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CanadianHomeChef

New Toy: Breville/Polyscience Control Freak!

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49 minutes ago, KennethT said:

@jaw Thanks for that.  I had found a price for the 2600W (230V) version on webstaurantstore.com for $935 - this model has the temp probe as well as a dial for adjusting temperatures rather than the screen slider.  I understand that the pan temp may not be as accurate as the CF, but I think for my needs, it will be close enough, plus I really like the expanded field feature and the fact that I can control the output in 1% increments from 1-100%, which makes it emulate gas.  And at 2600W, it will be very powerful - enough to boil a pot of water quickly, or bring a pot of oil back to temp fast when deep frying without the fear of overshooting like with gas.  One thing I'm looking forward to is using my pressure cooker (a kuhn rikon) with it.  On my gas range, i have a really hard time getting it to stay stable once it reaches pressure - either the flame is too low and the pressure drops or the flame is too high, and the overpressure kicks in at some point.  So I have to check on it every 5 minutes to adjust the flame based on the spring valve.  I'm sure it won't take long to find whatever temp setting the vollrath needs to keep it at the pressure I want.  And a big pot of stock or something has a lot of mass, so its temperature won't change that fast anyway - so the speed of the temp sensor is likely to be much faster than how much that pot changes from instant to instant.


If you get it, be sure to post your experience with it. I too am intrigued by 2600W for large quantities of liquid and oil. I'd still keep on of my Control Freaks, but maybe sell the other one as the higher wattage would expand my options considerably. That is if it's high quality and reliable like the CF. 

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Posted (edited)
36 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

My Paragon was $69.97...and it has a spring loaded pan sensor.  Setting a pan temperature is great for pressure cookers.

 


I've found using a pressure cooker, I have to set the temperature much lower than what my math dictates. Otherwise I get too much venting. But yes, I can stabilize it pretty easily. 

Wonder if it's my pressure cooker? It's a Fissler VitaQuick. It can't really be the CF as the temperature control is flawless on an open pan (I.e. If I set a pot of water to 180 using pan control, the water will eventually reach 180 inside the pot).

Or perhaps some venting is normal? I always thought it shouldn't vent until 15PSI is reached.  


 


Edited by CanadianHomeChef (log)

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1 hour ago, CanadianHomeChef said:


I've found using a pressure cooker, I have to set the temperature much lower than what my math dictates. Otherwise I get too much venting. But yes, I can stabilize it pretty easily. 

Wonder if it's my pressure cooker? It's a Fissler VitaQuick. It can't really be the CF as the temperature control is flawless on an open pan (I.e. If I set a pot of water to 180 using pan control, the water will eventually reach 180 inside the pot).

Or perhaps some venting is normal? I always thought it shouldn't vent until 15PSI is reached.  


 

 

 

I have two VitaQuicks but I use my VitaVit with my Paragon.  I set the Paragon to 250F till I get venting, then reduce the temperature to 236F and can leave the setup unattended.

 

In the pressure cooker thread there is some discussion what pressures the Fissler models are designed to reach.  I did some temperature measurements with my larger VitaQuick.

 

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i have a range of Kuhn Rikon's from 2.5 fryer to 12L Hotel and use them on 2 Vollrath Mirage UK models...

 

If making stock I can/have left the larger format PC's overnight with complete stability using the 1-100% power setting...

 

the other  setting by temperature is in my experience inaccurate.  

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“Do you not find that bacon, sausage, egg, chips, black pudding, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, fried bread and a cup of tea; is a meal in itself really?” Hovis Presley.

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14 hours ago, jaw said:

first of all, it blows my mind that there isn't a "dumb mode" for classic cooking without temp feedback. sometimes, i don't necessarily want or need to think about temperatures, and i just want to cook like i'm on an old-fashioned cooktop. i want fine granularity of power output, which would be a breeze to implement given the full-color graphical LCD and physical knobs. something like 100 steps (0-100% power output) would be great. i've tried to hack around this by setting the temp to something really high and only adjusting the power output, but with only three power output choices (slow, medium, and high), this does not work well at all for me.

 

next, i would really like both pan temp and probe temp (if inserted) to be shown at all times. there's plenty of room on the LCD for that. for some reason, if you put it into probe-control mode, the contact-sensor temperature is no longer displayed. i think this is genuinely useful info to display at all times!

 

You should contact their customer service, asking to implement these ideas in one of their next firmware updates. They should be open to these suggestions, since you help them making a better product.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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Teo

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, teonzo said:

 

You should contact their customer service, asking to implement these ideas in one of their next firmware updates. They should be open to these suggestions, since you help them making a better product.

 

 

 

Teo

 

 

i thought about it, but frankly i don't think they'll listen to me.

 

first, they don't even provide firmware upgrades to end users anymore. why? this is all pure speculation, but i would guess that they've determined that their target demographic is not technically proficient enough to carry out the procedure, and providing that as an option to people just makes more trouble on their end than it's worth. also, depending on how they designed the firmware upgrader, it could even result in bricked machines if people do it wrong.

 

second, this product is relatively mature. it's been out for a while and works great. they have zero history of adding features to it despite the fact that there is (imo) room for improvement that could be implemented purely in software, so i don't see why they'd start just because i ask.

 

third, i generally haven't been impressed with their customer support in the past. using their contact form on their site, i never got a response. using phone support, i got bounced around back and forth between breville and PSC and maybe some other company. the only way i received satisfactory support was by hunting around online and finding an employee's email address. to their credit (or to his credit, rather), i did at that point receive excellent support.

 

finally, the economy is fucked. i'm sure their business is hurting, especially since it's directly coupled to an industry that's in real pain. i don't think they're going to set their engineers to work on things that aren't going to directly make them money. they're probably on maintenance / life support mode. imo, the fact that they're doing a free-trial promotion to clear out refurb machines could be seen as evidence of this. maybe.

 

but i think the CF is a great product, so i'll send David @ PSC my suggestions just for the heck of it. maybe i was being too cynical. you've convinced me, Teo. :)

 

On 11/20/2019 at 5:00 PM, jaw said:

i got in touch with David at PSC. he got back to me quickly and was very nice to deal with.

 

here's what i found out:

  • due to a change in policy, the firmware is no longer user-upgradeable
    • firmware updates will no longer be provided to end users by support
    • the user manual will eventually be updated to remove references to the software update procedure
  • firmware can be updated by service, but the unit has to be sent in
    • there's no fee to do that in-warranty. it was also suggested that there wouldn't be a fee to do it out-of-warranty if an update were required to resolve an actual issue with the unit
    • i forgot to ask who covers shipping, so i'll follow up with that info later if i learn more
  • i was told that the only firmware update available was to fix a harmless "communication error" bug affecting less than 1% of units
    • if you aren't already seeing that error, the issue probably won't manifest in the future

i never tried contacting Breville online support chat, but i sort of don't care anymore since i've been told that there aren't any useful firmware updates available.

 


Edited by jaw (log)
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After browsing the 23 pages and without much experience with induction cooktops, I wondered if it's possible to use the Control Freak with standard GN/Gastro-Norm Stainless Steel trays? I also couldn't find the exact size of the heating area, can anyone help with that? I'm wondering if it would be possible to use a 32.5 x 26.5 cm (12.8" x 10.4") GN 1/2 tray on it (I think it wouldn't matter if a few centimeters from the edges would be out of range, assuming there aren't edges that lift the whole thing too high to be in proper contact at all?)

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16 hours ago, jaw said:

i thought about it, but frankly i don't think they'll listen to me.

 

16 hours ago, jaw said:

but i think the CF is a great product, so i'll send David @ PSC my suggestions just for the heck of it. maybe i was being too cynical. you've convinced me, Teo. :)

 

The best way to remain in business is making the best product possible and giving the best customer service possible. If they are not willing to listen to this kind of constructive suggestions to improve their product, well, then they can't complain if their sales are tanking.

 

 

 

Teo

 


Teo

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12 hours ago, EsaK said:

After browsing the 23 pages and without much experience with induction cooktops, I wondered if it's possible to use the Control Freak with standard GN/Gastro-Norm Stainless Steel trays? I also couldn't find the exact size of the heating area, can anyone help with that? I'm wondering if it would be possible to use a 32.5 x 26.5 cm (12.8" x 10.4") GN 1/2 tray on it (I think it wouldn't matter if a few centimeters from the edges would be out of range, assuming there aren't edges that lift the whole thing too high to be in proper contact at all?)


The manual states a maximum bottom surface of 10" in diameter. The induction coils aren't this thick so it does count on your pans having good conductivity. You can also go larger, but then good conductivity starts mattering more and more if you want to heave as even heat as possible across the pan. 

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12 hours ago, CanadianHomeChef said:


The manual states a maximum bottom surface of 10" in diameter. The induction coils aren't this thick so it does count on your pans having good conductivity. You can also go larger, but then good conductivity starts mattering more and more if you want to heave as even heat as possible across the pan. 

 

Thanks @CanadianHomeChef! So the rim (or is there not a rim at all, hard to see from any video/photo?) as pointed out in the below screenshot, shouldn't be an issue? I mean if a pan goes beyond the rim, it should still get contact and heat? 

 

Quickly checking Modernist Cuisine, I suppose GN pans aren't the greatest conductors with their relative thinness, when comparing to for example regular frying pans. Would be curious to hear still if anyone has used GN pans on their Control Freak. 

Screenshot 2020-06-27 at 12.40.39.png

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2 hours ago, EsaK said:

 

Thanks @CanadianHomeChef! So the rim (or is there not a rim at all, hard to see from any video/photo?) as pointed out in the below screenshot, shouldn't be an issue? I mean if a pan goes beyond the rim, it should still get contact and heat? 

 

Quickly checking Modernist Cuisine, I suppose GN pans aren't the greatest conductors with their relative thinness, when comparing to for example regular frying pans. Would be curious to hear still if anyone has used GN pans on their Control Freak. 

Screenshot 2020-06-27 at 12.40.39.png

The glass rim is nice and smooth and the steel falls away so an oversized pan will have no issues, but I would recommend placing the pan so the longer side faces the user, so it doesn't cover the control panel.

 

I have used a large Kuhn Rikon pressure cooker (hotel style) that is over 11 inches in diameter and it worked fine, but it's round and definitely a lot thicker than a GN pan so the sides heated up quite rapidly. (I haven't measured the differential across the surface yet - anyone want to buy me an IR camera? 😁)

 

I haven't tried a GN pan on mine yet, but I'll do a test for you soon. I think a good start would be a pan full of eggs, starting with a cold pan.

 

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1 minute ago, ElsieD said:

What is a GN pan?

 

Standardised sizes of pans made of stainless steel (18/10 I think usually), different plastics etc. I don't know if these are used in the US, but at least in Europe these are the standard that the food industry uses. 

 

Many thanks for doing a trial @jbates, looking forward to hearing what you find! 

Screenshot 2020-06-27 at 17.49.27.png

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, ElsieD said:

What is a GN pan?

A GN pan is a Gastronorm pan... more info on Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gastronorm

 

The US version is usually called a hotel pan and the standard sizes are in inches (vs. Gastronorm pan are sized in mm). https://www.webstaurantstore.com/52489/stainless-steel-steam-table-pans-and-hotel-pans.html

 


Edited by curls (log)
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On 6/26/2020 at 3:56 AM, EsaK said:

I'm wondering if it would be possible to use a 32.5 x 26.5 cm (12.8" x 10.4") GN 1/2 tray on it (I think it wouldn't matter if a few centimeters from the edges would be out of range, assuming there aren't edges that lift the whole thing too high to be in proper contact at all?)

 

A pan of this size is too large for the element. Induction cookware heats the pan itself, and only the part of the pan that is directly above the induction element. Even with thick stainless cookware (like All Clad D7), the sections of the pan that aren't above the burner are significantly cooler than the center of the pan. If one tries to boil water, for instance, with an 1800W standard induction element, one can see that only the center of the pot or pan bottom actually boils. Heating a GN pan of that size will produce a hot spot in the center and a cold zone around the outside, especially in a pan that's solid stainless steel (which does not heat very evenly).

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I tried this without a liquid just to see the heating pattern.  This is what happens after about 20 seconds with it set to 200F.  

IMG_3401.jpg

IMG_0001.JPG

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It looks like there might be some kind of coating on the pan as that temperature for such a short time to have that result is strange. The pan's thickness might also be at play here.

 

p

 

p

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Posted (edited)
On 6/27/2020 at 3:46 AM, EsaK said:

 

Thanks @CanadianHomeChef! So the rim (or is there not a rim at all, hard to see from any video/photo?) as pointed out in the below screenshot, shouldn't be an issue? I mean if a pan goes beyond the rim, it should still get contact and heat? 

 

Quickly checking Modernist Cuisine, I suppose GN pans aren't the greatest conductors with their relative thinness, when comparing to for example regular frying pans. Would be curious to hear still if anyone has used GN pans on their Control Freak. 

Screenshot 2020-06-27 at 12.40.39.png


There's nothing to stop you from overhanging the black square on top. I'd avoid doing it at the front as the heat may transfer to the controls.... but on the other hand, I've had hot oil overflow on me and cover the entire control freak. Didn't damage anything. It's built well and you can see it getting abused in a commercial kitchen and coming out fine. Weight also shouldn't be an issue --- I frequently heat up a 12 qt pot of water to get a head start on sous vide. I think technically it's over the limit stated in the manual; however, there was a promo video PolyScience produced that advocated using the CF to simmer a full 12 or 16 qt stock pot of soup overnight.

Not sure about GN pans. I use Anolon Novell Copper for my nonstick, All-Clad -Triply stainless most days for stockpots, saucepans, and skillets. I have a 10", 12" All Clad D7 Skillet  and a D7 Saute Pan for when heat distribution really matters. I also use a large Le-Creuset Dutch Oven on it no problem.

 


Edited by CanadianHomeChef (log)

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, jandreas said:

I tried this without a liquid just to see the heating pattern.  This is what happens after about 20 seconds with it set to 200F.  

IMG_3401.jpg

IMG_0001.JPG


That's quite the odd result. I've had overshoot, but never 340 degrees. Largest overshoot tends to happen on smaller pans. Most of my regular pans might have 5-10 degree overshoot that stabilize once the pan comes down to temperature (it seems like the CF software is "smart" and adapts once it learns how the pan heats up and responds to changes in power). 

Also the pattern is odd as it over heated on the edges.... I'm wondering if the center of the pan did not make proper contact with the through-the-glass temperature sensor (like it was warped?)... so the machine kept heating up and up and overheat the sides that were making good contact with the glass and hence affected by the induction element?  Just guessing...


Edited by CanadianHomeChef (log)

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Also some stainless works very poorly, or not at all on induction,  maybe this pan is composed of various types and hence the spotty pattern? Again guessing...

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Posted (edited)

It is a standard Winco 16-8 stainless steel SPJL-404 pan.  It was flat when I placed it on the glass, however the first "ring of heat" at the very center caused it to warp almost immediately and pushed up the center where the temperature sensor is located, as the pan is very thin.  And then it just snow-balled. Had there been a liquid in the pan to dissipate the heat, it might not have happened.  I will try again!  What I think I've noticed is that my thinner (cheap) cookware boils water faster than the thicker gear, but I haven't timed it yet to confirm.  

 

One other thing I've noticed is that it will overheat and turn itself off, if/when the ambient temp is in the mid to high 80s (located in the caribbean so its always...) and you are heating a few quarts of oil.  The fans on the bottom side need to be upgraded to push more air.  So we've been supplementing them with a fan on the side.   This is separate from the annoying problem of going over 392F on the dial when using oil probe control and having the unit switch back to pan control.  Even so, I would replace all of my gas burners with these if possible.


Edited by jandreas (log)

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I joined the club! I got mine from Testek in canada for 1.5k+gst (CAD) via amazon. I have only used it 3 times. It feels like magic. I just clarified butter (116C for 25min) without any worry and it came out perfect. I also did Heston style poached eggs (80C for 4 and 5 min) and in both cases they came delicious. I am looking forward to sharing experiences.

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Posted (edited)
On 1/22/2020 at 7:52 AM, bpwhistler said:

I cooked some poached eggs this morning. The consistency was PERFECT. 183 degrees F for 4 1/2 minutes. The only problem was they stuck to the bottom of the pan. Any suggestions?

 

Heston Blumenthal uses a plate. He fills the pot and puts a plate upside down. You can search youtube for a video where he does it. it works. (typos fixed :)


Edited by dmg (log)

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1 hour ago, dmg said:

 

Heston Blumenthal uses a place. He wills the pot and puts a plate upside down. You can search youtube for a video where he does it. it works.

I know that was a typo, but it gave me an amusing mental image of Heston glaring at the pot in fierce concentration, willing it to poach the egg, like an out-take from The Men Who Stare at Goats... :P


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Posted (edited)
On 6/29/2020 at 2:42 PM, dmg said:

I joined the club! I got mine from Testek in canada for 1.5k+gst (CAD) via amazon. I have only used it 3 times. It feels like magic. I just clarified butter (116C for 25min) without any worry and it came out perfect. I also did Heston style poached eggs (80C for 4 and 5 min) and in both cases they came delicious. I am looking forward to sharing experiences.


Welcome to the club! Where abouts in Canada are you located? No too many Control Freak owners up here :)

I haven't done poached eggs in a while... I really should take advantage of the CF for that...  Traditionally, I'll create a little whirl pool before inserting the egg... I'm sure I did the same thing the couple times I poached an egg on the CF... don't recall it sticking


Edited by CanadianHomeChef (log)

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