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Jun 23, 2009 10:43 PM

Transition advice from Gas range to electric

About to move into a loft that has an electric range and oven, smooth top. Been using gas since, well, 1998? Anyways, Ive used electric before, an early 1990s Thermador range in my parents house and cursed it. Any advice for dealing with electric? Should I just retire my cast iron skillet? How will my all clad fair?

PS my gas stove is pretty cheap. Not like Im leaving a Wolf six burner range.

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  1. I would like to bump this up-I am buying a second home on the river with the smooth top electric stove- I have gas at home (which I adore) and do not no how it will be different to cook? I have not cooked on electric for 20 years and it was not smooth top.

    1. I've been lucky enough to cook in many peoples homes, all ranges of food. I personally have a kitchen outfitted just like I want, but have to be flexible when creating a meal at other places.

      Biggest issue for me is timing. I find my electric set-ups can get relatively hot, but they just don't do it as quickly. Be sure to preheat for a considerable amount of time. If using cast iron, and you call for high heat, I would recommend pre heating it in the oven at full temp for quite a while, then use the electric to maintain the temp.

      All clad is good all around, even heat distributing cookware. Again, as long as you plan for the preheat (and cool-down - be sure to take things off the burner, even if you reduce the heat or turn it off until the temp has adjusted). All-Clad also has good heat retention capabilities, so that will help 'even' things out for you.

      You'll get used to it pretty quickly, and if you use great ingredients while planning ahead - your food won't suffer a bit.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ssgarman

        ssgarman has it right! I made this change a few years back when moving into our house (until my kitchen renovation finishes this summer!). The biggest difference is how much time it takes to heat up and cool down - not good if you're impatient or trying to make dinner in 30-mins, but I adjusted. And the heavier the pan, the longer it will take to evenly heat. I find my All Clad and Le Creuset take much longer than my nonstick pans to heat to the edges.

      2. You will hate the new one also. In our last house I was stuck with an expensive Dacor smooth-top that I swore at for 4 years. If there was gas available I would have ripped the electric range out. I would even settle for a cheapo gas range rather than the most expensive electric. Our current place has gas and my wife is very happy with the lack of swearing.

        1. As others have mentioned, you need to budget about twice as much time to get anything done. One of the biggest problems I have is getting something up to a boil and then down to a simmer because it just takes so long for any temperature changes to occur. It seems like 5 minutes after I turn the burner down to low, it's still boiling like it's on high. I just end up standing over it until I feel like it is safe to leave, which I never had to do with the gas. I would avoid using heavier cookware for anything that needs a fairly quick change of temperatures.

          I also find it pretty hard to clean. By the time the smooth top gets cool enough to clean, anything that spilled out has often dried up and is caked on. My parents swear by the Magic Eraser to get that gunk off and their range doesn't seem to be scratched.

          1 Reply
          1. re: queencru

            Just use a straight edge razor blade in one of those little "blade holder" things. The glass is reinforced w/ ceramic and doesn't scratch easily. I'm also a fan of Weiman's cooktop creme.

          2. You can use any kind of cookware on a non-induction electric stove. The major issue with a smooth top is that pan bottoms must be very smooth to ensure full contact with the heating surface. Cast iron and All Clad are ideal. Anything that is warped will give you grief.

            If the heat source under the smooth top is halogen, you don't need to adjust your cooking all that much. It really won't be any worse than adjusting to a different gas range.

            Electric coils under a smooth top are a different matter. As others have noted, preheating and cooling issues are significant and you'll need to practice. It's not that electrics don't get as hot as gas. In my experience, electric burners often get much hotter than gas burners on mainstream consumer level stoves. However, they heat up slowly and seem to transfer heat at a lower rate, especially when pan bottoms aren't even.

            When you need to reduce heat quickly, you would typically move the pan off the burner while you wait for the coils to cool down. Just lowering the heat setting is often not enough.

            Induction and halogen aside, the best electric ranges are found among those with the ugly, old fashioned, open coils.

            Electric is much easier to use now than it was a few decades ago. I grew up with gas, a 1940 Quality brand range. My first apartment had a beautiful slide - in GE electric range that was their top of the line in 1964. It had five buttons to control the heat output of each burner. The low settings activated only the inner coils; the high settings lit up the whole burner. I destroyed an entire set of decent cookware before learning how to control the heat.