I'd been wanting a larger copper saute pan for a while since my 10" was getting kind of crowded for some meals, so I finally took the plunge and got this new one on ebay. Now i'm trying to learn more about it. I'd love any input and honest analysis from the experts and other folks here. A few observations and notes from my research so far:
- The mark says "Koessler Kupferschmiederei Strassburg" - so perhaps from Strasbourg during a period of German control? Or not? Or from another Strasburg? I don't really know the region or history that well.
- The only other pans I've seen on ebay with this mark were two dovetailed saucepans. So that plus the prior observation makes me think it's maybe an older manufacturer?
- The pan weighs about 4.1kg and looks to be about 2mm in thickness. It's a 31cm pan with somewhat high sides (about 10cm), so part of the weight is from the extra high sides.
- There's some kind of black varnish or something on the handle. I've seen what looks like stains of this same kind of paint/varnish on another old pan I bought. Does anyone know what the deal with this is? Presumably if I send the pan for retinning at some point they could grind this off (it looks like maybe that's what occurred on the other pan since there's only little hints of it left).
- The tin looks to be in pretty good condition at the moment, though.
- Copper rivets, flat on the inside of the pan.
- Some minor scratches in the copper.
- The copper looks mostly smooth - not visibly hammered - but if I rub my fingers along it there's some variations. I can't decide if this is my imagination or if it means that the pan was actually hand-hammered at some point but then smoothed down (with planishing hammer and/or by lots of polishing over the years). I can kind of see some variation in how the light hits it, but am not sure if that's just because of the coppers non-uniform coloring etc. Not sure if you can tell from the photos, but would be curious about folks' observations or if you've encountered similar pans. I don't have any other pans that are totally smooth, machine-formed copper so I can't really compare. It's also possible I'm just feeling the result of lots of dings and dents over the years.
- It's got a slight warp on the bottom so doesn't sit perfectly flat, though it's fairly close and works fine on my gas stove. Is this the kind of thing that could get smoothed out if i send the pan for restoration & retinning? I don't think there's any need to do so yet since the tin seems to be in good shape, but trying to figure out what this pan's future looks like :)
So far I've only had the opportunity to fry up some onions in it but it did cook well! Since it's so wide, it did seem like maybe the heat distribution tapered off a bit at the sides since it's only 2mm... trying to decide what that means for me, as well. Do I care enough to get a thicker large-size pan like this? Would I be able to lift such a pan? Curious if other folks have noticed similar things on large diameter pans like this and how much difference varying thicknesses of copper seemed to make. I've never had that problem on my other pans (which are generally in the 2.5-4mm range), but they're also not nearly as wide.
Anyhow, I'd love to hear other folks' thoughts and observations. I'm looking forward to getting to know this pan :)
(Relatedly, if anyone happens to have ideas for big meals to cook in this pan I'd be all ears - trying to decide what to cook this weekend when I have some more time to play with it!).
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