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New to Gas Stovetop: Questions


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Hi All,

Just moved into my new apartment and there is a gas stovetop. It is a GE Spectra XL44 range. The high output burners do 12,000/1,000 BTUs (is that maximum and minimum?).

I have always used electric burners and am thrilled to get a chance to use gas.

My question concerns how my All Clad d5 pans are responding to the stovetop. I understand a gas range has less of the heat source touching the bottom compared to the electric coils, but I thought that is what my All Clad is for.

First off, the All Clad is working great. No hot spots and heats quickly. I guess my question has to do with the various levels on my gas range. Using a saute pan that has about an 11 inch in diameter bottom (approx. 8 inch flame diameter) if I need it sizzling hot, I turn the dial to around 7. If I want to simmer though, I basically am getting away with turning it down to 5 or so. It seems 4 and under is just way to low to keep a hot temperature. I thought with All Clad I was supposed to use medium and low heat, but the flames are just looking to low to be able to heat the pan. I am basically eye balling the flame size, which is working, but here I thought I would be able to make the 5 setting my "high" setting.

Now I guess this comes down to this specific gas range, but on gas ranges are the flames from low to medium pretty low? Not really "touching" the pan?

My other question concerns the oven. When I preheated the oven to 450F, my smoke detector (located right outside the kitchen) went off. No burning smell, or smoke though. I figured it was just too hot (oven heating the kitchen up and outside hallway?). Now I am using the vent found above the stovetop whenever I use the oven too. Is that typical for gas ranges?

Should I leave the oven door open when it begins to pre-heat? It seems to emit a lot of heat up until I open the door for the first time. Moisture?

Thanks for all of the help and advice. A lot to get used to and I really don't want to remove a smoke detector every time I cook. I also don't want to risk ruining a good pan because I'm constantly needing to use higher heat.

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I love gas, but it takes different reflexes than electric.

Each burner is often a little different, so I tend to judge by flame height rather than a knob setting.

Flame on Low settings wont touch the pan...and often not on "high" depending on the range. The heat still rises though.

Can't see you ruining a pan unless you leave it untended and dry on a high flame. No different from electric really.

Gas, esp LP gas is a little "moist", but that's not a bad thing for baking. Can't see a reason to leave the oven door open when preheating.

RE smoke detector: perhaps your oven flame is not adjusted properly and is making soot

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I just got a new gas range last month and it's definitely higher BTU's than the old one (there is one burner that 16,000 BTU) and I'm still adjusting to it. I don't look at the level of the flames, I just try to get a feel for each burner what the dial relates to relative to "high" "med" and "low". For example, on the higher output burner, on the very lowest setting, it won't allow a gentle simmer. And yes, when you set the dials to "low", you'll have a very short flame, not touching the bottom of the pan.

People with touchy smoke detectors have advocated using a freestanding fan and having it near the detector to blow air thru it while cooking. Or in your case, heating the oven.

"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

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Thanks for all of the feedback! I'm thinking my oven might not be that clean so it had to burn off some crap. Regardless, the smoke detector is just in a bad spot. I'm going to have to talk to my landlord about replacing it with a newer, less sensitive one.

Thanks for all of the stovetop info too. I guess it is better to have a burner that can get really hot and get really low then one that can't get really hot but not low enough. The kitchen gets so hot. Glad there is a door to the outside!

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pretty much what gf said: Ive been using gas for ever. Ive never used an electric top.

for the top: watch the flame and use that as your indicator for amount of heat.

if your pan is on the smaller side, using a high setting may send most of your heat up the sides. your handles on these smaller

pans might then get hotter than you expect.

Id somehow clean the oven. and start fresh. that being said, Ive never had to clean an oven, but have had my own for a long time.

does the oven have a 'cleaning cycle' where its locked ? if so do it when you are around, and get some ventilation in and take

the battery out of the Smoke alarm. remember to put it back in.

I cant say why your kitchen gets 'so hot' relative to an electric oven. the heat has to go somewhere.

best of luck !

re: soot: you can tell if soot is a problem by turning any of the top's burners on high and watch the flame

you can then see the soot.

Edited by rotuts (log)
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The real beauty of gas is the control; you can adjust heat and receive the benefits immediately—I'll never forget seeing Julia Child on the shows in which she used a push-button electric stove; I thought, "Really?" and then realized that this was quite the wave back then, so she actually did the every-day housewife a service in using it.

Anyway, gas rocks for control. It doesn't do nearly as well in speed, however, in heating to a boil. But, that's all part of the game. Once, though, you get a feel for your stove, it will become such a joy to work with...unless you're waiting for water to boil!

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So today I preheated the oven to 400 degree. It stays there awhile and then I go to move an all clad pan I had on the stovetop from the night before (yeah I am lazy sometimes with dishes). The handle of the all clad was crazy HOT. I couldn't move it. I investigated and found that the handle was directly in line with a vent below the digital display that allows the heat from the oven to come out onto the stovetop. Hence, that is how my kitchen gets so hot.

Is that normal for gas stoves to have? I mean, I guess there is no other way for heat to get out.

That being said, why does heat have to get out?

I recently bought a thermocouple to check the oven temperature and the oven is way out of wack. I'm ok with that as I know ovens vary, and this isn't a top of the line oven. It is interesting though as I needed the oven at 325F but had to set my oven at 370F to get that. Right now it is at 390F to get 375F.

Do gas ovens cycle? Go up to temperature, cool down some, and then go back up? I haven't really sat in front of my thermometer for 30 minutes to find out, but I do notice some changes.

Anyway, thank you for all of the help!

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I believe that the vent is not for the oven but for the burner that heats it. In a gas oven the burner is beneath the the oven floor and it heats the air around it which has to escape somewhere. My oven has no vent, but the burner area is kind of open, and the oven is an ancient restaurant unit.

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My oven has a vent and does essentially the same thing in terms of making things on the stove top hot.

Yes, gas ovens cycle....sometimes quite a bit.

As far as the temperature being off....you should be able to adjust for that.

Pull the oven knob off and see if there is an adjustment underneath....you should be able to loosen the screws and adjust the knob to be more inline with the correct temperature.

Something like this....

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~Martin :)

I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that."

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!

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I changed from electric to gas a few years ago, and would never go back.

I like to heat a pan on low, leaving it for at least 5 minutes before using.

One old habit I had to overcome was using a spatula , or other stir device and placing it beside the pan. It will scorch or even burn

from side heat, which never happens with electric.

If your broiler is on the bottom, it will be useless for critical broiling unless you are down on the floor. A counter top electric broiler/convection oven

may be needed for finishing some dishes.

You'll soon appreciate the vent heat at the back for warming plates or keeping food hot .

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