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For hundreds of years, copper cookware has been the top choice for the discerning consumer.
However, with today’s ever changing technology, the traditional pan may be headed for the recycling bin if induction cook stoves continue to gain in popularity. That’s not to say you shouldn’t overlook traditional choices: and you can find our guide on typical copper pans (and more types) right here.
Why? Induction utilizes the properties of an electro-magnetic field to viberate the atoms in the cooking vessel to create heat through molecular friction – similarly to the way a magnetron in a microwave vibrates the atoms in organic compounds to heat your food directly.
There is, however, one catch. The cooking vessel must be made of a metal or at least contains a metal that reacts to a magnetic field. Unfortunately, copper and aluminum do not share this property and folks are discovering that their existing copper pots and pans – as well as some of their older expensive clad pieces – no longer work with their new induction stoves.
Some manufacturers provide an iron plate to place between the stove top and the bottom of the pan, but this is inefficient and can be a bit of pain that negates some of induction’s wonderful advantages. However, there is an answer. Enter the de Buyer Prima Matera Copper Cookware Collection.
Since 1830, The de Buyer Copper Cookware Company, located in the small town of Le Val D’ajol, France, has produced top quality kitchenware for the both commercial use and for those who love to cook great tasting cuisine at home. However, they aren’t just stuck in the past. They’ve spent many years and millions in dollars in R&D researching the perfect solution to cooking with copper on induction.
Lynne’s Review of the de Buyer Prima Matera Copper Cookware Collection
The de Buyer Inocuiver Prima Matera line features a 1.8 mm copper layer sandwiched between thin stainless steel layer (0.2 mm) and 1.0 to 1.5 (depending on the piece) mm magnetic steel disked attached on the underside of each pan – giving you the most responsive and evenly heating cookware available on the market today that works with induction stoves.
This even heat distribution one is the reasons that copper is well respected in the culinary world. The second feature of this material, and one that continues with the Prima Matera collection, is that of fast response to the adjustment of temperatures.
I was able to test one piece of the de Buyer Prima Matera line and to say that I’m impressed is an understatement. I don’t have an induction stove – and I’m not sure that I want one until they are more refined as I have a huge tin lined copper collection gathered while traveling in France – so I had to conduct this test at a friends house.
Panasonic has developed an induction range that works with all metals but it is not yet available in the U.S. as far as I can tell and it would probably be prohibitively expensive if it were. The new Panasonic cook stoves work on a different frequency by detecting the type of metal as I understand it – its too high tech for me to easily digest. I’ll bide my time and wait for this new technology to become mainstream and much lower in price.
Anyhow, I digress. We were reviewing the de Buyer Prima Materia and not talking about some crazy new type of induction range that may become commonly available when James T. Kirk enters the Starfleet Academy (I’m a nerd – I admit it). Back to the test.
The piece that I purchased happened to be the 3.2-Quart Saute-pan. I’m a sucker for a two handled sauté pan and if you are going to buy just one piece from the de Buyer Prima Materia collection and I would recommend this be it.
The de Buyer 3.2 Quart Copper Sauté Pan available from Amazon and other fine retailers
The only other pan that I had available of similar size, shape, and weight was an All-Clad Tri-Ply Sauté Pan with a three quart capacity. This is a great pan in of itself but I soon found the de Buyer to be superior.
I tested each pan bare and found that the Prima Matera sauce pan was able to reach 300°F in the center in exactly three minutes and thirty seconds where it took just under five minutes with the All Clad to reach the same temperature.
Moreover, the de Buyer was able to more evenly distribute this heat. When I checked along the edges they varied between 280 and 290 degree. The temperature along the edges of the All-Clad hovered around 230-240°F – that’s a significant drop off. The disparity can definitely be attributed to the de Buyer’s much thicker copper layer.
Whether this superiority is worth north of 500 bones vs just over $100 dollars for the all clad version is something you will need to decide for yourself.
While cooking with this pan, I became very impressed with its heat distribution to all of the cooking surface even though the pan overlapped the heating element by a large degree.
Moreover, its very fast response time to changes in temperature kept the traditional benefits of thick copper. Cleaning is not that onerous thanks to the stainless lining and a good polishing of the exterior every quarter or so will keep your pan looking new.
The only downside I can see is that there is a lack of a pouring lip but sometimes you can’t have everything.
The fact that this sauté pan comes with a lid makes it a definite buy in my opinion and should you purchase one, I suspect that you will love it too!
I will always be a lover of copper cookware so I know which I prefer even if it costs me a little more and I’m glad that there is a way to future proof my way (and the traditional French way) of cooking.
What Types of Pots are Pans are Available and Where To Buy?
|Prima Matera Collection||Lynne's Notes||Best Place to Buy|
|DeBuyer Prima Matera 11-Inch Frypan, Copper, Stainless Steel||The 11 Inch Skillet is generally big enough for most tasks although I would think about keeping a larger cast iron frying pan around for other tasks such as pizza making, searing, etc.|
|DeBuyer Prima Matera 1.8-Quart Rounded Saute-pan, Copper, Stainless Steel||Lots of people will think is some kind of wok. It's actually a "French Country Round Pan" and works great for reductions (like a splayed pan). Its the next item on my want list.|
|DeBuyer Prima Matera 1.9-Quart Saute-pan, Copper, Stainless Steel||A nice medium sized sauté pan - this is a good one for making a small to medium amount of sauces, etc.|
|DeBuyer Prima Matera 6.3-Quart Saucepan, Copper, Stainless Steel||Nice big sauce pot...great for a large amount of sauces and stews.|
|DeBuyer Prima Matera 6.3-Quart Stainless Steel Stewpan, Copper with Stainless Steel Lid||My favorite piece of the collection. The double handles are real helpful for moving this piece around while it is full.|
Check out this video showing the crafting of the Prima Matera
More about De Buyer
De Buyer has long been in its in the lovely Vosges area in France, approximately two hundred miles east of Paris and about 85 miles from Germany. Hundreds of people have labored in this family held company to expertly craft exceptional kitchenware that has been used for generations to create exceptional cuisine delighting many palettes.
They are very well known for their mineral line of carbon steel frying pans but they also produce very good quality knives and exceptional mandolins.
About Lynne Jaques
Lynne is a stay-at-home mother of two boys. As a former US military officer and the spouse of an active duty US military member, Lynne enjoys traveling the world (although not the moving part!) and finding new cuisine and methods of preparing food. She also has the habit of using parenthesis way too much!