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Knowledge Center: Cookware Materials
The following information will assist you in determining which material of cookware would best work for you. Select from the following:
STAINLESS STEEL - 18/0 VS. 18/8
Stainless steel is an alloy that starts with basic iron with up to 8 alloys added, depending on the quality. The major alloys in stainless steel are chromium and nickel. The chromium provides rust and corrosion resistance and durability. Nickel provides additional rust resistance, hardness, and high polishing characteristics.
The numbers 18/0 and 18/8 refer to the percentage of content of chromium and nickel. To be classified as stainless steel, the metal must contain at least 11 % chromium (no nickel required). Stainless steel used in cookware is normally 18% chromium and 8% to 10% nickel (300 series).
Low end stainless steel cookware, mixing bowls, stockpots and accessories are usually 18/0, (400 series) which are usually not highly polished, and could be subject to some rust spotting.
A simple way to test whether or not a stainless steel pan is 18/0 or 18/8 is to place a magnet against it. If the pan is magnetic, it is 18/0...if not, it is 18/8 (or 18/10). The addition of nickel neutralizes the natural ferrous properties of the iron in the stainless steel.
Kinetic cookware is made up of high quality stainless steel. All lines have a tri ply s/s base with /aluminum heat core ranging in thickness: 3 mm for Kitchen Basics & Classicor, 4mm for Classicor Century 21, and 5 mm for Leyse. Each line has a s/s induction range compatible protector plate. The thicker the base the less chance of warping & better heat retention. All lines work on every range top including induction range (with the exception of item 29302). The bodies are made of a high quality mirror s/s.
ALUMINUM - TYPES OF ALUMINUM COOKWARE
Aluminum cookware can be formed either by pressing or by casting. Most aluminum cookware on the market today is formed by pressing. Casting of aluminum is a slower and more expensive process, however the end result is that the body thickness is generally thicker than pressed aluminum, and the bottom and the rims can be made even thicker than the sidewalls, which helps prevent warping or going "out of round". Cast aluminum is also more porous than pressed aluminum, which results in better heat retention. When polished or coated, it is difficult to visually tell the difference between pressed or cast aluminum.
Aluminum cookware can also be improved by a process called "hard anodizing". This is a Electro-chemical process which increases the thickness of natural oxide film in aluminum, to give it a hard non-oxidizing finish. The surface of the aluminum actually becomes harder than steel, which dramatically increases the durability of the surfaces of aluminum. The exterior finish after the hard anodizing process turns to a dark gray color.
Copper, alone or in an alloyed form, has been used in cooking utensils almost since the dawn of history. Copper's uniform heat conductivity makes it a good material for top-of-range cooking because the heat is distributed evenly. This property also enables copper serving utensils to keep foods warm and palatable.
Copper cooking surfaces are usually lined with tin, nickel, or stainless steel for two reasons:
1. Copper will react to foods with a high acid content, which in some cases could be toxic.
2. Cooked foods left directly in contact with uncoated copper may become discolored. While it is not necessarily injurious to health, the discoloration tends to detract from the food's eye appeal.
Tin or nickel linings are not very durable, and therefore should be recoated if these surfaces wear thru to the copper on the inside of the pan.
Another manufacturing process bonds or laminates copper to stainless steel or other metals. A core of solid copper sandwiched between two layers of stainless steel is another way copper is used to distribute heat uniformly.
Cast iron cooking utensils have been with us for thousands of years, going back to ancient China.
In Europe during the Middle Ages, cast iron utensils were considered so valuable that they were listed along with gold, jewels, and other riches of royalty. An iron foundry, where utensils and other cast iron products were manufactured, was one of the first industries organized in North America.
Today's cast iron utensils have been improved greatly over those of even the recent past. They are made of iron alloys that give additional strength to the utensil. And today there are cast iron utensils with colorful porcelain enamel exterior and interior finishes.
Cast iron currently is used for utensils that include skillets, roasters and Dutch ovens, broilers, griddles, and some specialty items, such as muffin and corn bread pans. These utensils are excellent for browning, frying, stewing and baking foods.
PORCELAIN ON STEEL
Porcelain enamel is essentially a highly durable glass which, with coloring oxides and other inorganic materials, is fused to metal at extremely high temperatures. It first found its way into the kitchen as a decorative finish for wood-burning ranges and cast iron utensils. Later, when techniques were discovered for applying it to sheet steel, it became a standard coating for coffee pots, roasting pans, and saucepans.
In the manufacture of cooking utensils, porcelain enamel is applied after the metal is formed into its final shape. It can be applied to carbon steel, aluminum, stainless steel, and cast iron.
It is one of the most versatile finishes, offering virtually an unlimited range of colors and design effects. Today's colors include many shades of bright reds, vibrant greens, clear blues, sunny yellows, and warm oranges, as well as earth tones. Plaids, stripes, decorator designs, and even provincial prints can be found. There are also decorative porcelain decals, mechanically applied that have the same scratch and stain resistant qualities of the regular porcelain coating.
GLASS, CERAMIC AND GLASS-CERAMIC
In the 20th century, heat-resistant glass and glass-ceramic were developed. Like ceramic, they meet the need for attractive ware used for mixing, cooking, serving, and storing. Major features are attractiveness, one-dish convenience, and inert non-porous surfaces that won't absorb food odors or flavors. For easy cleaning, both glass and ceramic ovenware are available with nonstick interiors.
While most are very rugged, they can break under impact. However, some glass, ceramic and glass-ceramic cookware manufacturers warranty their products against thermal breakage, and offer free replacement should the ware break in normal use within the warranty conditions. Heat-resistant glass cookware may be made of clear or tinted transparent material or opaque white (commonly called "opal" glass). Glass-ceramic cookware may be white or transparent and tinted. Ceramic cookware is available in white or a variety of colors.
Heat resistant glass can be used for storing, cooking and serving. Some pieces 'can be used on the rangetop, while others are suitable only for the oven. Those designed for baking can be taken from refrigerator and put into preheated ovens after the utensil reaches room temperature. As a rule, they should not be used on the rangetop or under the broiler. Heat-resistant glass rangetop products should always be used with a wire grid on an electric range but should never be taken from the refrigerator or freezer and placed directly on a hot rangetop element. Similarly sudden cooling may be harmful to glass cookware. Hot glass cookware should not be allowed to come in contact with wet countertops, nor should they be placed in water while they are still hot. Some ceramic cookware is made of heat-resistant material which can go from the freezer to a hot oven or microwave. None is suitable for top-of-range or broiler use. Like glass cookware, ceramic cookware holds heat for a long time while providing the additional benefit of an attractive serving dish. Ceramic cookware is available in a wide variety of shapes, colors, and designs.
Among the most thermally shock-resistant material ever developed by man, glass-ceramic is a true space-age material. It was first used in rocket nosecones because the glass-ceramic material could take the extreme temperature changes encountered in their supersonic flight from the earth's surface into outer space and back. Glass-ceramic cookware offers wide food preparation versatility. It can be used for rangetop cooking and is excellent for roasting, broiling or baking -in the conventional or microwave oven. It can go directly from the freezer to the rangetop, broiler or hot oven. Glass-ceramic cookware can be immersed, hot off the stove, into sudsy dishwater for easy cleanup.
Different types of metal can be laminated or bonded together, to combine the advantages of different metals into a cookware body. An example would be a 3 layer construction consisting of two outer layers of stainless steel, with an inner layer of aluminum. This incorporates all of the benefits of each metal into one piece of cookware. The lamination of metals is done in the raw material stage, in sheets, and blanks are cut from the sheets to be formed into cookware shapes in a press. The entire process is very costly, and this construction is found only on higher priced cookware.