Up Next: Saucepans.

Espagnole. Demi-glace. Bordelaise. English Gravy. Poivrade. Port-Berry. Grüne. Ravigote. Robert. Hunter. Aux Fines Herbes. Genevoise. Hot and Sour. Lyonnaise. Barbecue. Marinara. Yorkshire. Béarnaise. Curry. Alfredo. Coulis. Hollandaise…

Photo of Barb

How your new saucepan cover starts life: cardboard and clay. Barbara Stork designing old school.

That’s a short list. The complete list of sauces, or what Larousse Gastronomique calls “liquid seasoning for food” is pretty much endless, and some of the foundational techniques for making any of the more famous sauces above, once conquered, allow for the creation of unique new concoctions that can become part of family history. A legacy from my mother’s kitchen is a kind of hybrid of Brown and Polonaise sauces – think horseradish-and-lemon-inflected madera beef stock reduction. As she tells the story, it was born of an over-cooked roux, a lot of beef stock and my father’s fondness for horseradish with the holiday roast beef.

She still has the pan that sauce was birthed in.

Photo of Mac

A stang in the hand is worth two on paper. Mac Kohler gets an angle on the smallest cover handle.

Saucepans were a natural next step for Brooklyn Copper Cookware – not least of all because a great many people have asked after them, but more because extracting flavors into liquids and texturing them is one of the most exacting, fun and satisfying skills any cook can develop. Many sauces take a deft touch, and the precision temperature control of copper and tin is a real advantage when your recipe is finicky. On the road to mastery, at some point the right tools become imperative.

But is it possible to “master” sauce making if there’s the next, undiscovered sauce lurking out there to more perfectly season your meal? Many of the best cooks I know insist sauces are the most humbling element of good cooking (my favorite stealth trick: a tablespoon of mayonnaise from the ‘fridge to repair my broken Hollandaise). I like to think of sauces as the most suspenseful part in the story of any meal, but it consistently amazes me that most sauces, as complex as they can be, are single-pan preparations.

Photo of Mac and Barb's hands

Mac and Barbara make sure the stang and long handles will play together nicely on the new saucepans.

As simple and as useful as saucepans are, manufacturing them was always going to take a disproportionate share of BCC’s resources. Each one of the three sizes (1, 2 and 3 quart) we intend to make requires its own vented, stainless steel lathe mandrel, its own long handle casting plate, its own cover tooling and individually-sized stang handle casting plates. That’s more than we could afford as we got started, so we decided to bankroll the saucepans with the proceeds of our initial offering (the sauté, rondeau, casserole and stocker) with its common lathe tool. With holiday sales in the bank, we’re getting ready with designs and to invest in more tools.

As you can see from the pictures, this part of making Brooklyn Copper Cookware is handwork as well. Barbara Stork has been busy redrawing our unique handle designs to our saucepans’ scale. Once we’ve nailed down the look, balance and weights (you’ll always be able to tell Brooklyn Copper at a glance), our tooling shops in Fort Wayne and Dayton are ready to begin milling new mandrels and plates.

We and our smiths have been through all this once before with the first lineup of pans, and we have a little more capital to work with this go ’round, so we’re cautiously optimistic about bringing out our saucepan line in a matter of months rather than years. Once we have everything in place we’ll set up a pre-order list, just like we did for the first lineup. Then you’ll be able to claim the first of the BCC saucepans to come off the line. We expect them to be very popular.

3 thoughts on “Up Next: Saucepans.

  1. Brian Reed

    The suspense is KILLING me! Can you post a quick update on the saucepans for your many fans? 🙂

    Reply
    1. Mac Kohler Post author

      Hi Brian,

      Wow – am I glad for your enthusiasm! Hopefully this will work for a little (short-term) life support.

      As of 7/6 the tool makers who mill our casting plates (used to make our iron handles for the saucepans) in Ft. Wayne, IN had completed the first of our new handle designs and were busy on the second. They should all be completed by 7/12 – 15, after which they go off to our iron foundry in Plymouth, IN for a test pour. Since all our shops are now experienced in this process (this is our second tooling), we’re reasonably confident the iron prototypes will come back perfect from the test (took three runs the first time we did this). Once we have beautiful prototypes, we’ll pour a couple tons of each, expecting to have those cleaned up and ready for their pan bodies by early August.

      While all the above is going on, our lathe mandrels (more tools) for the three different sauce pan sizes are being milled in Dayton, OH to our specifications from hardened stainless steel. At just about the moment they’re finished and tested, iron should be arriving from the foundry. A couple of new tools then have to be made to shape the handles’ bearing plates to fit their pans tightly, using the just-arrived handles themselves as patterns. While that’s happening pan bodies will be spun on the new mandrels, covers will be cut, and handles will be riveted (all by hand, of course) A few hundred completed pan assemblies then head up the road to Lima, OH and the tinning forges where they’ll be lined and polished (again, by hand).

      As they’re being tinned, Lane and I will be organizing individual emails to folks who have been patiently waiting for our saucepans, alerting everyone to their immanent availability. As soon as those first pans come off the polish line, they’ll go out the door to everyone who claims one (or two, or all).

      All of this we are pushing to bear fruit before the end of summer, and all this while, drawings and dimensions are being sketched up for the next Brooklyn Copper Cookware – Au Gratins, in a couple of sizes. We’ll be starting this process again before long. 🙂

      Thanks for checking in, Brian!

      Mac

      Reply

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