Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Franci

Ovens suggestions, more appliances and a new kitchen

Recommended Posts

I need your help guys in organizing my thoughts. It looks like we are going to be moving again, still in Miami this time. The only difference is that we are buying a place for the very first time after 20 years of moving around. It feels premature to me to add picture because, we haven’t signed a contract yet, we only made an offer and it has been accepted. 

 

Of course, I am already thinking of what I need to buy for the kitchen. I am not going to renovate the kitchen. It is honestly not the ideal time and even if it’s not my dream kitchen, it has been done 2 years ago. We have an outdoor patio and I am hoping to do a lot of cooking outside, especially at night. So, I am telling you what I have and what for sure I’ll be needing. 

 

The cooktop looks vitroceramic and the oven I don’t remember which brand it is but definitely I will replace it. I don’t know yet if I can get gas there but I had one experience with an induction cooktop in the past and it was great. It was Sauter, which is common in France. It was something like this and I wouldn’t mind something similar. 

 

So, first induction cooktop, I don’t have a clue of prices out there,  if I recall correctly,  I spent 500 euros at the time. 

 

Second, oven. Let talk about ideal. In this house I have a Wolf oven which allows me to go to 550F, which is really cool so I can make some pizza in teglia.

 

I had a couple ovens in the past that I loved for different reasons.

1. I had a tabletop Cadco oven (Stefania), half sheet 120V with manual, external steam injection and it could reach 550F. Because of the manual steam, it was awesome to make bread with that oven and to make pizza in teglia again. So sorry I sold it for little when I closed my business. But honestly it’s not the first choice for home use, not too pretty or practical to have on the countertop. 2. I had the CSO and I really loved it but doesn’t solve the problem of making bread or pizza in teglia. 

 

 

Now 

the outdoor I was thinking either the ZioCiro mini , which is really like a miniature brick oven, differently than the Ooni  which is another candidate, you can use also for cooking bread or small round trays of food.  The Zio Ciro anyway is not big enough for pizza in teglia. I wish I can get an Effeuno honestly. 

 

So, I see myself wanting 5 ovens at the same time 😁 A pizza oven for the outdoor but don’t want to spend 3,000 for a bigger ZioCiro. A CSO, a steam oven for bread and an Effeuno for pizza in teglia and and air fryer if it’s not too much to ask 🤣🤣🤣, you got the situation. Ok, I need to make choices. And no, I don’t have a budget yet because it will depend on the final price of the house and some extra work we are doing from a room and a bathroom. 

 

And finally, yes, I want also a vacuum chamber, thanks,  and would really love to have a irinox blast chiller. I know I am very reasonable 

 

The kitchen is not huge and I cannot start cluttering it with my stuff.  Maybe something like my Wolf oven that reaches 550F plus a steam function with bread. And a CSO for daily use? Ooni outside or I cannot resist the ZioCiro anyway. Does it should more reasonable. Do you have such an oven to suggest? Thanks  

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I only have one recommendation and that is for the induction cooktop.  I have a Thermador and love it.  Since we bought ours, they have come out with a design that lets you cook anywhere on the cooktop.  You don't have to stay on the rings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, ElsieD said:

I only have one recommendation and that is for the induction cooktop.  I have a Thermador and love it.  Since we bought ours, they have come out with a design that lets you cook anywhere on the cooktop.  You don't have to stay on the rings.

 

Thank you, @ElsieD, I will check it out! Sound great. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a cheap apartment GE oven that goes to 550F.  I am about to go bake a pizza as soon as I finish my mai tai.  I almost wrote "go bake a mai tai".  Sort of the same thing.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My advice re induction is that you really want fine temperature control. I liked having induction but lack of adjustment was a problem.

 

Could you build an outdoor woodfire pizza oven? 


It's almost never bad to feed someone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, haresfur said:

My advice re induction is that you really want fine temperature control. I liked having induction but lack of adjustment was a problem.

 

Could you build an outdoor woodfire pizza oven? 

 

The problem may not be induction but rather the implementation of induction.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

The problem may not be induction but rather the implementation of induction.

 

 

Yes, some aren't designed as well as others. Something to look for.


It's almost never bad to feed someone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Franci said:

 

😆 I had to ask my husband what where you talking about. I am going to live on a island, so I guess plenty of water there 🤣🤣🙃

 

 

The height of the water table has to do with flooding concerns.  A high water table means that your place will flood with less additional water (like rain or storm surge) than a place with a lower water table.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, KennethT said:

The height of the water table has to do with flooding concerns.  A high water table means that your place will flood with less additional water (like rain or storm surge) than a place with a lower water table.

 

Ah, I understand now but I don’t know how much this matters in Florida, for what I understand is that we are sitting on limestone and there is no assurance there...Because we are moving to Key Biscayne, which is an island and because of the hurricanes, we would be in the zone with higher risk of flooding. The new regulations are much stricter on the elevation the houses required on the island, I will double check how elevated “our” is,  but I guess is something our agent considered, definitely not as high as the new regulations. We would be 3 minutes walk from the beach and we have a big condo as a shield, just in case 😆 Everybody has a flooding insurance. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, haresfur said:

My advice re induction is that you really want fine temperature control. I liked having induction but lack of adjustment was a problem.

 

Could you build an outdoor woodfire pizza oven? 

 

I had a good experience with induction. I am always multitasking and honestly, really loved setting a timer on each burner and been able to exactly replicate the cooking for something I cook regularly. It was so, so great for cooking with the pressure cooker. 

 

Yes, I could build a wood fire pizza oven. But they are expensive. The zio Ciro has some options for dual fuel, wood and gas. For how much I like the idea of wood cooking there is a learning curve and it requires more time for the oven to get to temperature and also my husband will get one Argentinian style grill to cook with wood. I like the ZioCiro mini. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, Franci said:

I will double check how elevated “our” is,  but I guess is something our agent considered, definitely not as high as the new regulations. We would be 3 minutes walk from the beach and we have a big condo as a shield, just in case 😆 Everybody has a flooding insurance. 

Hmm. Not to be a downer, but that sentence should read "Everybody currently has insurance." Insurance companies can stop offering coverage from one year to the next, or the cost may become prohibitive. It's something to be aware of.

  • Like 1

“What is called sound economics is very often what mirrors the needs of the respectably affluent.” - John Kenneth Galbraith

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I

39 minutes ago, chromedome said:

Hmm. Not to be a downer, but that sentence should read "Everybody currently has insurance." Insurance companies can stop offering coverage from one year to the next, or the cost may become prohibitive. It's something to be aware of.

 

For what my husband is telling me flooding/hurricane insurances are government mandatory in Florida. Definitely we are in a Zone 1 risk, so any hurricane we need to evacuate, we know that. And most likely properties will have no value down here at a certain point but hopefully we can sell and go before that happens 😁 


Edited by Franci (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Franci said:

And most likely properties will have no value down here at a certain point but hopefully we can sell and go before that happens 😁 

 

 

I was struggling for a tactful way to make that point, so I'm glad you're already aware of it. My GF and I are hoping to purchase a property for our "forever home" within the next 5 years, and have set 100-150 feet above sea level as our minimum.

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1

“What is called sound economics is very often what mirrors the needs of the respectably affluent.” - John Kenneth Galbraith

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Franci said:

 

Ah, I understand now but I don’t know how much this matters in Florida, for what I understand is that we are sitting on limestone and there is no assurance there...Because we are moving to Key Biscayne, which is an island and because of the hurricanes, we would be in the zone with higher risk of flooding. The new regulations are much stricter on the elevation the houses required on the island, I will double check how elevated “our” is,  but I guess is something our agent considered, definitely not as high as the new regulations. We would be 3 minutes walk from the beach and we have a big condo as a shield, just in case 😆 Everybody has a flooding insurance. 

 
Enjoy Key Biscayne; a beautiful area! I grew up in Dade County Florida and miss the grapefruit and mango trees we had in our backyard. Wonderful to be so close to the beach! Also lots of delicious Cuban food in that area.

 

If your new place doesn’t have hurricane shutters, I highly recommend that you get them. It is so much easier to use them vs. finding & securing wood over all your windows.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I saw on an episode of Big Dreams Small Gardens with Monty Don: this one man wanted a bbq in his garden. 

 

He did purchase one and had it built. It was beautifully integrated into the design of the entire garden. 

 

It looked more like an oven and grill. 

 

I attached something that kinda looks like it I found in google. 

s-l1000.jpg.47ba2317a26fab892a7eeb87b0f54fc3.jpg

If I was super bored had "extra money" and threw a lot of parties in my house, I'd probably get one for entertainment. 

 

I think the zio-circo mini that tiled looks nice but I wonder if its only for single use as a pizza oven or something. 


Edited by eugenep (log)
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, eugenep said:

 

I think the zio-circo mini that tiled looks nice but I wonder if its only for single use as a pizza oven or something. 

 

 

 

The mini is pretty small, only 1 pizza at a time and 1kg bread. Max pizza diameter is 33cm or about 13 inches but it’s $1200 vs the ZioCiro 100  dual fuel where you can cook 4-5 pizzas at a time and costs $4800. Honestly, I am not that much into pizza and it’s just our family consumption, I don’t see myself cooking pizza for a party of 20 people that requires a similar upgrade. I am not a pizza fanatic. This is already a splurge for what I’d need. I like more the modern look of this kind of oven than the all brick look. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
59 minutes ago, curls said:

 
Enjoy Key Biscayne; a beautiful area! I grew up in Dade County Florida and miss the grapefruit and mango trees we had in our backyard. Wonderful to be so close to the beach! Also lots of delicious Cuban food in that area.

 

If your new place doesn’t have hurricane shutters, I highly recommend that you get them. It is so much easier to use them vs. finding & securing wood over all your windows.

 

Curls, yes, Key Biscayne has a island vibe, so different than South Beach. I like it a lot!  We have impact windows plus shutters. I have to test it but that is a big plus for me because, I looooove a total blackout in my bedroom for sleeping and those shutters look like that will do a pretty decent job for hurricane and sleep 😃

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would say definitely a CSO or an F. Blumlein for inside the kitchen for smaller meals. Heating up the house with the big oven will be an issue in Florida.

 

Congratulations on your new place. Sounds wonderful!

 


Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, kayb said:

I would say definitely a CSO or an F. Blumlein for inside the kitchen for smaller meals. Heating up the house with the big oven will be an issue in Florida.

 

Congratulations on your new place. Sounds wonderful!

 

 

Thank you, @kayb! Oh, the CSO I want it back! Not sure  the F. Blumlein stands up to it.  Definitely if I have to pick prefer the CSO as space to a microwave!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

So, here I am with a couple pictures of the outside. I want to create a small and functional outside kitchen. I was thinking of installing a sink, a stainless steel table that will function as prepping station an support for a portable induction cooktop and a portable pizza oven being Ooni or Zio Ciro mini. Of course, I want to go under the shade, being partially covered by the upstairs balcony but water is on the opposite corner. I guess that is not a big deal. 

 

I am also thinking of using the sides of the patio to grow some vegetables and actually using the fence as vertical garden if possible. 

 

What do you guys think? 

A5120E28-374F-479E-BD93-E275FB5E14C0.jpeg

 

88B001EF-B40E-43FB-8B6E-5953F27B465E.jpeg


Edited by Franci (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What direction does it face? Will there be enough shade where you want when you want? If not you could put up some shade-cloth and that would give you more options for where to put things.

 

My paver area gets far too much sun from the west. Have a beautiful red-gum tree that throws shade but it is too big and too close to the house. I would take it out except for the shade.


It's almost never bad to feed someone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It looks like you have a decent amount of space there, so I think you are only constrained by your budget. You could do a lot in that area and framing it with some veggies/green things would define the space in a really nice way, as well as provide a practical garden area. Would you use planters/raised beds? 

 

I guess the big question is how much time will you spend there and do you visualize it as an outdoor kitchen and dining area? For entertaining or just for family meals? 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, haresfur said:

What direction does it face? Will there be enough shade where you want when you want? If not you could put up some shade-cloth and that would give you more options for where to put things.

 

It faces west, I think I will be doing my cooking more at night, during the day, shade, no shade, it’s really hot. But where I want to put it there will be a minimal protection in case of rain at least. 

 

2 hours ago, FauxPas said:

It looks like you have a decent amount of space there, so I think you are only constrained by your budget. You could do a lot in that area and framing it with some veggies/green things would define the space in a really nice way, as well as provide a practical garden area. Would you use planters/raised beds? 

 

I guess the big question is how much time will you spend there and do you visualize it as an outdoor kitchen and dining area? For entertaining or just for family meals? 

 

 

 

I don’t know yet how much I will be able to spend, we have some construction work inside to be done. Definitely I want raised beds on the perimeter and/or some use of the fences to grow something. This time we are going to hire someone to design it and to start the garden. We are already inexperienced and growing in Florida is an extra challenge. I want to set it right.  Edit to add: I love the idea of cooking outside, a lot! It will be mainly later in the day when it’s not that hot and especially for the family. I see myself eating out all year long if it’s not raining. 


Edited by Franci (log)
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By Norm Matthews
      I saw an episode on the Property Brothers where they did  kitchen cabinets in dark blue.  I showed Charlie some kitchen like that on line. He liked them too. I have been planning new floor and counter tops but this I could do myself. The job isn't finished but it is far enough along to see how it looks.  The next one was taken within a month of so after we moved in in 2012 and the last one is how it looked in April.




    • By lindag
      My new house is in the early stages; it is barely framed up but I'm already dreaming of my dream kitchen.
      Yesterday I went to our one big appliance store (other than HD and Lowe's) and I think I'm going to go wild with the new units.
      First up I'm thinking of a Sub-Zero side by side.  A Thermador 30" slide-in dual fuel range, a Bosch d/w as well as a new m/w and a new hood of a type yet to be determined.  All this is really overkill since I'm by no means a big presence in the kitchen, and these expensive appliances do not define the home which is really rather modest.  But I'm figuring this is my last rodeo, if you will.
      I have heard of some folk having trouble with Sub-Zero repairs so I plan to add a warranty protection plan..
      Anyone have any negative experiences with any of these brands?\
       
      ETA: I have been reading reviews online about Sub-Zero fridges and I may have to re-think that choice.  Those reviews are not good.
      Much as I'd like to have a custom-size I'm beginning to have grave concerns about repairs.
    • By mumkin
      I am in the process of packing up my kitchen—we’re about to demo and remodel—and am sorting about 20 years of accumulated cookery bits into pack/donate/trash categories. Which led me to an article from the expert advisors at Epicurious, “The 9 Kitchen Tools You Need to Replace Every Year,” in which they advocate for an annual household purging of Microplanes, cutting boards, paring knives, dish towels and more (ideally replaced via convenient affiliate links). 
       
      Two questions (at least) arise from this:
      How much cheese and nutmeg grating does it take to dull a Microplane? I haven’t noticed a diminution in mine’s powers, and I’m pretty sure it’s at least decade old. Is there anything that you do replace annually on principle, regardless of its condition?  
      For the record, I don't think they're wrong about sponges.
       
      (Also, Hello! I’ve been away from eGullet for quite a while and am ineligible to post a Welcome Our New Members Thread, but I’m a domestic dabbler in Portland, Ore. Mostly stovetop and sous vide of late, since my ovens have been out of commission for a few years… looking forward to getting my bake on soon).
    • By chefg
      I have to say designing the Alinea kitchen has been one of the most exciting experiences thus far in the opening of this restaurant. I have been fortunate to have been “raised” in some of the best kitchens in the country. When I arrived at the French Laundry in August 1996 the “new kitchen” had just been completed. Often times you would hear the man talk about the good old days of cooking on a residential range with only one refrigerator and warped out sauté pans with wiggly handles. When I started about 50% of the custom stainless steel was in place. The walls smooth with tile and carpet on the floors. I recall the feeling of anxiety when working for fear that I would dirty up the kitchen, not a common concern for most cooks in commercial kitchens.
      The French Laundry kitchen didn’t stop, it continued to evolve over the four years I was there. I vividly remember the addition of the custom fish/canapé stainless unit. Allowing the poissonier to keep his mise en place in beautiful 1/9 pan rails instead of the ice cube filled fish lugs. Each advancement in technology and ergonomics made the kitchen a more efficient and exacting machine.
      When I returned to the Laundry this past July for the 10th anniversary I was shocked that it had metomorphisized once again. The butcher room was now a sea of custom stainless steel low boys, the pot sink area was expanded, the walk-in moved, and an office added to the corner of the kitchen. The kitchen as I left it in June of 2001 was beautiful and extremely functional, of course it is even more so now. It is the relentless pursuit of detail and concise thought that allows the French Laundry kitchen to be one of the best for cooks to execute their craft…..16 hours a day.
      This was good motivation.
      When it came time to design my kitchen I drew on experiences at Trio, TFL and other kitchens I was familiar with to define the positives and negatives of those designs. We were faced with a 21x 44' rectangle. This space would not allow for my original kitchen design idea of four islands postioned throughout the kitchen, but ultimately gave way for the current design which I think is actually better than the original. But most the important aspect in shaping the final design was the cuisine. Due to the nature of food that we produce a typical layout with common equipment standards and dimensions do not work. Here is where the team drew on our experiences from Trio. By looking at the techniques we utilized we came to several conclusions.
      1. A conventional range was not our main heat source. We do need the flat tops and some open burners for applications such as braising and limited stock work. But our overall use of this piece of equipment is somewhat low. Given that we wanted four open burners and two flat tops with two ovens I began to source out a reliable unit. We settled on the Molteni G230.

      2. Upon analyzing our other heat source needs we decided to place a large focus on induction. By utilizing portable induction burners we are allowed the flexibility to give as much power as needed to a specific station in the kitchen. Obviously induction’s radiant heat is very low, and this allows us to keep the temperature in the kitchen reasonable, yet the power is quite high. 31,000 BTU's of highly controlable heat. But the main reason for choosing this flexible source of heat is the fact that each chef typically employed at least four different cooking applications on a given night. This huge flux in technique and the realization that the menu would change entirely in 8 weeks time meant that we had to design a kitchen that could evolve on a nightly basis. And last, we are very specific with temperatures; induction makes it easier for us to hold a liquid at a predetermined temperature for long periods of time without fluctuation. They operate between 85 and 500 degrees farenheit. We did a great deal of research on the different producers of induction and favored Cooktek. The fact that they are the only U.S manufacturer of commercial induction cooking equipment and located in Chicago made the decision easier. Their innovative approach to induction may prove to be even more exciting as we are already talking about new product development in the future.

      3. a. The complexity of the presentations and a la minute plate-ups of the food require a great deal of surface area devoted to plating. This was one of the most critical factors in determining the basic shape of the kitchen. The size of some of today's popular plates, the amount detail in each composition, coupled with the fact that producing tasting menus vs. ala carte means sometimes large waves of same dish pick ups made it necessary for us to have over 44' of linear plating surface.
      b. Virtually nothing goes vertical above the 36” counter top in the space. All food, plates, equipment, and dry good storage are contained by under counter units. There are a few exceptions such as the infrared salamanders, the three-door refrigerator, and the hood. This allows all the cooks a clear line of communication between each other and the front staff. It allows me an easy sight line to survey the entire kitchen’s progress with a quick glance.
      Given these two points it seemed obvious that we needed to combine the two and create custom pieces that would fulfill both needs. Large spans of plating surfaces with all food and equipment storage below. As you can see we ended up with two 22’ long units. Each function as a pass and under counter storage.
      The building is 21’ wide wall to wall. This allowed us just enough space to create two lines on each exterior wall with their passes forming a 60” corridor for the pick up of plates and finishing of dishes.
      4. We decided to add a station to the kitchen. At Trio we had five including:
      a. pastry
      b. cold garde manger
      c. hot garde manger
      d. fish
      e. meat
      Now that we had more space, and the ability to give each station multiple heat
      sources regardless of their location in the kitchen, we could spread the workload even further. We also realized it doesn’t make much sense to identify each station by classic French Bragade terms. A saucier did not solely cook meat with classic techniques and prepare various traditional stocks and sauces…in fact quite the opposite. This holds true with most of the stations, with the exception of pastry, but even they will have very unconventional techniques, menu placement and involvement in the kitchen systems. We will add a station that will be responsible for a large majority of the one-bite courses both sweet and savory.
      5.Given the size constraints of the building we realized a walk-in would not be possible in the kitchen. If we were to have one it would be in the basement. Having experienced this at Trio we decided to design the kitchen without a walk-in, making up for the space in various lowboy locations and a three-door reach-in. I experienced the walk-in less environment when I worked at Charlie Trotter’s. It is certainly different, but as with most things if done properly it provides a very efficient environment. It works best in situations where fresh products are brought in daily for that days use. And prevents ordering in large quantities. It also provides us with very specific units to house different items. We will utilize the 3-door refrigerator to store the majority of the vegetables and herbs along with some staple mise en place, and items that cannot be made in very small quantities like stocks. Raw meat will have it’s own lowboys as well as fish, dairy, and all frozen products.
      6. At Trio we found ourselves using the salamander a great deal. It is very useful for melting sugar, bringing on transparent qualities in things like fat and cheese, cooking items intensely on only one side, and it is a highly controllable non-direct heat source. Due to the air gap between the foodstuff and the heat elements the cook can control the degree of heat applied to the dish based on the technique he is using. It becomes a very versatile tool in the modern kitchen, so much so that we will install three Sodir infrared salamanders.

      Again, this is to insure that all the cooks have access to all of the techniques in the kitchen. As I said before it is important for our cooks to be able to sauté, simmer, poach, fry, grill, salamander, and freeze at the same time and sometimes for the same dish.
      We have a few unusual pieces of equipment in the kitchen; the most is probably a centrifuge. A few months ago Nick and I were driving home from a design meeting and ended up talking about signature dishes and menu repetition. Of course the black truffle explosion came up and he asked if I would have it on the menu at Alinea. I replied a firm no, but shortly thereafter said I would enjoy updating it. We threw around some tongue and cheek ideas like White Truffle Implosion, and Truffle Explosion 2005….I said it was a goal of mine to make a frozen ball with a liquid center….but then dismissed it as nearly impossible. Within a few minutes he said …”I got it…we need a centrifuge” His explanation was simple, place the desired liquid in a spherical mold and place on the centrifuge…place the whole thing in the freezer. Within days he had one in the test kitchen. I guess this is better suited for the kitchen lab topic that we will be starting in a few weeks…
      We are working on a upload of the kitchen blueprints. When those post I plan on going into more detail about certian aspects of the design. Doing so now would be pointless as the viewer does not have a reference point.
    • By boilsover
      I. Introduction
       
      This article reviews the 3500W all-metal commercial induction single-hob hotplate by Panasonic, which I believe is the first “all-metal” unit to hit the U.S. market. Where appropriate, it is also compared with another commercial single-hob, the 1800W Vollrath Mirage Pro Model 59500P.
       
      Some background is in order. Heretofore, induction appliances would only “work” with cookware which is ferromagnetic. Bare and enameled cast iron, carbon steel, enameled steel and some stainless steels were semi-dependable for choices, and the cookware industry has worked hard to make most of its lines induction compatible. But alas, not all cookware, past and present, has worked; copper and aluminum don’t, at least without a separate interface disk or it’s own ferromagnetic base layer.
       
      The reason why non-ferromagnetic cookware hasn’t worked on induction is technical, but it relates to the magnetic field and what’s called the “skin depth” of the pan’s outermost material. With copper or aluminum, the field will not excite the metals’ molecules to the extent that their friction will generate useful heat to cook food. And the way the appliances come equipped, unless the appliance detects something sufficiently large and ferromagnetic, they will not produce any field at all. Therefore, to the consternation of many cooks, pro and amateur, older (and in the opinion of some, better) cookware needs to be retired and replaced if/when they wish to switch to an induction appliance. Some cooks don’t mind, but others who, like me, have invested heavily in copper and are habituated to it and aluminum, would forego induction altogether rather than discard our cookware.
       
      But what we’ve really meant—all along--when we say or write that only ferromagnetic cookware will “work” on induction is that the frequency chosen for our appliances (20-24kHz) will not usefully excite other metals. If that frequency is increased to, say, 90-110kHz , then suddenly the impossible happens: aluminum and copper, with absolutely no ferromagnetic content, will heat in a way that is eminently useful in the kitchen.
      While Panasonic has made dual-frequency induction hotplates available in Japan for several years now, they didn’t make it available here until recently (My unit indicates it was manufactured in early 2016!). I speculate the reason for the delay relates to the detection circuitry and the switches that determine the frequency at which the field will operate.

      The introduction of all-metal induction in USA is especially interesting because it allows a direct comparison of cookware of all (metal) types. For instance, cookware nerds have long debated how copper cookware on a gas compares with disk-based stainless on induction. While the veil has not completely lifted (for that we would need extremely precise gas energy metering), we now have the ability to measure and compare copper, aluminum, clad and disk-based on the same induction hob.
       
      II. Dimensions, Weight & Clearances
       
      The Panasonic, being a true commercial appliance, is considerably larger than most consumer and crossover hotplates. It stands 6 inches tall overall, and on relatively tall (1.25”) feet, so that there is space for ample air circulation under the unit. It is 20.25 inches deep overall, including a standoff ventilation panel in back, and the angled control panel in front. It is 15” wide, and weighs in at a hefty 30.25 pounds. Suffice it to say, the Panasonic is not practically portable.

      The KY-MK3500’s Ceran pan surface is 14.25 inches wide by 14.5 inches deep, almost 43% larger in area than the VMP’s glass. Panasonic tells me they have no recommended maximum pan diameter or weight, but the tape tells me that a 15” diameter pan would not overhang the unit’s top (Compare the VMP, which can accept a maximum pan base of 10 7/8”). Common sense tells me that—unless the glass is well-braced underneath in many places, 25-30 pounds of total weight might be pushing it.
       
      For those who might consider outfitting their home kitchens with one or more of these units, in addition to having 20 amp 240v (NEMA #6-20R receptacles) electrical circuits for each appliance, 39 1/2 inches of overhead clearance is required to combustible material (31 ½” to incombustibles) and 2 inches to the back and sides (0” to incombustibles). The overhead clearance requirement and the tall 6” unit height call for no (or only very high) cabinetry and careful design of a “well” or lower countertop/table that will lower the Ceran surface to a comfortable cooking height. In other words, a tall pot on this unit on a regular-height counter might be a problem for a lot of cooks.
      III. Features

      A. Display
       
      The KY-Mk3500 has an angled 8-key spillproof keypad and red LED numerical display. The keys are large, raised and their markings are legible. All but the four Up/Down keys have their own inset indicator lights, which indicate power, mode and memory operation.
       
      The numerical display is large and bright. The numerical display area is divided between time (XX:XX) to the user’s left and power/temp to the user’s right. If the timer or program features are activated, the numerical display shows both the set time and the power/temperature. There is also a small “Hot Surface” LED icon on the panel.
      The Panasonic also actually uses the Ceran surface as a display of sorts. That is, there is a lighted circle just outside the faint positioning circle, which glows red whenever the unit is operating, awaiting a pan, or the Ceran is hot. Panasonic also claims that this display also changes brightness with the set power level, implying that the operator can judge the heat setting by a glance. Thus this display serves three purposes: (a) pan positioning; (b) burn safety; and (c) intensity.

      B. Safety Features
       
      As one would expect, there are a variety of safety features built into this appliance. In most cases, these features are controlled by detection circuits, some fixed, some defeatable/variable. This being a commercial unit, Panasonic has set the unit’s defaults with commercial users’ convenience in mind. If consumers want the full spectrum of safety settings, they need to vary these defaults. For instance, if a home cook wants to make sure the unit powers off if the pan is removed and not replaced within 3 minutes, they have to manually vary a default. Likewise if the operator wants the power to automatically shut off after 2 hours of no changes. But others, like the basic “Is there a pan there?” detection and overheat shutoff, are there no matter what and cannot be defeated.
      C. Settings & Programming

      The KY-MK3500 features both power and temperature settings. For “regular” induction, there are 20 power settings, which range from 50 watts to 3500 watts. For non-ferromagnetic pans, there are 18 power settings, which range from 60 watts to 2400 watts. The display shows these settings in numerals 1-20 and 1-18 respectively. When the power is toggled on, the unit defaults to Setting 14 in both frequencies.

      The temperature settings are the same in both modes, with 22 selectable temperatures from 285F (140C) to 500F (260C). Other than for the very lowest temperature setting, each setting increase results in a 10F temperature increase. Usefully, the display shows the set temperature, not 1-22; and until the set temperature is reached, the display indicates “Preheat”. The unit beeps when it reaches the set temperature. The Panasonic measures pan temperature using an IR sensor beneath the glass; this sensor sits about 1 inch outside the centerpoint of the painted positioning markings, yet inside of the induction coil.

      The timer operation is fast and intuitive. Once the power or temperature is set and operating, the operator merely keys the timer’s dedicated up/down buttons, and the timer display area activates. Timer settings are in any 30-second interval between 30 seconds and 9 ½ hours, and the display will show remaining time. The beeps at the end of cooking are loud.
       
      There are nine available memory programs, which can be set for either power or temperature, along with time. Programming entails pressing and holding the Program mode button, selecting the program (1-9), then picking and setting the power or temperature, then setting the timer, and finally pressing and holding the Program button again. After that, to use any of the entered programs, you simply press the Program button, select which program, and the unit will run that program within 3 seconds.
       
      In addition to Heat-Time programmability, the KY-MK3500 also provides the ability to vary 9 of the unit’s default settings: (1) Decreasing the power level granularity from 20 to 10; (2) Changing the temperature display to Celsius; (3) Enabling a long cook time shutoff safety feature; (4) Enabling the main power auto shutoff feature; (5) Disabling the glowing circle; (6) Lowering or disabling the auditory beep signals’ volume; (7) Customizing the timer finish beep; (8) Customizing the Preheat notification beep; and (9) Customizing the interval for filter cleanings.
       
      D. Maintenance
       
      The KY-MK3500 has a plastic air intake filter which can be removed and cleaned. This is not dishwashable. This filter is merely a plastic grate with ¼” square holes, so it is questionable what exactly —besides greasy dust bunnies—will be filtered. Panasonic recommends the filter be cleaned once a week. Besides that, the Ceran surface and stainless housing clean just like other appliances.
       
      IV. Acceptable Cookware
       
      Panasonic claims the unit will accept cast iron, enameled iron, stainless steel, copper, and aluminum with two provisos. First, very thin aluminum and copper may “move” on the appliance. And second, thin aluminum pans may “deform”. Panasonic does not address carbon steel pans, but I verified that they do indeed work. They also warn of the obvious fact that glass and ceramics will not work.
       
      Buyers are also warned against using cookware of specific cookware bottom shapes: round, footed, thin, and domed. Trying to use these, Panasonic warns, may disable safety features and reduce or eliminate pan heating.
       
      As far as minimum pan diameter goes, Panasonic claims the KY-MK3500 needs 5” diameter in ferromagnetic pans, and 6” in copper or aluminum ones. My own tests have shown that in fact the unit will function with a cast iron fondue pot, the base of which is only 4 1/8” in diameter, and also works with a copper saucepan, the base of which is almost exactly 5” in diameter. Obviously, the field will be most active at the very edges of such small pans, but they do function.
       
      V. Evaluation in Use

      I can say that not only does the Panasonic KY-MK3500 “work” with copper and aluminum pans, but that it works very well with them. Thermally, thick gauge conductive material pans perform in close emulation of the same pans on gas, even though there are no combustion gasses flowing up and around the pan. I found this startling.
       
      Nevertheless, a searching comparison between copper and ferromagnetic pans on this unit isn’t as straightforward as one might expect. The Panasonic is capable of dumping a full 3500 watts into ferromagnetic pans, but is limited to 2400 watts for aluminum and copper. Despite copper’s and aluminum’s superiorities in conductivity, that extra 1100 watts is going to win every speed-boil race.
       
      I initially thought I could handicap such a race simply by using the temperature setting and comparing the times required to achieve a “preheat” in a pans of cold water. Alas, no—the Panasonic’s IR function signified the copper pan was preheated to 350F before the water even reached 70F! Obviously, the entire thermal system of cold food in a cold pan needs to come to equilibrium before the Panasonic’s temperature readout becomes meaningful.

      A. Temperature Settings
       
      Unfortunately, with every pan I tried, the temperature settings were wildly inaccurate for measuring the temperature of the food. I heated 2 liters of peanut oil in a variety of pots, disk-base, enameled cast iron enameled steel, and copper. I thought it might be useful to see how close to 350F and 375F the settings were for deep frying. The oil in a Le Creuset 5.5Q Dutch oven set to 350F never made it past 285F, and it took 40:00 to get there. I kept bumping up the setting until I found that the setting for 420F will hold the oil at 346F. A disk-based pot didn’t hit 365F until the temperature setting was boosted to 400F. The only pan which came remotely close to being true to the settings was a 2mm silvered copper oven, which heated its oil to 327F when the Panasonic was set for 350F, and 380F when set for 410F.
       
      The temperature function was a lot closer to true when simply preheating an empty pan. With a setting of 350F, all the shiny stainless pans heated to just a few degrees higher (about 353-357F) and held there. This is useful for judging the Leidenfrost Point (which is the heat at which you can oil your SS and have it cook relatively nonstick) and potentially for “seasoning” carbon steel, SS and aluminum, but not much else, since it doesn’t translate to actual food temperature. There’s also the issue of the temperature settings *starting* at 285F, so holding a lower temperature for, e.g., tempering chocolate or a sous vide bath, or even a simmer would be by-guess-by-golly just like any other hob—your only resort is lots of experience with lower *power* settings.
       
      With heat-tarnished copper, a 350F setting resulted in a wide swinging between 353F and 365F, which I attribute to the copper shedding heat far faster than the other constructions, once the circuit stops the power at temperature. Then, when the circuit cycles the power back on, the copper is so responsive that it quickly overshoots the setting. Aluminum, on the other hand, *undershot*, the 350F setting, registering a cycle of 332-340F.

      I conclude that the IR sensor is set for some particular emissivity, probably for that of stainless steel. If true, the Panasonic, even though it automatically switches frequencies, does not compensate for the different emissivities of copper and aluminum. And even if Panasonic added dedicated aluminum and copper IR sensors, there is enough difference between dirty and polished that the added cost would be wasted. Bottom line here: the temperature setting mode is of extremely low utility, and should not be trusted.
       
      B. Power Mode – Pan Material Comparisons
       
      Given the differences in power setting granularity and maximum power between the two frequencies, it is difficult to assess what X watts into the pot means in, say, a copper-versus-clad or –disk showdown. What is clear, however, is that Setting X under disk and clad seems “hotter” than the same setting under copper and aluminum.

      I will need to precisely calibrate the Panasonic for wattage anyway for the hyperconductivity project, so I will obtain a higher-powered watt meter to determine the wattage of every power setting for both frequencies. Until then, however, the only way I can fairly handicap a race is to apply a reduction figure to the ferromagnetic setting (2400W being 69% of 3500W). Given that we know the wattage at the maximum settings, we can infer that Setting 14 (actually 13.8) on the 20-step ferromagnetic range iis approximately the same heat output as the maximum setting (18) for copper/aluminum.

      The boil times for 4 liters of 50F water in 10” diameter pots shocked me. The 10” x 3mm tinned copper pot’s water reached 211F in 36:41. Not an especially fast time at 2400 watts. The 10” disk-based pressure cooker bottom? Well, it didn’t make it—it took an hour to get to 208F and then hung there. So that left me wondering if the Panasonic engineers simply decided that 2400 watts was enough for copper and aluminum. I have a theory why the copper pot boiled and the SS one didn’t under the same power, but getting into that’s for another time.

      C. Evenness Comparisons
       
      The wires which generate the induction field are wound in a circular pattern; when energized, they create a torus-shaped magnetic field. The wound coil is constructed with an empty hole at its center. As matters of physics, the magnetic field’s intensity drops off extremely fast as a function of the distance from the coil; a few millimeters above the Ceran, the field is so weak no meaningful heat will be generated. This means that most induction cooktops heat *only* the very bottom of pans, and in a distinct 2-dimensional “doughnut” shape.

      All of the above can result in a pan having a cooler central spot, a hotter ring directly over the coil, and a cooler periphery outside the coil. It is left to the cookware to try to even out these thermal discontinuities when cooking. Some materials and pan constructions are better at this than others: the successful constructions utilize more highly-conductive metals such as aluminum and copper, but unless the material is very thick, there can be a ring-shaped hotspot that can scorch food.
      Until the Panasonic arrived to market, hotspot comparisons between ferromagnetic and aluminum/copper pans depended largely on comparing induction’s flat, more discrete heat ring with gas’s more diffuse, 3-dimensional one. Dodgeball-style debate ensued, with few clear conclusions. But now, for the first time, equally-powered flat heat rings in two different frequencies allow us to directly compare evenness in ferromagnetic and aluminum/copper cookware.

      The simplest and easiest way to assess cookware evenness is the “scorchprint”, which does not require infrared or other advanced thermal imaging equipment. I’ve posted on how to conduct scorchprinting elsewhere, but basically a pan is evenly dusted with flour; heat is applied to the pan bottom. As the flour is toasted, any hotspots visually emerge, giving the viewer a useful general idea of evenness.
       
      I will later post the photos of scorchprints I made of 4 different pans run using the Panasonic KY-MK3500: (1) a Demeyere 28cm Proline 5* clad frypan; (2) a Fissler Original Profi disk-base 28cm frypan; a 6mm aluminum omelet pan; and (4) a 32cm x 3.2mm Dehillerin sauté. To make it a fair race, I heated all the pans at 2400W until they reached 450F, and then backed off the power setting to maintain 450F. I did this in order not to compromise my saute’s tin lining. As you will see, both the clad Demeyere and the disk-based Fissler did print the typical brown doughnut, with a cooler center and periphery. By far the most even was the thick, all-aluminum pan, which actually was even over its entirety—even including the walls. The copper sauté was also quite even, although its larger size and mass really dissipated heat; once 450F was dialed in, no more browning happened, even after 30 minutes.
       
      I conclude that the straightgauge pans were far more effective at shunting heat to their peripheries and walls (and also to some extent into the air) than the clad and disk-based pans. The latter accumulated their heat with most of it staying in the center of the pans. Eventually, even the “doughnut hole” blended into the scorch ring because the walls were not bleeding sufficient heat away from the floor. This was especially pronounced in the Fissler, the high wall and rim areas of which never exceeded 125F. The aluminum pan, in contrast varied less than 30F everywhere on the pan.

      D. Other Considerations

      The Panasonic’s fan noise at the cook’s position was noticeable at 63 dBA, higher than with the VMP’s 57 dBA. These levels are characterized as “normal conversation” and “quiet street”, respectively. Interestingly, I found two other, potentially more important differences. First, the Panasonic’s fan stays on, even after the unit is powered off, whereas the VMP’s fan shuts off immediately when the hob is turned off. Second, the Panasonic’s fan steps down from the louder speed to a much quieter (47 dBA, characterized as “quiet home”) level until the Ceran is cool to sustained touch, at which point it shuts off completely. I think the Panasonic’s ability to continue to vent and cool itself is a great feature, especially since a cook could leave a large, full, hot pan on the glass.

      The glowing circle is useless for gauging heat setting or intensity. And while it works to indicate a hot surface, it remains lit long after you can hold your hand in place dead center.
       
      VI. Summary and Lessons
       
      The Panasonic KY-MK3500 is a solid unit, well-conceived and rugged. It is extremely easy to use. It works well with both the common 24kHz frequency used with ferromagnetic cookware, and the 90kHz frequency chosen here for copper and aluminum. It effectively and automatically switches between the two.

      In my opinion, it points the way to expanding the worldwide induction appliance market to include dual frequencies. It also obviates the need to: (a) junk otherwise excellent cookware merely to have induction; and (b) retrofit designs to bond on ferromagnetic outer layers. In fact, in my opinion, my tests indicate that, in a dual-frequency world, adding ferromagnetic bottoms may well be a drag on pans’ performance.
       
      I also consider the Panasonic Met-All to be ground-breaking in what it can tell us about *pans*, because all metallic pans are now commensurable on induction. Clearly (to me anyway), watt-for-watt, the copper and aluminum pans performed better than did the clad and disk-based pans on this unit. Boil times were faster, there was less propensity to scorch, and the conductive-sidewall pans definitely added more heat to the pans’ contents. We may ultimately find that 90kHz fields save energy compared to 24kHz fields, much as copper and aluminum require less heat on gas and electric coil.
      In terms of heat transfer, the copper and aluminum pans came close to emulating the same pans on gas. And at 2400W/3500W it has the power of a full size appliance in a relatively small tabletop package.
       
      The Panasonic is far from perfect, however. It can’t really be considered portable. There are far too few temperature settings, and what few it has are not accurate or consistent in terms of judging pan contents and attaining the same temperature in different pans (and even the same pan unless clean). The luminous ring could easily have been made a useful indicator of intensity, but wasn’t. And it lacks things that should be obvious, including a through-the-glass “button” contact thermocouple, more power granularity, an analog-style control knob, and capacity to accept an external thermocouple probe for PID control.
       
      Most importantly for me, the Panasonic KY-MK3500 portends more good things to come. Retail price remains $1,700-$2,400, but I jumped on it at $611, and I’ve seen it elsewhere for as low as $1,200.
       
      The manual can be found here: ftp://ftp.panasonic.com/commercialfoo...
       
      Photo Credit:  Panasonic Corporation

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...