Choosing Cookware: Which Material is Right for Your Kitchen?
In the kitchen, it’s important to have the right type of cookware to fit your kitchen needs. However, there are so many choices out there, it can be a struggle to understand which material works best for you. With some help from our vendor partner Vollrath, here is a look at a few different types of cookware, and the benefits they bring to the table.
Aluminum cookware can be used on both gas and electric surfaces. Aluminum is a porous metal, which means it is very responsive to temperature changes, heating up or cooling down quickly. According to Vollrath’s construction materials guide, this type of cookware is lightweight, but may be susceptible to warping and denting. Aluminum cookware is highly reactive to acidic foods, which may alter the flavor and color of some foods. Aluminum is more affordable, and can be cleaned with low alkaline detergents. Find aluminum cookware here.
Stainless steel is a non-porous metal. It heats and cools slower and more unevenly than aluminum. However, stainless steel is a great option because it is a non-reactive surface, thus providing flavor neutrality. Also, stainless steel will not pit from the use of heavily acidic foods. According to Vollrath, many chefs feel like they can release more of the caramelized fat on the bottom of a pan back into the sauce they are preparing, which makes the sauce more flavorful. It is recommended to wash stainless steel pans by hand in hot, soapy water. You can find stainless steel pans here.
When you talk heavy duty, look no further. Cast iron pans conduct heat more slowly than stainless steel. However, they maintain heat well. Vollrath states it is a favorite for braising or stewing meats. Cast iron must be hand washed and dried thoroughly to prevent rust, and it requires constant seasoning to create a non-stick surface on the pan. Seasoning is done by applying oil or fat to the pan and heating through to bond the fat to the metal. The biggest benefit of cast iron is that if it is taken care of and seasoned properly, the cookware can last almost a lifetime. Find cast iron pans here.
Carbon steel cookware is designed for high heat applications. It is thinner and lighter than cast iron, and transmits heat quickly. It is a ferrous metal, so it works well with induction cooking. Carbon steel cookware can typically be used in an oven or under a broiler. Like cast iron, however, carbon steel pans need to be seasoned. Find carbon steel pans here.
Clad cookware combines the advantages of stainless steel with that of aluminum. Typically, clad cookware is made of aluminum sandwiched by a stainless steel interior for flavor protection, and a layer of stainless steel on the outside for induction capabilities. There are two types of cookware: fully clad and clad bottom. Vollrath says that fully clad cookware spreads the heat evenly at the bottom and up the side walls. Clad bottom heats primarily at the base of the pan. Both types need to be washed by hand in hot, soapy water.
Find Cookware at Central
You can find all of these types of cookware and more at Central Restaurant Products. Click here to see our full offering.