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teapot

Induction? Pro-style gas? Please help!!!

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A few years ago I bought a Capital Culinarian range and loved it - especially the 25,000 BTU burners and wok ring. I did not, however, like the gas oven much for baking bread.  I left the range behind when I moved and am now ready to do a remodel of a new home.  

 

I always figured I would buy a Culinarian rangetop and go with electric wall oven....but when you factor in the need for a powerful hood and new requirements for Make Up Air Units my 30" range starts getting spendy -- 5 grand probably w/o cost of oven. 

 

I'm thinking I should consider induction.  What I see as pros:

Most of my cookware is either All Clad or cast iron so that's not really an issue. 

Living in a hotter climate now

Ease of cleaning

Can get comparable BTU power as Culinarian (I think).

 

The biggest con for me is not being able to use my terrific round bottomed, well-seasoned wok. I know there are flat bottomed woks available for cooking on induction but do they work well? Is there another option for wok cooking I should consider?

For those of you who have induction, do you have the "freedom zone" type unit or wish you did?

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Have induction and love it but would never consider it adequate for wok cooking. Would love the freedom type but find this regular (zoned) perfectly adequate for me (a singleton). 

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@Anna N do you consider your induction cooktop an adequate substitute for the temp control you might have with gas? I am in the process of moving and one of my must-haves is a natural gas hookup after living with electric for much too long. We are having trouble finding a home with gas at all in the area and were considering induction but did not want to get stuck with something we couldn't change after committing to a house. I've never cooked on an inductive top and am curious how you feel it might compare to gas.

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Cost is always a factor.  The best bang for the buck is a $50 PIC hotplate.

 

However...  IMO, most of the attraction factors of induction over gas are convenience-related.  Cooler kitchen, easy cleanup, minimalist look, etc. are all great.  As far as performance goes, you need to be careful that the induction hobs you choose are even (many are not) and have a lot of settings (most do not).  Then you need to assure yourself that you won't ever have warped cookware, won't ever use large stockpots, and won't ever bang/drop anything onto the Ceran.  And you probably need to resign yourself to digital displays to adjust heat, rather than by looking at a flame.

 

One factor to cross OFF your list is energy savings.  The early claims that induction is so much more efficient (and therefore economical) have been largely debunked.  It's not as efficient as claimed, and depending on where you live, gas isn't that expensive.  A study done in UK about the payback/recoupment time for a mid-size restaurant switching to induction was something like 14 YEARS.

 

I would also recommend you get a hood regardless of which you choose.

 

My bottom line advice is that (a) if you can afford the gas 'top, you'll probably be happier; but (b) if it's a stretch, go for induction.  I also suggest you check out the better induction hotplates, like the Vollath Mirage Pro (about $500, 100 heat settings, great build quality).  You might make an informed choice, and even if it's for gas,  these hotplates are very useful.     

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If you do opt for induction and you're doing a remodel or have some flexibility, make sure you have a 220 volt receptacle in your kitchen. The 110 volt "portable" cooktops are underpowered and limited to 1800 watts whereas the 220 volt units are "commercial" grade and are upwards of 3000 watts.

 

p

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1 hour ago, Yiannos said:

@Anna N do you consider your induction cooktop an adequate substitute for the temp control you might have with gas? I am in the process of moving and one of my must-haves is a natural gas hookup after living with electric for much too long. We are having trouble finding a home with gas at all in the area and were considering induction but did not want to get stuck with something we couldn't change after committing to a house. I've never cooked on an inductive top and am curious how you feel it might compare to gas.

I was probably 11 or perhaps 12 years old the last time I used gas!  Until four years ago I lived with electric coil tops and despised every one of them but gas was never an option.  So I cannot compare. Until I could afford this range ( end it is by no means high-end) I removed the coils from my range, pulled off the switches and threw them in the drawer and set up two induction hobs on top of my range.  This worked very well for some years. I would suggest that you get an induction hob and see how you feel about it. I don't even think you need to go for one of the high-end ones. I had two Eurodips.  Try one for a little while even as a spare element.   It will give you an idea very cheaply of whether or not you like induction. Afterword it makes a fine table top/buffet unit. 

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I really appreciate the feedback. I (somewhat reluctantly) realize that part of the equation is that I expect to grow old in this house. So not having to move around heavy cast iron grates on a weekly basis in order to clean...and not having to worry about forgetting whether or not I turned off a burner are factors to consider.

 

Per Boilsover recommendation that I get a hood no matter what, I most certainly will. But with induction I don't need to go over 400 cfm...which means I don't have to buy and install a Make Up Air Unit. 

 

Still on the fence.... hoping for more input :)

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Thanks @Anna N, I actually found a portable induction top at Costco the other day for I think $70 or so, might pick one up to play with it and get a feel.

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23 minutes ago, teapot said:

I really appreciate the feedback. I (somewhat reluctantly) realize that part of the equation is that I expect to grow old in this house. So not having to move around heavy cast iron grates on a weekly basis in order to clean...and not having to worry about forgetting whether or not I turned off a burner are factors to consider.

 

Per Boilsover recommendation that I get a hood no matter what, I most certainly will. But with induction I don't need to go over 400 cfm...which means I don't have to buy and install a Make Up Air Unit. 

 

Still on the fence.... hoping for more input :)

 

We moved from a house with an induction range that I loved.  It was an Electrolux.  The stove I had before that was a Jenn-Aire dual fuel, and I hated it.  When we moved into our condo it had a GE Profile radiant cooktop.  I very quickly replaced it with a Thermador induction cooktop which I love.   I would never have anything but an induction cooktop again.  

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6 hours ago, teapot said:

A few years ago I bought a Capital Culinarian range and loved it - especially the 25,000 BTU burners and wok ring. I did not, however, like the gas oven much for baking bread.  I left the range behind when I moved and am now ready to do a remodel of a new home.  

 

I always figured I would buy a Culinarian rangetop and go with electric wall oven....-

I'm thinking I should consider induction.  ---

 

Is there  such a thing as induction oven?

 

dcarch

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6 hours ago, Yiannos said:

@Anna N do you consider your induction cooktop an adequate substitute for the temp control you might have with gas?

 

Count your settings.  Induction is inherently discrete--there is no 7.125 setting.  100 may be enough, but Zeno's Paradoxes aside, you cannot have too much adjustment.

 

Consider propane, a/k/a self-owned infrastructure.  It's as simple as changing the jets in your gas appliance... 

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1 hour ago, dcarch said:

 

Is there  such a thing as induction oven?

 

dcarch

No...I wasn't clear. I was referring to an induction cooktop and an electric oven.

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I really like my induction hob.  It was installed just before Christmas maybe four (or is it five?) years ago now, so about the first thing I did on it was the non-oven bits of a proper Christmas dinner (no, I don't remember now what we had, but it was a matter of flinging myself onto the learnng curve and not falling off).

 

I'm not the most demanding of cooks so take this with a pinch of Maldon, but I'm not sure I'd value 100+ heat settings.  Mine has 1-9, plus a simmer and an 'OMG' setting.  I use 7 to start most things, down to 5 or 6 as cooking progresses and 8 or 9 to quickly bring a pot of water to the boil.  With very few exceptions (simmering gravy once it's thickened and just needs to be kept warm), that's it.  Every now and then - say if I've forgotten to get my cup of water boiling to throw in he oven when the bread goes in - I've used the extreme setting.  Maybe twice ...

 

The induction hob (Fisher & Paykel; five zones) looks good, is easy to clean and is so much more controllable than the pathetic gas it replaced.  I'm sold.

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3 hours ago, lesliec said:

I really like my induction hob.  It was installed just before Christmas maybe four (or is it five?) years ago now, so about the first thing I did on it was the non-oven bits of a proper Christmas dinner (no, I don't remember now what we had, but it was a matter of flinging myself onto the learnng curve and not falling off).

 

I'm not the most demanding of cooks so take this with a pinch of Maldon, but I'm not sure I'd value 100+ heat settings.  Mine has 1-9, plus a simmer and an 'OMG' setting.  I use 7 to start most things, down to 5 or 6 as cooking progresses and 8 or 9 to quickly bring a pot of water to the boil.  With very few exceptions (simmering gravy once it's thickened and just needs to be kept warm), that's it.  Every now and then - say if I've forgotten to get my cup of water boiling to throw in he oven when the bread goes in - I've used the extreme setting.  Maybe twice ...

 

The induction hob (Fisher & Paykel; five zones) looks good, is easy to clean and is so much more controllable than the pathetic gas it replaced.  I'm sold.

I would say your experience pretty much parallels mine.  I have never found myself wishing for more control than I have. 

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I've got the quintessential cheap-and-disposable single induction hob, a low-end Salton that goes up to 1800 watts. My father passed it along to me when he upgraded, and I've only just recently started to play with it. As it happens, my flat-bottomed wok was one of the first things I used with it. It heats very well, and in my case I mostly use it screaming-hot for stir fries so I don't need a lot of fine temperature control. So I'd say it's a "go," from that perspective. Bear in mind that a flat-bottomed wok can warp, like any other pan, and become less usable over time on the induction hob. 

 

My main issue is that I just plain hate working with a flat-bottomed wok. To me, it's not a wok at all but a goofy frying pan with a high sides. I've been looking for a "real" wok with a rounded bottom, but they're not easy to find in small-town Atlantic Canada. I have a small single-burner butane stove (this one), which can be used indoors as long as you've got even modest ventilation, and I plan to use that for work cookery once I find a replacement wok. 

 

In limited experimentation, I'm pretty pleased with the little induction hob. It brought 2 cups of water to a full rolling boil in 2 minutes and 20 seconds, while the same quantity of water in the same pot took 5 minutes and 30 seconds on my conventional electric range (ceramic cooktop). As always, YMMV.

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Portable induction hobs are mostly crap. They're nice if you don't need any real control over temperature, as most of them only have ten power settings. A lot of them (like the NuWave "Precision" Induction Cooktop) like to market themselves as super-accurate models with a lot of control. They aren't. That may not be an issue for you, depending on how you want to use it. I liked my cheap model for boiling big pots much faster than my crappy rental-house gas ranges. But when I used it with a pressure cooker, it would either vent out too much or, if I turned it down a power level, eventually depressurize. The problem is that the burner couldn't maintain a simmer; it was either at a full-on boil or just about to break into a simmer. There was no in-between. For my purposes, that was fine. It was also nice for going outside and searing meat at very high temperatures. Higher-end induction hobs like the Vollrath Mirage Pro or the Cooktek units are much, much better. But they also cost a lot more. I have a Mirage Pro now and am very happy with it. I don't know that I'd buy another cheap model again (they're all basically the same) unless I had some specific tasks in mind (like operating a catering business or cooking at locations outside my actual kitchen). Higher-end induction cooktops are a joy to use though. And you don't need the makeup air required by big gas burners.

 

Flat bottomed woks are sad, as Chromedome points out. In light of that observation, might I suggest that you go with an induction cooktop but also invest in a 50K-100K propane wok burner to use outdoors? They are relatively inexpensive, pump out massive heat, and you can keep using your round-bottomed wok. That's the strategy I've adopted; haven't pulled the trigger on the wok burner yet, but it's definitely on my list.

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"---- Bear in mind that a flat-bottomed wok can warp, like any other pan, and become less usable over time on the induction hob.  ---"

Induction uses radio waves to heat. warped bottom pots and pans are not as critical as on other types of electric cook tops.

 

dcarch

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Induction uses magnetic flux to heat not radio waves.

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1 hour ago, gfweb said:

Induction uses magnetic flux to heat not radio waves.

 

Radio waves are alternating magnetic fields from 300 khz to lower than 3khz. They are all electro magnetic waves.

Induction cooktops work with around 24khz alternating magnetic field (magnetic flux), are also radio waves.

 

dcarch

 

 

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45 minutes ago, dcarch said:

 

Radio waves are alternating magnetic fields from 300 khz to lower than 3khz. They are all electro magnetic waves.

Induction cooktops work with around 24khz alternating magnetic field (magnetic flux), are also radio waves.

 

dcarch

 

 

If you mean to say electromagnetic, then don't say radio.

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6 hours ago, btbyrd said:

might I suggest that you go with an induction cooktop but also invest in a 50K-100K propane wok burner to use outdoors?

I have had the very same thought.  I think you speak wise btbyrd.

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4 minutes ago, teapot said:

I have had the very same thought.  I think you speak wise btbyrd.

 

That combo might be the perfect answer. I grew up with natural gas, used various gas and electric cooktops over the years and am now a total induction fan. My induction cooktop is so much easier to clean and that counts for an awful lot as I enjoy cooking, not so much the clean-up. The induction tops are a snap to clean. I love that they don't generate a bunch of extra (usually unwanted) heat. I love how quickly they heat water (or whatever) when you want quick results. The controls on my Kenmore (possibly manufactured by Electrolux) have always been more than sufficient for my needs. 

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My daughter has a glass/ceramic top electric range and a spillover means time spent with a razor blade or some serious elbow grease and cleaner. I have never had to do more than wipe my induction top with a damp, soapy cloth.  The bottoms of most of my pans shine like mirrors without any effort on my part. Small things but they tip the scales in some cases. 

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To those of you who have induction...any thoughts about the "freedom" type cooktop that Thermador makes?  Does having the entire surface be a cooktop seem like it would be worth the money.  I'm tempted because I have a wonderful old Griswald griddle that would be nice to use and I suspect having the entire pan in full contact with the cooking zone would be pretty awesome.

  

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8 minutes ago, Anna N said:

My daughter has a glass/ceramic top electric range and a spillover means time spent with a razor blade or some serious elbow grease and cleaner. I have never had to do more than wipe my induction top with a damp, soapy cloth.  The bottoms of most of my pans shine like mirrors without any effort on my part. Small things but they tip the scales in some cases. 

This sounds to me like a major selling point.  I like my smooth-top electric stove well enough, given the cost of plumbing our kitchen for propane, but keeping it clean is a pain.  What about power requirements for an induction stove vs. regular electric stove? Is there a significant difference?

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