Hence my blog name, "cupcakes and cookware," I wanted to do a post dedicated to the 2 types of stainless steel construction cookware. Stainless steel has a great rank among other types of cookware: long lasting and professionally used. Like most people, I have a mix of all three types of cookware and enjoy cooking on all types. Read more to find out the differences between the two stainless steel construction cookware on the market.
Remember, cookware comes in 3 main materials:
1) Non-stick (aluminum-material base)
2) Stainless Steel (usually a combination of stainless steel and aluminum)
3) Cast Iron
First off....why stainless steel over the other two types of cookware?
Answer: Stainless steel has a wonderful reputation for lasting forever, being non-reactive to all foods, and the ability to take high heat, from a stove or oven, without damaging it. Sound too good to be true? In some ways, yes. Cooking on stainless steel is, well, tricky. You will have to add more fat (olive oil, butter, etc), food will STICK, and more "elbow grease" is needed when cleaning and polishing. ( FYI: You will become best friends with polishers!)
I cannot stress this enough: cooking on non-stick is 100% different than cooking on stainless steel.
Then, why do professionals love it?
Answer: In a professional setting (Yes, I do have experience!) you use super high heat, at a very fast pace, with a dishwasher that is super hot with strong soap. Over time, even stainless steel pans wrap and damage. Remember, professionals have more experience and training in cooking, thus they are able to use any types of cookware without a problem.
FACT: Stainless steel naturally heats uneven. Yes, it is strong, durable, and attractive, but 100% pure stainless steel will not heat in an uniform matter. Aluminum is a decent heat conductor, very abundant, and easy to manufacture. Thus, it is usually combined with stainless steel cookware.
Now, to the two main constructions:
1) Aluminum encapsulated base
-Basically, the bottom has a layered base of: stainless steel-aluminum-stainless steel. The sides are pure stainless steel.
-This construction is lighter in weight and feel.
-These pans will heat decently.
-Perfect for someone who does not want to spend a ton of money of expensive cookware.
2) Clad construction, also known as tri-ply (Clad means layers, a bonding of two metals together.)
- Basically, full layers of: stainless steel-aluminum-stainless steel on the bottom and sides of pans. This will conduct heat better than an aluminum encapsulated base pan.
-Clad construction can get pricey. I recommended clad construction for serious and advanced cooks who do not mind spending extra money.
- Clad construction is getting very popular among consumers, many cookware manufactures are coming out with clad-lines.
-My recommendation? Find a good clad/tri-ply line that you personally like with the right price.
-Overall, "clad construction" is the same within cookware lines. Just find one you truly enjoy!
There are also 5-ply and 7-ply lines, which have more layers of aluminum, stainless steel, and possibly cooper. Why more layers? Unsure. But I do know the more layers you add, the pricier and heavier the cookware gets. My advice: stick to a good tri-ply lines for your best value.
Tips for buying stainless steel :
-Perfect for advance cooks. (Are you a beginner? Or just hate spending extra time cleaning/polishing? I recommend a good non-stick pan.)
-Always have a budget! Go in know you either want a tri-ply or aluminum-encapsualted base cookware.
-Interested in cooking on stainless steel but never have? Buy a small skillet and test out the difference!
Overall, the mass majority of people have a combination of all types of cookware and use them accordingly to the recipe and lifestyle. I recommend cooking on all types of cookware and seeing which ones you personally like and enjoy!