Types of Stainless Steel Cookware
Stainless steel is a useful material. You'll see it in the busiest commercial kitchen and in the cabinets of amateur home chefs; it's equally at home in both places. It's strong, it makes cleaning easy, and it's highly resistant to acidic foods that might react with other metals like aluminum or copper. There is an extremely wide variety of stainless steel cookware available, and anyone seeking to outfit a kitchen should know what to look for.
What Materials are Used, and How?
Most manufacturers, like Calphalon and All-Clad, add copper or aluminum cores to stainless steel pots and pans. This allows for the best possible heat conduction.
Your best bet for stainless steel cookware is a clad design with 3 or even 5 layers of metal. Other cookware takes a simpler approach; it just has the conductor metal right on the bottom. Look for cookware that has copper across the entire bottom and up the sides as well. Some pans might only have a disc on the bottom that doesn't only covers a small area - these are not as desirable.
Remember - a copper core heats up and cools down the fastest, giving the best level of heat control. Aluminum retains heat longer.
Types of Stainless Steel Cookware
Many things besides pots and pans can be made with stainless steel. Companies like Farberware almost always use it in their cutlery sets, because it's perfect for knife blades. Steel is hard enough to hold an edge, and it's flexible enough to bend without breaking.
Stainless steel also makes for high-quality peripherals like mixing bowls and measuring cups. Plastic may be a cheaper short-term option, but stainless steel measuring spoons will last far longer.
Other companies, like Cuisinart, have incorporated the strength and attractiveness of stainless steel into all sorts of kitchen appliances. Espresso makers, slow cookers, slicers and automatic rice cookers are all improved by using stainless steel instead of easily broken plastics.
Stockpots are large, deep pots that can be used to make stews, soups or large amounts of anything else. For ultimate utility, get a multipot. These often include a basket that holds food at the top of the pot for steaming and an attachable strainer for cooking and draining pasta.
Skillets are a basic kitchen tool. They're mainly used to fry solid foods, and it's good to have a few different sizes. Some come with lids, but frying often doesn't one. Shallow and flat, skillets are not as good for liquids.
Saucepans are better for liquids and sauces. They come in a wide range of sizes, usually measured in quarts. Saucepans almost always include lids, but the lid may not seal very well if the pan has a spout for pouring.
Saute pans are the upgraded version of the skillet. They are deeper and often have more vertical sides. They're just as good for frying, although it might be a little more difficult to remove your omelet intact. With a large area and the ability to hold large volumes of liquid, they're good for making rice dishes.
Stainless steel deals with the cold items held in a salad bowl or ice bucket just as well as it deals with the heat contained in an espresso mug or thermos.
Grilling fans can enjoy the advantages of stainless steel too. If you must leave your gas grill outside in the weather, it's best to have something that won't rust. Any barbecue chef needs a good tool set, and stainless has got your tongs, containers and pans covered.
Woks are specialized frying pans well-suited for stir-fry. A wok's conical design is able to reach extremely hot temperatures at the bottom. That's because certain Asian cooking techniques developed due to the scarcity of firewood, which caused chefs to look for ways to cook smaller pieces of food with minimal time on the burner.