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Disk bottom or single gauge stock pot

post #1 of 7
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I like to make stock, broth, and soup, and am fussy about technique and ingredients.  I need a new stock pot and have looked at a few that might be suitable.  They are all single gauge pots.  However, I am on a fixed income, and don't have a lot of disposable income at this point, so if I can save some money I'm all for it.

What advantage does a single gauge pot have over a disk bottomed pot, assuming both are of good quality and materials?  Apart from a couple of small items, all my cookware is single gauge, and I'm quite happy with the way they cook.  Will I notice any difference between a single gauge and a disk bottom stock pot, and if so, what might that difference be?

FWIW, I'm not too interested in brand recommendations specifically, but more interested in the technical and practical advantages and disadvantages of the two types of construction.  Thanks!
Schmoozer
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post #2 of 7
I'm actually inclined to say that in this case the disk bottom would be a better choice.  A stock pot is going to sit on the stove for long periods of time.  I would think that the disk bottom would hold and conduct the heat slightly better and more evenly than the thinner single gauge.

But I admit, the only stockpot I own is a cheap aluminum one.  I'm not happy with it, rarely (never?) use it, and plan on replacing it soon.  In fact, I did a blog post about Choosing a Stockpot earlier this year.  The post doesn't address your exact question, but may be of some help anyway.  (and your comments on the blog are MOST appreciated.)
post #3 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schmoozer View Post

I like to make stock, broth, and soup, and am fussy about technique and ingredients.  I need a new stock pot and have looked at a few that might be suitable.  They are all single gauge pots.  However, I am on a fixed income, and don't have a lot of disposable income at this point, so if I can save some money I'm all for it.

What advantage does a single gauge pot have over a disk bottomed pot, assuming both are of good quality and materials?  Apart from a couple of small items, all my cookware is single gauge, and I'm quite happy with the way they cook.  Will I notice any difference between a single gauge and a disk bottom stock pot, and if so, what might that difference be?

FWIW, I'm not too interested in brand recommendations specifically, but more interested in the technical and practical advantages and disadvantages of the two types of construction.  Thanks!

A thin sheet metal pot (I 'm assuming that's what you're talking about when you say "single gauge") tends to warp on the bottom and not sit flat on the heating element if you have an electric stove. This means that things take longer to cook and it will have hot spots where food tends to burn. This isn't much of an issue if you're mostly doing thin liquids like broth, however if you plan on doing anything that involves sauteing  or sweating veggies, a really thin pot might be a problem.

It's also much less of a problem with gas, since there is no contact surface needed for heat transfer with the stove burner.

The disk bottoms, if done properly, stay flat for more even heating and are made out of metal(s) that have appropriately selected thermal transfer characteristics (heat up quickly, without hot spots) . The disk bottoms work quite well on tall narrow stock pots where most of the heating happens on the bottom, however they don't work as well for saute pans and anything with sloping sides, since the place where the disk stops and the sides start tends to get too hot and will burn food if you're not careful.

The other type of construction, which you didn't mention but will probably run into is "fully-clad". All-clad, some Tramontina and others make cookware that's typically stainless on the inside, aluminum in the middle and copper or stainelss on the outside. These work really well for just about everything, but are phenomenally expensive if you're thinking about a large stockpot.

If you get lucky, every now and then Sam's Club has a tall "pasta pot" from Tramontina that works really well and runs about $40, including the lid and a pasta insert which you should probably just throw out or use for a planter.  Other than that, if you have patience you can find great deals at garage sales and often pick up really nice used pots for $15-$20. If you have a little courage, you can reduce the cost to "$0" by asking friends and relatives. Most have pots they don't use anymore and would be happy to give one good home.

Have fun!

Terry
post #4 of 7
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Originally Posted by web monkey View Post

A thin sheet metal pot (I 'm assuming that's what you're talking about when you say "single gauge")  [...] The other type of construction, which you didn't mention but will probably run into is "fully-clad". All-clad ...

 

I meant the better quality pots like All-Clad and other multi-ply brands, of which there are quite a few. 
Schmoozer
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post #5 of 7
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Originally Posted by Schmoozer View Post
I meant the better quality pots like All-Clad and other multi-ply brands, of which there are quite a few.

 


OK. Those are all three layers all the way from the base to the lip and a nice big stock pot can easily set you back $400 .

The pots with the "hockey puck" on the bottom will work just fine for cooking anything that's mostly water and can be had for 10% of the price of the fully clad pots, although as the food get thicker, it will tend to burn at the edge where the hockey puck stops and the thin sheet metal starts.

Terry
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by web monkey View Post .

The pots with the "hockey puck" on the bottom will work just fine for cooking anything that's mostly water and can be had for 10% of the price of the fully clad pots, although as the food get thicker, it will tend to burn at the edge where the hockey puck stops and the thin sheet metal starts.
 

There are pots that have the disk going all the way to the edge.  That would stop any hot spots, wouldn't it?  Someone mentioned the Sitram Profiserie, specifically this one:  http://www.jbprince.com/sitram-profiserie-cookware/stock-pot--94-inch-profiserie.asp

Is this considered a good quality pot?  It's supposed to have an 8mm thick disk.  That should certainly be thick enough.

Then there's the  Sitram "Catering" line which has a disk bottom with a 2.5mm copper core surrounded by stainless steel.  Anyone know anything about this model?  A 2.5mm copper core should be thick enough to provide even heat, but does the disk extend out to the edge of the pot?
Edited by Schmoozer - 3/3/10 at 5:31am
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post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schmoozer View Post


There are pots that have the disk going all the way to the edge.  That would stop any hot spots, wouldn't it?  Someone mentioned the Sitram Profiserie, specifically this one:  http://www.jbprince.com/sitram-profiserie-cookware/stock-pot--94-inch-profiserie.asp

Is this considered a good quality pot?  It's supposed to have an 8mm thick disk.  That should certainly be thick enough.

Then there's the  Sitram "Catering" line which has a disk bottom with a 2.5mm copper core surrounded by stainless steel.  Anyone know anything about this model?  A 2.5mm copper core should be thick enough to provide even heat, but does the disk extend out to the edge of the pot?


Sorry, I don't have any idea about this particular pot.

Terry
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