Posted on 26 May 2010.
Who-ware, what-ware, why-ware cookware!?! Copper, Aluminum, stainless steel, oh my! Which way do I go, which way do I go? Cookware is a very confusing issue and isn’t made easier by the lords of retail. In spite of what you hear in advertisements, a knowledgeable customer isn’t a good customer. On the contrary, a confused customer is a customer who will buy more than they need. The hope I have here is that I can help make you a more informed shopper. So let’s dig in shall we?
This first part of the article will deal with what cookware is made of and which may be the best choices for you. Of course, only you can decide what is right for you.
With that thought in mind, let me state three things upfront that might save you further hassles and anxiety.
One, there are approximately 6.5 billion people alive on the planet and I think it is safe to say that slightly more than 6 billion of them prepare their daily meals on what gourmets, gourmands and culinary snobs would call less than adequate cookware. And these people seem to be doing just fine thank you very much.
Two, you need to be honest with yourself about who you are and the reality of your culinary life. If you cook most of your food from cans, jars and bags – then what you cook this food in really doesn’t matter. This isn’t to judge or seem haughty, but you may have a large family with jobs and kids needing to be here and there everyday. You might not have the time or energy to pursue any other style of cooking. Don’t dispair, just use the tools you have and feed your family. If your family is happy with the food you make and you like it, then don’t let anyone tell you that you NEED some fancy piece of cookware. You can make recipes from the cookbooks of great and/or famous chefs with basic cookware and things will turn out fine. My grandmother was a great cook and aside from her cast iron skillets, her cookware wasn’t great.
Three, make sure that you match your cookware quality to your cooktop quality. In other words if you have a high-end, high BTU Viking cooktop or range, then please don’t use inexpensive, stainless steel only cookware. The high BTU output will cause severe hot spots, undesired quick and uneven cooking. Even the simplest dishes will turn out disappointing. As we will see later in this article, thin pots and pans made of poorly conducting metals don’t produce good results. Conversely, if you have heavy, high end cookware and a low BTU/electric, “range that came with the place”, then you will find that food takes longer to cook and, depending on the heat source, won’t properly and evenly heat the metals used in the pots and pans. This mismatch in elements can cause even your most adventuresome culinary experiments to fall short of expectations or be frustrating. Old electric ranges are not only slow to heat up and cool down, but highly unresponsive. The newer electric cooktops are much better but again the matching rule still applies. In general, don’t be talked into new cookware unless you are ready for a full commitment to heat source and cookware harmony.
Before we move on, there is one special rule for induction cooktops. While these ranges and cooktops are highly efficient and very effective, they require magnetic contact to generate heat. The problem is that the list of cookware that works is relatively short. The rule is if you can stick a magnet to the bottom, it will work.
So with that said – let’s talk metal!
It is generally stated that copper is the best metal for cookware and for the most part they (whoever they are) are correct. Copper has the best heat conductivity of all the metals used to make cookware. But before we all run out and buy thousands of dollars of copper pots and pans, let’s look quickly at the factors that make metals good or not so good for cooking purposes.
I can hear some of you screaming now “Aaaaaagh! Here comes the boring technical stuff that makes my head hurt!”. If you are looking for graphs and charts and scientific formulas, this is not your article. There are many good articles out on the net which go into that sort of detail. I will only tell you about the terms and try to tie them to what you will see out in the retail jungle. I don’t believe that teaching all the technical aspects of cookware metals makes you a better consumer.
1.) There is heat conductivity. This simply indicates how well a metal disperses energy (heat from a flame or burner) over its surface. Copper is far and away the best conductor of energy. It is almost twice as good as aluminum. And the two are way ahead of the other materials.
2.) There is also heat capacity. This tells us how much energy (heat) a metal can hold. Cast iron holds more heat than copper and you might be surprised to know that stainless steel is second only to aluminum in how much energy it can hold.
People have come up with a combined measurement of these two topics called thermal or heat diffusivity. This is a fancy way of saying take the two numbers or terms above together and create a single measurement. Copper is first, followed by aluminum, cast iron, carbon steel and stainless steel.
Now there are wild cards here like thickness of the metal and combined metals.
OK, let’s start with thickness. Yes, a thicker metal will have a better diffusivity, but cast iron will never surpass copper or aluminum in overall performance no matter how thick. But can say 5 mm of aluminum perform as well as 2.5 mm of copper. Yes, to some extent, but it will never be as responsive. When shopping for cookware, just be aware that thickness isn’t always better yet it will factor into price.
Next, are combined metals better than pure or single metal cookware? This is where marketing and science come into play. Marketing types will try to convince you with science that their particular design is superior. As for whether there is cooking difference, that can be debated. In my opinion, combined metals will, in most cases, make better cookware, providing the manufacturer has a good reputation and the products are made of good quality materials.
However, we need to look at a pan being made entirely of or completely covered by the superior metal. Also, does the superior metal cover the whole area of the pot / pan or just the base? Combining metals can give you the best of each metal and it can make cooking enjoyable for the home chef. For instance, a 5mm aluminum core skillet with stainless steel inside and out will give you the benefits of aluminum’s thermal diffusivity and the ease of use and durability of stainless steel. An all copper skillet with stainless steel inside, will give you the superior performance of copper with the ease of use and durability of stainless steel. I have used copper pots and pans, aluminum base and copper base pans and find that the performance differential is negligible, depending on the task. Yes, an all copper skillet will live up to its exalted reputation. A thick all aluminum pan will also perform well. Do I notice a difference between the copper, the 5mm aluminum core Demeyere skillet, my industrial grade aluminum skillet and my copper base Sitram skillets? Yes, I would have to say the copper, Demeyere and Sitram perform far better than the pure aluminum and the Demeyere skillet is better than the Sitram.
But that leads us to the obvious question of whether the higher cost of copper and Demeyere or Viking equate to an equal level of superiority: well that is for each to decide. For me, it is does not. Copper remains the best and the highest priced, but by comparison I believe that these other types of cookware come close enough for most of us, and combined with the savings in cost make them viable options for gourmet cooking. Within each sub-classification below you will find the same axiom applies. For instance, Allclad isn’t always proportionally better than other brands of tri-ply cookware.
One other thing to keep in mind is that certain metals that are better at certain tasks than others – copper, cast iron and aluminum for skillets, enamel coated cast iron for braising and slow cooking, cast iron skillets for high heat frying, you get the idea. I cover this topic in each descriptive area below. My point here is that one doesn’t need to buy every piece from one class of cookware or manufacturer.
So without further ado, let’s talk about how these metals are presented, what they are best for and who makes them.
Copper is generally accepted as the best material available for overall cooking use. It is usually a copper body with either tin or stainless steel inside. Tin lining allows the most heat to pass through, doesn’t react with foods and is generally considered the best way to go. However, tin lining will wear off or melt, even if treated well. If you see copper peaking through on the inside of your pot or pan, it is time to re-tin it. This can be done professionally or with the kits sold in kitchen and hardware stores. Stainless steel lining is easier to clean and work with and most importantly won’t wear off or melt. If you do melt it off or separate it from the copper, PLEASE STOP COOKING IMMEDIATELY YOU ARE A DANGEROUS PERSON! There is some loss of energy with stainless steel, as it is a poor conductor of energy, but it isn’t enough loss to make the copper of no affect. Solid copper allows the reactive nature of copper to improve volume in beating egg whites or making a Zabaglione. Beware of copper thickness and overall design. Just because the manufacturer says it’s copper doesn’t mean that it is what you imagine. Pure copper cookware is heavy. See the section below concerning copper coatings similar to the old Revereware. The types of handles are iron, brass and stainless steel.
The two makers of copper cookware most available in the US and Canada are the French Mauviel, and the Italian Ruffoni. Typically you will see 2 – 2.5 mm of copper. There are others out there; Sur La Table offered a copper line briefly a year or so back (it is no longer available) and some celebrity types have their own branded copper. You can also get artisan hand hammered copper in America and Europe. I visited a shop in Montepulciano, Italy where this artisan was hand hammering copper cookware 3mm thick. He sold custom cookware to top chefs around the world, but I know he isn’t unique. Skilled yes, but not unique. In Brooklyn, New York for example a company called Hammersmith sells artisan copperware.
Copper pans come in all styles and shapes. Generally, skillets don’t come with lids. Saute pans, saucepans, and some roasters come with lids.
There is no purpose or use in the kitchen where copper cannot perform very well. It is very responsive to heat changes and therefore well suited to most purposes. Copper will provide even consistent heat. As mentioned before, its combination of heat conductivity and heat capacity is unrivaled. Keep in mind that that some pieces are so effective, they affect cooking time. For instance, a copper roasting pan can shorten cooking time, so always cook by temperature and not time. This is always good advice in general. Cooking times will vary depending on your cooking method and pan. NOTE – Copper cannot be used with induction cooktops.
Clad copper –
Clad copper is simply what it says it is: a copper core covered by stainless steel. Generally, there is aluminum in the layers somewhere. The idea is that you get the benefits of copper without the cleaning and maintenance hassles. It should only be considered copper core when copper makes up the entire core of the piece. If it is only a base segment, this is called copper base, which I cover below. These are very nice choices and do seem to provide the benefit they claim. They are usually more expensive than aluminum core and in some cases rival the cost of copper. Are they better than aluminum core? I wouldn’t say that, but it depends on the manufacturer. The better manufacturers aluminum core products might be just as good. Demeyere is copper core only on their saucepans and saute pans. The handles are generally made from stainless steel.
Manufacturers - Allclad, Demeyere, MIU
Styles – You will find the shapes and styles are mostly skillets, saute pans, saucepans and stockpots. Although, Allclad has the largest selection, you will only find the more standard pieces in consumer culinary stores. Online there should be a more varied selection. I haven’t seen roasting pans or other specialty pieces in copper core. Lids that accompany these pans will be stainless steel.
Uses – There isn’t a use that these pans won’t perform well in preparation. Based on the pans available you will find them functional. As I said, there are just pieces you won’t find in copper core. NOTE – For induction cooktops, check with each manufacturer to see if the outer stainless steel layer is magnetic – not all are – or just carry a magnet with you when shopping.
Copper base –
This line of pans is similar to the aluminum base line. The company listed, Sitram, produces an excellent line of cookware. Heavy gage stainless steel and good copper bottom. They produce even consistent heat. I am not aware of any other companies producing copper bottom pans available for sale in the U.S.. They are a good value compared to copper, aluminum core and copper core. PLEASE BE CAREFUL HERE…I am not talking about inexpensive pans with a copper coating, which are abundant. I mean cookware with a copper disk attached to the bottom. The handles are heavy stainless steel welded and have no rivets inside the pans.
Manufacturers – Sitram (France, sold at Bridge Kitchenware in New York and online)
Styles – You will see skillets, saute pans, saucepans, rondeau (braiser/fait tout) and stockpots.
Uses – Good overall functionality for any use where the pan suites. Compares favorably with against any top cookware line. Not as good as pure copper, but will perform very well for the serious home cook. I love mine very much. NOTE – these pans canNOT be used with induction cooktops.
This cookware can be found in pure form in restaurant supply and some hardware stores around the country. They are generally thick weighty pieces that are found in almost every professional kitchen in the USA. They are highly reactive and not well suited for dishes with citric acids (lemon, tomato, etc.). It won’t poison you, but can give foods left in for a long time a metallic after taste. Aluminum cookware is pressed into shape. You will see many thicknesses and styles, but generally, the thinner and lighter the cookware, the less expensive it will be in cost. The other type of aluminum pans available come with a non-stick interior and an optional thin enamel coating. These are in the lowest price range. For aluminum base, core and cast aluminum read on. Handles can be aluminum, stainless and sometimes iron. A caution with uncoated aluminum: in the dishwasher they will discolor and possibly harm other items due to metal interactions.
There are many makers of this cookware out there. The restaurant supply places have various manufacturers. Many department and other stores sell a form of the non-stick coated pans; common brands you may see are Silverstone (all non-stick, outside covered), T-fal, Tramontina; with the store brands you may even see the pure aluminum outside with non-stick inside.
Styles – aluminum cookware can be found in all styles and shapes. They come in skillets, saucepans, roasting pans, stockpots, roasters and saute pans.
Uses – Aluminum is best suited to any task which doesn’t use acidic foods. In general quick frying, sautéing and boiling water. I am not sure they are best for slow cooking stews, or subtle sauces. Roasting pans are very good and respresent the bulk of quality aluminum bakeware. NOTE – aluminum canNOT be used with induction cooktops.
Aluminum base –
There are many companies who use thick stainless steel for the main pan and then put an aluminum disk on the bottom. These work very well and depending on the design can be extremely effective, producing even consistent heat. There is a valid argument against needing the aluminum all the way up the sides of a pan, save for maybe a skillet. I wouldn’t ignore this style of pans. They are usually a good value and can perform very well for many years.
Manufacturers – Sitram, Demeyere, Farberware, MIU, Metro Marketing,
Styles – You will find the shapes and styles are mostly skillets, saute pans, saucepans and stockpots.
Uses – These pans will be good for any use where the piece suits. In other words, frying, sautéing, making sauces and soups, etc. I like the function and performance. They are durable and easy to care for and clean. NOTE – aluminum base canNOT be used with induction cooktops, UNLESS it has a magnetic stainless steel layer.
Clad aluminum/Aluminum core –
This is the cookware you see almost everywhere. It is often called Tri-Ply, which means it is aluminum core sandwiched between two stainless steel layers. Tri-ply is the most popular cookware sold and advertised in North America. The quality can vary from excellent to just so-so. This is what you see chefs/cooks on the Food Network use. The quality will vary depending on the thickness of the aluminum layer, the type of stainless steel, the handle and lid designs. Every type of cook can use these pans with great effect. If you heat and serve or create fine cuisine, these pans will serve you well. There are options in every price range. AllClad was the pioneer here and according to many is the best manufacturer in this field. For me, AllClad, Viking, Demeyere and Mauviel are the best. However, they can be very expensive. If you don’t want to spend the money, Cuisinart, Kitchenaid, and Sur La Table may be your pans. They are of very good quality and in most cases almost half the price of the the top brands. The other makers listed below create good value to quality cookware also. I am only familiar with the ones I have mentioned. WARNING – really inexpensive cookware is really inexpensive for a reason: the quality is not there. There have to be sacrifices to make the price point.
You may now see 5-ply or 7-ply being sold; other layers of metals like copper or silver are added. While they are good metals for heat diffusivity, I am not sure they add real functional value for the additional price.
Manufacturers – Allclad, Cuisinart, Kitchenaid, Viking, Demeyere, Sur La Table, Le Creuset, Calphalon, Berndes, Spring Switzerland, Fagor, Henckels, Mauviel, Scanpan, Tramontina, basically everyone who makes cookware – LOL
Styles – These pans come in every shape and size.
Uses – There is no purpose for which these pans cannot be used. When made well, they are effective and efficient. NOTE – not all brands are suited for Induction cooktops. I know that AllClad (classic polished stainless steel line), Demeyere, Viking and Sur La Table can be used. For the others either ask or take a magnet with you.
Cast aluminum –
These are the pans you want if you are scared of Teflon. You will find that cast aluminum pans act more like cast iron than aluminum. By that I mean they have a higher heat capacity. They will be slower to heat up and cool down. This will allow you to finish cooking with the residual heat and also to cook on lower burner settings. You will find most are PFOA free. They have some form of ceramic titanium coating versus traditional nonstick surfaces such as Teflon. The ceramic titanium coating is more durable and actually an effective nonstick surface. One can use metal utensils on the surface unlike on Teflon like coatings. However, some of these still use Teflon or a teflon-like material. I love cast aluminum for skillets, however for saucepans or stockpots I am a tri-ply guy. This new surface is marketed as “Green” due to the lack of PFOAs in the process.
Manufacturers – Look, Brendes, Scanpan, Swiss diamond
Styles – These pans are found in skillets, saucepans, saute pans, woks, braisers/fait tout, stock pots.
Uses – Many people like cast aluminum for everything. In general, you won’t find sauciers, true roasting pans or specialty pans. NOTE – these pans are NOT suited for Induction cooktops.
Anodized aluminum –
Anodized aluminum has been electrochemically treated to form a thick and stable oxidation layer, hardening the aluminum. During hard-anodization, aluminum is submerged in an acid bath, then subjected to electrical charges. Hard-anodization is actually controlled, accelerated oxidation, which is a natural process. Hard-Anodized aluminum is 30% harder than stainless steel. The aluminum is less reactive to acidic things. There is additionally no loss of energy conductivity. Most brands now apply Teflon to the interiors as a non-stick surface. Only the original Calphalon, now called Calphalon One I believe, was anodized aluminum inside and out. They are good mid-range to inexpensive cookware options. My preferences are Analon and Calphalon, though Circulon has many fans. I have never been convinced of the need for teflon in saucepans and saute pans, however it is the most prevalent coating.
Manufacturers – Circulon, Analon, Calphalon, Cuisinart, Le Creuset, Metro Marketing, MIU, Tayama, many, many others.
Styles – Just about every piece of cookware is made from this metal style. Skillets, saucepans, saute pans, stock pots, woks, roasting pans, crepe pans, griddles, grill pans, you name it.
Uses – Good for skillets and woks, maybe crepe pans and griddles. While they work fine in other functions, I just don’t feel it plays into their non-stick design. However my opinions aside, you will these pans perform well with most tasks. Just remember non-stick coatings don’t lend themselves to making great pan sauces/gravies which need some fond to add flavor. [ Fond is the French term for those browned on bits at the bottom of the pan.] Good sauces can be made with broth or stock and fluid pan drippings. NOTE – will NOT work on Induction cooktops.
Stainless steel –
These are the most cost effective cookware. If one has simple uncomplicated cooking needs, these are the pans for you. They are made of thin layers of all stainless steel. Due to the poor heat diffusivity of pure stainless steel, they are not going to provide good or even heat mangement or distribution. Stainless steel is a great insulator and used in combination with other metals can make great saucepans. But the thin design of most lesser priced lines, just won’t be satisfying in performance to the serious cook. If money is an issue, this class of pans can do the job well enough. A good cook can learn to use their cookware to produce nice meals for a family. Yes, I did own cookware like this when I first got married, but as I grew in culinary interest and skill, I found I needed better cookware.
Manufacturers – Farberware, Fagor, Revereware, store brands everywhere.
Styles – Just about every piece of cookware is made from this metal style. Skillets, saucepans, saute pans, stock pots, woks, roasting pans, crepe pans, griddles, grill pans, you name it.
Uses – As stated I wouldn’t try to be a gourmet cook with them, but for everyday, simple serve and heat meals, they are just fine. Beginning cooks, college dorm/apartment cooking may find them useful. NOTE – won’t work on Induction cooktop.
Enamel coated steel -
These tend to be lower priced options of cookware. These are typically stock pots, campfire coffee pots and cookware. Not the best heat management or diffusion, but they have their benefits. The better companies produce enamel coated carbon or thick stainless steel. Can look good, but subject to hot spots depending on the heat source.
Manufacturers – Chantal, Le Creuset and hundreds of store brands.
Styles – stock pots, skillets (many/most are coated with non-stick surface), sauce pans, tea kettles, roasting pans.
Uses – Great for seafood boils, stocks, pasta or similar cooking needs. NOTE – Some of these will work on Induction cooktops, but not all. Take your magnet with you to be sure.
Copper coated stainless steel –
like stainless steel, these pans don’t perform well for exacting cooking skills, but for everyday use can be fine. The copper coating doesn’t provide any extra heat management or benefit, other than looks.
Manufacturers – Revereware, Calphalon, Chantal, a few others.
Styles – You will find these are skillets, saucepans, stockpots, tea kettles, your general cooking pan types.
Uses – Will do most things, just not all that well. Fine for the less ambitious cooks and – as stated above in stainless steel section – beginners. NOTE – won’t work on Induction cooktop.
Carbon steel (blue/black pans) –
This is another option for you who don’t like Teflon. Carbon steel is a porous metal similar to iron but containing much more carbon. This will need to be seasoned like cast iron. Carbon steel will provide great heat capacity and, with seasoning, good non-stick properties. Carbon steel is the preferred choice for woks. The other carbon steel pans which can be found are paella pans and crepe pans. There is some confusion where blue or black steel is concerned. Blue steel is carbon steel where extra heat has been applied and an initial seasoning is begun, in other words one doesn’t need to season, just maintained. Generally, applying additional heat to carbon steel makes it harder, but the amount applied here won’t necessarily make the pan harder. Like copper and cast iron, carbon steel pans tend to be heavy.
Manufacturers – deBuyer (in the USA I am not aware of other makers of non-wok carbon steel cookware). For woks I can’t begin to list the names of all the manufacturers. The best sources are Asian markets, hardware stores or culinary shops. For the paella pans, I only know of Kitchen Companions and Myson. You will find them in culinary stores, Hispanic markets or online.
Styles – Skillets, crepe pans, woks and paella pans.
Uses - Generally these pans are used for frying and quick cooking. Also for paella or similar rice dishes. NOTE – These will work on Induction cooktops.
Cast iron –
These are the old stand bys of the American culinary scene. Everyone has a mother or grandmother who owned one and tell of how she used it for years, and years. In fact, many inherited these pans. Cast iron pans are similar in use to the enamel coated cousins (see below). They have high heat capacity, meaning as mentioned before, they heat up slowly and cool down slowly. They also diffuse the heat very well providing even heating across the pan surface. Once seasoned they can provide a Teflon nonstick alternative. I am always amazed at how little things stick to them; particularly eggs. If you want to work away from Teflon, cast iron is your friend. You must treat them well and maintain the seasoning. The main manufacturer in America is Lodge and they sell mostly pre-seasoned pans. Although they do sell un-seasoned pans, most people find starting the seasoning a daunting task. It isn’t that hard, but I have found it is still not something most want to try. The very best thing is that the pans are very inexpensive.
Manufacturers – Lodge, Wagner (Griswold)
Styles – skillets, grill pans, dutch oven, rectangular grill/griddle pans that go over your burners or grill. They also make corn bread/biscuit pans of various sizes and shapes. There are also Aebleskiver pans and other small bakeware products. Additionally, there is camping cookware in various shapes.
Uses – They are best for high heat searing of meats and fish, making eggs, also pan frying, and baking. NOTE – While these pans will work on Induction cooktops, I would caution you against it if you want a scratch free cooktop as the raw cast iron might be rough on the surface. You might consider their enamel coated cousins.
Enamel coated cast iron –
This line of pans has all the benefit of pure cast iron but none of the hassle of seasoning or rusting. These pans are typically very heavy but easy to clean. You will most commonly see them as oval or round bakers good for stovetop or oven use. There are even saucepans made of these materials. Most have smooth enamel coating inside and out. They typically come in attractive colors on the outsides, making for good stove to table use. Most will have a white or cream colored enamel interior, however Staub and some Le Creuset pieces have black mat enamel coatings that look like raw cast iron but are not. Enamel coated cast iron pans can be cleaned without risk of removing the seasoning.
Manufacturers – Le Creuset, Staub, Lodge, Copco (Mario Batali, Rick Bayless & others), Calphalon
Styles – They come in skillets, Dutch/French ovens or cocottes, sometimes called slow cookers and saucepans, grill pans, mussel pots and seafood pots like bouillabaisse.
Uses – They are most beneficial on stews and braises. Always good for high heat searing and sauce reductions. The skillets would be almost as beneficial as raw cast iron skillets with the notable exception being they will not be non-stick. Here one would cook as if they were tri-ply skillets; carefully managing the heat to prevent sticking or burning. NOTE – As mentioned above, these pans can be used on Induction cooktops and due to the enamel coatings won’t be as damaging to the surface – unless of course you drop them.
Heavy fired pottery –
This is a very unique line of “pans”. They are particularly or specially fired pottery that can withstand direct flame heat. Most oven bakeware, as you know cannot be placed on direct heat. These “pans” from Emile Henry are shaped like the Le Creuset/Staub cocottes. We Americans call them Dutch ovens or French ovens. These pans are 40% lighter than their cast iron cousins. They will brown meats and perform very well. I have been very pleased with mine. If dropped, they can break more readily than cast iron cocottes, but even cast iron can have a handle break if dropped or even crack. These pans are also less expensive than the other French made ovens.
Manufacturers – Emile Henry, Piral and other brands.
Styles – They come in various sizes and shapes (round and oval). They also make a Tagine and Fondue pots.
Uses – They are most beneficial on stews, braises and other slow cooked dishes. NOTE – It should go without saying these will NOT work on Induction cooktops.
This cookware is similar to the Emile Henry cookware, terracotta which can withstand direct heat. However, not all styles do though. For instance, the Romertopf and Schlemmertopf ovens are only for use in the oven only. Tagines and some Portugese/European rectangular bakers have thick heavy fired bottoms that can be placed on direct heat before going to the oven. These “pans” are known for providing flavorful results. The prices are usually very affordable. Some have glazed interiors, some not; some need to be soaked prior to first use, some not. Read the directions before use or ask the sales person where you purchased it.
Manufacturers – Romertopf, Schlemmertopf and other brands – mostly from Portugal or Morocco
Styles – Tagines, rectangular bakers, round bakers, oven bakers
Uses – The best uses are roasting and slow cooking in the oven. The cooktop ready terracotta is best finished in the oven, IMAO (In My Arrogant Opinion). NOTE – Again, it should go without saying these will not work on Induction cooktops.
I have found that Corning was the main if not only maker of glass cookware in the US. The cookware isn’t found much anymore. There used to be “skillets”, and saucepans. It was typically a golden or yellow glass, at least the last lines sold. I am not sure it is sold in any “bricks and mortar” stores anymore, and I am not sure how easy it will be to buy online. The performance of the pans wasn’t very good. Glass is one of the worst conductors of energy. I suppose if you are just boiling water or reheating canned sauces, then they would do the job ok, but there are better options. There is Corningware, which isn’t ceramic, but specially fired glass that turns opaque when finished. Corningware is still readily available and an affordable bakeware option. They are designed with oven to table service in mind. Other similar products perform better and clean up more easily, but again these are great lower price options.
Manufacturers – Visions/Corning
Styles – They come in various bakeware sizes and styles.
Uses – I have some Corningware and use it somewhat interchangeably with my French made bakeware. I would also assume the souffle shaped dishes would perform just fine for that purpose. NOTE – You guessed it, these will not work on Induction cooktops.
For information on where to buy these types of cookware, visit my site www.kitchenboy.net .
I am an experienced cook and baker, who works in Culinary sales. I also write product reviews and provide information about the various tools and gadgets available for the consumer on my website www.kitchenboy.net
tweet adder coupon