Cladding
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Cladding is a manufacturing technique which clouds the older delineations.

Production

Cladding is a method of manufacturing pans with a heat conductive material (copper or aluminum), and then covering them with a non-reactive material like stainless steel. The copper or aluminum extends over the entire pan, not just in a disk on the base of the pan, so heat is more evenly distributed. 

Normally with copper pans, only the inside of the pan is clad so the attractive copper exterior is left exposed.  Some high-end cookware may be dubbed “dual-clad” which means the pot has a thick aluminum core for best heat diffusion, a thin stainless steel layer on the cooking surface, and a think copper layer on the outside of the pot for aesthetic purposes.

There are also “tri-clad” or “tri-ply” products where the aluminum core is extended up the sides of the pot or pan which prevents food from sticking or burning on the sides.

Some pots & pans are marketed as “clad”, “jacketed” or “banded” but  only contain an "encapsulated disk bottom" or a disk of aluminum sandwiched (not welded) between steel on the pot or pan bottom. Encapsulated disk pans only work well if they are very shallow so the sides cannot burn food.  Encapsulated pots or pans may cause buzzing if used with an induction range (covered in Lesson 3: Food Preparation Basics, Topic 7: Food Preparation Equipment, Exercise 6: Stoves Ranges & Ovens) because the sandwiching, as opposed to welding, allows for microscopic movement of the plate which can lead to buzzing. Another manufacturing trick is cladding the outside of the pot or pan with a very thin layer of a more expensive metal like copper. These pots show very well, and the manufacturers charge a lot for them, but the very thin layer of metal does not really impact your cooking.

Purchasing

If you have a choice and have to choose one main pan, choose a fully dual-clad or tri-clad one. They cost more but they cook with better results and are more versatile.