Choosing the Best Cookware Set
If cooking is an art, then what you use matters just as much as the final product. A good cookware set allows you to cook your ingredients properly and get the best out of them. Cookware sets vary in size and diversity, so here are some things about cookware sets that any cook needs to know.
A typical cookware set usually has between 10 and 18 pieces. If your cooking is not very diverse, or if you're on a budget, you only need small cookware set to get started. With just these utensils, you can cook just about anything.
This is a large, deep, straight-sided, and flat bottomed pot. Their tall sides make them ideal for making pasta and they're also great for cooking liquid foods that don't have to be particularly close to the source of heat. They usually come with a close-fitting lid, which is also helpful when making broth.
Carl Schmidt Pro X Stainless Steel Casserole Stock Pot 24 cm
The Fry Pan
Also known as a skillet, a frying pan is shallower than a sauté pan and has round or slanted sides. They're great for stir-frying over high heat, as you can get a spoon in easily to stir ingredients. They usually don't have a lid.
Carl Schmidt Solaris Non Stick Frypan Cookware Set Deep Frypan
The Sauté Pan
A sauté pan looks like a frying pan, except that while fry pans have rounded sides, sauté pans have straight sides. They're also flat bottomed and shallow, but deeper than fry pans, and they come with a lid. They're mainly used to sauté food, but they can also be used for preparing some types of sauces and for deep frying as well.
Carl Schmidt Michelangelo Copper Sauté Pan with Lid 28cm
The Sauce Pan
Saucepans come in different sizes. They are round and deep - deeper than a sauté pan. They have straight sides and a handle and they come with a lid as well. Saucepans are a go-to utensil in the kitchen because they're very versatile. They can be used to reheat leftovers, make sauces and soups, prepare grains, and even boil eggs.
We've seen the basic utensils needed in any well-functioning kitchen. Here are some additional useful pieces that also come in a cookware set.
Carl Schmidt MICHELANGELO Sauce Pan 20x11cm Copper 3qt
A braising pan is a large, wide, shallow, flat bottomed pan. It comes with a lid that locks to keep in moisture, and two loop handles. Because of their size, braising pans are ideal for large foods like chicken or beef. They can also be used to cook food in the oven slowly. Some types of braising pans can be used for serving as well as cooking.
A wok is a deep, bowl-shaped pan, usually with two handles near the top. The shape of the wok allows you to heat a small area at the bottom, with the sides remaining relatively cool. That way, the food you've just fried can be removed from the oil but still remain warm on the sides. A wok basically gives you a lot of control over the temperature of the food you're frying and allows you to cook with relatively little fuel, as only a small area at the bottom of the pan is heated. Woks can be used to deep fry, stir-fry, and steam food. They usually don't come with a lid.
Carl Schmidt Gotha Anti-rust Cast Iron Wok w/ Stainless Steel Lid 32cm
A Dutch Oven
A Dutch oven is a heavy, thick-walled, relatively deep pot with straight or slightly slanted sides. Dutch ovens are usually made of natural clay or cast iron. They are designed to re-create oven-type conditions on a stovetop or a campfire. You can use them to slow-cook foods such as soups, stews or braised meats. They come with a pair of handles for easy lifting.
Cookware Set Materials
Here are some of the most common types of materials cookware sets are made of.
This is one of the most common materials for cookware sets. It is popular because it is corrosion-resistant, even with regard to acidic foods. It is also lightweight and can withstand high heat, like this Carl Schmidt Herten Stainless Steel Cookware 7 Pc Set. Stainless steel can be pricey, but some manufacturers make cheaper ones by making the sides thinner.
Carl Schmidt Herten Stainless Steel Cookware 7 Pc Set
Aluminum is the most common, affordable, and popular cookware material. It is light and conducts and distributes heat very well. However, plain aluminum can warp when subjected to extreme contrasting temperatures. It is also prone to sticking food and can get stained easily. Aluminum has also been known to leach into food, especially if the surface is scratched.
Non-stick aluminum is one way out of some of these problems. It allows you to cook food without having to add oil to prevent sticking. This Carl Schmidt Marburg Non-Stick Casserole Saucepan Pot W/ Lid 3 Pc Set has a stone-coated interior to make it non-stick and prevent leaching.
Anodized aluminum is another type of aluminum cookware. It is harder than plain aluminum and steel and is more stain and dent resistant.
Carl Schmidt Marburg Non-Stick Casserole Saucepan Pot W/ Lid 3 Pc Set
Cast iron cookware sets are as durable as they get. Cast iron is almost indestructible. It can be used in the oven, on a stovetop, on a grill, and probably even on the campfire. Because it is thick and heavy, it takes slightly longer to heat up, but it retains and conducts heat evenly.
Uncoated cast iron usually requires seasoning before use to make it non-stick. You can do this by simply coating the surface with canola oil and then oven heating it at 300°F for about an hour. This will close up the pores and make the cookware water and rust-resistant. After this, you only need to wipe the pan dry after every use and avoid dishwashing it.
Cast iron cookware can also be coated using enameled material, like this Carl Schmidt XANTEN Cast Iron Cookware Set With purple 6 pc. It is more resistant to water and acidic foods than uncoated and unseasoned cast iron. It is also non-stick.
Carl Schmidt XANTEN Cast Iron Cookware Set With purple 6 pc
With their diverse utensils, cookware sets give you a wider scope for cooking and allow you to play around with different recipes and cooking styles.