What any professional chef or ambitious cook needs is control and precision. Not only when it comes to choosing the right ingredients but also when it comes to exposing the food to the right temperature at the right time during the cooking process.
Meaning that once you change the temperature on your stove – you want the cookware to react and transmit this change as immediate as possible. You also want to ensure that the temperature in general is transmitted evenly throughout the cooking surface of your cookware. This immediate reaction to-, and even distribution of temperature is the control and precision that plays an important part in your dishes success.
One of the many benefits of cooking with the right copper cookware is the superior heat conductivity as well as the fact that the unwelcome creation of hot-spots in the base, which is unfortunately not unusual with other materials, is pretty much unheard of with copper cookware.
The thermal heat conductivity of copper cookware is fare superior to most of the other material used for cooking. Copper for example conducts heat twice as fast as aluminum cookware, 5 times faster compared to cast iron and over 25 times faster then stainless steel cookware. This time difference becomes very obvious when it comes to heating up or changing the temperature during the cooking process. So changing the temperature on your stove means an immediate change in temperature in your copper cookware allowing to cook, brown or braise your food to perfection.
Due to the better cooking control, most professional sources prefer and recommend copper cookware over other materials. If it comes to the interior/lining of the copper cookware some opinions point into the direction of using a stainless steel interior, although more expensive compared to a tin-lined copper cookware. The reasoning for those who prefer stainless steel lies usually in the easier cleanup and sometimes also in the longevity of the lining. However, we disagree and absolutely prefer and recommend tin-lined copper cookware. Not only for emotional or even romantic reasons since tin-lined copper was always the preferred and traditional way of constructing copper cookware, but also for practical and functional reasons.
First - we believe that if you, for good reasons, prefer copper cookware due to its superior heat conductivity and control, why would you use a lining in the inside that is counter-productive to this heat conductivity? Second - we believe the argument of longevity is not really valid as you are not able to renew your stainless steel interior but you can always re-condition and re-tin your tin-lined copper cookware.
If we speak about longevity we also have to translate this into today’s world where longevity of cookware is unfortunately counted in months rather then years. We have seen and cooked in over 30 years old tin-lined copper cookware with the tin-lining perfectly intact. Try that with an aluminum pan. Plus, we have re-conditioned and re-tinned 30-40 year old copper cookware and the results when done are always simply astonishing. After re-tinning and re-conditioning you are actually having a 30-40 year old cookware that looks like it just came out of the original artisan workshop in Italy. And you did not even “alter” the cookware in any way since the same material and process is used to re-condition the cookware as it was used to originally create it. With the same benefits, performance and functionality.
The argument of easier cleaning is true. Stainless steel is in general easier to clean compared to tin. First of all - the choice of using the right cookware is a matter of creating a delicious meal as close to perfection as possible. So we choose our cookware for cooking and not for easy cleaning. Secondly, cleaning is only a problem if you don’t prepare for it. As an example: After we cooked dishes that normally make the cleaning part a little more difficult due to more stubborn residues (high heat cooking/frying of steak, poultry and such for example) – we simply put some water in the pan and let it simmer while we enjoy dinner. This process loosens any residues in the pan almost completely making cleaning tin-lined copper cookware almost as easy as cleaning a non-stick pan. But we guess that if you would be the person that buys cookware for easy cleaning, you most likely would not read this blog anyway. So don’t buy for cleaning – buy for cooking!
Another important part of having control while cooking is the way you are able to handle the cookware. We might not notice this in action but cooking is also a lot of moving, tossing and flipping. You always have to move a pot or pan from one burner to another or shake and toss a pan while working the food with the spatula, etc. So weight and feel is an important part of the cooking process too.
Even “heavier” 2 or 2.5mm copper cookware, especially with an efficient and light tin lining, has an almost perfect weight balance. Providing enough weight to securely sit on the burner and being light enough to handle the pot or pan with only one hand.
- Use Copper Cookware because of its superior heat conductivity and control
- Buy for “best cooking and not for easy cleaning”. Choose a tin-lining over stainless steel because it is less expensive, does not slow down your heat conductivity, can be re-conditioned to it’s original appearance and is really not more difficult to clean if you plan for it.
- Take advantage of the perfect weight balance of copper cookware for secure and easy handling.
By AJ February 2016