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Cookware

Falk CopperCore -- An Initial Review

kaleokahu | Oct 11, 201910:41 AM     61

We cookware geeks have been hearing rumblings for some time that the copper wizards of Wespelar were entering the premium induction-compatible market with a new line called CopperCore. It promised Falk’s legendary Belgian build quality in a seriously thick triply design that works on all hobs. So I’m excited to be able to review the CopperCore 28cm fry pan I was sent. Fair disclosure: I was given this pan to evaluate, but there is no other consideration given for this review.

My bottom line: Try it. I think induction users will like marrying into the Falk family.

I. Construction and Dimensions

First, the dry stuff. The pan is indeed full-clad triply, consisting of a 0.2mm liner of austentitic stainless steel, a 1.9mm full copper core, and a 0.4mm full-coverage bottom of ferromagnetic steel. It is 2.5mm thick overall, just as advertised. The rim is not sealed; the copper core is visible (and beautiful) all around.

[See, Photo 2--Rim]

The pan body is 29cm in diameter, and 28cm inside its pouring lip. The pan floor measures 24.3cm in diameter. This equates to a flat cooking surface of 464 square centimeters. The pan body itself stands 4.6cm tall, and has a published volume capacity of 2.25 liters (2.4 quarts).

The single handle is cast stainless, 23cm long. It has compound curves and transitions all over, but at the grip area, it steadies to a gently rounded rectangular cross-section, a hand-filling 2.5cm wide and 1.5cm tall. There is a shallow thumb groove on top, and generous, egg-shaped hang hole at the end. The handle is attached to the body by 3 very small-diameter (3mm) DIN660 stainless rivets.

[See, Photo 3—Handle Top]

II. Fit & Finish

The quality of finish on this pan is excellent, as is fitting given its premium pricepoint (presently $270, but this could change). The exterior walls and pouring rim are both brushed circumferentially and the bottom is brushed in one direction, parallel with the handle. The center of the pan bottom has been sharply incised with a cartouche containing a flying bird of prey and “Falk Culiniar”.

[See, Photo 4—Cartouche]

The pan’s lining has not been brushed. Rather, it appears to have been chemically treated to attain the same continuous, smooth, satin texture and grayish appearance as in Falk’s bimetal lines. There are no interior volume marks.

The pan’s handle and flange have been brightly polished everywhere except in the F-A-L-K lettering which are deeply cast into the flange; this lettering retains the raw casting’s textured look.

[See, Photo 5—Handle Flange]

III. Weight

There’s no way around it—this pan is heavy, at a published weight of 2.24 kg (2 pomme frits less than 5 pounds). Interestingly, two of my scales disagreed, measuring the weight to be 2.41 kg (5.3 pounds).

IV. Pre-Cook Impressions

This is an elegant pan. The fit and finish is excellent, as anyone familiar with Falk would expect. The handle’s cross-section, arch, and other compound curves make this heavy pan enjoyable and secure to hold. It is not “turny” in the least, and it would take a long time to get uncomfortably hot on the stovetop. The handle’s top has a shallow U-shape along much of its length which, unlike All-Clad’s, is actually comfortable in both overhand and underhand grips.

The large floor area (24.3cm) means that this medium-sized fry pan can accommodate quite a lot of food. Compared with The Fissler OP floor (flat diameter 21.5cm), which has a total flat area of 363 square centimeters, the Falk’s flat floor area is more than 100 cm² (1.28x) greater. This may mean the difference between X steaks or Y eggs fitting into the pan. Of course, the price to be paid for this extra floor area is comparatively steep sidewalls.

I still have good forearm strength, but despite the secure handle, I’m thinking it’s going to be a challenge tossing food with one hand in this >5-pound pan. The rivets look tiny, but there are 3 of them, and they are stainless.

[See, Photo 6–Inside view of rivets]

V. The Realization

When I went to Falk’s website to check dimensions, weight and such, a light bulb went off. The CopperCore 28cm pan body appears to be exactly the same size, shape, and overall thickness as the Signature and Classical bimetal lines! And the handle appears to be the actual Signature handle. In fact, the differences between the Signature 28cm and this pan seem limited to adding that ferromagnetic outer layer and reducing the copper foil thickness by the thickness of the outer cladding. Arithmatic being what it is, that amounts to a 0.4mm reduction in the copper thickness, from 2.3mm in the bimetal lines, to 1.9mm here. If I’m right about the true weight, that’s virtually identical to the Signature 28cm, too. When I asked about this, Jan VanAchter, Falk’s Managing Director, verified all of the above.

I also reached out to Falk about them claiming on record a few years back that 2.3mm copper thickness was ideal. I was told they would have needed to purchase a completely new set of dies (they call them moulds) to make CopperCore any thicker, and the cladding would be much more expensive.

So, this pan was made induction compatible (and kept at 2.5mm thick) at the expense of losing nearly half a millimeter of conductive material. Still, even with this tradeoff, CopperCore’s conductive layer is slightly thicker than deBuyer’s Prima Matera line (1.8mm), yet a hair thinner than the disks under some Demeyere Atlantis pans (2mm). It also costs $25 less than the 28cm Signature. And some good news: The covers for all Falks should be interchangeable.

VI. But How Does It Perform?

Since Falk’s target here is reaching and breaching the induction market, I thought I’d start with assessing the CopperCore fry pan’s performance on my Vollrath Mirage Pro 1800W light commercial induction hob. This unit has great granularity and control, and a coil size that is generally representative of what is found on home built-ins and PICs (To the extent the coil is smaller than the largest full-size coils, it is stil l a good practical and generalizable test bed for assessing thermal performance).

Evenness

First, a note about cookware evenness. The concept is basically to assess the ∆T, namely the temperature differences within the pan. The lower the ∆T, the less variation in temperature between, e.g., the very center of the pan, and the floor areas nearest the walls. The greater the ∆T, the less even. Physics dictates that the centers of pans will become hotter than further out, regardless of construction or hob selection, so there is no such thing as a perfectly even (0°∆T) pan. But all other things being equal, the lower the ∆T, the more uniform the theoretical cooking result. Low ∆T is roughly synonymous with even-heating.

But hob selection *does* make a difference. While there are several different hob formats and many different designs, some appliances deliver more diffuse heat, and some deliver more discrete, localized heat. Generally, the more discrete and localized a hob’s heat is, the harder it is for a pan to spread that heat to attain a low ∆T. And when a pan’s ability to spread heat outward is overwhelmed for any reason, food is likely to be scorched in spots.

Now then, of all the modes of delivering heat, e.g., gas, electric coil, radiant, induction, we can generalize that induction is the least diffuse and the most discrete. Therefore induction hobs present the biggest challenges to a pan—any pan—achieving a low ∆T. Another way of saying this is that any given pan is likely to be least even on induction, and (at least on the floor) more even on coil, radiant, gas, and solid-top.

It is into this “worst case” bullfight ring that Falk has stepped with CopperCore. Even though induction owns only a minority share of the world’s appliance market, it is somewhat foolish of any pan maker to completely leave that share to the competition. Hence Falk’s first foray into induction-compatible lines with CopperCore.

So, for purposes of this review, I want to focus on induction as the heat source, even though CopperCore would generally perform more evenly on gas, coil or radiant hobs.

For a first test of evenness, I preheated the empty CopperCore pan for 10 minutes at a lower power setting, 20/100. I then measured the temperature of the pan center, the outer edge and the top of the pan wall. The pan hit 395F at its center, and the outer edge was 323F, a 72F falloff. The top wall reached 287F.

For a second (much more time consuming) evenness test, I steered power setting down until the pan came to thermal equilibrium, with the center holding at 350F. Then I measured the temperatures as before. This time, the outer edge was 261F and the wall top was 213F, falloffs of 89F and 137F respectively.

For a third test, I wanted to see where the pan was, thermally speaking, when it was quickly preheated over higher heat to the Leidenfrost Point, and then the heat reduced to medium. This more closely follows regular (if impatient) cooking practice. So I chose to preheat at 80/100 until the center registered 350F, and then reduce to 40/100. Attaining 350 took only 1:15, and 1 minute after reducing the heat, the edge was 279 F, a dropoff of 71F.

I assess that the empty pan is relatively even-heating. See, Section IX below for an evenness assessment using food.

Responsiveness

To test downward responsiveness, I first decided to time how long it would take the Falk to shed 100F of heat from the 395F attained in the 10-minute preheat. Left in place on the hot Ceran, and measured dead center, the pan took 1:49 to cool to 295F. This is actually very nimble for a thicker clad pan.

Then to test upward responsiveness (done as part of the third evenness test), I also recorded the heating time on setting 80/100 to bring the Falk’s center to Leidenfrost. As mentioned above, that took just over a minute, 1:15 to be exact.

A warning is in order here. The CopperCore’s upward response is so fast, and induction so immediately powerful, that users should not be cavalier about preheating over high heat. Falk puts that warning in its instructions, but they really mean it! The warning needs to be always in mind because many induction hobs with temperature settings begin heating with maximum wattage; the Vollrath hob, set to 270F, took this pan above 575F in 50 seconds!

My near disaster here got me thinking of efficiency as well. The old rule of thumb for copper is that you need a lower heat setting to achieve the same pan temperature. Here, the numerical Power Setting 12/100 was all that was needed to attain and hold 350F in the CopperCore.

VII. Compared With What?

Unfortunately, I do not presently own any of the Falk bimetal 28cm fry pans from its other lines (Falk calls them “Ranges”) with which to compare and contrast. And to do a fair comparison on induction would require one of the rare dual-frequency appliances. But I do own the fully-clad 28cm Demeyere Proline 5* and the disk-based 28cm Fissler Original Profi. Both of these comparator pans are widely recognized as being best-in-class for their respective constructions.

Fissler OP

The comparative results with the Fissler disk pan were interesting. The 10-minute preheat at 20/100 took this pan’s center to only to 320F in that time, at which point the disk’s edge was 295F (a 25F falloff). It took 16:36 to even get to 395F. The power was killed, and the time to cool to back down to 250F from 350F was 6:59 (nearly quadruple the Falk pan’s time). Held at an arbitrary 350F equilibrium, the edge falloff was only 10F. But in the high heat test (80/100), it took 2:19 to reach 350F, at which time the falloff at the edge was 35F.

The Fissler’s efficiency was actually higher than I expected. At power setting 12, it held a constant 291F in the center.

I conclude that The Falk CopperCore’s evenness on induction is very good, but that the Fissler OP’s is better (due to a 6mm aluminum disk versus 1.9mm of copper of significantly greater area). In terms of both upward and downward responsiveness, the disk-base Fissler performed poorly in comparison to the clad Falk CopperCore.

Demeyere Proline 5*

Repeating the tests with the Proline, the comparative results were as follows. The 10-minute preheat at 20/100 took the Demeyere pan’s center only to 213F. So I let it run, and after 26 minutes, it hit 320F, at which time the edge was 299F (a 21F falloff). It took nearly 40 minutes to get to 350F. As before, the hob was shut off, and the Proline’s time to cool back down to 250F was 5:37 (about 3.25x that of the Falk pan’s). The Demeyere never made it to 395F at 20/100. Held at an equilibrium temperature of 350F, the edge falloff was 18F, and the falloff at the rim was 80F. In the high heat test (80/100), the Proline took 1:36 to reach 350F, at which time the falloff at the edge was 103F, because it had not fully preheated.

Efficiency-wise, the Proline uses substantially more energy to attain and hold a constant temperature: at power setting 12, it could only reach a maximum center constant temperature of 235F.

So, compared with the Proline, I would say the CopperCore is also very much more responsive, and only a little less even.

VIII. Scorchprints

Flour scorchprints can be a useful tool to begin to understand pan evenness, but the details of pan construction, time and settings matter a lot in judging whether the “picture” is worth much. Basically, any pan on a discrete hob can be made to show hot spots. In the case of induction, the spot is almost always a ring shape which corresponds to the induction coil sitting below. Blast even the thickest pan with too much heat too fast, and you’ll see the familiar scorched pattern. Even reasonable heat under a thinner pan can do it if there’s not a proper preheat. In both cases, there is not be enough time to maximally equalize the heat across the pan before the flour scorches.

Even then, if you do everything right, time-under-heat makes a difference. Flour never un-browns, so it can be hard (and uncertain) to see new browning emerging through the old. This is especially true where floured-up pans start at room temperature. I’ve done hundreds of these scorchprints, and have gotten pretty good at seeing rings emerge under already-browned flour, but seeing them in photographs is frequently another matter.

I’ve thought a lot about how to do scorchprinting that minimizes the chance that what people see in a photograph will be misleading or seem manipulated. What I decided to do here is to preheat the dry pan to a constant state where the center holds 350F. The preheated pan is wiped with an oily paper towel; flour added evenly; excess flour quickly knocked out; then the pan is replaced and recentered on the active coil to see what browns and where.

Here, you can see that the CopperCore’s evenness was very good, better than I expected. It shows a darker degree of central browning than at the edges, but not in a doughnut pattern. And a closer look reveals that the entire floor got enough heat to brown the flour—there is no lilly-white flour there.

[See, Photo 7—Scorchprint]

IX. “Food Printing”

I also decided to basically run the same test with a preheated and oiled pan, but this time fry a strip of pork belly that extends the full floor diameter of the pan. There are still some variables having to do with stored heat, but any lesser browning at the strip’s outermost ends would be a decent visual indicator of a higher ∆T and practical unevenness.

The Falk pan was heated at 20/100 to the Leidenfrost Point, then oiled with 2T of peanut oil. One strip of pork belly then was placed across the center of the pan. The strip was cooked 5 minutes per side, then flipped. Each side got 10 minutes total cooking time. I cooked two strips each in the CopperCore and—for comparison—the Fissler.

The results are shown in the photos. Note that the strips really were extended fully across the pan, and shrank over time. I assess that there was no discernible scorching in the center of the strips, nor any indication that the ends were un- or less cooked. The CopperCore browned the strips very evenly.

[See, Photo 8—Pork Belly in Falk]

I also ran the same test in the Fissler 28cm fry pan for comparison. However, I knew that the Fissler would require a higher heat setting to hit the Leidenfrost Point within a reasonable time, so I set the heat at 25/100. The Fissler also browned evenly, but not visibly more so than did the Falk.

[See, Photo 9—Pork Belly in Fissler]

X. Things I Like

Evenness & Responsiveness. I think this CopperCore strikes an excellent balance between evenness and responsiveness. It is reasonably even-heating on induction (and exceptionally so given its thickness) and more even still on gas. It heats and cools much, much faster than its main rivals. And its upward responsiveness on induction is like lightning.

Spaciousness. Subject to my quibble below, I like how the CopperCore is effectively larger than other 28cm pans.

Efficiency. The CopperCore clearly uses less energy than its rivals. For induction users—many of whom value even small energy savings-- this is nice.

Handle. Despite the fact that this handle can get hot where you might sometimes grab it, it mostly stays cool. It’s comfortable and doesn’t turn. Cooks with large hands are able to place the fingertips into that U-groove using an underhand grip.

Pouring Lip. To me, the CooperCore’s pouring lip is ideal. It’s not that other makers’ lips don’t work, but they’re typically much wider. And that width needlessly adds to the pan’s overall diameter. Here, for comparison, the Proline 28cm pan body is really 30.4mm overall diameter, and the Fissler 28cm is really 30cm diameter. I like that the CopperCore saves space at 29cm without losing any pouring functionality.

Ease of cleaning. I find this lining to be very easy to clean. The brushed exterior also tends to hide little scuffs and scratches.

Honesty. Unlike some other clad “copper” lines, with CopperCore, what you see is what you get. Falk doesn’t need to trick buyers with decorative bands and rim angles that make it look like the copper layer is thicker than it is. There’s serious copper here, and therefore no need for gimmickry.

Value. It’s odd to say that a frypan that costs $270 is a value, but it also happens to be true. It’s a Falk, it’s truly high performance, and doesn’t cost more than Proline https://www.surlatable.com/on/demandw... or Falk’s bimetal lines. In fact, it’s only half the price of the deBuyer Prima Matera 28cm frypan, yet has more copper. https://www.amazon.com/PRIMA-MATERA-C...

XI. Things I’m Not Crazy About

First and foremost (and perhaps this is my only real beef), I wish that 0.4mm of discarded copper thickness had been left in. By my calculations, that would have added around 0.7 pounds, which would’ve brought this pan in right at 6 pounds total. I would’ve preferred this to increase the pan’s evenness, but Jan is right, this would have required new moulds, more costly cladding mill runs, and therefore a higher asking price. I believe a practical problem this thinning may cause is that cooks who are impatient in preheating CopperCore might jump to the conclusion that it is less even-heating than it truly is.

After a long cooking session, the stainless handle does get uncomfortably warm (145F in my tests) at the very start of the thumb groove. This is about 2 inches from the pan body, exactly where you’d choke up to grab a full pan of food.

The abrupt shoulder and steep walls, while they increase floor space, make it harder to use the walls to brown curved and/or flexible things like sausages and bacon.

One more picky detail: I find that F-A-L-K cast into in the handle flange has strangely distracting spacing. It think it could have been kerned better.

XII. Things YOU May Not Be Crazy About

Falk’s instructions say the pan should not be cleaned in a dishwasher. Query whether that would change if Falk sealed the rim like Demeyere did with Proline. This is no big deal to me, because I always handwash everything, and I find that exposed copper beautiful.

XIII. Conclusion

CopperCore is worthy of everyone’s serious consideration, even given its heavy weight and pricepoint. Its responsiveness-to-evenness ratio is the best I’ve tested in an induction-compatible pan. It’s simultaneously rugged and beautiful. I predict it will be a commercial success for Falk. It’s clearly a top-level pan offering excellent performance.

I’ll put the CopperCore 28cm in rotation with its Fissler and Demeyere adversaries on all my various hobs, and update this review as I gain more day-to-day experience with it.

[Photo 10—Stock Photo #2]

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