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Multi-ply cookware performance (All-Clad vs. de Buyer)

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

 

Honestly saying, I’ve decided to share this information just because I hope that it might be useful to someone who is interested in performance of multi-ply cookware.

 

We all know that major advantages of multi-ply cookware are: 1) even distribution of heat; 2) quick reaction to heat changes.

 

So, I decided to make some measurements and check by myself how even heat is distributed and how quick reactions are. To make things a little bit more interesting, I decided to compare two different pans. The first one was 10 in. 3-ply Fry Pan from All-Clad. And the second one was 10 in. 7-ply Saute Pan from De Buyer.

 

Except that, I used usual glass-ceramic stove with a hot spot right in the middle.

 

My approach to this test was following:

 

  1. I put a pan with 2 tbsp of oil on a stove that was pre-heated to 392F degrees with «medium» heat level.
  2. During about ten minutes I measured temperatures in two zones of pan's surface: one was in the middle of a pan (and it was right above stove’s hot spot) and second zone was 2,5 inches away from the first one.
  3. After this, I removed a pan from heat and continued measurements to see how temperatures are falling.

 

So, these are the results:

 

pans - A - F.jpg

 

 

pans - D - F.jpg

 

 

As for me, I was a little bit surprised with results. During the test, average difference in temperatures was: 26F for All-Clad pan and 50F for De Buyer pan. At a first glance the difference between these two doesn’t look like a big deal, but I have to say that it really matters. I cooked on both pans and I admit that pan from All-Clad is more comfortable in terms of even heat.

 

Also, test has shown that De Buyer pan has a bit quicker reaction to heat changes. Actually, I don’t know any reason to demand reactions that are better than All-Clad already has. But if someone has a stove with very even heat distribution, probably it makes sense to go with De Buyer.

 

That’s it. Hope, you didn’t find this post completely useless. :) After all, I googled a lot and could not find any information about measured performance of multi-ply cookware. :)

post #2 of 5

What did you take temperatures with?

 

Cook's Illustrated has done some similar testing. They use a couple of techniques. They use metal beads with known melting points and place them in a pattern in the pan and time when each bead melts. The use thermocouples in the pan, I've seen them shoot with a laser thermometer too. But the beads and the thermocouples are better for getting a feel for the whole surface of the pan.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #3 of 5

Interesting stuff, and well done!

 

However, a few minor quibbles...

 

While even heating is a big deal, it's not the alpha and omega of pan quality.  Longevity and warp resistance are just as important; and there are other factors as well. 

 

Also, the most striking result of your test, is the importance of preheating is to create even pan temperatures.

 

Finally, there were some holes in your method which go beyond iffy thermometry. For instance, you didn't test at different temperatures -- which not only would have told you something about the pans, but done a little to take some of your particular stove's idiosyncrasies out of the test; you don't discuss (and suspect you also don't realize) the effect adding ingredients to the pan and distributing them by tossing or stirring does to diffuse the heat; you didn't measure more than two zones in the pan; and you didn't weigh the pans, either -- mass has a lot to do with heat distribution and preheat times, as well. 

 

For what it's worth, most of our cookware is copper -- specifically the very heavy, stainless lined Mauviel M'Heritage 250; most of the rest is All-Clad (the tri-ply line they don't call "Tri-Ply").  Until a year ago, nearly all of our cookware was Calphalon Professional (aniodic aluminum, not non-stick); along with a motley of restaurant quality (which isn't very high) of untreated aluminum.  My stove is and was gas.  Given a certain threshold level of quality -- say, medium and above -- my conclusion is that cookware makes that much difference to results. 

post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

Interesting stuff, and well done!

 


Thanks!

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

Finally, there were some holes in your method which go beyond iffy thermometry. For instance, you didn't test at different temperatures -- which not only would have told you something about the pans, but done a little to take some of your particular stove's idiosyncrasies out of the test; you don't discuss (and suspect you also don't realize) the effect adding ingredients to the pan and distributing them by tossing or stirring does to diffuse the heat; you didn't measure more than two zones in the pan; and you didn't weigh the pans, either -- mass has a lot to do with heat distribution and preheat times, as well. 


And thanks again for your input! Actually, I didn't want, nor was able to make one-and-only test of all aspects of multi-ply cookware. :) But let me share my thoughts on points that you highlighted. First of all, definitely such kind of a test has one real disadvantage - it does not take into account amount of heat that is removed from a pan by foods. What would be really interesting is to measure temperature of a pan's surface after putting some food on it, but I have no idea how to achieve this without drilling a pan and inserting thermal probes inside of it. :)

 

I don't think that adding ingredients and tossing/stirring will somehow improve heat diffusion on the surface because ingredients are colder and they actually remove and absorb heat from surface, but don't distribute it. As for me, when I know that there is a hot spot on a surface, I put more food on it in the beginning of cooking to remove excess heat. But probably everyone does the same thing...

 

I absolutely agree that weight is very important, but I was interested in heat distribution on surfaces of pans. Probably, bottoms of pans have more or less the same weight. And it seems that the only way to check it or to make a test without side walls is to cut bottoms out. Honestly, that's not what I want to do with my pans. :)

 

BTW, I did similar test with cast-iron dutch oven in the past. And this test really shows how important pre-heating is. :)

 

Best regards,

 

Roman

post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by phatch View Post

What did you take temperatures with?

 

Cook's Illustrated has done some similar testing. They use a couple of techniques. They use metal beads with known melting points and place them in a pattern in the pan and time when each bead melts. The use thermocouples in the pan, I've seen them shoot with a laser thermometer too. But the beads and the thermocouples are better for getting a feel for the whole surface of the pan.


I used regular infrared thermometer.

 

Thanks for information about Cook's Illustrated article. Will try to find it. Actually, I like their approach with beads of a certain melting point because these beds somehow remove and absorb heat, so the results should be closer to a real-life cooking.

 

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