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Ready to Buy Induction Cookware. Advice?

DuffyH Nov 25, 2013 12:24 PM

The Dude has given me the ok to go induction in January, and I need your advice. I've decided to get over my issues with disk bottoms and welds, and think I might go with Homichef for saucepans and my stockpot, Bonjour Copper Clad or Zwilling Sensation/Demeyere Industry for a saucier and I'm leaning towards Fissler for my sauté pan. Am I doing it wrong?

http://www.culinarykitchenware.com/ho...

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001H0ETUE/r...

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DUEQF1G/r...

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001AT6J3C/r...

I'm a little concerned about the Homichef stuff, because at those prices, how good can it be? But it does claim a thick disk, and what few reviews there are generally seem to speak well of the weight and quality. Do I really need to spring for the Fissler sauté? Is there something less spendy that will rock my cooking?

Regarding the saucier, will induction give me the precise control to render the thick cladding of the Bonjour and Demyere pans moot? Are they overkill? Can I do just as well with thinner pans, ala All-Clad, Calphalon, etc...? Am I even asking the right questions?

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  1. i
    iculvit2 RE: DuffyH Dec 3, 2013 09:17 PM

    Not sure if I am qualified enough but happy to share my experience. In my opinion I would stick with the Fissler/Demeyere/BonJour.

    I have Fissler saucepan and Demeyere saucepan/stockpot/skillets, Bonjour Stainless 6.5qt chef pan and lighter disc base Sitram professorie saucepans, as well as some Viking V7 pans. All work on the portable induction cooktop I use. However, the lighter Sitram Professorie is inferior cooking on the induction I have, burning some sauces when Fissler and Demeyere don't. It seems that pan quality still matters, at least with the portable induction I use at this time, though they all work. But for just boiling things it doesn't matter which is why I purchased inexpensive Sitram Professorie to start with.

    My preferred suacepan is Fissler (I have Intensa model). By the way I love the 6.5 QT Bonjour. Probably going to sell many of my pots and switch to Fissler Solea.

    By the way which Induction stove are you getting?

    1 Reply
    1. re: iculvit2
      DuffyH RE: iculvit2 Dec 3, 2013 09:44 PM

      I'm getting the GE slide-in range.

      I just received a pair of Mauviel M'Stone pans that were an incredible buy. I got a stewpot and sauté pan, and was a bit disappointed to find the pan walls are only 3mm thick. I was hoping for more from Mauviel. I sent an email inquiring about the base thickness, perhaps it's thicker.

      The induction disk is very impressive, though. It's a solid piece of brushed stainless that sits flush with the aluminum, something I've not seen in any disk bottom pan before.

      Since I posted this thread, I've come to realize that getting the thickness I want in my cookware may mean switching to aluminum, for weight considerations. I've handled some recently, and it really is lightweight for it's size.

      So, if anyone wanders by and sees this, please chime in with suggestions. I'm open to it all, still.

    2. kaleokahu RE: DuffyH Dec 4, 2013 02:03 PM

      Hi, Duffy:

      Congrats on getting the clearance for the new range.

      I would start picking cookware based on the actual evenness of your new hobs. Unfortunately, that usually means looking under the glass and cooking with them awhile. If you're able to find a demo kitchen with your range, you can get a headstart, but I still probably wouldn't buy everything without logging a few weeks at home.

      If the hobs are very even (and you rarely use pans larger than the *practical* max hob size--ignore the painted circles), then I think there's no huge advantage to thick disk bottoms. In that case, IMO you would be better off with fully clad even though the conductive layer will be much thinner. If you accept this analysis, your saucier would be a much better performer on an even hob that an uneven one.

      Conversely, if your experience shows that there are discernible "rings"/cooler spots corresponding to the underlying induction coils, the thick disk-bottoms might be a better choice.

      I'm not a big fan of the 5-layer construction, 1-3-5 of which are steel and 2-4 are something else, usually aluminum. On all hobs, I prefer the older, simpler 3-layer construction, where the middle is as thick as you can find, but at least 2mm. In this category, I'd suggest you look at the W-S Thermoclad line made by Meyer. Ordinarily, I'd also suggest deBuyer's Prima Matera line, but I know how much you love your DW...

      Yes, I think the splurge pan should be a regular saute for most people. But for others it might be a sauteuse evassee.

      I would pass on the Bon Jour--there's very little copper in it.

      The Homichef looks thick with a 4mm core, and is certainly a good value. If you liked the Profisserie handle, you'd like the ones on Homichef.

      Aloha,
      Kaleo

      5 Replies
      1. re: kaleokahu
        DuffyH RE: kaleokahu Dec 4, 2013 03:13 PM

        Thanks, Kaleo, for weighing in.

        I can get by for a bit with the pieces I've got, the Demeyere frypan, my CS and CI pans, plus the M'Stone stewpot. I'll keep your advice in mind as I learn my cooktop.

        On another thread we briefly discussed aluminum, and I'm wondering if 3mm should be thick enough. I am impressed by the apparent thinness of the steel on the Mauviel pans. They're 3mm walls with a a steel plate that is almost perfectly flush with the aluminum. It's a smidge of a mm thick. You don't think that's too thin to be detected, do you? It does cover almost the entire pan bottom, with maybe a ½" ring of brushed aluminum before the HA treatment begins. The pans are really nicely built.

        1. re: DuffyH
          kaleokahu RE: DuffyH Dec 4, 2013 03:49 PM

          Hi, Duffy: "You don't think that's too thin to be detected, do you?"

          I doubt it. But that's one of the things about mating induction appliances with compatible cookware--you don't really know until you try.

          Even when a pan *is* detected, there's a variability in how different pans convert the same magnetic energy into heat. Demeyere has a blurb about that on its website; I think they say the variability can be as great as 30% between otherwise "compatible" pans. And *of course* they say Demeyere pans are optimized...

          As you go through this process, I'm sure many others could benefit from what you learn. Your stick-to-it-ness with the DW cathodic protection boosts your cred, and I think you're less likely than some to fall victim to a confirmation bias. So please post.

          Aloha,
          Kaleo

          1. re: kaleokahu
            DuffyH RE: kaleokahu Dec 4, 2013 04:21 PM

            Kaleo,

            <But that's one of the things about mating induction appliances with compatible cookware--you don't really know until you try.>

            I see this a lot in reviews, where some people claim pot x rocks their hobs, while another claims the same pan is slower than cast iron.

            As I'm perusing induction cookware reviews, I've been paying a lot of attention to posts from people who have a GE model, figuring the induction unit will be almost or exactly identical to mine.

            1. re: DuffyH
              v
              VTB RE: DuffyH Dec 4, 2013 05:44 PM

              I have a 220-240V 3000W commercial Max Burton. I'm happy with ALL my pans--Costco stainless set, Ikea stainless set and martha stewart enameled cast iron. Get what is on special and then upgrade a piece if you really hate it. I promise you'll still even use the piece you "hate" when it is clean on the rack, RATHER than clean the $175 pan which is dirty in the sink. They all work almost the same, unless you are doing some finicky sauce. If you have lots of spare money, consider putting it in some other kitchen toys :-)

              1. re: VTB
                DuffyH RE: VTB Dec 4, 2013 06:28 PM

                VTB,

                I've made some cookware mistakes in the past, some of them costly, so now I'm very careful, and seldom if ever buy something to try out, or because it's on special.

                I suppose when it comes to my cookware, I'm finicky, and mostly try to avoid stuff that's "good enough", instead choosing to wait and get exactly what I want. Sometimes what I want is a cheap carbon steel pan, others it's a Demeyere Proline frypan.

                It's odd that you mention spare money, because that's exactly why and how I made mistakes in the past. I had money and didn't worry about cost so much. Now I'm retired and have to choose carefully, hence my aversion to buying the wrong pan. Some items are worth a splurge, others not so much. But I'll still be careful when choosing the cheaper stuff, because what I buy now will last until I'm done cooking.

      2. s
        sueatmo RE: DuffyH Dec 4, 2013 10:10 PM

        The Fissler looks to be a beautiful pan. As you know I've been cooking with induction, and replacing pots sort of on the cheap. I agree with Kaleo that you might want to cook for a week or two, or three on your new cook top or stove before spending big bucks.

        I started my induction adventure with a few pots and CI. I've added slowly as I go. I know what my next pot will be. Once you get cooking, you'll learn what you need next.

        By the way, what cook top did you decide on?

        10 Replies
        1. re: sueatmo
          DuffyH RE: sueatmo Dec 5, 2013 06:18 AM

          Hi sue,

          The Fissler is gorgeous, but something Kaleo wrote upthread has stayed with me and been percolating in my brain. He wrote:
          "Yes, I think the splurge pan should be a regular saute for most people. But for others it might be a sauteuse evassee."

          I'll have to notice my cooking more, and see which is more important. And like you, buy when the time is right. By which I mean jump on a hot deal.

          I'm getting the GE slide in. Which leads me to another question. Are your minimum recommended pan sizes carved in stone, or is there wiggle room? GE says 8" for the front right hob, which is really big as pan bases go.

          1. re: DuffyH
            s
            sueatmo RE: DuffyH Dec 6, 2013 03:41 PM

            The manual for my Bosch simply indicates that I should match the pot size to the burner. But I have found that I can use a smaller pot or pan on either of the bigger hobs.

            On the smaller burners, I would not use a pot that was too big for the burner, because that doesn't make sense.

            Your stove manual might be posted online. I hope it is better than my Bosch manual which is not great.

            I am still learning how to use my cook top. But even as I stumble around I get good results! I mean, if I need more heat I just turn it up. If I need less, I turn it down. (Actually I push controls, but you know what I mean.)

            1. re: sueatmo
              DuffyH RE: sueatmo Dec 6, 2013 07:42 PM

              sue,

              Happily, the GE manual is posted online, that's where I found the pot size information. But from Gardenweb, where induction seems to be more prevalent, I've learned that a pan with a lot of magnetic mass will let us cheat the recommended minimum.

              A GE owner over there told me last night that his small CI skillet will work on his largest burner, but another pan, that fits the burner much better, barely works. At least IIRC that's what he wrote. But his point was that it seemed less about pan size than about ferrous mass.

              So that's one question down. I've been sweating that 8" requirement, because if true it would limit that burner to big frypans, sauté pans, dutch ovens and such.

              It does give me pause about the Mauviel pans I scored on Black Friday. They've got a very thin steel base, that sits almost flush with aluminum body. It's solid steel, not a pattern as some makers do, but it is very thin. Still, it could have a lot of iron in it. I wonder if BB&B has a NuWave unit plugged in...

              1. re: DuffyH
                BobB RE: DuffyH Dec 7, 2013 01:16 PM

                Hi Duffy,

                As the GE owner you wrote to via Gardenweb, let me clarify that the larger pan doesn't "barely work" on the large hob, it won't work at all.

                When you turn on a hob, before activating the coils it checks for the presence of ferrous material, and if there's not enough for that hob size, after about 20 seconds it shuts itself off, exactly as it would if there were no pan there at all.

                I've also found that with a few mixed-material pans, like this Swiss Diamond, even on a hob that it will activate I need to use a slightly higher setting to get a given heat level than I do with stainless or cast iron. But fortunately that seems to only occasionally be the case (or maybe I just don't have a lot of semi-ferrous pots), and it's easy to get used to.

                1. re: BobB
                  DuffyH RE: BobB Dec 7, 2013 07:09 PM

                  Hi Bob,

                  Thanks for clearing that up for us. I know for others it will bring a big "duh", but for me it's good data.

                  I've heard from others, too, that some pans need higher settings to work well, or take longer to cook with.

                2. re: DuffyH
                  s
                  sueatmo RE: DuffyH Dec 8, 2013 05:59 PM

                  I do know that my small Cuisinart non-stick frypan that is billed as induction capable will work only on the small burners, and they do fit the pan perfectly. I bought a larger version of the same pan and I could not get it to work on any burner.

                  Every other pan that I either already had or have recently purchased with a magnetic bottom works well.

                  I bought a strong magnet at the hardware store and I checked the bottoms of most of my new buys, and also my old pans.

                  I haven't solved the problem of a larger non-stick frypan yet though.

                  1. re: sueatmo
                    DuffyH RE: sueatmo Dec 8, 2013 06:19 PM

                    sue,

                    I checked the Mauviel 6.6 qt stewpot on a Nuwave burner today at BB&B. It's base is ~8" and it worked, but it wasn't as fast as I'd expected. It took about 3-4 minutes to bring ~1.5 qts of water to a boil. That's about 1.5" of water. It took the same amount of time on my radiant range (set to 10/10), on the largest hob, which is a bit bigger than the pan base.

                    Am I being too harsh to expect faster heating? It was set to the highest setting. OTOH, the only people who raved about speed were coming from gas ranges. Electric range owners said it was about the same or a bit faster than their ranges.

                    1. re: DuffyH
                      u
                      unprofessional_chef RE: DuffyH Dec 10, 2013 03:48 PM

                      The NuWave Precision Induction Cooktop 2 at the highest setting is only 1300W. That's as low as most portable induction burners go. You can't base induction performance on a low power burner.

                      Induction cooktops are about X3 the wattage.

                      1. re: unprofessional_chef
                        DuffyH RE: unprofessional_chef Dec 10, 2013 06:00 PM

                        unprofessional_chef,

                        THANK YOU! I feel like an idiot for not knowing this.

                        The GE I'm getting has elements ranging from 1800w-3700w, so those would be more. And might be expected to, what do you call it? Work better! Yeah, that's it.

                        You've made my day, because no matter what else happens, I now know that I'm likely to be very happy with the performance I get from those Mauviel pans. They were such a smoking hot deal that I've been really reluctant to part with them. Now I won't have to.

                        I shall sing your praises to the end of my days. May I offer you a pastry? Perhaps a warm beverage? :)

            2. re: sueatmo
              DuffyH RE: sueatmo Dec 12, 2013 10:30 PM

              sue,

              <I started my induction adventure with a few pots and CI. I've added slowly as I go>

              I've been reading back over your observations from July, when you began cooking on and 'tuning' your pans to your cooktop. I must admit to being intrigued by ECI, especially the LC grill pan and frypans with the new matte interior enamel.

              Are you still loving your grill pan? You mentioned once heating it on high, then bringing it down for cooking. How's that working out for you? I've forgotten, is it bare or enameled?

            3. s
              subal RE: DuffyH Dec 7, 2013 05:24 AM

              Pans aside, make sure you purchase the 100% repair insurance. About 10 years ago, we had a GE induction unit. It actually was made by a Japanese firm, can't remember the name but it was well known. The cook top had four cooking areas, and one power unit powered two areas. The power units failed every 6 months and after about 6-7 repair trips, GE resourced the makers of the unit and dropped service on ours. They did provide a free top -of-line glass coil cook top. I sold that one and went with a Bosch unit. Bosch running perfect now after 4-5 years.

              2 Replies
              1. re: subal
                DuffyH RE: subal Dec 7, 2013 05:46 AM

                Thanks, subal.

                GE does seem to have their act together now, given that reviews on the last 2 models are running about 90% positive.

                1. re: subal
                  s
                  sueatmo RE: subal Dec 8, 2013 06:00 PM

                  So glad to hear that your Bosch is doing well. I bought a Bosch too. I love it!

                2. s
                  sir_jiffy RE: DuffyH Dec 10, 2013 12:11 PM

                  I went induction two years ago.
                  Bought a new Kirkland set at Costco, which met 90% of my needs. Excellent quality, responsive, heat evenly. And quite affordable.
                  Originally added a 2-set of Orgreenic non-stick pans. Like every other non-stick pans, they dont last more than a couple of months of regular use. Instead went for a big Le Creuset pan, which can be close to non-stick, and that suits me well, probably the most used out of every pan & pot I have.
                  Maybe add a induction disk, so you can still use your revered non-induction friendly pots, but it has his limits (I can't go too hot with it, otherwise it overheats the glass over the burner for a little while).

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: sir_jiffy
                    DuffyH RE: sir_jiffy Dec 10, 2013 05:31 PM

                    sir_jiffy,

                    I've been considering a Le Creuset skillet or braiser for some time, especially with the new interior enamel that is garnering some good reviews. But you know they don't get much love here, so I've held off. Which pan did you buy? how do you use it?

                  2. Candy RE: DuffyH Dec 10, 2013 01:35 PM

                    I use Chantal for induction. It is called Copper Fusion. They are enameled carbon steel with a layer of copper (also under the enamel) for even heat distribution. I am very happy with them and I like that I can pop them the dishwasher. Induction is fast and I've noticed that on a gas cooktop the pans are faster on it too.

                    I know they are expensive but to me it was worth it.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Candy
                      DuffyH RE: Candy Dec 10, 2013 05:26 PM

                      Hi Candy,

                      I'm afraid the Chantal is too heavy for me. I can get it at great prices, like the 3-quart saucepan for $98, or the 11" sauté for $128, and this makes it a little tempting. But still, it's thick carbon steel, so heavy.

                    2. kaleokahu RE: DuffyH Dec 10, 2013 04:08 PM

                      Hi, Duffy:

                      I'm not going to try to dissuade you from going to induction, but since you're painting in the general direction of that particular corner *and* you have your clad, DW and lightness commitments also made, why not go whole hog?

                      As far as I know, the line that has received nothing but raves in terms of performance on induction is a now-discontinued Mauviel line called Induc'Inox. It is, IIRC, a 3-layer bar of SS-carbon steel-SS. I believe it was discontinued only because it functioned poorly on NON-induction hobs, but it allegedly was the *best* on induction. I'm thinking it would also be very convincing to the detection circuitry of all makers.

                      It's not common to find, but pieces do surface on eBay. The challenge is finding a seller who knows it's Induc'Inox.

                      In for a penny, in for a pound I say.

                      Aloha,
                      Kaleo

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: kaleokahu
                        DuffyH RE: kaleokahu Dec 10, 2013 05:42 PM

                        Good evening, Kaleo,

                        I've read about Induc'Inox here, with people singing it's praises. How light can it be, with 3 steel layers? That would be my concern. When it's mis-labelled, is it listed as M'cook or? Is there a way I'll be able to identify it? It's hard to find images of it, some seem to have brass handles, others with iron handles.

                        Still, there are some pieces that I think will be fine with added weight, such as a saucier, about 2 quarts. Maybe a sauté, about 3 quarts. I've got the 11" Demeyere skillet, plus a pair of DeBuyer Carbone on order. Those pans should cover my needs for even, controlled heat.

                        Small 1-2 quart saucepans could be heavy, too. Or light. All I care about with those are how well they work on the hob. They're mostly for thin liquids, potatoes and such, so construction isn't a big deal. I had in mind to buy inexpensive disk bottom stuff, like the Homichef pans.

                        It's just the larger pieces, 3-4 quart saucepans, stockpots and such, that I'm really concerned with weight. Those I'm afraid will need to be aluminum. Homichef might work here, too.

                        Another thing with weight, my kid routinely turns out great food with cheap aluminum nonstick pans of all kinds, that is scratched, discolored and not very nonstick anymore. He mistreats it horribly. I never gave it much thought before, because I've had the Tri-Ply for so long. If anything, I always thought of nonstick as inferior stuff. But it doesn't have to be, does it? I used to use any heat setting, all metal tools and blow through my NS frypans in two years. I've stopped that, and my current set is 3 yrs old with barely a scratch, and still looks pretty new, right down to the slight glittery look. The outside bare aluminum, however, looks really nasty, partially polymerized fat everywhere. You know the look. They don't go in the DW at all. If I weren't giving them to the kid, they'd likely last another 5 years.

                        What I'm saying is that I think I could stop using the DW if the pans were nonstick, and therefore not in need of looking pretty, like bare stainless must. In that case, I'd cut the clad or heavy disk pieces down to just the sauté. Possibly the saucier, if it made sense. and wash those by hand, too. What do you think, am I making sense? How would this limit me in ways I'm not seeing?

                        **Thanks for reading all the way to the end. Aloha!

                      2. s
                        subal RE: DuffyH Dec 12, 2013 06:21 PM

                        One thing to remember is the amount of 'ferrite' in the metals. That is what is magnetic and is required to generate heat. The amount can vary depending upon the grade of meatal used to manufacture the pots. Take a small magnet and test various pots in the store that are marked 'induction ready'. You will be suprised!

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