This is a question we are commonly asked. After all, aluminum is ubiquitous in the cookware market – famous brands such as Teflon, Swiss Diamond, Le Creuset and Scanpan all use it, so why doesn’t Lotus Rock? First, we won’t try to pretend that aluminum doesn’t have any major benefits for cookware utensils; it does, and that is why it has proven so popular ever since it was first introduced for cookware back in the 1960s. The advantages of aluminum cookware include:
- Conducts heat evenly – reducing difficulties with over-heating
- Light weight – suitable for young children, the elderly or just people who want a cookware utensil that is easily moved around the kitchen
- Good corrosion resistance*
- Easy to manufacture –either pressed, cast or forged
- Exterior of the pan can have a variety of attractive designs printed onto it.
*This isn’t entirely true, aluminum does rust, but the rust is a white powder, less noticeable than rust from carbon steel or cast iron.
However, because aluminum has become so embedded in the cookware industry over the past half century, with many cookware companies using and promoting it, many of the disadvantages associated with this type of substrate are overlooked and not fully understood. These include:
- Weak construction –easily dented and deformed
- Not induction-safe
- Poor heat retention – especially compared to cast iron
- Does not conduct heat as evenly as copper
- Does not heat up as quickly as carbon steel.
In previous posts readers of this blog will have noted the following benefits of Lotus Rock:
- Fast heating effect – saves time and energy,
- Highly durable – for long term use,
- High heating effect – for better vitamin retention and a more delicious taste.
Ever since aluminum cookware became popular in the 1960s, carbon steel has been seen as a cheap alternative. However, this was because it was always used in a thin gauge. When carbon steel is used in a much thicker gauge, such as 2.0mm, the pan’s cooking performance and durability improve significantly. If Lotus Rock used aluminum instead of carbon steel as the substrate for its coating, it would not have the following advantages.
Carbon steel vs Aluminum
- Fast heating effect. Although aluminum does heat evenly, it does not heat up quickly; carbon steel heats up much faster, reaching a temperature of 180 degrees long before an aluminum pan (the ideal temperature for cooking is between 140-180 degrees). Moreover, because all Lotus Rock items are produced in a 2.0mm gauge, they not only heat up quickly but also evenly – so a fried egg will always be tastier and crisper on a Lotus Rock pan than on non-stick aluminum.
- Highly durable. Carbon steel is three times denser than aluminum, so a 2.0mm-gauge carbon steel pan is equivalent to a 6.0mm-thick aluminum pan, and very few aluminum pans are made with a gauge as thick as this. A common complaint regarding most aluminum pans is that they dent easily when dropped; Lotus Rock, made with 2.0mm-gauge carbon steel, is much stronger and more durable than the average aluminum pan.
- High heating effect. Lastly, the density of 2.0mm-gauge carbon steel gives it much better heat retention than aluminum. This means a pan does not lose heat when food is placed on it, which reduces the chance of burning or over-cooking the food and maintains its vitamin content and delicious taste.
Lotus Rock is a cookware collection with numerous benefits, many of them due to its thick carbon steel gauge. It is precisely because a Lotus Rock frying pan, stir wok or crepe pan is made with 2.0mm-gauge carbon steel that it has a fast heating effect, a strong construction and an excellent heating effect for healthier and more delicious food.