Oiling of the cast iron handles if you go for those, and making sure to keep the handles dry after washing.

          5. No. You don't need to cook at high temperatures with copper, because it transfers heat so well. Cook at lower temperatures with an appropriate preheating of the pot and your food will stick less, and you'll have less burnt-on oil to clean up.

          6. Lower the heat.

          7. For steel-lined, you can technically use anything, but I prefer wood/silicone to avoid scratching the interior surface (just cosmetic).

          1. Have you considered HIGH QUALITY stainless cookware? I personally dislike All-Clad but love my Demeyere Atlantis pieces. To me the multiple layers of high conduction materials with stainless cladding offer a lot of the advantages of good copper cookware without the outrageous price of new "thick" copper. Avoid the thin cosmetic copper pans, they don't work much better than the cheap stuff a lot of us had in college.

            Regarding Le Creuset, I own a few pieces that I really like however, I find Staub to be a little better. The outer glazes to me are prettier and better, I like the lids better however, some people do not like the dark interiors. For non-acidic cooking I prefer my De Buyer Mineral pans.

            For a wedding registry, I would seriously consider a De Buyer Mineral crepe pan first (eggs, french toast, pancakes and of course crepes). I also have used mine for steaks seared on the stove top and finished in the oven though a fry pan works better. The "Country Pan" is basically an extra deep skillet which I have used to fry battered chicken to a tasty golden brown in addition to about every imaginable "meal in box", potato based side dish, vegetables, ..... Lodge cast iron is pretty good too and very wallet friendly.

            Now add a few pieces of stainless for pasta and acidic dishes. Finally, add a small oval dutch oven and a larger round one for slow braises, stews, chilli's, large meals, etc. and you have a pretty well rounded kitchen to tackle almost any mainstream home cook kitchen need.

            The De Buyer Mineral pans are in the $60~$80 range, Demeyere Atlantis is $<200 on sale for common pieces, and Staub can be sourced in the $150~$250 range for most common pieces. This will be a lot easier on your wedding guests and will provide a great platform to grow and perfect your cooking skills.

            1. Ho moonlittree,

              First congratulations on your upcoming wedding!

              I have no experience with copper so cannot help there. I would like to add another vote to Sid's recommendation for a deBuyer Mineral crepe pan. He beat me to it. They season very easily, wipe clean with a paper towel, and are a joy to use, being as close to nonstick as you can get in a bare metal pan.

              I have 2 of these carbon steel crepe pans. One is used for high heat applications, and for cooking potatoes and fish. I use oil on it routinely. The other (after seasoning) has only been used with butter. That's my egg pan, and is also used for crepes and grilled sandwiches. I can't tell you how much I like this pan.

              If you're interested in these pans, again Sid's suggestion of a frypan is a good one. I'd register for a 9" (approx.) crepe pan and a larger frypan. The frypans have the Lyonnaise shape which results in a small floor for the size. You'll want to choose a size up from your normal frypan, if that makes sense. Possibly 12", although they can be heavy.

              Have fun choosing your new cookware!

              Duffy

              http://www.amazon.com/DeBuyer-Mineral...

              http://www.amazon.com/DeBuyer-Mineral...

              1. Wow!!! Thanks for this everyone!!! Really appreciate all your advice!
                I think we will have a look at the less expensive suggestions here! I hadn't really had a good look at Le Creuset prices... not sure we want to ask people for that!! And the copper - maybe we should work towards this in future years..?! I like the idea of finding vintage pieces and building it up.

                However, we'll have a good look at the brands and pots you all suggested - thank you!

                Does anyone have any opinion of this Belgian brand, Greenpan (love the green ethics here and the good reviews... and the price for our guests!). Is this "stuff we had in college" standard though?
                I'm also a bit confused with the technical terms; from this brand, is hard anodised:
                http://www.johnlewis.com/greenpan-ven...

                better than ceramic coating:

                http://www.debenhams.com/webapp/wcs/s...
                ?

                Thanks again for your help :

                )

                moon

                2 Replies
                1. re: moonlittree

                  Hi moonlittree,

                  I don't know Greenpan specifically, but I do know Thermolon, the stuff it's coated with. The pans look to be nice thick aluminum, which is a good thing, they should work well. Thermolon is a good nonstick coating, but you need to baby it if you want it to last a long time. If you treat it like cheap Teflon, it will soon be scratched, chipped and very sticky. Medium heat or lower, no metal utensils, no dishwasher and no cooking sprays. That's it.

                  The quality of the Greenpan is a step above what you had in college, in my opinion. Most of that was thin and cheap, yes? Hard to control? The Greenpan is better.

                  If you go with those, you're going to want some pans that aren't nonstick, too. There will be times when you want higher heat or want to sear and leave sticky fond in the pan. That's needed for many sauces. Consider a tri-ply clad stainless steel pan or one with a heavy disk bottom.

                  1. re: moonlittree

                    Both of these are considered Green pans. They don't necessary last longer than Teflon coated nonstick cookware. They look the same to me really.

                    <I'm also a bit confused with the technical terms; from this brand, is hard anodised>

                    Hard anodized almost always refers to hard anodized aluminum. Almost all green pans are made of aluminum bodies, so it really didn't say a lot really.

                  2. If second hand is ok with you, then look for a well-seasoned cast iron skillet. The one I inherited from my great great grandmother is better than any Teflon or similar coating, with no chance of peeling or giving us cancer.

                    Why not get a real copper bowl?

                    The Crueset Dutch oven belongs on your registry, and I agree with Sid and Duffy above about other items. I've had my eye on their heritage ramekins for a while, think they'd be great for soup, frittatas, individual deserts and pasta, as well as prepping ingredients or fajitas.

                    1. I love heavy 3mm copper lined with tin for saucepans and sauté pans, heavy steel like DeBuyer for fry pans, and enameled CI for casseroles. The copper is much less high maintenance than people think it will be. Use wood spatulas and spoons and silicone coated whisks. Congratulations! We are still using the heavy copper sauté pan we got when we got married 39 years ago, same tin.