Best cookware for smoothtop electric stove?
I just bought a smoothtop electric range (can't get gas at home, very sad, I know...) to replace my old coil range, but after doing alot of reading on the board, am trying to determine whether I need to replace my cookware as well.
I have a number of pots and pans, but primarily use a Lodge cast iron skillet (non-enameled), a calphalon non-stick small dutch oven, and a le Creuset enameled large dutch oven. I've always been pleased with the quality of the pans on both gas and electric coil, but this smoothtop will be new to me.
For folks who have experience with smoothtop electric ranges, which do they recommend both for quality of cooking, but also for preventing damage to the surface?
Do I need to switch to all enameled cookware, or should I use something else?
I think your pans will be fine. I use CI, non-stick, stainless, anodized aluminum with no problem. I think the main concern is if the pan is totally level or not. If the bottom of the pan is warped, or if you have a round bottomed wok, then you have a problem. I don't know if a round bottom wok with a ring will work, but I presume it will not. I have encountered warpage with CI and plain aluminum (think old fashioned Wearever) but not with modern stainless or anodized aluminum. I'm not saying it doesn't happen though.
If the pan sits level on the stove, it should be OK.
I would never use Pyrex on the stovetop, and frankly wouldn't use the old Corning Ware either.
I would respectfully suggest that you boil water on the various settings to see how fast things come to a boil, and if the low setting will maintain a simmer. I wish I had been smart enough to do this when I got my new glass cooktop.
I really like cooking on my cooktop, and I hope you have a good experience too.
Personally I find cast iron a great match for glass top stoves. You can't bang around pots and pans in the way you can with coils or gas and you should try to keep it clean to reduce scratching.
With most pots and pans you should be fine. I use aluminum and stainless steel as well as anodized and who knows what else with no problems. I am a chef so I constantly slide my pans and keep them moving and haven't scratched the surface at all. I have used enameled cast iron but it was a large dutch oven so i didn't move it around. If it was just a large pot or whatever then i'd not be worried about cast iron, but if you constantly moved it about without lifting i'd be a little concerned, but otherwise just do what you normally do and you should be fine. My mom's seems to have been resistant to all my abuse so far :P
I have a lot of trouble using pots with shiny bottoms - like copper. It seems to reflect the heat back at the unit and fool it into thinking everything is too hot. The element will cycle on and off right away so I don't get a lot of heat. This is a big problem if you need max heat like boiling a pot of water.
A dark pot like calphalon anodized aluminum, or cast iron, seems to not reflect back and the element will stay on.