Copper Cookware, especially French copper, evokes thoughts of fabulous foods, wonderful smells and Paris. Certainly many collect and use it for its beauty. It does give a warm glow to the kitchen. For serious cooks, copper is the choice because of its incredible cooking performance. Of all the metals used to make cookware–aluminum, stainless steel and various alloys, copper is king. It heats and cools more quickly than other metals (except silver, but that’s a bit too soft and expensive to use for cookware). The rapid responsiveness of copper cookware means chefs can exercise extreme control over what they’re cooking. For example, turn off the heat and instantly the heat drops, food stops cooking, bacon stops sizzling, sausage stops frying, vegetables remain crisp.
Copper cookware that’s lined with tin is the most traditional of all French cookware. According to French chefs these copper pots and pans make food taste better. One disadvantage of tin-lined copper cookware is that it periodically needs to be re-tinned, as the tin slowly wears away with use.
Using a copper cooking surface requires some special considerations. Never cook any foods with acids (such as tomatoes or citrus) in pure copper because these foods will interact with the copper, harming the pan and potentially those you’re feeding.
Pure copper cookware has its place. Where? The wonderful world of baking and pastry making. Nothing works better for melting chocolate or sugar than a copper pot. Chocolate is quite heat sensitive. Temperature control you get with a copper sugar sauce pan simplifies the melting process. Quickly melt chocolate, turn off the heat as it’s finishing and you’ll avoid burning this important baking ingredient. Same with sugar.
Copper cookware is ideal for the serious home chef or any professional chef. Bakers also appreciate its useful heat control. The only disadvantage we see is that it can’t be cleaned in the dishwasher. Copper requires a bit of extra care in cleaning, especially if you want to retain its beautiful lustre. For quick and easy cleaning, we recommend Mauviel Copperbrill or Barkeeper’s Friend Copper Glo.
Photo credit: Photomaggie