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Copper Pots


Copper sauce pans

Traditional style
brasing or stewing pot

Traditional hand
hammered stockpot

Although copper is the best material for all forms of cooking because of it's superior heat conductivity and distribution, these properties come at a price. If money were not an object and I had a house keeper to keep all of them polished, copper would definitely be my first choice. Copper is extremely expensive, a copper stew pot as shown above in the middle can easily cost over 3000 kronor (400 dollars). They will at some point require a retinning which also adds to their cost.

The most expensive copper pots and pans come with stainless steel or nickel linings which are preferable to tin because of it's low melting point. There are several French brands available on the market. A set of copper pots, saute pans, stew pots, stockpots, roasting pans, and fish poachers, can set you back 40 to 50 thousand kronor.

You will of course have the most fantastic pots and pans but your pots unfortunately don't come to the table with the food. - Well not often! These are strictly for the enthusiast, but I wouldn't complain if you wanted to buy me a lovely copper sauce pan for my birthday : -)

For those of you who are still not put off by copper, I give you some important and useful information below about how to use your copper pots and pans which is important to know to make then last as long as possible in the best possible condition.

What is the best way to use my copper cooking pots?
Always use a low flame. Copper is such a good conductor that the whole pot heats evenly. The lower heat keeps your tin from blistering and thus protects the lining. Never use metal utensils, only plastic or wood. A Tinned pan should not be used for boiling sugar or making jams, pans for this use are not tin lined. If they are pre-heated before use, care will need to be taken not to overheat an empty pan, as the lining melts at 231.88° C (449.38° F). Always use a small amount of oil for pre-heating.

Even though tin melts at about 230°C (450°F), an oven can be set to higher temperatures or burners at higher heat for short periods of time without causing damage, as long as there is food and liquid in the pan. The food and liquid absorb heat and keep the tin from melting. Most recipes call for temperatures that will not harm a tin lined utensil that is properly used. Whether on the stovetop or in the oven, the principle is the same: prolonged (and unnecessary) high heat will damage the lining any quality cooking utensil, high heat is rarely necessary. The best results come from moderate heat.

Copper pots lined with stainless steel or nickel don't require any special treatment as the linings are hard and will last the life of the pot.

Unlined and useful copper utensils
If a copper pot is going to be subjected to very high temperatures - melting sugar or making hard candy, the copper needs to be bare and you can purchase sauce pots without linings for this purpose.

A bare copper round bottom bowl is desirable in making meringues, because of its reaction to egg whites, which makes the whites hold more air, peak faster and hold longer.

How should I clean my copper pots and pans?
Copper pans are the traditional utensils of the professional chef. Like all fine tools they will, if properly used and looked after, help produce high quality cooking and prolong the lining of your copper pans. Tin is a soft metal, after use, pans should be soaked in hot water before cleaning badly burned on food will need longer pre-cleaning soak, use the medium plastic scouring pads or a bristle brush to clean the inside of the pan. Never use steel wool, metal scouring pads or metal objects to clean the inside of the pans. The copper exterior of your pots and pans should be regularly polished using a soft cloth to avoid scratching with a commercially available copper cleaner to avoid pit marks do to anything that might be stuck to the pots exterior.

Why do I need to retin my copper pots?
Even though copper is such a good conductor it can react with certain foods, especially vinegars, tomatoes, and other acidic foods. The tin lining protects the food.

Why is tin used?
The only thing better than tin is gold or silver, but tin is much more cost effective. Stainless steel does not complement the conduction properties of the copper. It does not heat evenly and you get hot spots around the flame.How do I know when a copper cooking pot needs retinning?
When you start to see the copper coming through the tin, even in cases where you have little scratches; if they add up to the size of a two pence piece: its time to retin.I just got back my copper cookware. It looks beautiful, but why do I see wipe marks in the tin lining?
Each piece is retinned individually and by hand. Many of our customers are hotels and restaurants, we therefore apply a heavy coating which will stand up to daily use. A thin lining will not have wipe marks but it is not as durable.What is the best way to use my copper cooking pots?
Always use a low flame. Copper is such a good conductor that the whole pot heats evenly. The lower heat keeps your tin from blistering and thus protects the lining. Never use metal utensils, only plastic or wood.

How should I clean my copper pots and pans?
Copper pans are the traditional utensils of the professional chef. Like all fine tools they will, if properly used and looked after, will help produce high quality cooking and prolong the lining of your copper pans. If they are pre-heated before use, care will need to be taken not to overheat an empty pan, as the lining melts at 280 C (450F). Always use a small amount of oil for pre-heating. A Tinned pan should not be used for boiling sugar or making jams, pans for this use are not tin lined. After use, pans should be soaked in hot water before cleaning badly burned on food will need longer per-cleaning soak, use the tuffs or bristle brush to clean the inside of the pan. Never use steel wool, metal scouring pads or metal objects to clean the inside of the pans.

 

The retinning process:

1) The item is put in a degreasing tank for 12-24 hours depending on the amount of grease and carbon build up.2) The item is then thoroughly washed3) The item is then reshaped to its original form, dents are hammered out, rivets tightened and the bottom flattened.4) The item is then put in pickling acid for approximately 12 hours for a deep clean.5) The item is then washed thoroughly and dried.6) A masking coat is painted on the outside of the pan to stop any unwanted tin bonding on the outside.7) Flux is then applied, heated to a high temperature, pure tin ingot is then applied and hand wiped, once the tin smith is happy with the coating it is then left to cool.

8) Finally the item is deep cleaned inside and out and can be used with no need for further washing.

 
 

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