Selecting the Best Pots and Pans
Selecting the best stock pot based on considerations of heat transfer and the material’s interactions with foods, can improve the ease of cooking and the quality of the product. Similar to choosing a cutting board, stock pots can have a significant effect on efficiency of execution of tasks in the kitchen. Stock pots should be tall and rather narrow, allowing the contents to be reduced by evaporation, but very slowly. Having a small surface area available for evaporation in a narrow pot, compared to a wide one, will give the liquid time to take on all the flavors of the ingredients, while slowly becoming more concentrated during evaporation. Having pots and pans, in general, that can quickly and evenly distribute heat will cut down cooking time and help ensure that the ingredient is cooked perfectly. Unfortunately, the top materials for heat distribution can leave undesired tastes and chemically alter some ingredients, especially acidic ingredients. Investing in quality stock pots for soups, sauces, and stocks, will make cooking on the stove the best and easiest cooking method it can be.
The Aluminum Stock Pot
An aluminum stock pot is great for heat transfer and an inexpensive option for cooking on the stove. The lightweight material enables most workers to comfortably move around and maneuver the pot, even when it is full. An aluminum stock pot is not the best stock pot, however, since the lightweight material can bend, especially when heated. It also reacts with acidic ingredients, leaving a metallic taste. Anodized aluminum, which is treated by an electro-chemical process that hardens the material, is a better option, solving most of the negative factors of regular aluminum stock pots. Anodized aluminum stock pots are more expensive and tend to take longer to heat up, but is still an improved option over raw aluminum, and a great option for stock pots.
The Steel Stock Pot
With a steel stock pot, reactivity with ingredients is not an issue. Stainless steel is generally more expensive and a lot heavier than aluminum counterparts. It also tends to distribute heat unevenly. However, by investing in higher quality stock pots, the heat will usually distribute more evenly. A high quality steel stock pot generally has an inner core made of aluminum or copper, helping improve the thermal conductivity.
Which is Better?
A stainless steel stock pot and an aluminum stock pot are both great options when selecting stock pots. It is highly recommended to purchase only high quality versions, which will eliminate taste impacts from aluminum stock pots and uneven heat distribution of stainless steel stock pots. Once these negative aspects are removed from the equation, the main difference in the stock pots is the weight and durability. Though a stainless steel stock pot is usually heavier than an aluminum stock pot, a good quality one can last indefinitely. When high quality stock pots are used, the differences in the products because of the stock pot material will be unnoticeable, making both aluminum stock pots and stainless steel stock pots equally good options.