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AmyH

Induction Cooktops

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Induction is good if you have kids who want to cook.

My mom doesn't use the gas hob at all these days, only the induction stove.

Andie is right about the output-input ratio. When we got ours, we didn't even notice a difference in the electricity bill.


May

Totally More-ish: The New and Improved Foodblog

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Above, someone mentioned being able to get one for $100, and someone else mentioned Sears. For $100, it seems reasonable to get a single burner unit, just to boil water and simmer stock. I can't find anything on Sears.com, and I'm pretty good at searches. Links please?

These seem like a good idea for a college student who wants/needs to do some home cooking in a dorm. Hot plates are universally banned from dorm rooms, microwaves usually are too, even toasters/t. ovens are more of a fire hazard. Given the fire safe and low electrical consumption properties described, it sounds like an excellent option for a student.

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Maybe at MIT you could explain to an RA that it's a magnetic induction unit and not really a hot plate, but I'd love to see you try to convince Darcy, my RA at the University of Vermont, of that!


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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The 10 step control that FG mentioned is much more accurate and repeatable than a continuous adjustment on a gas flame, so I don't see it as a disadvantage.

We were trying to make hollandaise and the ten-step (nine, actually, on this unit) control just wasn't working out. One setting was too low and one was too high. We had to keep switching back and forth endlessly. With a gas flame, you can dial it in exactly -- and you can also lift and lower the saucepan a little in a pinch. Plus on a gas range you can use copper, which is best for that kind of delicate saucemaking.

I guess I am a bit old-fashioned. I have always made hollandaise in a double boiler because it gives me better control. Same with lemon curd, any sauce with eggs, etc.

When I cook at the office I have no choice but to use the inducton unit, (unless I want to use the gas burner in the lab, but that is a single flame, not at all efficient for my purposes.)

I prefer gas cooktops and my primary will always be gas, but for a secondary unit or, as mentioned above, it was part of a modular cooktop (which are now on the scene, but for large bucks) and gas is still an option for part of it.

Incidentally, Miele has a 2-burner unit available in Europe that will be coming to the U.S. soon. this was in a new products article.

the Supentown 1851 is available at Amazon for 99.00 and the 1881 for 149.00

Supentown

Instawares has the CookTek for 500 plus

I have one of the Supentown (an earlier model) and an Iwatani (which is no longer distributed in the U.S. - I don't know why.) I got it for 488.00

I just found that CookTek already has double burner units.

CookTek induction ranges They also make drop-in units besides the countertop free-standing.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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The 10 step control that FG mentioned is much more accurate and repeatable than a continuous adjustment on a gas flame, so I don't see it as a disadvantage.

We were trying to make hollandaise and the ten-step (nine, actually, on this unit) control just wasn't working out. One setting was too low and one was too high. We had to keep switching back and forth endlessly. With a gas flame, you can dial it in exactly -- and you can also lift and lower the saucepan a little in a pinch. Plus on a gas range you can use copper, which is best for that kind of delicate saucemaking.

I have a basic de Dietrich 4 ring.

It has 9 power steps ( & off).

For the hollandaise, you might have used the higher setting and... lifted the pan a little, occasionally!

The more expensive models have a 16 step control.

But do ask yourself - what other *electric* hob would you seriously consider making your sauce without a double boiler?

The advantage over gas is purely convenience - whether you need to use the hob top as workspace, or whether you clean the hob yourself. Two clear advantages for induction.

However compared to other *electric* hobs the advantages over other electric hobs are that it provides a steady simmer, and much, much better responsiveness.

And Bleachboy - with a suitable roasting tin, you can easily deglaze it on an induction hob.

However, for current models, just check that a fridge magnet will stick to the base. Whether its a pot or a roasting tin, that'll tell you whether it'll work on induction.

Some stainless will, some won't. But its easy to test... :smile:


Edited by dougal (log)

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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I almost bought a portable single burner unit, not the tiny ones but the ones used in cafeterias.

Until I tried using them at work. Maybe the units were old or something, but they were very slow. Using 12 inch sitram induction saute pans, the darn pan simply would not heat up enough to get to a vigourous saute temperature. The pans were perfectly flat btw, and the units appeared to be working.

I was previously impressed with demos of the thing being able to boil water in 2 minutes. So are they as fast and efficient as people are saying they are? Can you sear a steak quickly on an induction cooktop?

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Above, someone mentioned being able to get one for $100, and someone else mentioned Sears. For $100, it seems reasonable to get a single burner unit, just to boil water and simmer stock. I can't find anything on Sears.com, and I'm pretty good at searches.  Links please?

I mentioned Sears, but not for $100. Their cooktop is reasonable. But that's more like $1800

Black Kenmore Elite 30 in. Electric Induction Cooktop


Edited by pounce (log)

My soup looked like an above ground pool in a bad neighborhood.

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With a gas flame, you can dial it in exactly

I would not expect this kind of precision with a $100 gas unit. Of course, I wouldn't make hollandaise on said unit, either. So, I guess that's fair.

As for the question upthread on the unit degaussing other magnets in the area, I really would tend to doubt it since you've got not enough of a magnetic field to make the pan (or presumably a paperclip) stick to the unit.

Also, I'm assuming that the unit has an appropriately shaped field made by clever construction of the transmitter. There are reasonable equations for engineering radio transmitters based on how you want your field to actually look.

Personally, I would like to have one just for "transportable" cooking necessities, as I seem to do a fair amount of cooking at other friends' abodes--who have just as horrible of stoves as I do. Mine's a Caloric.


I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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I have a few different units including one that cost only about £60. Even with that unit I can get a really good sear on meat or fish. Trust me you don't need a perfectly flat pan (many pans are very slightly concave and expand flat on heating).

In an ideal world you'd have a gas burner for the feel of it (think manual transmission versus automatic in a car) but I do feel that you can do everything you can do with an induction that you can do with gas. You obviously can't burn anything with a flame, e.g. char a pepper skin, but just about everything else is fair game. Like I said earlier many top end kitchens use more and more induction hobs.

I have also regularly made hollandaise with mine. In fact the units can go so low and consistent that you can melt chocolate with them without the use of a double burner - try that with gas.

Obviously different units will have different capabilities so shop around a little. In Europe a good portable unit is made by Berghoff (about £60) and a good premium domestic by De Dietrich (about £600). The De Dietrich I use has 17 levels of power so it is pretty controllable.

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I just read Gourmet mag's review on magnetic induction stoves, and it doesn't seem as if there are any cons to this technology. A broad range of temperatures can be attained extremely quickly, and the stovetop remains cool to the touch. The only drawback that was mentioned was that you have to have compatible cookware, but most cookware has some iron in it to allow for induction to occur. What are your thoughts on MI? Any disadvantages?

my 2 or 3 cents ...

I had to replace my stove last year. My choices were: electric or electric. No gas, no countertop unit and build-in-the-oven-somewhere else. Just a plain ol' range. I'd recalled that sometime in the foggy past, Jenn-Aire or someone had built an electric 2 x 2 range - 2 induction burners and two radiant burners, but my appliance store (not a chain) said, not available anymore. The owner pointed to another guy in the store. "See him," he said, "he knows how to fix induction burners, which when they break are very, very complicated to repair." Bottom line: I went ahead and bought my new ceramic top stove (as I said, no choice there - and I was scared to death of the thing for a couple of weeks, but that's another story ...). Along the way I have picked up 2 portable induction burners, an Iwatani (1800 watts) and a smaller, more portable Sunpentown (1200 watts) which I both use in the kitchen and drag along with me (well, one of them) when I'm tasked to bring a dish to someone else's dinner.

I love them, and I can't wait until a really good plain ol 2x2 functional stove becomes not only widely available but widely available and very reliable. Plus, I'll have to wait some time to justify replacing a new stove, won't I?

As for the step-up, rather than continuous control, I believe CookTek's burners have continuous control even now, although I've had no problems with the step-up settings. They're subtle enough for me.

Now, as for cookware, most of mine, except for the copper, is induction capable anyway. I've kept it in mind for several years now not to buy something new that isn't induction-capable, unless it's copper. I've also just seen a device that looks rather like a round griddle, made by Mauviel and called an "induction interface," that's supposed to permit you to use your non-induction-capable cookware on an induction burner. Alas, cooking.com carried them, discounted them something like 2/3 off, and now they're out of stock ... before I could snag one for experimental purposes.

Yes, induction burners hum. But I guess it's no more alarming than the first time I turned on my convection oven and wondered, who's landing a jet in my kitchen? :blink:

I'm pretty sensitive to high frequency noise myself, but these two induction burners don't seem to bother me. Or maybe I'm just becoming hard-of-hearing and haven't noticed it yet!


Edited by Melic (log)

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I'm not sure I agree that high-end restaurants are embracing induction in any serious way. There are a couple of places that have made heavy use of induction, but they're not mainstream. If you look at the unlimited-budget restaurant kitchens that have been built in the past few years, gas dominates the cooking suites. There may be an induction burner off to the side here and there for keeping stock at a simmer, and they use induction burners in the pastry kitchens when they don't want to generate a lot of heat, but the norm is tons and tons of very powerful gas powered flattops, planchas, open burners, grills, etc.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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You're probably right about the mainstream (but who cares about them :biggrin: ). Certainly Adria at El Bulli and Blumenthal at the Fat Duck use them and you don't get much more high-end than those two.

Thinking about it maybe there's something about the MG boys in that they take new approaches to cooking and are embracing the new ways of doing things like Induction. Not that induction is that new but you know what I mean.

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I just read Gourmet mag's review on magnetic induction stoves, and it doesn't seem as if there are any cons to this technology. A broad range of temperatures can be attained extremely quickly, and the stovetop remains cool to the touch. The only drawback that was mentioned was that you have to have compatible cookware, but most cookware has some iron in it to allow for induction to occur. What are your thoughts on MI? Any disadvantages?

my 2 or 3 cents ...

I had to replace my stove last year. My choices were: electric or electric.

Now, as for cookware, most of mine, except for the copper, is induction capable anyway. I've kept it in mind for several years now not to buy something new that isn't induction-capable, unless it's copper. I've also just seen a device that looks rather like a round griddle, made by Mauviel and called an "induction interface," that's supposed to permit you to use your non-induction-capable cookware on an induction burner. Alas, cooking.com carried them, discounted them something like 2/3 off, and now they're out of stock ... before I could snag one for experimental purposes.

I'm pretty sensitive to high frequency noise myself, but these two induction burners don't seem to bother me. Or maybe I'm just becoming hard-of-hearing and haven't noticed it yet!

Ahem, many months ago, where there was an earlier thread that included some discussion about induction burners, I mentioned that I use an iron plate on mine.

The plate started out in life as a cast iron skillet (10 inch) and existed for at least 80 years in that form until, sadly, I dropped it on the patio (concrete). The tip of the handle met the pavement first and it broke out a large crescent from the side, all the way to the bottom.

I took it to my very helpful metal shop (they have re-welded the lift on the back of my van for my mobility scooter several times) and had them cut the remainder of the sides even with the bottom then grind and smooth it nicely. For a time I used it as a diffuser on the gas cooktop, until I got copper plates, then found that it worked quite nicely on the induction burners.

The charge was less than $20.00.

The only caveat is that the plate has to be absolutely flat.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Ahem, many months ago, where there was an earlier thread that included some discussion about induction burners, I mentioned that I use an iron plate on mine.

The plate started out in life as a cast iron skillet (10 inch)  and existed for at least 80 years in that form until, sadly, I dropped it on the patio (concrete).  The tip of the handle met the pavement first and it broke out a large crescent from the side, all the way to the bottom. 

I took it to my very helpful metal shop (they have re-welded the lift on the back of my van for my mobility scooter several times) and had them cut the remainder of the sides even with the bottom then grind and smooth it nicely.  For a time I used it as a diffuser on the gas cooktop, until I got copper plates, then found that it worked quite nicely on the induction burners. 

The charge was less than $20.00.

The only caveat is that the plate has to be absolutely flat.

Wouldn't that kill the responsiveness of the burner?


PS: I am a guy.

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I use it when I need to use one of my larger or wider pots that are non-magnetic.

In particular I use it with a big copper pot that is wider than the burner itself (wide and shallower than most stockpots). The conductivity of the copper allows an even heat across the entire bottom of the pot.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I can't stand MI stoves... most produce a blaring high-pitched noise that is 1,000,000x worse than nails on a chalkboard.  It hurts, really.

Make sure you're not sensitive to very, very high frequency sound!

I agree. I've experienced some really obnoxious-sounding induction devices.

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After reading this thread, I can't help but think that induction cooking is the future. That said, it may be the future in the same way that the metric system is the future. A lot of the complaints here -- noise, inflexibly quantized step-dials, and the double-burner issue -- can probably be addressed with better design, which will come in the future. And the not insignificant cost of switching over to inductive cookware really only affects -- as FG pointed out -- those invested in aluminum, non-magnetizable stainless steel, and copper (hmm, that list seems longer than I thought it would be. . .), but will really not hold back later generations who are purchasing cookware with induction in mind. If it doesn't catch on here in the states, it seems likely to in places where fuel efficiency is given more attention (i.e., all other developed nations). I think an ideal domestic stovetop would have three or four induction plates and one really big gas burner.

I think what's really winning me over is the potential precision and consistency. There's no reason the dial can't read 0-100 and perform with the same repeatability as the volume dial on a stereo amp.

Am glad I found this topic b/c I'm in the middle of upgrading from my hodge-podge bachelorware to something more respectable. Will be sure to do the magnetic test from now on.

edited: because I got to thinking. . .


Edited by fellowpeon (log)

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my two cents:

The standalone "burners" would be great for dorms, small kitchens, or doing bigger dinner parties where that extra burner would really come in handy.....i used to have an old electric coil burner for these things and I loved having it around for emergencies.

Induction cooktops tend to screw around with your thermometers, especially the thermocouple's used in remote probes and some of the instant read models. IR gun thermometers can get around this, although they couldn't read the internal temperature of something like a roast, and a regular old glass/alcohol thermometer would also be fine.

They are also very good for candying and sugar work.

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I have an electric radiant slide in range, that I'd really like to replace with something better.

The only thing I've seen so far in the states are either cooktops or portable elements.

Does anyone know of any forthcoming induction ranges, and if not, can you replace a range with a cooktop/oven pair in the same slot that used to hold a range?

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Induction cooktops are definitely the future. They're precise, they heat up extremely quick (cold water to boiling quicker than I've ever seen on any other heat source period). They seem to be pretty energy efficient, they don't consume oxygen to function.

With gas you get alot of heat radiating into the kitchen. I don't know how many of you work in a professional kitchen, but it's not comfortable working in a 100+ degree kitchen. You get 12 burners, a grill, a broiler, and 3 gas ovens all going at once, not only are you heating up the surrounding environment, you're also taking away oxygen, it's stuffing, gets hard to breathe. It's not at all healthy to be working in such conditions.

The biggest advantage to induction IMO is that there is no heat escaping into the surrounding area - the surface of the pan heats up and that's it. Sure, you need to change your style a bit, a lot of cooks are used to using 'tricks' with gas like raising the pan, putting it off to the side, etc..., but once you get used to cooking with induction you'll never want to go back. I used to always steal as many induction burners as I could and set them up on my station.

IMO, professional cooking is as much about ego as it is about food (more about ego?), alot of pros refuse to give up ideas and techniques that are dated, and will do things just so they can say that they did (I've certainly worked with alot of these types). There is a certain allure to cooking with fire (back to ancient days cooking over a pit?), but honestly electric induction is the way to go. The kitchens of the future will be majority induction, the technology is there, cooks just need to embrace it.


Edited by Mikeb19 (log)

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I have an induction burner I use for catering. The only issue I have with induction is the fact that many of your favorite pots and pans will not work. You have to have something that is "magnetic". I would not go out and replace my gas cooktop with induction, but if you cannot have gas it's a good alternative.


Never trust a skinny chef

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I purchased one of the inexpensive ones mentioned above. I ended up missing my gas stove. Its noisy. Is you are used to listening to food to know when its ready vs. looking, you wil find yourself looking because its difficult to hear that tone. I could not use all of my pots and pans. This low usage was not only about metal. I couldnt use my saute pan because the edges were rounded and if the pan is not completely flat on the bottom, you run into problems. There were hot spots on the burner. Lastly, nothing else could be running on the same circuit. My induction burner is 120 volt and it was a consideration when I used it. It would blow my circuit breakers all the time. Based on my experience, if cost is not an issue, I prefer gas.

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Okay,

I read all the posts to this thread and none have this viewpoint:

I used to work in a surgical-equipment factory designing the fixtures for silver-brazing using an induction machine. All the fixtures had to be water-cooled to cope with excess heat. ALL the workpieces (items being heated) had to be magnetic; Faraday's principle. An extremely high amount of energy is required in the generator side of the machine (your cooktop), using alternating current, to get a relatively low amount of heating in the workpiece (your pots). Essentially the machine (cooktop & pots) is a transformer, with one side being the primary coil windings (the cooktop) and the other side being the secondary or INDUCED winding (pots). It is not efficient, by any stretch of the imagination, but it is very easy to control precisely, that being its only reason for use in industry.

Moving your pots only a fraction of a millimeter away from the surface drastically cuts the transferred energy. A gas stove does not have this liability. And the pots MUST be magnetic! For me, the restrictions on the pots which will work are too great, and the cost of the cooktops and their poor efficiency are almost immoral.

Ray

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Care to compare the energy usage of a standard electric burner to that of an induction one? I'd like more damning evidence than a subjective judgment of immorality. Ordinary electric elements use heat generated by resistance to heat up, and that's not the most efficient process out there either, is it?


Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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