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Single burner induction cooktop with easy temperature adjustment?


jrshaul
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I will say that one of my favorite capabilities of the Mirage Pro is in making slow-cooked scrambled eggs. Heston Blumenthal has a great method for making rich, custardy scrambled eggs using a double boiler. They take forever, but they're delicious. Because it's sort of fussy to break out a double boiler for breakfast, I've approximated them in the past, not using a double boiler, by taking a pan on and off the heat to manually regulate the temperature, ensuring that the eggs don't overcook and that I avoid the formation of large "curds." With the Mirage, I'm able to set the temperature of the pan in 5 degree (C) increments, so I'm able to make this style of egg without either using a double boiler or babysitting the pan to maintain temperature control. I simply set the temperature for 65C - an ideal egg-cooking temperature - and let the pan warm up with butter while I crack the eggs and get to work on the rest of breakfast. When the pan is up to temp, I can just add the eggs and not have to worry about them overcooking if I forget to stir for a few minutes. In the event that I have to walk away, I turn the temp down to 60 or 55, and they stay hot without continuing to appreciably thicken and cook. If I'm getting closer to breakfast and want to rush things along, I can turn up the temperature to 70C and finish up relatively quickly. To overstate things, this has revolutionized the way I make scrambled eggs on lazy weekend mornings.

I will say that this technique, and (apparently) the temperature control generally, doesn't work well at all if you're using light weight pans. I cook mostly with relatively heavy carbon steel, cast iron, or All Clad stainless pans, and none of them have given me issues with the Mirage. However, the one time I tried to make this recipe with a much thinner non-stick pan from T-Fal that was a top choice from Cook's Illustrated and ATK. Since induction heats the pan and not the burner, and since thermostatic temperature control on induction units registers the heat of the ceramic material on top of the "burner" rather than the actual temperature of the pan, that particular nonstick pan overheated before the relatively low temperature of 65C was registered by the cooktop. When I added butter to the pan, it rapidly foamed and started to burn because the pan was much hotter than the thermostat realized. I have since decided that non-stick pans are basically worthless compared to the alternatives, so this isn't an issue for me anymore. I think this would have been an issue on every other induction burner, so that's something to think about when using thinner, less massive, non-stick pans with induction -- even if they're "induction ready." In you want to use a pan like that, just go by power settings rather than trying to use temperature control. But with pans of moderate weight, the temp control is very nice on the Mirage. It's nowhere as extreme as the Breville Control Freak, but it's insanely better than the cheaper units.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for the reply, BTByrd. Looks like you've reached the same conclusions I have...that is, it's inconclusive whether or not Vollrath honors a warranty for home use. I haven't called them but I know this is the only way to get a definitive answer. If and when I do, I will post what I find out. But for now I'm going to take your advice and keep my eyes out for a used unit. 

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  • 3 months later...

So whilst my kitchen is in a dumpster in the side yard I've been limited to a Burton induction plate, SV and the BSO and CSOs.  And its working out OK, sort-of.

I'm finding the induction plate to be a PITA to work with. It super-heats a ring in the pan which is fine for boiling water but horrible for making a sauce. I burned the crap out of a nice cream sauce tonight at a setting of 3 (out of 9).

 

What's the trick? Do I have a cheap crappy unit? Am I doing it wrong?

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2 hours ago, gfweb said:

So whilst my kitchen is in a dumpster in the side yard I've been limited to a Burton induction plate, SV and the BSO and CSOs.  And its working out OK, sort-of.

I'm finding the induction plate to be a PITA to work with. It super-heats a ring in the pan which is fine for boiling water but horrible for making a sauce. I burned the crap out of a nice cream sauce tonight at a setting of 3 (out of 9).

 

What's the trick? Do I have a cheap crappy unit? Am I doing it wrong?

 

I'm inclined to suspect the induction unit is crappy - ours isn't super expensive but I don't recall having that problem with it. In fact I tend to use it over the gas stove when making pancakes because it behaves itself better with keeping a nice steady temperature. (I hate our gas stove and am jealous of everyone who is managing to do a kitchen renovation because our kitchen needs to be redone before I can justify a new stove.)

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Part of the problem is the induction plate - it turns the induction burner into an old style electric stove with ring elements.

Suggest you go to Walmart/Target etc and pick up some cheap cookware that will work with induction (take a fridge magnet with you to test) or bite the bullet and if induction is in your future pick out something really nice.

 

p

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@gfweb 

 

I have that same unit and love it for what it does .   I use the  temp setting rather than the numbers

 

I have use these  pans :

 

T-fal E93805 Professional Total Nonstick Thermo-Spot Heat Indicator Fry Panir?t=egulletcom-20&l=am2&o=1&a=B000GWK2Xir?t=egulletcom-20&l=am2&o=1&a=B000GWK2X

 

the 8 " does two eggs very nicely , and the 10 " 4   the 12 " doesn't really fit but I can sweat an lbs of bacon in it on the 100 degree setting then move to 150

 

I think there is something wrong perhaps w your unit or the pan you are using.  Id try the 10 " pan and take it from there.

 

of course  , have you DARTO'd yet ? I have not gotten around to seasoning my 2.  I don't really want the smoke in the house but Ill try the weber when

 

the activation energy peak is a bit lower.

 

 

Edited by Smithy
Adjusted link to be Amazon-friendly (log)
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@palo I was not using  the thing that lets you use any cookware. I have some ferromagnetic pans that I used. In fact it was the beautiful darto of which @rotuts speaks and an all clad.

 

I don't think my unit has a temperature option.

Edited by gfweb (log)
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when you turn the unit on , press the function button right above the on/off

 

it then give you temps rather than numbers.  the temps are not accurate  i.e. 100  does not heat water in your pan to 100 a la PID

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5 hours ago, quiet1 said:

I tend to use it over the gas stove when making pancakes because it behaves itself better with keeping a nice steady temperature. (I hate our gas stove and am jealous of everyone who is managing to do a kitchen renovation because our kitchen needs to be redone before I can justify a new stove.)

 

Of course for something like pancakes that makes absolute sense - a gas range lacks a thermostat so it is always going to be more difficult to keep a steady temperature.  A big electric skillet can turn out piles of perfect pancakes for a big group for this very reason - they provide thermostatically controlled heat that is tailored to a specific cooking surface.

 

I have an unfortunate preference for making pancakes in my heavy Griswold cast iron pan on my ceramic cook top.  The cook top tends to hold heat, the pan holds heat so the thermostatic control is not perfectly effective.  I end up periodically moving it on and off the burner to prevent the empty pan from overheating between batches - much like I did when I had a gas range.  I have a suspicion it would help if I used a relatively thin/light pan.  I presume that is also the the case with induction burners - right?

 

We are starting to gear up for a kitchen remodel and while I was considering induction, I am now leaning towards gas.  I am wondering if it would be worth planning on a space for a separate induction burner on the side.  Is anyone using one of these units alongside their gas range and if so, for what applications?

 

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I could imagine that having a separate induction thing (burner? no...hob?...no) would be great for boiling pasta or deep frying both because of speed and safety.

 

I suppose if frying is being done it ought to be under the hood.

 

I still am not sure about how to avoid the superhot ring in the pan effect of the magnet. I suppose the diffuser thingster would do that, but at a loss of power and responsiveness

 

 

Edited by gfweb (log)
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The problem with most low-end induction burners is that, even at supposedly low power settings, they pulse "on" with a lot of energy and then turn off for a few seconds rather than actually delivering a constant, lower-powered field. This can lead to obvious hot spots, even with seemingly low power settings. This problem is amplified when using materials like cast iron or carbon steel that are relatively poor conductors.

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Our vague thought for redoing the kitchen at one point was an induction cooktop with an additional two high powered gas burners for times when you want gas. We probably won't actually do that due to probably going with a range versus separate cooktop and oven (I don't like any of the induction range options) but I still plan to have space for at least one induction unit (probably a portable one) because I feel better about leaving something on induction overnight or with less supervision, and I do find induction useful for things like the above mentioned pancakes.

 

I actually find induction fairly nice to cook with, it's just the combination of features I want and need doesn't seem to exist.

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