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Old 12-07-2011, 07:12 PM   #1
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Is copper good?

Hi All,

Ive been fascinated by the copper cookware you see, but Ive never had any experience with it. Ive asked around with people I know who are avid cooks, and no-one seems to have any experience with copper. I understand there's some history and prestige to cooking with copper - but is the performance worth the price?

In particular, I'm looking at:
Like the De Buyer Inocuivre VIP Copper Frypan, 26cm? Love Everten! Award winning service, lowest prices and super fast delivery Australia wide

Thanks,
Andrew

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Old 12-07-2011, 07:53 PM   #2
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I've always been fascinated with copper cookware too, but that's as far as it's gone with me.
When I think of the cost and the constant upkeep to keep it beautiful I come to my senses.
I know if I had it, I'd have to have the kitchen to go with it with a pot rack to show it off, and a maid to keep it polished and beautiful.
I'll be interested to hear if anyone here has it, and can give an honest review.
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Old 12-07-2011, 07:55 PM   #3
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Copper has the best conductivity of any metal used in cookware. Whether that translates into making superior cookware is a matter of debate. It is very heavy and its conductivity makes heat control more important than with other material or it becomes very, very hot. The intensive care required to keep it looking its best and its high price makes it less popular than other cookware choices.

The very best copper cookware is 2.5 mm thick. The DeBuyer @2.0mm should still be a substantial pan that heats quickly and evenly with a bit less weight. Whether it is worth the investment is a personal decision, but considering the length of time a copper skillet will last it is easy to justify amortizing it over 10 years. The cost of owning it will be less than 10 cents per day.
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Old 12-07-2011, 08:53 PM   #4
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i have some copper cookware, 3 large stock pots 3 chafing dishes and a fish pan with the rack ,one frying pan and a set of very cute measuring cups , i got all of them from flea markets or garage sales , it took some time but it cost less than buying them all at once, yes the upkeep is a bit more , but there great to cook with , and I even go as far as serving in them because i like the look of them so much , hunt around , buy a frying pan first and an oven dish made of copper , then you'll know for sure if you like them and if you don't then you'll not have put out a ton of cash.
Carolynn
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Old 12-08-2011, 06:56 AM   #5
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Andrew, copper gives you ultimate control as it heats and cools fast. This may not be a concern in many dishes or at all. Real copper is not hard to clean. deBuyer is a reputable company. The pan shown is of their household line 2.0mm thickness.

A local (to you) company, Lara copper of Tasmania makes hand spun copper cookware. Look into some of that too. I have some and it is quite fine.
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Old 12-08-2011, 07:10 AM   #6
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Hi all,

Thanks for the replies. I'm really interested in the performance of copper compared to other frypans. For example, in stainless, I currently use:
Like the Scanpan Fusion 5 Frypan, 26cm? Love Everten! Award winning service, lowest prices and super fast delivery Australia wide

Would a copper pan (with stainless cooking surface) hold any advantages over what I'm currently using?

Thanks,
Andrew
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Old 12-08-2011, 11:19 AM   #7
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I also own both, and I also got mine from flea markets. As reported, they are the ultimate in heat control, reacting immediately to changes, especially with gas. But that is rarely of enough value to itself justify copper. The problem of hot spots has been sufficiently dealt with by copper and aluminum bonded layers in stainless steel. Not as responsive as copper, but adequate.

And part of performance is maintenance. There is the lining to consider. Even retinning is expensive, nickle more so. And it seems to be that copper lined in stainless steel might as well be the other way around and then is essentially "copper-bottom" steel cookware, a la Revere.

Copper is beautiful and that is really why I keep it around. There is something nice about a soup cooking in the big copper pot. (I admit to using it sometimes mainly because guests will see it.) It's not hard to polish. I count that as the cost of having great looking stuff in the kitchen. I think I would tire of keeping it looking good if I used it all every day.

So, as to any advantage over your other steel cookware - I don't think so, unless appearance counts and you're willing to polish, because that is some stunning stuff. I think that if I was convinced the copper did indeed offer real and significant advantages, I would also use tin-lined or nickle-lined and actually get the full benefit. But if you get a warm thrill using copper, even steel-lined, that's important, too, and you get to pick a few indulgences.
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Old 12-08-2011, 10:58 PM   #8
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I would disagree with GLC about stainless lined copper. It can sear much hotter than tin lined copper and does very well overall. (The comparison to revere ware is silly.) It is more expensive than tin lined but tin lined is harder to find these days in heavy weight copper.

The question is: are the benefits of copper worth the money for the way you cook? Only you can answer that question. Will that deBuyer pan outperform an Allclad coppercore pan or d5 stainless pan? My guess is it will heat and cool faster. Will your food taste better? That depends on how good a cook you are, not the pan you are using. :)
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Old 12-08-2011, 11:19 PM   #9
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I vote for keeping an inventory of two cast iron skillets, a couple stainless pans for acidic dishes or other things you can't cook in cast iron, a saucier, a 1qt and 3qt saucepan, a dutch oven, and one mid-price ($40-60) anodized omelet pan for eggs. Considering cosmetics on pans in any capacity is pointless. IME, a full "set" of cookware is wasted money because people usually settle on just a few pans and the rest collect dust.
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Old 12-09-2011, 10:42 PM   #10
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I have copper - lots of it. I've had it for 30 years, and I used to use it all the time, but not so much anymore.
The best advice you got was from Robo:

Quote:
The question is: are the benefits of copper worth the money for the way you cook? Only you can answer that question. Will that deBuyer pan outperform an Allclad coppercore pan or d5 stainless pan? My guess is it will heat and cool faster. Will your food taste better? That depends on how good a cook you are, not the pan you are using. :)
Copper is very responsive. Heats up quickly and cools down quickly. The one thing I still use it for is hollandaise sauce over direct heat. In a copper saucepan, I can quickly make a perfect hollandaise just by raising and lowering the pan on the burner to control it. If you do a lot of delicate sauces and reductions, copper can't be beat. But if you're just putting something on to boil or simmer for a while, there is no advantage.

Think of it as the opposite of cast iron. Heavy iron is slow to heat up, but retains the heat for a long time. Personally, the only thing I ever use my one cast iron skillet for is cornbread. Other than that, it's not suitable for the kind of cooking I do. Copper is.

But copper does need some maintenance. These days, I use tri-ply clad pans for most of my cooking. I only grab copper for a few specific things. So the answer to your question is, "It depends".
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