Different Types of Cookware Materials
The question of the ideal material to choose for your cookware has been feeding food magazines or forums for decades, and arises for everyone when making a purchase to replace their old stove.
Stainless steel, cast iron, and aluminum, ceramic… with or without non-stick coating: the choice is tough, knowing that each material has qualities and defects, and that different criteria such as ease of use must be taken into account, the result to taste, the price and, above all, the guarantees for health. Complex!
To see clearly, TopCareLab offers you this overview, highlighting the pluses and minuses of each material. Finally a summary of what would be the ideal pan, frying pan or wok.
Different Types of Cookware Materials - The Pros and Cons
The aluminum is a lightweight and inexpensive metal, also has good heat conduction, so it became very popular in the manufacture of cookware. But you must be careful when using these types of pots, since foods high in acids such as tomatoes, vinegar, lemon juice, eggs and certain alkaline foods undergo a chemical reaction that alters their presentation. It also intensifies the sulfurous smell of certain vegetables such as squash and broccoli.
Aluminum pots and pans bring lightness to cookware. This material heats up very quickly but is not the most capable of accumulating heat Possibility of deformation if the pan is heated on a too high fire. Easy maintenance, we recommend using interiors with non-stick coating. Perfect for everyday use. Generally all fires including induction (with added bottom).
Hard anodized cookware
Anodized cookware is made from electrochemically hardened aluminum. These types of pots and pans are generally more durable than other non-stick cookware. This cooking utensil also allows a more uniform distribution of heat. You should not wash the hard anodized cookware in the dishwasher. Sometimes the covers may be dishwasher safe. The dishwasher can damage hardened aluminum. Always wash your favorite hard anodized cookware by hand using a gentle cleaning technique.
Stainless steel or stainless steel
The stainless steel is another material widely used in the cookware. It is an alloy of iron, carbon and chrome, sometimes it can contain nickel. Stainless steel is not a good conductor of heat, which is why many pots have a conduction plate that is made of aluminum or copper, covered with a thin layer of stainless steel. It is important that stainless steel pots have an optimal thickness, which makes them very heavy instruments. If it is thin, heat transfer will not be even, and food may burn.
The stoves of iron or steel were prized by top chefs of previous generations, because as for melting materials that store heat and gradually diffused while allowing quality bake. A quality "pellet" during the first use will create a natural and effective non-stick. Iron or steel stoves are environmentally friendly and do not require any particular maintenance except that they have to be dried well under risk of oxidation. All fires including induction including passage in the oven.
The cast iron
The cast iron casseroles are unanimous among our ancestors, especially with regard to the good typical regional dishes for which it takes cooking time, the cast iron pots and pans store heat and diffuse it for obtain a uniform and gentle cooking, the cast iron pots and pans are extremely durable and its maintenance is very easy be careful however to dry your cast iron pots and pans well under penalty of oxidation. Ideal for large tables or for lovers of tradition. All fires including induction including passage in the oven.
The iron, despite having a poor heat conduction, absorbs heat well and maintained longer, so it is a very good material to use when making chips. One of its disadvantages is that it can get to rust , so it is necessary to tan it before using it for the first time, it is generally left to heat with oil for a few hours. It should never be washed with soap and water, only with a cloth.
The copper is a metal with a high melting point, 1,085 ° C, which also allows the transmission of heat so rapidly and uniformly. The disadvantage of this material is that it has a high cost and that if it is not used frequently, or it is not properly maintained, when exposed to air, a blue-green layer is formed, which contains toxic compounds. To avoid the formation of this toxic, this many copper pots are coated with another metal such as tin.
Copper pots and pans are first and foremost pieces of art because of their technical nature, copper is one of the most heat-conducting materials. Copper pots and pans take little time to heat up, thus saving energy and have a uniform heating.
Copper cookware is all the rage among the elite of cooks, who will last decades of maintenance. Ideal for meals on special occasions or to impress your guests. All fires except induction, possibility of induction with a relay disc.
Among the best known non-stick coatings, there is of course Teflon, registered name of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), and made famous by the brand Tefal which offers from the 60s stoves coated with this molecule (black background which n 'attaché'), non-stick cooking material that will invade kitchens around the world.
In recent years, and the repeated alerts from scientists, especially concerning PFOA (contained in the glue used with Teflon), endocrine disruptor and potentially carcinogenic. If your stoves were purchased after May 2009, normally they no longer contain PFOA.
Today, PTFE remains the main non-stick coating for cooking equipment. If the PFOA has disappeared, the controversy remains over the transfer of chemical substances during cooking, especially above 260 ° C. Even Tefal, which continues to sell millions of Teflon stoves, has expanded its range with ceramic stoves.
It is made from silicon: this material is obtained by purifying the silica (natural ore) with platinum or peroxide (cheaper). Platinum silicone remains inert up to 250-300 °, while peroxidized silicone lets particles migrate to food from 160 °.
Difficult to resist silicone molds, non-stick and fun to use in baking. Belonging to the family of elastomers (very flexible materials), silicone is produced from silicon (component of silica) which has been catalyzed, either with platinum salt or with peroxide salt.
A difference in composition which is not trivial and which will give two categories of silicone molds, platinium and peroxides, with their own properties. In fact, platinum silicone is able to withstand temperatures between 250 and 300 ° C. While peroxidized silicone becomes unstable from 160 ° C, as pointed out by a DGCCRF (3) investigation in 2004. To date, however, there is no ban on peroxidized silicone molds.
The stoneware is a material much stronger than the clay containing silica so on subjected to high temperatures is vitrified. All of these ceramic materials are good at resisting corrosion and are non-toxic, but are poor conductors of heat.
The glass is a variety of ceramic whose composition is stable and generally includes silica. The mud is another variety where the clay is molded and dried. It is a porous and coarse material. Borosilicate glass is a type of glass withstanding high temperatures and higher thermal shocks than other forms of glass. The best known is Pyrex (certified lead and cadmium free), composed of 80% silica, 13% boron oxide, 4% soda, 3% alumina.
It is better to choose transparent borosilicate glass, some colored glasses can sometimes contain lead or cadmium which are toxic heavy metals. This material is mostly used for baking dishes. Borosilicate glass, popularized by the Pyrex brand, can withstand temperatures up to 500 ° C, without side effects. We can just blame it for being more fragile than other materials. If it falls, it breaks. It can also lose its shiny appearance after several passages in the dishwasher.
Another widely used material is ceramic, which is used in different presentations. We are here on the trendy material because ceramic has the reputation of being naturally non-stick and without harmful effect on health. As always in this type of case, there is ceramic AND ceramic (as in stainless steel).
The real ceramic pan covered with enamel is nothing but an earthen pan. We can therefore say that it is natural. But there are still many gray areas on the exact composition of the material, because the pans available on the market result from a mixture of substances which make the ceramic non-stick, which is not necessarily the case at the start.
We will talk in the next chapter about the famous non-stick coatings, so often criticized, and we are entitled to wonder if this ceramic in vogue at the moment is actually healthier for health.
After this quick tour of the different types of material available for the manufacture of stoves, wok, casserole and even griddle plates, it is difficult to be categorical on THE ideal material. It depends, as we have seen, on the use, the price we want to put.
For those who want the assurance of healthy cooking, a material without coating will be preferred. Knowing that it will have to be of very good quality (cast iron, stainless steel, ceramic) and that it will require more attention and care to be maintained. It will also be more expensive, of course.