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RE: Bertazzoni 36', Bluestar or Induction Top w/Wall Ovens (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: groschuni on 11.27.2006 at 01:40 am in Appliances Forum

We have had our induction cooktop for about 18 months now. Our son-in-law, a Thai chef, loves to cook on it. There is nothing available with more power or control than induction.

You really need to decide what you are going for here. Do you want the gas pro-style look, or do you want high performance and convenience? Or do you just want gas for the romance and danger of it, as some do? If you just want the look with decent performance, I would suggest Bluestar as they consistently outperform other burners due to their Garland heritage. If you are just into the romance of it, it doesn't really matter much what you get, as long as it turns you on.

However, if you want better performance with super easy cleanup, then I would strongly suggest induction. Induction outperforms gas by a long shot. It has more even heat, better instantaneous control and is much safer to cook on. I something starts to boil over, I can hit the low setting and it stops boiling instantly. Cleanup is a simple wipe with a damp miracle cloth and can be done immediately after you remove the pot from the surface. Nothing ever gets burned on, in my experience, and the surface never gets hot enough to burn you. Despite that fact, induction boils water faster and sears meat better than pro-style gas cooktops while delicately melting chocolate or simmering sauces without a problem for hours.

I did a test of boiling 6 qts of water starting at 60F on our induction cooktop and it was at a rolling boil in about twelve and a half minutes. The Bluestar, using a 15,000 BTU burner, was the fastest cooktop in an identical test against DCS, Viking and Dacor. It came in at 17:50. And that was with only the 3100W induction zone on my cooktop. Some induction units go up to 3600W! That's equivalent to about a 28,000 BTU burner.

Many chefs, like our SIL, are preferring induction to gas because the precision & control are just as good as gas (if not better) but induction is quicker and it doesnt heat up the whole cooking area. Ventilation requirements are much less than with gas, since all the heat goes into the pot and not into the room and there is no combustion debris. About 70% of the heat from a gas burner goes into the kitchen and not into the pot. That's where we get the phrases, "if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen" and "slaving over a hot stove." With induction, 92% of the energy goes directly into the food.

Other features of induction cooktops: automatic pan sensor (if there is no pan, there is no power used); shutoff timers on cooking zones (set it to boil water for 3 minutes and automatically shut off while you go tend to something else); automatic boilover shutdown; and automatic boil dry shutdown.

Induction has all these advantages and more and it costs less to operate than a gas cooktop at today's energy prices. It's only downside is that you need ferrous cookware, like All-Clad stainless or Le Crueset, though economical pans like QVC Cook's Essentials Stainless cookware works excellently as well.

I know people are into wonking-big pro-style gas ranges right now, but I think that in the near future people will have tired of the look (and the upkeep) and will be looking for induction units in their housing choices. After all, if you can get all the advantages of gas and more with none of the drawbacks, why wouldn't you want that? Most new housing units in Europe and Asia these days are coming with induction units standard, from what I have been told by friends that live there.

Gaggenau, Viking, Wolf, Heartland, Windcrest, Thermador, Electrolux, Kenmore Elite and Diva de Provence all have introduced induction units recently to the US market. The Kenmore 30" unit can often be had for around $1500. Other brands are higher, some up to $4000. Really good deals can be made by importing some of the best performing units available in Europe to the US, which is what we did. Our DeDietrich induction unit cost $1144 complete, delivered from the UK. We couldn't be happier with a cooktop than what we bought. It truly is fantastic. Once you cook on induction, it really spoils you for anything else. Good luck. :-)

Here is a link that might be useful: Pictures of our kitchen BI (before induction)

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clipped on: 03.23.2007 at 01:13 am    last updated on: 03.23.2007 at 01:13 am