Professional chefs have a variety of cooking pots available to prepare their meals, including soups and chocolates. With different cooking pot sizes, shapes, materials, and other criteria to consider, it can be challenging to pick the right cookware for the job. It is worth it to understand the differences and how they can be used in your kitchen.
Types of cooking pots and their uses
Before we get into the details about each type of pot, here are some general options for construction:
- Stainless Steel Cooking Pots resist corrosion and wear over time. These units can be used in induction. Stainless steel cooking pots are available with tri-ply bases to ensure even heat distribution.
- Units made from aluminum can be used as an economical alternative to stainless steel. Aluminum cooking pots with doubled thickness at the top and bottom are durable, even though they are popular for their heat conductivity.
This cookware is further categorized by its handles:
- A riveted handle is a pot that has metal pieces breaking down into smaller pieces or rivets. This holds the two large pieces together. Cooking pots are more likely to heat up than riveted pans.
- Welded handles are not able to become loose like riveted handles. Because there are no crevices where bacteria can collect, welding is more hygienic than rivets and they are also easier to clean. You will find more welds on stainless steel cooking pans if you have more than one. However, it is more difficult to weld aluminum handles.
Great for preparing stocks and soups, stock pots are tall vessels that provide an even simmer and rapid heat.
Small to medium units can hold 6 to 120 quarts of product. They are great for foodservice businesses dealing with low to medium volume traffic. Large stock pots are better suited for large facilities such as prisons and hospitals that need to make large batches at once.
Dutch Ovens and Braising Pots
Braising is a method of cooking meat that softens tough cuts for tender serving. It involves browning the meat before adding liquid. The meat fibers are then broken down by long cooking. Although both braising pots and Dutch ovens are known for low and slow cooking, there are key differences in size, shape, and functionality.
Braising pots are available in the same materials that Dutch ovens. However, they differ in their shape with shallower bodies and longer lids to hold whole cuts of meat. Braising pots can be used to brown and sear meat. Although they can be used to cook in a different way than Dutch ovens, the results are very similar. Braising pots have a wider base which allows for more heat contact, browning meats evenly without having to move them around. However, liquids won’t be as plentiful.
Dutch ovens can cook food for long periods of time and have higher sides than braising pans. This allows chefs to cook more and stir more ingredients without having to worry about the product leaking out. These ovens are great for cooking whole meats at a low temperature. Dutch ovens can be used to cook a variety of dishes, including baking bread and boiling pasta. These ovens are large enough to hold large cuts of meat such as bottom rounds and chuck-eye roasts. Two handles are included in Dutch ovens, which allow chefs to transport the large vessel safely even while it is still warm. A lid is also included that must be kept sealed during cooking to preserve moisture.
Made especially for simmering sauces and liquids, sauce pots can also be used for boiling water to cook vegetables, rice, pasta, and more. This unit evenly distributes heat which is great for slow-cooked meals. Sauce pots are taller than saucepans and have wider bases that allow for full contact between the product and the heating surface. The handle design will depend on the size of the saucepan. Because small sauce pots can be easily moved with one hand, they have a single handle. Larger sauce pots, however, require two handles to transport them.
A double boiler is a great tool for applying gentle heat to delicate ingredients, which is why it’s the go-to piece of cookware for tasks such as melting chocolate and making hollandaise sauce. These units heat food in the most gentle manner, making them ideal for heating heat-sensitive items such as those that require indirect heating. Double boilers allow foods to retain their emulsifying qualities, allowing them to maintain a uniform appearance and feel as they are dispersed.
We’ll be covering the steps required to use one of these units.
- Place the base pan on the burner, and add enough water to heat it without touching the top pot. There should be enough water in both the bottom pot and top pot so that it doesn’t boil away.
- Place the ingredients in the top pot and then place it into the base pot.
- Cover the top pot with a lid and allow steam to heat the contents.
Pressure cookers are a great choice for everything from frittatas and egg casseroles to pasta and tomato sauce. The pressure cookers are made up of a sealed container that heats water to produce steam pressure. This allows steam to escape through vents and keeps the internal pressure constant. Pressure cookers can reach temperatures above the boiling point of water, allowing for faster cooking times and a quicker tenderization of tough foods. These units produce complex flavors due to their high heat. Modern pressure cookers have reliable vents that prevent excessive pressure from building up. They may also include a secondary release valve to ensure the steam doesn’t build up.
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