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Technique on a glass top stove?

I find simmering, sweating, searing, and reducing to be darn near impossible on my glass top stove. Any suggestions?

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  1. Sadly, my condo does not have gas and I am stuck with a glass top as well. I have a "power burner" and a simmer select option so I don't have bad issues. If I need a lower temp, sometimes it helps to just use part of the burner. As for searing, do you have a cast iron skillet?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Mattkn

      The glass top I had was very specific about NOT using cast iron.

    2. I do all that on my glass top stove. What problems are you having with it? Maybe its the brand of stove?

      1. I have a glass top stove and have no problems cooking on it. I'd say it's a combination of cookware and temperature setting choices. I prefer heavy duty cookware and use LeCreuset which works well on the stove for me. I'm not shy about turning the heat up on these pots, whereas if I was using thinner walled pots I would definitely be hesitant.

        You don't mention what type of cookware you're using, but I start there.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Axalady

          I'm inclined to agree with you. I cooked for most of my life on a gas range. Fifteen years ago I moved to my current location and gas ranges are few and far between in this town. I learned how to adjust to the electric coils but have never really liked them. After a Thanksgiving Day burnout of my oven's bake element, I bought a new range with glass/ceramic top. I love this thing! So much easier to cook on and clean than the coil type cooktop! However, part of the learning process with this thing has been observing and noting exactly how each of my pans, skillets, pots, etc. work on it. Flat bottoms and good conductivity are very important. I also find that I need lower temperature settings than I did with the coil range. "1" or "2" used to give me a nice simmer. I now find that the low end of the actual simmer setting is best. Give the range a chance and learn to work with it instead of insisting on it being like what you're used to, and I think you might find that you like it.

        2. I'd play around with your different pots and pans on the different burners. It took a while for me to get used to my stove, but I'm perfectly happy with it now that I've learned how my cookware acts on each of the burners.

          1. I have to echo the other sentiments here. I had a glass top stove in my old house, and I still remember it fondly almost 12 years later. Believe me, when the electric coil stove we've got now dies, I'll be going back to glass top. I find it simply fits the way I cook better. I like the fact that when you turn down the burner, the temperature drops more quickly than on an electric coil cooktop.

            1. I find that putting the heat on its lowest setting still causes a boil for at least 10 minutes. Also this same setting causes garlic to burn.

              2 Replies
              1. re: sasserwazr

                I'd suggest you have a technician check to make sure that the temperature calibration of the stove top is correct. Sounds like your lowest setting isn't low.

                1. re: sasserwazr

                  Yup. The problem is absolutely with the stove. I've been cooking on glass for years and there's nothing I can't do now that I couldn't do with gas. Well, except maybe char the peel on a pepper... Gotta do that under the broiler.

                2. i traded up to a glass top earlier this summer as a stop gap until we can do a real remodel and put in gas. considering what i had, i'm thrilled with a stove that actually has a temperature range insead of off or nuclear. i have found that it heats up/cools down slower than any other stove i've used, but once at temp performs well. flat-bottomed, unwarped pans are critical.

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: mark

                    That has been my experience too- now that I've figured out what setting to use, I can deal with it just fine, but it certainly does seem to hold heat.

                    Probably off topic, but I still haven't figured out how to clean it properly...

                    1. re: Clarkafella

                      We have a glass cleaner especially for glass tops...I know chemicals, and a metal scrapper. It takes time, but it works.

                      1. re: Clarkafella

                        There are several brands of glass cook top cleaners on the market. I don't like Weiman's. Makes you work too hard. My current favorite is Cerama Brite, which works sort of like silver polish; the more dirt it collects in the cleaning cloth/paper towel, the better it works. In other words, using a large amount is self defeating.

                        The standard method for cleaning is to scrape away all of the crusted and burnt-on mess with a single edge razor blade in a safety holder. The kind you use to scrape dried paint from windows. Scape multiple times until you can't get any more up. Then strategically place a few DROPS of Cerama Brite on the trace residue left after scraping and rub with a paper towel or soft cloth until the glass looks like new. Then you have to give it a final polish with something that will dissolve and wipe away the film left behind by the cleaner. I use the new clear Formula 409 for granite.

                        I have NOT used the scrubbers-with-pads advertised on TV. I forget the brand name, but they're one of those plastic gadgets shaped similar to an iron with a pad that attaches. I think the "scrubbing bubbles" company makes it. It looks really great on TV, but when I went to buy it, the price convinced me to put it back. On a use for use basis, Cerama Brite is sooooo much cheaper!

                        1. re: Caroline1

                          I tried using a razor for the first time last night, and have been using some kind of cleaner from Easy-off, and I've tried the iron looking thing, and I've tried some other brand of cooktop cleaner, all to no avail.

                          There are places on the glass that look like simple water stains, but they won't come off!

                          1. re: Clarkafella

                            You can get the cerama brite from Home Depot. It works well (it came with our stove).

                            1. re: Clarkafella

                              I don't know for sure if this is the case, but there are "home cleaning chemicals" that can harm the finish on a glass cook top. Easy-Off is extremely caustic. And things like Comet and other cleansers are too abrasive. See what you can do with Cerama Brite. If that doesn't take care of your "water stains," then you may have damaged the finish. Contact the manufacturer and see if they can offer any suggestions. Not all glass cook tops are created equal.

                              1. re: Caroline1

                                I use Comet or Bartender's Friend for cleaning my glass top. Never had a problem with it scratching, everything comes right off, and no need to wipe and wipe again to get that nasty film off that dedicated glass top cleaners leave behind. I use it on the glass shower doors too, scrubs soap film and water stains right off and no scratching. Try it on a hidden corner first to make sure. My glass top is a 2005 Frigidaire. Cerama Brite came with the stove but after a few uses I stopped using it because it was a PITA.

                                1. re: morwen

                                  I love using Cerama Brite. I admit at first I didn't get it, but when I finally read the directions through I realized I was not supposed to be using any water to wipe it off. So, after the stove top has cooled, I apply a few "squiggles" of Cearama Brite to the stove top, wipe it down with a clean paper towel until is dries to a film, then I use another clean, dry paper towel to wipe away the film. Takes about 2 minutes tops for this process and the stove top sparkles.

                                  1. re: ttoommyy

                                    Yep, that's what I did too. Followed the directions. Ended up buffing and buffing to get the film off. I'm a glass artist on the side, maybe I was *too* finicky about the film residue.

                                    OTOH, I found Cerama Brite to work great on the Corian and marble counter tops I have.

                            2. re: Caroline1

                              "Then strategically place a few DROPS of Cerama Brite on the trace residue left after scraping and rub with a paper towel or soft cloth until the glass looks like new. Then you have to give it a final polish with something that will dissolve and wipe away the film left behind by the cleaner. I use the new clear Formula 409 for granite."

                              I use Cerama Brite on my GE Profile glass cooktop and the instructions on the bottle state to just use a dry cloth to wipe away the film. At first I was using a cleaner to wipe away the film, but now all I use is a dry paper towel and it does the trick.

                        2. My Mom has a high end glass top and that does not sound familiar. They can take longer to heat up but generally hold the heat better than coils. So a sear or boil should not be a problem, assuming that you are using pots with flat bottoms and good conductive construction. Mom's actually came with pots.

                          But a friend, a Home Economist and great cook. got one from Sears last year and sent it back after 2 weeks. She just hated it. So maybe the not top-of-the-line versions are not so well made??

                          1. We have one and I hate it. We don't have gas in our place so when we moved in we traded up (hated the one we had) and I am still not happy. Very capricious with the pulsating burners and ours has a touch pad control that makes me crazy. It's too sensitive and resets itself frequently. Can't turn your back on it.
                            The only good thing is the higher heat does a great job searing a steak and the teakettle boils faster..

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: ginnyhw

                              I have a similar problem with mine (came with the apartment). If I turn something down and leave it to simmer on its own for a while, I come back and the burner shut itself off and the thing has stopped cooking. It has a mind of its own, cycling the heat on and off. Drives me nuts.

                              Agree with you about the higher-heat settings...those are fine. It's a question of having control at the lower settings. Anyone figured out a workaround for this problem? (other than selling the darn thing to someone who doesn't cook but likes how these things look?) ;-)

                              1. re: anachemia

                                Get it serviced. When operating correctly glass top ranges are perfectly capable of simmering. If you had a gas range whose flame kept going out when it was simmering, would you conclude that gas ranges can't simmer, or would you call a technician? Do the same here! I prefer the intuitive control of a flame, but glass top ranges do indeed work well.

                                1. re: tmso

                                  I have a Lo Setting and then 1-10 on mine. I see a noticeable and useable difference between Lo, 1, 2, 3 when trying to simmer something.

                            2. I've had a Kitchen Aid glass top for 15 years. I love it. I use any kind of pot/pan I choose without any problems...cast iron, All Clad, cheap, anything. If 409 doesn't get it clean, I use Barkeepers Friend...problem (mess) solved.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Gail

                                I just tried Barkeepers Friend- worked like a charm! Thanks for the advice...

                              2. I moved into my new house and started using a glass stop stove for the first time about two years ago. It took me about a month to really get used to it, but now I actually like it and don't find myself wishing I had gas instead. My temp setting go from Low to 10 and I find that 5 is good for doing most things like cooking ground meat for tacos, cooking fish, etc. 1 and 2 work really well for a short simmer, low works best for a long simmer. I use 10 to bring water up to a boil for say pasta, but once I dump in the past I can back it down to 7 and still maintain a rolling boil.

                                1. Do you find that the heat settings are analogous to a gas burner's setting?

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: sasserwazr

                                    No, glass top ranges behave quite differently than gas ones. You'll just have to practice until you get used to it. It's not as intuitive as a gas range, but it is way better than electric plaques.

                                    Try frying diced onion in oil in some of your favorite pans, on your different burners at different settings. After 5 min at a certain setting, you should have a good idea of what that setting means in terms of heat. And if all your burners are all so high that you can't simmer on any of them, GET A TECHNICIAN.

                                    1. re: sasserwazr

                                      Not only are they not analogous, different materials behave radically differently. Enameled cast iron gets incredibly hot - I can't turn the heat up above medium on my Le Creuset pots unless I want to set off the smoke detectors. It took me a while to get used to cooking on it, but after using it daily for a few years I find I can do pretty much anything I want.

                                      I still wish I had gas though - one of these days we'll see about having it installed (not a minor project, unfortunately).

                                      1. re: BobB

                                        I hope you have a gas main in front of your house! When I checked to see how much it would cost to pipe gas in from the nearest location when I bought this house, it was $70,000.00...!!! No, thanks. I'll make do with electric.

                                        However, in my dream kitchen I would have both gas and electric. Probably induction electric, but I've never simmered anything on it so I don't know if that's the ideal combination. I don't like crock pots. I find them a royal pain to clean. But I do find slow cooking a good thing, but don't trust something to simmer long and low on a gas burner. What if the A/C or heater comes on and blows it out? Even if it's the kind that automatically shuts off the gas when there's no flame, then you come home to an uncooked dish. So electric or induction for a lot of cooking and/or long slow simmers, and gas, especially for making omelets! My kind of kitchen!

                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                          We actually have gas (heat) in the house, but we'd need to get it piped up from the basement through our downstairs neighbor's unit. Not trivial, as I said, but not $70K either. Our glass-top stove is an induction unit, with some standard and some halogen burners. Most of them can simmer very low quite well, but one of the halogens seems to be calibrated from a low of medium-low to a high of insane - quite useful as long as you remember which burner is good at what.

                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                            Caroline, depending on where you live you should be able to install a propane tank to power your stove or other appliances for much less. That's how those of us in the sticks get our gas!

                                            1. re: onthelam

                                              We use propane for our cooktop and it's just fine.

                                      2. I used a glass cooktop for more than 25 years. Although I've got to believe the newer ones are more responsive than my old Jenn-Air was, I used a method that was cumbersome, but it worked. When the recipe called for something like, "...bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer..." I'd have two burners going -- one on high heat that I used for bringing the contents of the pot to a boil, and one already on low heat that I transferred the pot to so it could simmer.

                                        I'm sooooo happy to be cooking, at long last, on a gas cooktop.

                                        1. I can't stand the latency on my family's glass top. I turn it way down and the pot continues on high simmer or boil for ten minutes.

                                          Probably needs adjustments done, but it's fairly new. Just don't like it, anf glass tops are nothing special to look at, so what's the point?

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: JonasOftoronto

                                            Here's a pic of my new GE Profile glass cooktop range. I think it's pretty special to look at (lol) but then it's mine. :)

                                            I've had it for about a month now and I've had to get used to using it as compared to my last glass cooktop that I had for ten years. It's all a matter of trial and error but I am cooking with confidence and ease more and more with each meal.

                                            PS...please excuse the Florida egg timer and Faberware coffee pot in the picture; they are both from my late mother's kitchen and I just have to have them around. :)

                                            1. re: JonasOftoronto

                                              Yes, the latency is annoying. The simplest solution is to move the pot so only part of it is over the burner area until the residual heat decreases.

                                              As for the point - I bought my Amana cooktop stove in 1979 because counter space in my kitchen is minimal. I use it as a work surface on a daily basis. Another reason was that my "heat-seeking Siamissile" cats always napped on the warm coils of the stove it replaced. So whenever I turned on a burner, the kitchen was filled with the smell of burning hair. The cooktop was even MORE attractive to the cats, but a swipe with a damp paper towel before using eliminated the olfactory unpleasantness.

                                              The white cooktop has some stains and pitting after all these years and one of the burners hasn't worked for the last 20 yrs but the rest, knock wood, is still going strong. The discoloration does not affect the performance.

                                            2. Is it a stove that was recently purchased, or did you find it in your house or apartment? The reason I ask is that I believe that some of these older units have heating elements that have diminished performance over time. It might be worth a service call, just to check, before you swear off sweating, searing and reducing. I do all of those things on my glass cooktop with ease. The newer ones have higher output burners, adjustable sizes, bridges and simmer settings, so it could just be that you have an older or lower end model, or it could also be that your heating elements are at the point at which they may need to be replaced.

                                              1. Still a chore to reduce to slow bubbling simmer after hard boil. Takes 8 minutes for a sauce to stop boiling if i switch to OFF; LO results in a sauce that may boil twice as long before the element is cool enough. But often, once the element is reactivated in the LO cycling, the food will home back to a hard boil. Not normal from what it seems...

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: sasserwazr

                                                  Sounds like you don't have the most responsive glass cook top in the world! What brand is it? Mine is a GE Profile, and occasionally things don't drop their temperature as fast as I would like, but that is ALWAYS when I'm using cast iron or Le Creuset. What I do then is move the pan from the hot spot on the glass, let it cool a bit on another area of the cook top, set the burner to the heat level I want, then return the pan to the burner. That usually does the trick. Hope it works for you!

                                                2. Sorry to come late to the party. Hope I'm not recapitulating what others have said.
                                                  Generally not crazy about our 2005 Whirlpool, but I've just discovered one great use: Elsewhere is discussion of 'the French way of making scrambled eggs' requiring 10-15 min. of VERY low heat so the eggs don't quite set. Know what I'm writing about? It produces THE BEST SCRAMBLED EGGS EVER IMO. Anyway, I've just found out that if I put the eggs in a pan and set the appropriate burner to 2 1/2, it is the right temperature to produce the desired result with little stirring or oversight. I love it!

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Joebob

                                                    I know exactly what you mean, and I can do that on most of the burners on my glasstop also. It sounds like the OP has a badly designed or defective cooktop.