Copper Dutch Ovens what are the benefits. Many professional chefs prefer using copper pots and pans for cooking their culinary delights; this includes using copper dutch ovens, also known as stew pots.
At first glance, home cooks may see copper dutch ovens as an expensive luxury reserved for culinary professionals and the affluent. However, there are many benefits to using copper dutch ovens for your stews, casseroles and other saucy delights.
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Copper looks amazing, especially polished hammered copper cookware. It has an elegant aesthetic and develops a unique patina or pattern as the metal oxidizes over time, meaning no two pieces will look the same.
However, regal as copper dutch ovens look, it is copper’s cooking performance that makes copper cookware so appealing. Copper is a great conductor of heat, significantly better than stainless steel or aluminum.
Copper’s heat conductive properties mean the heat is evenly distributed across the base and sides of the pan, creating little to no hot spots, which can make food cook too fast or burn in certain parts of the pot or pan.
Even cooking is essential when making stews, casseroles or saucy slow-cooking meats in dutch ovens, as the quality of the meal requires prolonged, slow, even heat to be distributed throughout the multitude of ingredients and different viscosities of liquids.
If you have researched buying a quality dutch oven, you will undoubtedly notice that many of them are made from cast iron. So, why would copper be a better option with so many famous dutch oven manufacturers choosing to make their vessels with iron?
Copper is a softer metal than iron, meaning it can be more prone to scuffs and dents. In a busy, professional kitchen, you need your dutch ovens, pots and pans to be robust.
Commercial cookware suffers heavy use, and it must also be able to withstand the constant chemical exposure and water pressure in commercial dishwashers.
The rugged nature of cast iron makes it more appropriate for fast-paced commercial kitchens. However, many professional gastronomists and specialty chefs will lean towards the conductive properties of copper to create their initial culinary masterpieces.
This makes copper cookware, ideal for the passionate home chef, allowing you to perfect your cooking skills and master your dishes. Your chicken cacciatore will melt in the mouth, your spicy vegan dahl will be smooth and creamy throughout, and your delicious winter red wine casseroles will be thick and flavor infused.
Still, copper requires more care and maintenance than its other metallurgic counterparts, and you will need to take extra care.
If you have even taken a good look at a piece of copper cookware, you may have noticed that the inside cooking surface is lined with a different metal, often tin.
This is because copper is reactive to acids from citrus fruits, tomatoes, vinegar and other acidic foods and solutions.
Even though copper is an essential nutrient, too much can be harmful, and excess exposure can result in copper poisoning. Therefore, you will need to use much gentler cleaning methods with copper cookware than cast iron or stainless steel, making sure not to scratch or damage the tin layer.
Suppose you are looking at purchasing vintage copper cookware or have inherited a family set. In that case, you must carefully inspect your cooking vessels to ensure there is no degradation.
You can find copper cookware with stainless steel lining, which is more durable than tin. However, unlike tin, stainless steel does not bond with copper, meaning it must be mechanically molded. If overheated or left unattended, these layers can delaminate and explode.
Stainless steel is also less heat conductive than bonded tin, which compromises your copper vessel’s performance. Tin also has some impressive non-stick qualities, allowing for a more carefree cooking experience.
Copper dutch ovens can take a bit of getting used to, so expect some trial and error as you develop your copper cookware culinary skills.
Because tin has natural non-stick properties, a soft or non-scratch cloth and some gentle soap and water should be all you need to clean your stew pot.
However, we suggest trying the following if you have more stubborn or burnt material on the tin surface.’
Combine lemon juice or vinegar with bi-carb soda (also known as baking soda) and form a thick paste.
Apply the paste to the stubborn material in a circular motion with a clean, dry cloth. Rinse and repeat if needed. This method may take a few rounds to achieve the desired results.
If the bicarb and lemon mixture has shown unsatisfactory results, you may need to try something a little more coarse.
Table salt is more abrasive than bi-carb, however, do not push too hard and allow the salt to do most of the work. We advise not using raw salt forms, like rock salt or pink salt, as this can be too abrasive for the tin layer, and you risk critical damage.
Apply a layer of ketchup to the surface of the copper cookware, and allow it to sit for a few minutes.
The acid from the tomatoes will help dissolve the burnt matter and allow for easier cleaning. Ketchup can also be used as a gentle polish for tarnished copper.
It is important to avoid harsh chemicals and abrasives like steel wool on your tin-lined copper dutch oven. If you have no luck with the above suggestions, we suggest trying a cleaner like Bar Keepers Friend.
Have you ever cooked with copper? The team here at Kitchenairy have fallen in love with copper cookware, like copper dutch ovens, copper pots and copper skillets.