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Oct 13, 2007 12:47 PM

Induction Question...

I've been fence riding for two years now on whether to treat myself to an induction cook top. The problem? Well, I really don't want to give up all of my copper pots and pans. So a question for those of you who use induction... Seems logical to me that putting a cast iron trivet over the induction burner and putting my copper pots and pans on top of that should work to cook something! But... I don't know if that would harm the ceramic cook top surface, or even it it would be very energy efficient, and after all, energy efficiency is the whole reason I'm interested in induction cooking. Any thoughts? Thanks.

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  1. It wouldn't be terribly efficient. As opposed to causing a pan to heat directly you are indirectly heating through the trivet. With an induction stove you can heat things extremely quickly that I've never seen done with gas. With some models you are suppose to be able to set the temperature that you want the pot at (I've never used them that way though) sous vide anyone?
    Copper pots and pans are pretty efficient so the loss that you get using a heating element (I guess like an electric stove) might not be too bad. If you're using an electric stove atm, I'm not sure I'd see the benefit.
    Course those copper pot and pans would probably be great as Christmas gifts!

    12 Replies
    1. re: chocolateman

      You made me laugh! But I think I'd hang the copper on the walls as decoration before I gave them away! I really like the responsiveness of copper pots and pans, and the hands are getting too arthritic to handle the cast iron comfortably too many m ore years. I've looked at the induction cookware on-line and haven't found any that has really rung my chimes. There is a ferrous stainless steel now that holds some potential. Now, if I could just find copper pots and pans lined with that...! Life gets so complicated.

      1. re: Caroline1

        As mentioned on another induction thread, I have an expensive 'consumer' cook top (1300 w). The pans that work well on it are the flat bottom 'wok' that came with it, a 10" cast iron skillet, and inexpensive blue-speckled enamel ware. Come to think of it, Copco enameled cast iron is fine also. I'm undecided as to whether the thinner steel is better than the thicker.

        The is potential that a trivet would over heat, and trip a heat sensor in the hot plate. That has happened to me when using the cast iron at high heat for too long.

        A rolled steel omelet/crepe pan also works, but if I remove the pan from the burner to spread the batter, the burner turns off.

        Some of these features are safety ones that may not be present on a burner intended for restaurant use.

        If you get the induction burner, I doubt if it will replace your conventional stove, so you will still have use for your copper pans.


        1. re: Caroline1

          Actually that's the thing, because of the responsiveness of an induction stove, I don't think you need copper pots and pans.
          As an alternative you can get a portable induction cooktop (they have 1 or 2 burner models) for a few hundred, so you can see how you like it first before you go all the way.

          1. re: chocolateman

            But isn't using a less responsive metal compromising the advantages of induction?

            As I just wrote to Paul, counter space is a real problem when it comes to an induction hot plate. Kitchen Aid, Cuisinart, Waring, juicer, can opener, toaster, Capresso machine, knife block, cannisters... I hardly have room for a spoon rest! <sigh> Maybe some nice metalurgist will come along with a copper polish that makes it magnet sensative...

            Or as my mother used to say, "If wishes were horses, beggars would ride."

            1. re: Caroline1

              It sounds as though need some hands on experience with an induction burner or cook top before buying any. In my limited experience, this is a specialized cooking tool, not a general purpose replacement for a good gas stove.

              1. re: paulj

                Yeah, well good luck on that count! I live in an all electric house. <sigh> What I wouldn't give for gas logs in the fireplace!

                If my understanding is correct, induction cooktops are intended to be your primary cooking method, assuming your have ferrous pots and pans. Chef's and restaurants in Europe have been using induction cooking for years. A little tangential, but the same is true of "on demand" water heaters. We've been sending our dollars up the hot water heater's flue for at least half a century while Europeans only pay for/heat the hot water they use. So we're not as avant guard in this country as we fool ourselves into thinking.

                The thing I find most attractive about induction cooking is its energy savings. I have a fair sized house (3,000 sq ft), and I've been doing everything I can to starve the electric company. Induction cooking and photo-voltaics are the last things on my list.

                1. re: Caroline1

                  Have you read a user's guide like this one from Wolf?

                  In the warmer days of summer, the lower heat output of my induction hot plate was an attractive feature, but I didn't use it enough to notice any change in the electric bill (I have a conventional electric stove). I can, for example, boil water for my coffee in a small enamel steel pan, and still touch the rim of the pan.

                  If these stove tops are so attractive in Europe, then you may need to study European sources to find out how they made the transition from using copper pans to ferrous ones.

                  How do you take advantage of the responsiveness of your copper pans with the current stove? Do you move the pan around, on and off the burner to regulate temperature? If so, the induction burner might feel like a straight jacket, forcing you to do all the regulation with the controls. That is part of why you need to look beyond the written descriptions and try it for yourself.


                  1. re: paulj

                    Technically,I don't have a "stove." I have a ceramic electric cooktop on the island, with a large (island size, not cooktop size) custom vent hood over it. Then I have two seperate built in GE ovens: One is a 240 volt Advantium oven that cooks with microwave and/or halogen light. The other is a Trivection oven that cooks with thermal heat, convection, or thermal-convection-microwave all at the same time. The Trivection cannot be used as a microwave-only, but the Advantium can. And last Thanksgiving I roasted the very best, juiciest turkey I've ever accomplished in the Trivection. A 22 pound bird cooked start to finish in 2 hours and 7 minutes. Try that with a gas oven! '-)

                    As for how I adjust heat on my copper pans, primarily by adjusting the controls, then the computer chip controls the cycling off and on in order to maintain the heat I want. As a personal preference, I don't care much for moving the actual cooking vessel off and on the burner to mainting temperature. Maybe I'm just not very good at it, but I find the food overcools and/or overheats, and with some dishes this can lead to mild problems or even catastrophes.

                    For those rare occasions when I have an irresistable compulsion to cook somewhere other than the kitchen, I also have a one burner butane hot plate. I think it's a "Pot au Feu" brand from France, but I don't recall for sure. It's great for making omlettes at the breakfast table, and things like that.

                    And I strongly prefer -- nay, insist on! -- a cooking surface that is flush with the counter top. Some times appliance engineers are idiots who have never boiled water, so they think it's really jazzy to have trivets over burners that raise the cooking surface an inch or more above counter level. I was browning a pot roast on one when the very heavy Le Crueset pan went flying off the burner while I was turning the roast. Ir could have been worse. It could have been a stock pot full of boiling water for pasta!

                    Whether I go with induction or standard electric for the new cook top, I'm planning on having it counter-sunk into the granite so it is one continuous flush surface. Then I can use the whole island as a pastry prep surface as well.

                    1. re: Caroline1

                      I don't have experience with copper pans, but over cooling and heating may be a downside to their responsiveness.

                      You could continue to use the copper pans on the butane hot plate for the dishes that responsiveness is needed.


                      1. re: Caroline1

                        Be very careful about which cooktop you buy if you intend to mount it flush in the countertop. Mine has vents on the front edge that can't be obstructed. It sits slightly above the countertop, less than half an inch.

                        1. re: Caroline1

                          Do you have room for two cook tops? The Wolf one is only 15" wide, with 2 burners. So it is meant to complement, not replace, other tops.