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Induction Cooktops


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one thing i don't get is the supposedly great temperature control: once heated, iron will stay hot for a long time. or is there something very special going on that will cool, say, cast iron as fast as will copper on a gas hob?

christianh@geol.ku.dk. just in case.

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one thing i don't get is the supposedly great temperature control: once heated, iron will stay hot for a long time. or is there something very special going on that will cool, say, cast iron as fast as will copper on a gas hob?

As I understand it, the great temperature control refers only to the way the burner goes instantly off or on, as with a gas stove and not at all as with a standard electric stove. You get the quick response of a gas hob without the gas hookup, and when you turn it off you're just left with the residual heat in the pan.

I don't think the pan itself will cool down any differently, so you'll still have the slow cooling of a heavy pan and the quick cooling of a lightweight pan. If I've missed something, I hope someone with experience will set us both straight.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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As we start to plan our kitchen renovation project, to start in probably about a year, I find myself toying with induction. At this point I'm inclined to use induction to complement a standard professional-style gas cooktop. I know that some of the cooktops leave something to be desired as far as simmering capability, and in any case I wouldn't be comfortable leaving something on a gas burner to simmer if I'm not in the house. Heck, I even get a little nervous if I'm downstairs and my husband cranks up the volume on the TV so I can't hear anything from upstairs where the kitchen is!

I do not, however, think I'd put in only induction cooking capability, without something more standard also. This is in part to avoid putting something in that's considered "weird." Even though we're planning this reno for us, and we are not looking to move, I can't help but think about resale value on down the line. Furthermore, I'd like to have something available that will work with any pot. (Everything I currently own that I'd consider simmering in is magnetic.)

That said, I really like the idea of a portable induction burner for all the reasons Andie mentioned earlier!

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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Funny, I hadn't thought about the resale value issue, but you're probably right. My personal objection is that I have some pet pans, inherited from one or two generations back, that wouldn't work with it and I don't want to give them up. I've been thinking that a portable unit like Andie's might be a fun way to increase my kitchen's capabilities, though, and give me better simmering capability. OTOH, we already have a gas grill with the side burner outside....

I just realized what your avatar is up to. Nice photo! My cats like the bathroom sink. :biggrin:

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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At this point I'm inclined to use induction to complement a standard professional-style gas cooktop.

Hi Melissa,

I've heard of people doing exactly what you suggest. In this particular case, they used the CookTek hobs which are available in a drop-in configuration. They are available in a single and double hob configuration.

-john

Edited by JohnN (log)
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one thing i don't get is the supposedly great temperature control: once heated, iron will stay hot for a long time. or is there something very special going on that will cool, say, cast iron as fast as will copper on a gas hob?

As I understand it, the great temperature control refers only to the way the burner goes instantly off or on, as with a gas stove and not at all as with a standard electric stove. You get the quick response of a gas hob without the gas hookup, and when you turn it off you're just left with the residual heat in the pan.

I don't think the pan itself will cool down any differently, so you'll still have the slow cooling of a heavy pan and the quick cooling of a lightweight pan. If I've missed something, I hope someone with experience will set us both straight.

Yah, I think the idea is that:

Heat comes on very fast because 1) The pot itself is what heats up. There is no thermal transfer needed to slow things down and 2) the "element" (pot) heats almost instantly - think microwave.

It cools "quickly" because the only thermal mass is the cookware (and food) - it does not need to cool an element in addition like in the case of a glass cooktop. So it is more "gas-like", but not magic.

It sounds like the modern induction hobs maintain precise tempature control as well.

-john

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I opened my latest edition of House and Garden (the Kitchen Issue), and was surprised by an article that touted electromagnetic stovetops as the next big thing in cooking.  They use electromagnetic waves to heat up the cookware (and thus, the food) without actually heating the stove, the kitchen, the chef etc.  Call me a luddite, but the whole thing sounds a little too Jetsons to me.

You all do appreciate, do you not, that the most "high tech" kitchen heating element available is the microwave oven, which generates high-powered high-frequency radio waves in a multianode magnetron (a specialized resonant vacuum tube, developed for radar transmitters) that then resonate with the molecules in the food (water especially), not even with the cookware. Don't let familiarity obscure this deeper reality (unless of course you are just seeking a novel kitchen redecoration).

Myself, I cook with gas.

== Max

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We have some portable units at work that are used on buffets, and a couple of built in units on the line. The people that put the portable units away aren't very careful and just stack them up all on top of each other, they don't appear to be scratched or or injured and work just fine. The only problem we have had is that a dish washer droped one of the vent covers on one of the built ins and it broke the glass. $1500.00 to replace it. We have been using the same portables for 3 years.

check out my baking and pastry books at the Pastrymama1 shop on www.Half.ebay.com

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Have any of you considered electromagnetic radiation hazards?

My wife and I are building a new home, and considering the hazards, propane gas is the only answer.

Errm, what hazards, specifically, go with electromagnetic radiation?

What will you do about the hazards of explosion, or of incomplete combusion, associated with using propane or natural gas?

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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What will you do about the hazards of explosion, or of incomplete combusion, associated with using propane or natural gas?

All those hazards are known and tangible. Electromagnetic radiation hazards are not. All I can say at this point is that there are those who are susceptible to electromagnetic radiation and we may be among them.

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What will you do about the hazards of explosion, or of incomplete combusion, associated with using propane or natural gas?

All those hazards are known and tangible. Electromagnetic radiation hazards are not. All I can say at this point is that there are those who are susceptible to electromagnetic radiation and we may be among them.

I hope you're keeping a respectful distance from your computer monitor.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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What will you do about the hazards of explosion, or of incomplete combusion, associated with using propane or natural gas?

All those hazards are known and tangible. Electromagnetic radiation hazards are not. All I can say at this point is that there are those who are susceptible to electromagnetic radiation and we may be among them.

I hope you're keeping a respectful distance from your computer monitor.

And power lines and cell phones and microwaves and um...

-john

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Mine is an LCD monitor, which is said to generate less electromagnetic radiation.

I don't own a cellular phone. (Almost everyone I know has at least one.)

This is getting off-topic. I think I'll start a new thread later.

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i think someone else mentioned this... but we had induction units at my culinary school (ICE) that for the most part worked fabulously. and considering the daily abuse they took with 3 classes of pro students and at least 2 recreational classes... that should give an idea of their durability. i want to have one in my shop but i haven't found one that fits my budget! :)

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I don't understand why copper pots and pans wouldn't work. Copper wire is used in electromagnets, so copper has to be magnetic, right? So why wouldn't copper work?

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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I don't understand why copper pots and pans wouldn't work.  Copper wire is used in electromagnets, so copper has to be magnetic, right?  So why wouldn't copper work?

Copper isn't magnetic. Its use in electromagnets is solely as a conductor of electricity. Aluminum would serve the same purpose.

Charlie

Walled Lake, Michigan

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  • 2 weeks later...
There is a one page article on induction stoves in the August/September 2005 Fine Cooking magazine.  See pg 24.

Their website has a neat little video that shows an egg being cooked in a pan that was cut in half. The half in the pan cooks, and the half on the cooktop does not. Really interesting!

-Linda

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For the folks who have induction cooktops and units,

Have you found any types of foods that the induction cooktop isn't so great at? I'm experimenting with the Sunpentown standalone unit and things that involve boiling water are going really well. My favorite pancake recipe was another story though.

I was using a Vollrath Tribute nonstick griddle. The batter is a bit on the thick side and I tried cooking it on both my electric [radiant] stovetop as well as on the induction. In both cases, I tried making a single pancake in the center of the griddle because that's where things would cook best in both cases. "radiant" pancakes were fine but "induction" pancakes (or, as my husband called them, "magnetic pancakes") cooked and came out dry-looking on the outside but were gummy and wet inside. I tried a range of cooking temperatures and still couldn't get them to come out right. I'm guessing that if I thinned the batter a bit, I'd have more success but I was trying the recipe [from Cook's Illustrated] that we always use.

Does this kind of thing sound familiar to anyone?

jayne

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Have you found any types of foods that the induction cooktop isn't so great at?

"radiant" pancakes were fine but "induction" pancakes (or, as my husband called them, "magnetic pancakes") cooked and came out dry-looking on the outside but were gummy and wet inside. I tried a range of cooking temperatures and still couldn't get them to come out right.

Does this kind of thing sound familiar to anyone?

You might ask this question at That Home Site - Appliances forum. They have a lot of induction folks over there.

-john

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I tried making a single pancake in the center of the griddle because that's where things would cook best in both cases. "radiant" pancakes were fine but "induction" pancakes (or, as my husband called them, "magnetic pancakes") cooked and came out dry-looking on the outside but were gummy and wet inside. I tried a range of cooking temperatures and still couldn't get them to come out right. I'm guessing that if I thinned the batter a bit, I'd have more success but I was trying the recipe [from Cook's Illustrated] that we always use.

Does this kind of thing sound familiar to anyone?

Are you using the same pan? The pan is the only variable. Find a pan that works well on the induction cooktop from your boiling water tests and then use the same pan on an induction vs radiant pancake test.

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I tried making a single pancake in the center of the griddle because that's where things would cook best in both cases. "radiant" pancakes were fine but "induction" pancakes (or, as my husband called them, "magnetic pancakes") cooked and came out dry-looking on the outside but were gummy and wet inside. I tried a range of cooking temperatures and still couldn't get them to come out right. I'm guessing that if I thinned the batter a bit, I'd have more success but I was trying the recipe [from Cook's Illustrated] that we always use.

Does this kind of thing sound familiar to anyone?

Are you using the same pan? The pan is the only variable. Find a pan that works well on the induction cooktop from your boiling water tests and then use the same pan on an induction vs radiant pancake test.

I was using the same pan in both situations, (Vollrath Tribute griddle, nonstick, induction-ready, 12-inches square.) It worked fine on the radiant cooktop. It more than covered the induction cooking region. I wonder if my problem was that the griddle was too big. I know that I need to cover the region, but I wonder if I got problems because my pan was much larger than the region. I did try cooking only in the center area because I figured that the outer surface wouldn't be as hot.

I've tried asking someone in my local appliance center who said that the induction should be fine for everything that I'd want to be cooking. She said that she wasn't as familiar with the Sunpentown countertop models and thought that there might be something about the power of the generator that could have contributed to my problem.

Next I'm going to try:

1) using a smallish omelette pan to make same pancake recipe on both units.

2) playing around with the recipe to see if that makes a difference.

Thank you for your thoughts.

jayne

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