Cost, ease of maintenance, metal type and shape are all important considerations when shopping for commercial cookware and bakeware. The metal type will determine the weight of the pan, its heat retention and whether it is corrosion- and rust-proof. The most important thing is to choose a pot, pan, or baking sheet that your chef and kitchen workers know how to work with.
Cookware comes in many metal types. The three most common are aluminum, cast iron and stainless steel. Aluminum transfers heat well, weighs very little and is the most economical metal choice. However, acidic foods like tomatoes will corrode the aluminum over time. Stainless steel is more high end. It is durable and easy to maintain, but does not transfer heat as well as aluminum. For this reason, many stainless steel pots and pans have aluminum bottoms to encourage even heat distribution.
Cast iron is heavy, low-cost and favored by many chefs because it absorbs flavor over time and transfers it to cooked foods. The downside is that it is difficult to clean and prone to rust. No matter what kind of commercial cookware you choose, make sure to maintain it properly. Wait for aluminum and stainless pans to cool before cleaning, otherwise they could warp with the rapid temperature change. Also be sure to care for your stainless by avoiding harsh cleaning pads or corrosive chemicals like chlorine. Cast iron cookware should be regularly seasoned by coating it in oil and baking it for 45 minutes. It should be cleaned with soap, but should never be soaked in soapy water, since it can rust or absorb the flavor of the soap.
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