Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Is there such a thing as a great electric stove?


Octaveman
 Share

Recommended Posts

I can't speak specifically to the quality of KitchenAid electric stovetops, but this eBay seller, who also has a brick-and-mortar store, is offering some super deals on KA's discontinued Pro Line appliances.

I had the misfortune of having one of these KA electric cooktops installed in a house where gas "wasn't" (according to the builder) available. I nearly tore my hair out. It takes for ever to heat up and even longer to cool down. It is very hard to clean anything that burns onto the glass. (So much for the "easy to wipe clean" surface). I would avoid cooking on that thing at all costs.

I only once had an electric cooktop that worked well, and it was in an old house with a kitchen that had been remodeled (I'm guessing) in the 1950's. The were just two burners, but the rings of the heating elements were very thick (wide) unlike the they are made now. They really cranked out the heat, and cooled down quickly, too. The burners were housed in stainless steel, and the whole contraption folded up, against the backsplash, when not in use. It was really slick.

Why don't they make things like they used to? If I was now in a place where I had to use an electric stove, I think that I would seriously consider a restored vintage appliance.

KBJ

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
Well, I did a timing last night on the GE Profile 30" electric smoothtop. The 2500 watt burner boiled 4 quarts of 65 degree water in a Tramontina tri-ply stockpot in just under 13 minutes. I think that I saw somewhere that a Viking gas range would do something similar in under 9 minutes, so that's a big difference percentage-wise in performance, but in real world terms something you can live with.

I'm not sure how relevant this is to Bob's search, but I would like to make the point that a gas stove is not, simply by virtue of being gas, better than an electric. In my old apartment, I had what was probably the bottom of the line gas range -- I don't even remember the brand.

It had one of those worthless broilers under the oven, so in effect, I had no broiler for 4 years. The "low" setting on the burners was the low-end tiny "ring of flame" that burned the middle of the pan -- and I have heavy, copper-disk bottom cookware. For anything I wanted to simmer, I had to use a flame diffuser. Plus, I didn't realize how wimpy the "high" setting was until I moved.

So now I have a new apartment with an electric stove. Nothing fancy -- just the usual coil type burners. Yes, I've had to make adjustments -- the residual heat takes some getting used to. But hey, I can make perfect rice without it boiling over. And the heat this these burners put out makes me wonder how I ever managed with my old gas stove. For instance, in an unlined copper pan, it took about 20 minutes for sugar to caramelize on my old stove; now I can get caramel in about 7 minutes. Even little things are apparent -- water comes to a boil much faster on this stove than it did on my old one.

In short, I'd take this electric range over my old gas stove any day.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Moving to a new place, and I just learned that I'm restricted to 30" slide-in electric ranges. I like gas, induction, whatever else, but not electric! I know, later in June Viking supposed to come out with a range with induction top, but it's too late, and too expensive.

My question if you could suggest a few great (not just fancy looking) electric ranges? - I still hope there's something that can be called "great" among them...

For the top the priorities are clear, just as good as possible, if "good" can be said about electric top at all.

For the oven... well, I make bread, and I'm used to high quality stuff - fast heating, ability to restore the heat quickly after door opened and closed, even baking without fans on, self cleaning...

Is there such a thing?

Any suggestions, please!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not sure how relevant this is to Bob's search, but I would like to make the point that a gas stove is not, simply by virtue of being gas, better than an electric. In my old apartment, I had what was probably the bottom of the line gas range -- I don't even remember the brand.

I've been wondering about this point myself. I've been away from gas so long that I'd forgotten all about how long it too me to get used to the time lag. Our stove is a GE Spectra coil top range and oven together, electric, that cost $500 - 600 delivered and installed maybe 8 years ago. While there are things it won't do - as my cooking improves I can tell that - it's adequate for our simple home use. I might opt for gas again if it were a choice, but I have issues below that I'd like to hear addressed.

One thing I've never seen discussed here is the mess that I remember from gas, or at least propane. I clearly remember small gooey spots developing on the outside of the pans used over our gas stoves. If you didn't take the trouble to scrub those spots off during the pan-washing (and it took a lot of scrubbing), they eventually became a permanant feature of the pan. Mom was relieved when they went to electric and her new pans didn't get those spots. At least one of my houses has been on propane, and I've had the same experience with the stove. It's possible that the other of my "gas" stoves was really on natural gas, but I can't swear to it; this may be strictly a propane issue.

Has anyone else experienced that spotting from a gas flame? It wasn't a regional thing, unless you count California and Minnesota as one region. I'd love to find out that it's a thing of the past.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is a bit off topic, but a few months ago I bought one of these Rival two burner electric hot plates to use in a hotel room where I was holed up after a hernia operation. It's great! It will cook perfect brown rice, saute, and turns down to such a low setting that it can be used as a warmer. (You can put your hand on it at the lowest setting.) For $40 it can't be beat.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 years later...

*bump* In this response to Dave Scantland's excellent Daily Gullet article, "Flameout", Chris A wrote:

Electric is also very rural, at least in New England where there's not as much propane, it seems, as other regions. There's no gas line to our new house, and we chose not to pay the $10K we didn't have to put one in. Given how much I love my electric stove, it's the best $10K I've never spent.

I wanted to ask right there and then about Chris's stove, but decided to post my question in a more appropriate place.

So, Chris - what kind of stove do you have? I'm about to start shopping...

Anyone else? Nobody has weighed in on this topic/thread since 2007.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I recently put this Kitchenaid in my kitchen at the cottage. I really like it, and it has the advantage of the extra oven as well.

Thanks, Marlene. That looks like a nice unit. I know I want a double oven the next time around. The stove features look like they'd give the flexibility I want.

The glass top makes me a bit nervous, though. How easy is it to scratch the surface when moving a pan across the surface? How much time can elapse after spilling sugar or syrup on it before there's a permanent change to the surface? These used to be big issues with the glass-top stoves. Have the glass tops become sturdier in the last 10 years?

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Link to comment
Share on other sites

. . . .

The glass top makes me a bit nervous, though. How easy is it to scratch the surface when moving a pan across the surface? How much time can elapse after spilling sugar or syrup on it before there's a permanent change to the surface? These used to be big issues with the glass-top stoves. Have the glass tops become sturdier in the last 10 years?

I never worked on a glass stove top until about eight years ago, so don't know about a change, but here, now, they are the norm, and I've worked on ones of every quality, from cheapo Gorenjes, to the Gagganau that seduced my boyfriend into getting itself installed in our kitchen (and it is a terrific stovetop, so I'm not complaining), and surface damage due to spills and and vulnerability to scratching don't seem to be major issues.

I've found salt and misused cleaners to be the biggest offenders in terms of scratches (I may be mistaken, but this seems to be mostly cosmetic).

I seldom slide pots far over the stovetop (this wasn't something I could do on other sorts of ranges, either), but if a pot slides a bit-off-centre on a burner, I do push it back. Although I don't make myself crazy worrying about it, I do direct my aim carefully when adding salt to water for pasta and the like, and add from lower down than I might on another sort of range, so none scatters outside the pot.

When cleaning, it's a good idea to use a blade scraper to first remove major patches of muck, and removing all the cleaner is important too, or the surface can start to look hazy over time (sort of the way glasses sometimes do, when they've passed through a dishwasher many, many times)

I've spilled every sort of crap on stove glass stove tops, and even had stuff ooze between the cooking pot and the stovetop, generating billows of smoke, but it wiped or scraped away, leaving not a trace behind (and I have to admit that I've sometimes left our stovetop in a fairly grotty state for several days, with patches of residues of all sorts sitting there, waiting for me to get to them).

I would like to have a gas burner for one or two things, but apart form that, I'm extremely happy with the our electric range (I should mention that the single control knob is magnetic, and can be lifted off, leaving a 100% unobstructed surface, when I clean).

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I slide pans across it all the time and have never scratched. I put hot pans on it out of the oven and haven't had a problem. You can spill stuff on it, sugar, water etc. When it's cool, simply use a razor blade tool to get up most of it and then clean as usual. There has been no permanent change to the surface.

There are three or 4 models of the double ovens. The kitchenaid is the newest. Kenmore, GE, and Maytag make them as well. I've owned all of them at one point. The KA is the best, followed by the Kenmore, followed by the Maytag. The GE broke down three times in the first year. The KA also has a glide rack in the oven which the other ones do not. It's handy to have. KA makes this version in three different models as well. They do have a gas top model, as well as this one, where all the controls are electronic. They also make an electric one where the oven controls are electronic and there are knobs for the burners.

If you scroll down to the bottom of this page you should be able to see the three KA's and compare the differences.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've had a glass- (more accurately, ceramic) top for six and a half years, and it does show some scratches. What I think happens is that you get something very hard (could be salt as Mjx suggets; could be some other sort of crystal) caught between something very heavy (like a cast-iron skillet) and the stovetop. Then you push or drag -- or even worse, tip the pan at the point where the dirt is, in effect concentrating the entire weight of the vessel on that one particle, then push or drag -- across the top. Since figuring this out, I've gotten very careful about wiping pan bottoms and burner areas before cooking.

As far as I can tell, the scratches don't affect cooking in the least. And it's not like other types of ranges don't acquire imperfections over time.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...I can always tell because the food stops sizzling.

I would also ask what kind of cookware you're using on your electric stove. If you're using cast iron or something like Calphalon, you shouldn't have to worry about the cycling of the electric burner. Such a pan would provide a pretty stable and consistent heat to the food you're cooking. Just a thought...

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As far as I can tell, the scratches don't affect cooking in the least. And it's not like other types of ranges don't acquire imperfections over time.

Dave, that may be the best perspective of all. Neither my electric-coil house stove nor my propane trailer stove look the way they did 5 years ago. In fact, the only cooking surface I own that hasn't visibly aged in 5 years is our Coleman camp stove...at 30+ years old, it was already well-aged when I inherited it. :laugh:

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

OK, I have a new question. What's the weight limit of these ceramic-top stoves? A salesman to whom I spoke today noted that people have occasionally had trouble because of putting too large a stockpot, with too much liquid, on the burner. I questioned him to make sure. He was not referring to having a stockpot overhang the burner circle; instead, he was suggesting that a stockpot that fits inside the circle might still have too much weight for the glass.

I already figure I'll have to do my canning on the side burner of the gas grill outside (or on our camp stove) due to the respective size of the burner circle and the canning kettle. However, it's never occurred to me before today that a full stockpot of the proper diameter might overload the cooking surface. Are a 20-quart stockpot and a ceramic-top stove natural enemies? What say you, fellow eG'ers?

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK, I have a new question. What's the weight limit of these ceramic-top stoves? A salesman to whom I spoke today noted that people have occasionally had trouble because of putting too large a stockpot, with too much liquid, on the burner. I questioned him to make sure. He was not referring to having a stockpot overhang the burner circle; instead, he was suggesting that a stockpot that fits inside the circle might still have too much weight for the glass.

I already figure I'll have to do my canning on the side burner of the gas grill outside (or on our camp stove) due to the respective size of the burner circle and the canning kettle. However, it's never occurred to me before today that a full stockpot of the proper diameter might overload the cooking surface. Are a 20-quart stockpot and a ceramic-top stove natural enemies? What say you, fellow eG'ers?

If there are no issues with overhang, I can't imagine that this would be a problem. I regularly make stock on our glass ceramic stovetop, using a relatively heavy Henckels 8.5 L stockpot (about 2 gallons), filled to the brim with stock, usually with a steamer insert in place, too. I'd imagine that with a larger pot, the weight per square inch/cm would be similarly distributed to that of a smaller one: the larger stock pots I've seen have been shorter, relative to their diameter, than the smaller ones.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It seems like you're asking two questions, Nancy: 1) is weight a problem? and 2) is diameter a problem?

The manual for my ceramic-top range doesn't say anything about how much weight the top will support -- and this is a manual that is bursting at the seams with warnings. I regularly make stock in a 16-quart bottom-clad (aluminum in stainless steel) pot, and it's often filled almost to the brim with ingredients. Stock being an all-day affair, I almost always have to make dinner while the stock is simmering, and that might mean a cast-iron skillet for proteins, a two-or three-quart fully clad (again, aluminum in stainless) pot for pasta or veg, and a little copper pot for a sauce. Now, I'm not sure what the warning signs of imminent catastrophic failure might be, but I've neither seen nor heard them. That's a lot of weight, but as Michaela points out, it's spread across quite a few square inches.

As to size: the bottom of that stockpot is 11-1/2 inches. The manual says not to use a pan that exceeds the diameter of the burner by more than either one inch or two inches -- it depends on which part of the manual you choose to believe. I doubt that this is a safety issue; it probably has more to do with performance expectations. The biggest burners I have are 9-3/4 inches. My stockpot works on it just fine.

So in the end, it's the configuration of the burners that's going to limit pot size. If a burner is tucked into a corner of the top, the rim will get in the way. For example, on my range, the burner in the right rear -- the one I usually use for making stock -- is 1-1/8 inches from the back and 1-1/2 inches from the side. So the largest pot I could put on it, assuming I want it centered, is 12 inches. Different manufacturers have different burner arrangements, so it's worth some research. You also need to consider the combination of vessels you'll be using together. When I'm making stock, the stock pot crowds one of the adjacent burners, limiting the size of the pan I can use on it. (I hasten to point out that this can be a problem on any type of cooktop, regardless of power source.)

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

... What's the weight limit of these ceramic-top stoves? A salesman to whom I spoke today noted that people have occasionally had trouble because of putting too large a stockpot, with too much liquid, on the burner. ... he was suggesting that a stockpot that fits inside the circle might still have too much weight for the glass.

Let me take a wild guess that he might have been trying to sell you something different!

I can stand on my current Siemens ... (but not while its working, I don't have appropriate footwear.)

My strong suggestion is that you should shop somewhere that the sales staff 1/ know what they are talking about and 2/ cut the BS. Whatever you buy - don't buy it from a shop that would employ someone with that much of a problem with either ethics or product knowledge.

Edited by dougal (log)

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I haven't read all the posts but after years of all types of electric induction is the way to go.

Unless you have very expensive cookware to replace it's well worth getting new pots and pans.

There are other good brands, but our Electrolux range top is excellent and the convection stove is the best we've ever had in 30 years.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...