Brass or Bronze Which is better for cooking? is a question we get asked on an everyday basis. From those new to brass and bronze kitchenware to those that have just come into the possession of their valuable heirloom collection, the inflow of queries is rather endless.
Coming from a household where brass and bronze ware were highly valued, I leant how to tell the difference between the two early on. I was also taught how to use them, albeit only through observing my mother and grandmother from a distance. As a result, I was privy to little yet essential rituals such as tinning, where she’d sit out to supervise the craftsman as he applied tin alloy to the inside of our valuable brass vessels.
We were always told how fragrant our curries were in these golden-toned utensils. When I turned 20, I also eavesdropped on lamenting statements about the new generation switching to aluminium and stainless steel with no regard for their heirlooms. My mother’s friends would often talk about how they were more than willing to sell old vessels stored away in the attic of their homes, unable to figure out how their mothers used them to cook three meals every day of the year.
Of course, we can always chalk it up to the lack of experience in using the vessels or simply the unavailability/ loss of information as it is passed down the generations. In modern times, however, it is far more difficult for parents losing touch with their heirlooms to describe their value to their children accurately.
I found it hard to continue the tradition at home; despite being well versed in the subject, I have had my struggles and wished I had all the answers to Brass or Bronze which is better for cooking ?
But fret not; I am here to make it easy for you!
So let us jump right into exploring the vast realm of brass and Bronze and settle the debate about which one is better for cooking!
What is the difference between Brass and Bronze?
Brass is a bright and golden alloy made of copper and zin metals, and the proportions often vary from manufacturer to manufacturer or depend on the intended use. When used to cook food in brass, the metal retains almost 90% of the nutritional value of the ingredients used.
On the other hand, Bronze is an alloy often seen with a radiant, muted gold surface and is made of copper and tin, the ratio of each depending on their ultimate purpose! Bronze retains about 97% of the nutritional value of food when used for cooking, making it an excellent kitchen piece.
Read more about the Differences Between Brass and Bronze Here.
Brass or Bronze Which Is Better For Cooking- Reactivity
Of both Brass and Bronze, Brass is significantly more reactive, and hence, the metal is often used for mainstream cooking only when lined with tin. Traditionally referred to as eeya, or eiyam, the tin lining on the inside of the vessel protects the brass surface from corrosion and leaching into the food.
One must also note that storing ghee or curd in an unlined brass vessel will cause souring and curdling, leaving the food spoilt. However, it can be used unlined as serving ware, drinking ware, and to cook with ingredients that are not acidic.
Here’s all you need to know about using Brass Vessels In The Kitchen.
On the other hand, Bronze is barely reactive and can be used to cook a number of dishes, even those including sour ingredients. It is also perfect to store ghee, milk, and curd and does not cause curdling or souring of the milk products.
In addition, Bronze does not need to be lined with eeya / tin to protect its surfaces from the acidic corrosion of sour ingredients.
Brass or Bronze Which Is Better For Cooking- Temperature
Brass and Bronze make the ideal kitchen vessels with their melting points at 930 and 950 degrees Celsius, respectively.
This means that both brass and bronze vessels can be used for cooking at high temperatures and simmering, allowing for a variety of meals to be cooked in them.
However, as most brass vessels are lined with tin, one needs to consider the melting point of tin being far lower at 231.9 degrees Celsius.
Brass or Bronze Which Is Better For Cooking- Maintenance
Both Brass and Bronze are ideally amongst the very best utensils in terms of eco-friendly materials used and retention of nutritional value. However, maintaining these radiant vessels is not as straightforward as aluminium or stainless steel. Brass and bronze vessels both require care during cleaning and post-cleaning rituals.
They require soft soapy cleansers or coarse/ natural ingredients to keep the surface bright and shiny. From Pitambari, which is slightly harsh on their surfaces, to gentle yet effective cleansing agents such as tamarind pulp, there are many options to explore.
Looking for an ideal cleansing agent for your Brass and Bronze utensils? Click here to read our full blog on 5 Ways to Clean Brass And Bronze At Home!
It would be unfair to say that one is better than the other, especially after going down the rabbit hole of appreciation for both!
The pros and cons of both these radiant metals are restricted not just to their cooking methods but to their intended purpose. Both brass and Bronze perform wonderfully when used right, and I know how great our sambar tastes when cooked in a brass kunda and how rich and creamy our Payasam is when reduced in a bronze uruli!
So there you have it! While personal choice can also lead some people to buy more of one metal, I think both deserve their spotlight on the kitchen shelf!
Still prefer one over the other? Then tell us: Brass or bronze which is better for cooking ?
Frequently Asked Questions
Is cooking in bronze safe?
Yes, it is completely safe to to cook in bronze vessels. Bronze is minimally reactive with acidic food and to this day, retains it’s reputation as one of the best metals to cook in.
Is brass good for cooking?
Yes, of course! Brass has been used since ages to cook food. However, one must be careful when cooking acidic foods in brass. Almost all brass vessels used for cooking have a tin lining that protects the inner brass surface from corrosion as well as the food from metals leaching into it.
Which metal is better for cooking?
Both brass and bronze are great for cooking. They have been a part of traditional Indian kitchens for ages and can be used to cook a variety of dishes. However, brass vessels must have a tin lining and bronze vessels can be used as is.
Is it good to eat in bronze utensils?
Yes, It is very beneficial to eat form bronze vessels. Moreover, bronze does not react with acidic and sour food items or ingredients, making it a kitchen must-have.
Which is better for cooking copper or brass?
Copper is better in terms of heat conductivity and can be used for dishes where the ingredients are cooked for prolonged periods of time and require even heat distribution. However, tinned brass is better to cook a variety of dishes at medium temperature for everyday use.