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  1. @Laurentius, you had me at denature.
  2. Just as a side note to this conversation, some induction cooktops do output a constant amount of power for a given setting. For instance, my Vollrath HPI4 series ~3600 watt induction cooktop scales its wattage output to the % output I specify (0-100%) on the dial. I have not checked to make sure it does not vary over time, but in my tests so far it has seemed very locked-on. Of course it may dial the heat back if it detects a severe overheat or danger condition, etc. -- but if one is looking for constant power output there is probably an induction cooktop which doesn't "cycle" out there for them. I personally use my Control Freaks for almost all my cooking and the low/medium/fast intensity setting has been enough for 99%-100% of my cooking needs. But it would be really cool if Breville changed the induction drive circuitry to dial in a specific wattage output to try to maintain temperature instead of cycling a bit. I only notice the cycling in certain circumstances and only with highly-conductive pans, and I can't remember the last time it actually affected my cooking, but it is there. Breville, if you're listening, it would also be awesome to dial the intensity from 0-100% instead of low/medium/fast on the Control Freak. If that intensity worked like the Vollrath HPI4-series as well, that would be a pretty killer combination.
  3. The higher-end Vollrath gear might actually use a variable consistent output when used in temperature control mode (especially when using the probe), but I haven't tested that. Vollrath makes a lot of gear and different Vollrath lines may have different characteristics (and different price points to match). I'd hesitate to rely on a comparison of an I4 cooktop to one of their more-consumer-like models. Yeah, that's the rub... I don't know how the various series compare. And my I4 unit is high power so its fan might be more aggressive than the others (or maybe less aggressive, since it also has the benefit of being larger and I mostly use it at <1800W power anyway). The Control Freak Home looks pretty stellar. I'd also love to pick one up. If you get one, please let us know how it works for you. And if you get the Vollrath unit, please let us know what you learned there too!
  4. It's cool to see you doing a bunch of research. Like minds. If you will, please let me chip in here with a few thoughts. Don't rely on my observations to make your decisions; hopefully this is helpful though. [KennethT also made some good observations.] Based on my wattage measurements, the Vollrath gear does indeed basically output a variable amount of wattage depending on the % output you've specified (when it's in "% output" mode). The Control Freak is almost always operating in "maintain temperature" mode, so you'll see some cycling on/off of energy under certain circumstances. Setting its ramping speed to slow or medium may solve those issues for you, if they're issues. I do remember seeing this at one point, and I either started using deeper pots or a lower intensity level. The default intensity level on the Control Freak is "fast" and often people don't think to turn that intensity down. I've never purchased a medium-wattage (e.g. 1500-1800 watt) Vollrath unit. On my higher-wattage (~3500-3800 watt) unit, the fan is definitely noisier than the Control Freak. And it can turn on sometimes even when one is not cooking. The Vollrath machines are primarily designed for commercial kitchens with hot temperatures and higher decibel levels and use by professional cooks; the Control Freaks are also designed for commercial kitchens but they also do well in a home environment. That said, the fan noise is not zero on the Control Freak. It's not something that bothers me, but if you're someone who does not like white noise (or noise at all) then induction might not be the best choice, generally speaking. The tradeoff for cooling the electronics and keeping the room cooler is noise. As far as size and weight, the new "Control Freak Home" might be a better comparison to the Vollrath 1800W unit. The regular Control Freak units are oversized, somewhat washdown-capable, etc.--built for the abuses of a commercial kitchen. I've never owned a medium-wattage Vollrath; my high-wattage Vollrath is quite big--but the 1800W units are presumably more svelte. The Vollrath units seem to measure pan temperature by measuring the surface temperature of the cooktop surface from underneath the glass. If you're worried about overshoot, the Vollrath units are unlikely to win in this category--especially when the pans are empty or mostly empty. If you're boiling water or cooking something with lots of liquid, the accuracy of the cooktop temperature on the Vollrath will be more suitable for that. I can easily overshoot by a lot in a highly-conductive pan on my Vollrath unit. I think of the Vollrath units as commercial cooktops which are designed primarily for "% output" based cooking but that can also use a temperature probe for maintaining temperature; the pan temperature feature is something that would be useful from time to time if I didn't have a Control Freak, but not something I would be comfortable with for daily cooking. Your results may vary. One nifty thing about the Vollrath is that it can still deliver power to a pan even when it's a little ways from the surface of the cooktop. For cooks who like lifting and flipping things, that might provide a more consistent transition from gas to induction. I have not had any issues with my Control Freaks and Atlantis pans, but as I understand it the Control Freak is a bit more protective about when it will turn on (from a safety perspective) than some induction cooktops. Unfortunately, there is no industry-common specification for how to make an induction-compatible pan or how to guarantee that an induction cooktop will work with all pans marketed as induction-compatible. Some materials such as specific 400-series stainless steel and cast iron are induction-compatible. Others (like some 300-series stainless steel) are not. A few companies may use a thin layer of non-induction-compatible metal as an exterior coating/layer over their induction-compatible pan bottom in order to make the pans easier to clean and more rust-resistant. Sometimes those design decisions were made when induction-compatible pans were only tested against simple induction cooktops that didn't have the opportunity to include some modern computerized safety checks. And yes, those pans will work on most induction cooktops. They may work on your Control Freak as well. They might not. Again, I have personally not had any problems--but it may be that the thickness or material can vary a bit from pan to pan and some people are less "lucky." Some people have pans and are looking for a cooktop that works with them. Some people are buying a cooktop and want to find compatible pans. Other people just want to future-proof things. Future-proofing is one of the reasons I picked up Falk Copper Coeur pans as my primary collection; they're not dishwasher-style pans but I know they'll work just about anywhere. But I also picked up some Demeyere pans to see how they did, knowing that I could return them if they didn't work. And they worked fine on the cooktop while also proving to be useful for certain cooking applications.
  5. The Falk Copper Coeur pans are 75-80% copper. Copper is a highly-conductive material, and the amount and rate of heat that a couple millimeters of it can pass can surprise people. Assuming "slow" intensity... If your Control Freak is reading 250F at steady state and your thermocouple is reading 260F at the pan center at top, and assume you're not in a room that's at 260F+ (science humor), then I would double-check the thermocouple. Or wait a little longer to get to a true steady state (in case the 260F you're reading from your thermocouple is just leftover overshoot. Also, it's valuable to consider that pans without a thermal load in them are interesting to analyze--but it's the behavior of pans with a thermal load (i.e. ingredients, liquids, etc.) in them that is more interesting and important from a cooking perspective. Unfortunately it's significantly trickier to measure temperatures once ingredients are introduced. BTW, when you say that the pan is 228 at the edge, are you talking about the edge of the pan base or the edge of the (what I presume is a frying) pan? If you're talking about the upper ring's edge...yeah, you're going to see a gradient of temperature, especially significant as you move farther away from the induction surface. The value of clad pans (for some types of cooking) is that there's no sharp drop-off of temperature from the bottom of the pan to the sides of the pan. But few if any clad pans are going to give you a tight and even temperature all the way through the sides of the pan. As far as sugar tests go, I would just use the slow intensity. Adding the sugar afterwards may give you a more realistic view of pan evenness on a preheated pan. But both adding the sugar before heating and adding the sugar after reaching a steady state will yield results that may help inform your cooking science. As far as the Chef Steps or other egg recipes go, most people tend to cook when they need to serve or eat food. So most recipes are designed for cooking quickly. You'll note that some egg recipes also call for like a tablespoon of cooking oil (100 kcals!) to be added to a pan before cooking eggs (160-240 kcals) and then doing a water drop test, etc. to find the optimal temperature for quick-cooking of eggs. That's one of the reasons that I cook slowly: I can either use no oil or I can put a little bit of oil on the pan and then wipe almost all of it off using a paper towel, avoiding a bunch of unnecessary calories. But in any case, the Chef Steps recipe is not wrong; it's just a different style of cooking that requires more human involvement but cooks in less time. Also, there are some cooking techniques which intentionally want a food that's cooked significantly more on the outside than on the inside--or that require brief higher-temperature chemical reactions; those cooking techniques are more likely to use the fast intensity or higher temperatures. Most cooking techniques and recipes were designed long before temperature-based cooking (other than a high-temp griddle) was a viable thing in a home kitchen. There's a lot of inertia to continue doing things the way we've done them for a very long time, even when our new tools give us the opportunity for new modalities. The good news is that we can mix a bit of the old and the new--and when you have accurate precision cooking instruments you can rethink the whole enchilada.
  6. The chemical reactions that cook food mostly happen below 175F. For those standing at a stove, it's really convenient to cook at a higher temperature to get faster reactions--but often at the expense of making the food less healthy or requiring more human attention, etc. A quick example of cooking below 175F is a breakfast of steak and eggs. I fill a 24cm pot with water and then sous vide steak at 59C (138F). On another Control Freak, I put a few large eggs in a 20cm saute pan at 59C (138F) as well, using slow intensity, and I cover the pan. This holds the eggs at a temperature where the yellow is still runny but the food is safe to leave on the burner for a while. After the steak is fully cooked (45 minutes to an hour) I come back and turn up the temperature on the eggs to 79C (174F) and let them cook at that higher temperature for 3-4 minutes while I plate the sous vide steak (optionally seared on each side really quickly). Then I plate the deliciously- and consistently-cooked eggs onto the top of the steak. Breakfast is served. As for other foods, I cook veggies and pretty much everything else at <175F temperatures. I sometimes put a little water in the bottom of the pan to help with spreading around the heat--and then drain it from the pan before plating. Sometimes I turn up the temperature for a minute right at the end for charring effect for people who like that. But mostly I just start cooking a half hour or so before people or myself are going to want to eat--and then get up maybe once or twice to stir for a few seconds. And when I do meal prep and prepare several days of meals in advance, I use the same trick. I just put the already-prepared food (which itself usually wasn't quick-cooked originally) into a saute pan and maybe add a little water. Then I put a lid on it and turn the temperature to somewhere between 60C (140F) and 70C (158F) depending on the food and how "hot" I want it to feel when it's done. Then I walk away and it's ready to eat a little while later. [I've even done this with frozen dinners from the grocery store; it's amazing how much better frozen meals taste--especially ones with chicken or the like in them--when warmed up at 60C/140F instead of using the microwave instructions.] Some foods require a little higher temperature. When I make brown rice for example, I basically simmer the rice in water at around 93C/200F. But honestly a good rice cooker is better-optimized for rice, so I reluctantly prefer rice-cooker-cooked rice where available. As for pasta, well, I need ~100C (~212F) for that kind of cooking. And for foods which require a few temperatures or methods, I tend to use a few pans at different temperatures and then combine everything at the end. Being able to hold an already-cooked food at a precise temperature which won't "cook" it any/much more is pretty great to be able to do. But I rarely do "quick cooking" of meats or other foods by using temperatures above 100C. I understand why it's economically important for commercial kitchens to do so. But most of my food is made in advance (either 30-60 minutes before mealtime or in big batches and then reheated on the cooktop).
  7. Pro tip: high-conductivity pans like the Falk Copper Coeur or Demeyere Atlantis pans are going to heat up really quickly if you use the fast or extra-fast (2400W) intensity setting. With clad pans like the Falk Copper Coeur, that means you're going to see more overshoot while the temperature at the center pan catches up to the rapidly-rising temperature over the induction coil itself. And if you're doing a sugar test, you almost certainly want to use the "slow" heating intensity of the Control Freak for that. The theory with the slow/mid/high/max settings is that the heating intensity should match the food you're using. And that goes for the pan you're coupling it with too. If you're just boiling water or searing foods, high/max intensity is fine. But if you're cooking eggs or doing a sugar test, etc. I'd highly recommend using the slow intensity setting. Note that max intensity is only available on the 2400W (UK/EU/ANZ) models. And again, if you're looking for a pan with a really tight band of temperature consistency across the bottom, you're probably going to want to find a pan in the 14-26cm range that has a highly-conductive disc bottom style of construction. That's what I use my Demeyere Atlantis pans for. I actually thought I'd use them most of the time because of the temperature consistency--but in real-world applications I've found that I usually pick up the Falk Copper Coeur instead. While the temperature uniformity isn't actually inversely proportional to the cost of the pan, I can see how you'd get that feeling when testing a higher-cost clad pan against a lower-cost thick disc-bottom-style pan. It's the construction style of the pan and the material properties (including the thickness and conductivity of the heat-conducting material) that largely determines the tightness of the temperature across any given surface, the temperature ramping and spreading speed, etc. I have zero issues using highly-responsive pans with the Control Freak. But please remember that the intensity function (slow/medium/high/max) is basically the Control Freak's analog to turning another induction stove to a low, medium, high, or excessively high setting. So if you're warming up your pan on high or max, it's basically behaving like if you put it on a powerful induction burner and set it to high--except that the Control Freak stops heating the pan once its sensor hits the temperature setpoint. So please, be kind to your food and use the slow or medium intensity for more delicate items (or if you're wanting a tighter temperature gradient on clad pans). You may also find out that you want a few disc-style pans and a few clad-style pans in your collection, each tool optimized for its application.
  8. As far as compatibility goes, if a pan heats on the Control Freak and isn't overpowered by induction (e.g. super-thin i.e. non-clad stainless steel pans) and is in the 14cm-26cm (bottom diameter) pan range...then it's a good match technically. With pans that don't conduct heat well, the pan center temperature may not be as accurate as a proxy for the temperature of the whole bottom of the pan however. [If you cook something with quite a bit of liquid in the pan, that issue may resolve itself by using the liquid as a heat transmission medium, but if you're cooking mostly dry food on an unevenly-heating pan then the cooktop will basically have one arm tied behind its back.] Beyond that, as far as the pan giving you the results you are looking for, it's really up to how and what you cook--and how much of the work you want to do vs. how much you want the Control Freak to do. A cook with lots of experience being a human thermometer who likes standing by the cooktop and stirring things and gauging things by eye and sound and smell is probably going to be quite happy with a pan which doesn't distribute heat evenly--and may even be happy with cast iron. Someone less interested in standing at the cooktop (e.g. myself, shame shame...) who cooks almost exclusively at temperatures below 175F and just likes to "set it and forget it" will probably want either a heavier and more conductive clad pan (e.g. Demeyere Proline, Falk Copper Coeur) or a disc-bottom pan (e.g. Demeyere Atlantis).
  9. I have some Industry 5 pans in storage somewhere... If I remember correctly, the Proline pans were actually better at spreading around the heat. Note that the Proline and Atlantis lines have largely been merged together, with the Proline pans being the stainless-clad aluminum pans and the Atlantis being the copper disc-bottom pans with stainless exterior (if I remember correctly). They make a pretty reasonable cohesive lineup together. I typically stick with 3-layer (thin stainless steel covering layers on the inside and outside, with a thick layer of aluminum or copper in the middle). The 5-layer and 7-layer pans, if they're alternating between aluminum and other materials, tend to react less quickly and be more forgiving for cooks who don't have sophisticated cooktops with temperature control. But for the Control Freaks, I haven't found any advantage to using "more layer" pans yet. That said, the Demeyere pans might have a multi-layer construction on the bottom that is used to capture heat via induction while providing an easier to clean surface--and that is a different edge-layering approach which is really more about conduction than about spreading heat around the pan. Finally, as far as the Control Freak (and Control Freak Home) manuals, I believe that the dimensional figures are meant to show the minimum and maximum sizes specified for the bottom of pans--which is why they're showing pans with straight sides. There is so much confusing terminology around pans, and I think they're trying to simplify it all down in a simple drawing. In any case, I would generally not recommend any saucier or frying pan-shaped pans (i.e. with large curvature) below 18cm or above 28cm. And I would not recommend any straight-edge pans smaller than 14cm or larger than 26cm (although I do use 28cm saute pans, I recognize that the edges aren't getting direct heat and I adjust accordingly when necessary).
  10. The Control Freak Home manual is now available! https://assets.breville.com/BMC800/BMC800_USCM_IB_J24_LR.pdf Of note, the manual says that we can "create multi-step preset to playback automatically". Oh yes. Yes, yes, yes. For reference, here is the manual for the commercial Control Freak. https://www.breville.com/content/dam/breville/us/assets/miscellaneous/instruction-manual/commercial/CMC850-instruction-manual.pdf
  11. Just FYI, the commercial Control Freak is apparently on sale for 1200 USD at Amazon US at the moment. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01G5MZZ5Q/egulletsociety-20
  12. Unfortunately I don't have any recommendations on affordable thermistors/themocouples. Kapton tape usually works splendidly. Some heat sources (like old wood stoves and continuous induction cooktops) can provide pretty even heat for cast iron pans. But more to the point, induction in particular directs the heat directly into the pan--and so issues with hot spots on cast iron are exacerbated with induction. They're really just not a great match on single-coil induction cooktops, generally speaking. Sorry, I should have been more clear and I should have double-checked the specifications. I use pans down to 14cm (5.5") and the current Control Freak manual actually says that it will handle pans all the way down to 12cm (4.5"). The specs on the size range have actually changed over time (i.e. the original Control Freak manuals quoted a pan diameter wider than 10"), but then again they may have previously been measuring the colloquially-quoted (top) diameter rather than the pan surface (bottom) diameter. Your pans with a 5.5" base should work fine if the instruction manual says 5.5 inches minimum. Just be sure to put the pan in the center of the surface; the smaller that pans get, the more critical it is to center the pans. Also please be aware that smaller pans may not be able to handle the full ~1700W of power without resonating, so you may need to heat the smallest pans on a slower setting.
  13. @adrianvm if you're seeing that big of a discrepancy when measuring the temperature of your pan and the readout of your Control Freak (Home or otherwise), the #1 culprit is going to be the IR thermometer. It can be rather tricky to get the emissivity dialed in exactly for stainless steel pans. I use contact sensors when I'm trying to get exact numbers (or an IR camera which I can calibrate to the pan). Stainless steel also tends to reflect IR light, so that makes readings even more complicated--especially near the corners. As far as temperatures go, it's pretty unlikely that the top of your pan is going to get hotter (or at least significantly hotter) than the bottom of your pan, since heat travels from hot parts to cold parts--and the bottom of your pan is where the heat is being applied. Also of note, the Control Freak's temperature sensor should be accurate within 1C (or better) for the point it's touching -- and the induction ring is surrounding that contact point. That means that technically the heat induced into the pan via the induction coil has to travel (via the pan) to its center before the Control Freak sees the temperature reading. That's one of the principal reasons why you can get some overshoot when warming up pans: the Control Freak doesn't get the message that the pan has reached the temperature setpoint until the part that its sensor is touching has reached that setpoint. If you were using super-thin pans which heat extremely quickly then, sure, it's possible to get quite a bit of overshoot from a ~1700 watt induction coil heating at maximum speed. But with 2.3mm+ stainless-clad pans with an aluminum center, I wouldn't expect such a massive amount of overshoot. I primarily use Falk Copper Core and Demeyere Atlantis/Proline pans on my Control Freaks. The Falk are my daily drivers, giving me versatility (lids for each pan, a bazillion pan size options) and quick heat transitions--with a fairly smooth temperature gradient. The Demeyere disc-based pans tend to give me a pretty consistent temperature across the bottom of the pans. I have All-Clad pans in several series as well as several other brands. I've found that pretty much any pan can make good food when there's a human involved using their repertoire of cook skills, but I tend to do a lot of simple "set it and forget it" kind of cooking so I invested more in the pans (which frees up my time and gives me consistent results). Copper isn't super expensive, but it's rare to find pans which have a significant amount of copper. When I'm looking for induction-compatible copper pans, I'm looking for ones that are actually copper (i.e. more than half the volume of the pan is actual copper, or ideally closer to 80%). If the vendor won't give you any numbers to tell you how much copper is in the pan, the answer is usually "enough to say we put some in there." Cooks know that copper pans work well historically, so having some of the material in a pan is great for marketing and justifying the price of a pan. I would also avoid any pans that aren't flat on the bottom. Some pans that say they get flat as they heat up are designed (or marketed) to get flat on the TOP surface but not necessarily on the bottom surface. I would also avoid any pans that have handles that are so heavy that the pan falls over if there's nothing in it. I have a couple of those, including some really nice smaller pans--and I have learned that I have to load them up with sufficient weight if I want to cook with them. One final note... The Control Freak, in my experience, is designed for pans with a bottom in the 16cm to 26cm range (6.3 to 10 inch). With induction, it's usually ideal to match the size of the pan to the coil--especially if the pans aren't pushing the energy out to the edges for you. And if you're going to be using cast iron, be aware that it's technically compatible with induction cooktops but you're probably going to mostly get a ring of heat directly above the coil. I use cast iron in the oven -- or I preheat it on the oven before putting it on the induction cooktop to maintain temperature. The only induction stove I'd want to heat cast iron on, and this is a maybe because it's untested, is a continuous-coil cooktop like the Freedom Induction Cooktop.
  14. I would love to see Breville make a 2400W (240V 10A) version for non-US/CA markets. However I'm guessing that they'll only be selling them in the US for a while for a few reasons (such as the U.S. probably being their biggest market by far for it, potential issues for residential support networks outside the U.S., etc.). Additionally, I'm not sure if the new slimmer model is designed to dissipate the kind of heat necessary for 2400W induction cooking. It might be. I really don't know. But I would not be surprised if they designed and optimized this model for the US/CA market with the idea of creating an "international" version later if the U.S. version sells well enough--and that may mean that the circuitry is not sized for 2400W. I'm planning to get one of the new Control Freak Home units. Right now though I'm mostly looking forward to seeing the reviews. The automated programs in particular are the part that's most interesting to me--especially if it's possible to input multi-step custom programs. I'm also hoping that they post a manual sometime soon. I looked on Chefsteps.com, but I couldn't find one.
  15. Very cool. $200 cheaper (plus an extra $300 off, for a limited quantity, for $69/yr. ChefSteps subscribers). US-only, 1800W-only, for now. It looks like it's not a "washdown-style" unit like the regular commercial units, but most homes aren't looking for that high of a level of water resistance. Breville slimmed down the machine a bit to make it more manageable in homes, without reducing the coil size or residential cooling capacity. Commercial kitchens and residences in very hot climates may still want the commercial version though, as it's designed for higher ambient temperatures. The touchscreen interface, the custom program creation, etc. are all nifty. I see that Breville removed the 6 screen-edge buttons and the time knob. I'm not sure that the time knob got used much, but I sure hope there's an easy way to use the knob to adjust heat intensity (i.e. not rely on the screen). That middle-right button is virtually the only button I ever use other than the power button. Here's the comparison chart: https://d3awvtnmmsvyot.cloudfront.net/api/file/jFOrapLTBOLzkuxAf65w I'm really tempted to pick one of these up. Even with a couple regular Control Freaks and one Control Freak home, it's usually easy to move a pan from one unit to another without losing the pan temperature or the current temperature setting--so it wouldn't be hard to integrate this into a daily cooking workflow at home.
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