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btbyrd

btbyrd

I own a Vollrath Mirage Pro which has 100 power levels and allows you to set the temperature control in 5 degree increments. I have owned cheap units that had 10 or 15 power settings, and while they were okay for some things, the lack of a finely graded temperature control made them awful for any task where semi-accurate temperature control is desired. This happens more often than you might expect. The biggest bugaboo in this department is maintaining a simmer (and, by extension, maintaining pressure in a stovetop pressure cooker). If all you have is 10 settings, your ideal temperature might be somewhere between 1 and 2, or between 3 and 4... or whatever. If you select the low setting, the bubbles will die down completely; if you select the higher number, the pot will reach a full-on rolling boil. If all you have is a binary between "no bubbles" and "rolling boil," you're going to have a bad time.

Another place that having fine control is useful is at the lower end of the temperature spectrum, like for tempering chocolate or cooking eggs. Vollrath makes a big deal about the Mirage's ability to melt chocolate at like 85F (or whatever). I don't do pastry/chocolate, so I can't comment there... but I do appreciate the ability to dial down my pot or pan to a very low setting for various applications. And while the temperature control (versus the 100 level power settings) on the Vollrath isn't the most precise, it's usefully spot on in the magic egg-cookery range of 60-70C. At 60C with a very thick (and well pre-heated) pan, eggs will just barely cook -- you could walk away for 15 minutes and they'd be slightly thickened from the base, but not much else. At 65C, they thicken and cook very gently -- give them a stir every three minutes or so over thirty minutes, and you'll have perfect custardy bain marie style eggs. At 70C the eggs cook much more quickly, but still yield a nice slow scrambled style (just with a much tighter curd).

At any rate, having 100 power levels is fantastic. But it would be less fantastic if these weren't tied to a hardware knob (or rotary encoder, in this case). Membrane switches on induction are a freaking nightmare. Do you want to poke at a panel 100 times to adjust the temperature? Or sit there and wait while you hold your finger down on the button? It's awful. 100 levels of power are useless if they're locked behind switches. You need a knob so you can crank things up or throttle them back quickly and easily and without having to look at a display while you fiddle with membranes.

Apart from having a highly granular access to the unit's maximum wattage via some sort of knob/dial, the other important thing to develop is accurate temperature control. 1-100 is great for some applications, actual temperature control is better in others The units to beat with respect to temperature control are the Polyscience/Breville Control Freak and the burners from Hestan. Having a temperature sensor in the cooktop as well as a wirelessly connected temperature probe seems like the way to go there. That could be an upgrade/upsell, because not everyone would be interested. But there is no other induction unit under $1000 (basically) that has 100 temperature levels apart from the Mirage Pro, and the Mirage Pro is targeted exclusively at commercial audiences. Home consumer use invalidates the warranty, which is stupid.

So the market is wide open for a quality induction burner with a lot of control at a reasonable price for a home consumer market. 

Wide open.
The world doesn't need another garbage induction hob. What it needs is something that can sell for $200-ish with a big induction coil, 100 power settings, a knob, and a $50 bluetooth temperature probe that works in conjunction with a temp sensor in the base to deliver extremely stable PID-based temperature control.

Shoot for that, or something very close to that. Anything else is a waste of your time (and everyone else's).

btbyrd

btbyrd

I own a Vollrath Mirage Pro which has 100 power levels and allows you to set the temperature control in 5 degree increments. I have owned cheap units that had 10 or 15 power settings, and while they were okay for some things, the lack of a finely graded temperature control made them awful for any task where semi-accurate temperature control is desired. This happens more often than you might expect. The biggest bugaboo in this department is maintaining a simmer (and, by extension, maintaining pressure in a stovetop pressure cooker). If all you have is 10 settings, your ideal temperature might be somewhere between 1 and 2, or between 3 and 4... or whatever. If you select the low setting, the bubbles will die down completely; if you select the higher number, the pot will reach a full-on rolling boil. If all you have is a binary between "no bubbles" and "rolling boil," you're going to have a bad time.

Another place that having fine control is useful is at the lower end of the temperature spectrum, like for tempering chocolate or cooking eggs. Vollrath makes a big deal about the Mirage's ability to melt chocolate at like 85F (or whatever). I don't do pastry/chocolate, so I can't comment there... but I do appreciate the ability to dial down my pot or pan to a very low setting for various applications. And while the temperature control (versus the 100 level power settings) on the Vollrath isn't the most precise, it's usefully spot on in the magic egg-cookery range of 60-70C. At 60C with a very thick (and well pre-heated) pan, eggs will just barely cook -- you could walk away for 15 minutes and they'd be slightly thickened from the base, but not much else. At 65C, they thicken and cook very gently -- give them a stir every three minutes or so over thirty minutes, and you'll have perfect custardy bain marie style eggs. At 70C the eggs cook much more quickly, but still yield a nice slow scrambled style (just with a much tighter curd).

At any rate, having 100 power levels is fantastic. But it would be less fantastic if these weren't tied to a hardware knob (or rotary encoder, in this case). Membrane switches on induction are a freaking nightmare. Do you want to poke at a panel 100 times to adjust the temperature? Or sit there and wait while you hold your finger down on the button? It's awful. 100 levels of power are useless if they're locked behind switches. You need a knob so you can crank things up or throttle them back quickly and easily and without having to look at a display (or whatever).

Apart from having a highly granular access to the unit's maximum wattage via some sort of knob/dial, the other important thing to develop is accurate temperature control. The units to beat in this regard seem to be the Polyscience/Breville Control Freak and the burners from Hestan. Having a temperature sensor in the cooktop as well as a wirelessly connected temperature probe seems like the way to go there. That could be an upgrade/upsell, because not everyone would be interested. But there is no other induction unit under $1000 (basically) that has 100 temperature levels apart from the Mirage Pro, and the Mirage Pro is targeted exclusively at commercial audiences. Home consumer use invalidates the warranty, which is stupid.

So the market is wide open for a quality induction burner with a lot of control at a reasonable price for a home consumer market. 

Wide open.
The world doesn't need another garbage induction hob. What it needs is something that can sell for $200 with a big induction coil, 100 power settings, a knob, and wireless connectivity that can pair with a $50 bluetooth temperature probe that works in conjunction with a temp sensor in the base to deliver extremely stable PID-based control.

Shoot for that, or something close to that. Anything else is a waste of your time (and everyone else's).

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