Cooking entails looking for both the right ingredients and the right cookware. There are different cookware that suits different kinds of dishes. One of these is the heavy bottom pan. It’s one of the most useful pieces to have in your kitchen. So, what is a heavy bottom pan?
What is a heavy bottom pan?
To put it simply, a heavy bottom pan looks like what its name suggests. It has a shape like and functions similarly to a regular pan. The difference lies in its bottom part or its base.
A normal saucepan would have an even width and thickness across its whole body. It’s the run-of-the-mill, normal type of saucepan that you see and work with every day. You use it to cook ordinary ingredients that have no special considerations to think about.
However, these ordinary saucepans have a thin base. Heat spreads unevenly and causes certain areas to become hotter than others. These areas are what people call hotspots. It leads to unevenly cooked or burnt food.
What is a heavy bottom pan? A heavy bottom pan, on the other hand, is noticeably thicker at its base compared to its sides. There are no official standards regulating the required thickness of its base.
Just touch the sides of the pan and compare its thickness to the bottom part. If it feels heavier at its base, then you’ve got yourself a heavy bottom pan.
What is a heavy bottom pan made of?
Most of these pans have bases made out of sturdy material. Think aluminum, stainless steel, and copper that are around 10 millimeters thick as its base. These conduct heat properly and also reduce problems such as overheating while cooking.
You may not even notice that what you’re using is a heavy bottom pan! The heavy bottom pan is a favorite of chefs for its utility. Its solid material makes it hardy and helps it last longer.
Why do people use a heavy bottom pan?
Now that you know what is a heavy bottom pan, you may wonder why both home chefs and professional chefs widely use it in kitchens. It is because the pan’s base serves a purpose.
The heavy bottom pan’s thick bottom conducts heat properly and spreads it evenly, among other things. This is why people use it when cooking delicate items such as eggs, custards, and sugar.
People also use this kind of pan when cooking fine sauces or with the use of dairy. You can easily ruin these ingredients when you apply too much heat when cooking.
The pan’s material and thick base allows for great heat conductivity. This makes it ideal for these types of food.
Benefits of using a heavy bottom pan
Heavy bottom pans come with a lot of benefits. It’s a versatile and efficient piece of cookware that will serve you for a long time.
Distribute and retain heat better
The thick base made of certain materials gives it an advantage when it comes to distributing and retaining heat. Even though it takes a longer time to heat up, a heavy bottom pan’s thicker surface makes for better heat diffusion.
Heat can diffuse over a larger space so that it is already evenly spread once it reaches the cooking surface. Its bigger size and overall mass also help it retain temperature better. Adding cold ingredients to the pan will not drastically change the temperature within.
Reduce overheating, boiling, and similar problems
Because it retains and spreads heat well, you are saved from a lot of problems. The even heat will stop the formation of hotspots. You can evenly cook your dishes and there wiill be less or no presence of burnt spots.
The superior heat retention of heavy bottom pans will also ensure a constant temperature, making it easier for you to gauge whether the food is cooked optimally.
Work well with induction hobs
The materials that make up the heavy bottom pan also work well with both induction hobs and stovetop burners. It’s basically two-in-one cookware.
Heavy bottom pans are usually made with metals that can complete the magnetic circuit in induction hobs.
Its thickness is also an advantage. Most cheap cookware that forms hotspots will eventually dent and become deformed due to extreme heat. However, heavy bottom pans will stay smooth. The smoothness makes it ideal for electric stoves that need a completely flat surface to work properly.
Can be used for both simple and delicate dishes
It has a wide range of uses in kitchens both at home and in restaurants. While its main purpose is for use in delicate dishes that are easily burnt like sugar, it can also be used for everyday dishes.
Long-lasting and easy to work with
Its versatility and sturdy construction make it a delight to work with. Most good quality heavy bottom pans are durable and will last you a long time. It’s great for beginners to reduce problems with heat, and also for experienced chefs who want to tinker with delicate ingredients.
What can you cook with a heavy bottom pan?
What can you cook with a heavy bottom pan? The answer is a lot of things. From simple homemade dishes prepared in your kitchen to luxurious fancy creations, you can do it all with a heavy-bottom pan.
These pans aren’t just for fancy dishes. Cooking with a heavy bottom pan for simple meals is possible.
In fact, it may be good for beginners to try using a heavy bottom pan because it eliminates common mistakes such as overheating. It’s also suitable for any type of stovetop.
Spun sugar creations, caramel, even the famous Dalgona popularized by Netflix’s Squid Game — these can be created in heavy bottom pans.
It is very easy to burn sugar. Sugar is a very light and delicate material that has to be delicately handled with the correct amount of heat. The even heat of heavy bottom pans helps in cooking the ingredient properly.
Many of us know and love food such as custard. Making these requires a careful and tedious process.
It’s a delicate dish that needs constant monitoring for it to turn beautifully. Because of this, heavy bottom pans are ideal to provide that smooth and light finish.
Sauces that need to be cooked lightly like the Hollandaise sauce bring added flavor to the meal and can elevate a dish. However, cooking them in normal pans may ruin their consistency and light flavor.
This is why cooks will sometimes use heavy bottom pans to make sure the sauces are perfect.
Porridges and stews
These will also benefit from the use of a heavy bottom pan. Oatmeal, rice, or stocks and stews can sometimes stick to a normal pan and become burnt because of the pan’s hotspots.
Even heating will prevent them from burning, overheating, or boiling too hot. It will also spare you the hassle of having to scrub and clean up sticky residue from the pan.
Tips to keep your heavy bottom pan alive
Understand the heavy bottom pan you’re buying
What is it made out of? Does it have any special features? Are there certain precautions you should take when cleaning them? Understanding your heavy bottom pan is essential for its longevity.
You should know how to use it properly and the do’s and don’ts in handling it. Teach yourself how to clean it up properly. This will go a long way in ensuring that your pans are usable for as long as possible.
Handwash nonstick heavy bottom pans instead of using dishwasher soap
The corrosive nature of dishwasher soap can damage some heavy bottom pans. To prevent the breaking down of your pans, try to regularly handwash them without the use of harsh metal scrubbers to preserve the nonstick nature of some heavy bottom pans.
Remember that heat still affects these pans
Although great for heat conduction and specially designed to avoid hotspots, there are still problems that may arise.
Sudden heat can adversely affect some pans such as cast iron skillets. This is becaues some materials begin to break down at certain temperatures.
Try to use alternatives to metal utensils
Heavy bottom pans are not easily degraded or worn down. However, scraping and scratching by metal utensils may dent or mar the surface of some pans.
Checking what the pan is made of will help. Try to adjust and use wooden or rubber alternatives when surface scratching due to metal utensils may occur.
Handle the pans carefully
Remember that these pans have thick bottoms. Expect that these will be heavier than usual.
Make sure that you are strong enough to carry one properly, or have someone ready to help out. Don’t bang them on surfaces or place them randomly. These may result in the deformation of your pans.
Check the specifications
Always check the specifications of your pan. Decide what kind of pan is best for you and your cooking.
There are many kinds of heavy bottom pans and just as many brands available in the market. Choose among the different designs based on what suits you.
What is a heavy bottom pan? It is one of the unsung heroes of the culinary world with its good heat distribution and retention. Getting one of these pans can be a great investment, especially when you want to advance your cooking skills.