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TRUE Induction MAGIC!

Yup. I did it! I've been cooking on a Max Burton induction single burner unit for about two years now. Where I live (Plano, TX) what I save on my electric bills (all electric house) makes cooking on a single burner well worth my while. But for quite some time now, I've been lusting after this little puppy:
http://vollrath.com/Vollrath/Press-Ro...

And if it sounds interesting, the absolute best price is here:
http://www.katom.com/175-59500P.html

So after months of debate with myself over installing a built in GE 30" induction cook top that would fit perfectly into the cut-out in my granite island or go with a bigger and better counter top unit, I decided to go with the Vollrath.

Why? Well, the GE units have the most presets of any American made built in I know of. A preset means that is how many "preset" temperature settings a "burner" will have between its lowest and highest possible temperature settings. The GE built-in has 19 presets, the highest I know of. But the Vollrath has 100!!! Yes. ONE HUNDRED PRESETS! It ranges from 80 degrees to 400. When you use Fahrenheit it progresses up the thermometer in 10 degree increments and the equivalent of that in Centrigrade, BUT when you "cook by numbers," you get the full 100 presets to dance through, which really does give me the temperature fine tuning of gas. I can temper chocolate without the hassle of a double boiler/bane marie. I can slap on my cast iron grill and CHAR me some steaks! This is a commercial unit designed for the restaurant business, and it is larger than the Max Burton was by a few inches in size.

I loved my Max Burton. There is no way I would EVER go back to cooking over radiant heat, whether wood, charcoal, gas, or electric! Who needs to heat up the whole house when you can just heat up the pan? Texas summers get pretty hot, and what with global warming there's not much chance they're going to get cooler as the years roll by. Even if I was rich enough to build my dream home that is an underground house counter-sunk into a cliff overlooking an ocean with windows al la James Bond's Dr. No (I think it was Dr. No who had the huge aquarium wall that looked out into the ocean?), I would still go with induction. Except then, with THAT kind of budget, I would have 4 or 6 or 8 of these puppies installed side by side along a sweeping granite island!

http://vollrath.com/Ultra-Series-3500...

All that's left for me to do now is remember to buy that damned Power Ball winning lottery ticket and pick myself up an extra 2 or 3 hundred million dollars! Hey, I can dream, can't I???? '-

)

NEVER had a problem dreaming big in my entire life! Oh, and just in case there are any here with a Dr. No budget, the built-ins can be found with a discount almost as steep as I found on the counter top unit. Google is your friend, and restaurant suppliers are GOOD!!!

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  1. Did you buy and use the Vollrath? And how long have you used it?

    14 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      Yup! It is now sitting proudly atop my locked GE no-knobs glass cook top so it is directly under the vent. I've only been using it for a few days now, but I've also been making it jump through hoops, so to speak. It is designed for "front of the house" fancy-schmancy restaurant commercial use, therefore one of its features is that when you turn it on, it starts at exactly the same temperature it was set at when you turned it off. Handy if you're going from table to table making crepe Suzette all night long.

      My portable model does have a three hour safety cut off that the "built in" models don't share, but it's easy enough to change the temperature a degree or so if I'm making stock or something else that requires a long time. Actually, it would be a lot easier to simply cycle it on/off to reset the auto-off since it does come back on at exactly the same temperature.

      It seems quieter to me than the Max Burton is/was. (It's now sitting forlornly on a pantry shelf.) The first link I give above describes the "G4 engine" and how it is superior to the standard single IBTG switch design of most induction "architecture." That promotional page also says the unit will perform at temperatures ranging from 80F to 450F, but my portable unit (1800 watt) tops out at 400 degrees, which is all i need and then some. It can sure make a clean and empty cast iron pan smoke like a chimney until all of the oils in its pores are turned to carbon! '-) And THAT will just make my cast iron skillets all the more non-stickier!!!

      One of the tech-ier things I've done is put a very large 14" sautier on it with 2" of water in it and watched the patterns that formed as it came to boil. Did you know that convection currents in heating water roil clockwise in the northern hemisphere just like water swirling down a drain? See what I learned watching water boil? But I learned more than that. I was investigating its thermal nuances! I CAN "super fine tune" a simmer temperature on this in subtle increments like a gas burner, and because it has 100 presets it is a steady heat that does not automatically switch off and on to achieve an "over all" temperature the way the Max Burton does. It really is a whole different ballgame when it comes to steady heat at all temperature settings.

      Now, if induction designers at the global level would just put their proprietary profit margin orientations aside and design me an induction cooktop that works with nonferrous metals like Japanese induction architecture with a "cook anywhere" surface that follows a pan around that a few U.S. mfrs are now offering, how great would that be!!! Chefs would love it! Can you imagine a restaurant flat top that only heats the pans and not the whole kitchen? WOW! I'm sure it's coming. Unfortunately "soon" is pretty improbable... <sigh> But until then, YAY Vollrath!

      Meanwhile, if you have more specific questions, just ask! :-)

      1. re: Caroline1

        Hi Caroline1,

        I considered induction for about 6 months before I made the plunge, and the Max Burton family of products were high on my list--until I discovered Vollrath. I wanted the Pro you purchased really bad, but I settled for the Cadet at half the price. I began my own induction revolution at least a year ago. I now have completely different cookware, and I cook differently. I also purchased two small convection ovens--my toaster and roaster.

        Since going induction, what changes in cookware have you made? How did your cooking change--what meals are you making now that you didn't make before? What do you intend to cook with your Mirage Pro that you couldn't do with friend Max? Finally, what ovens do you have and use--and when do you go from induction stovetop to oven?

        Thanks, Ray

        1. re: drrayeye

          Well, I almost went with an induction cook top about 8 years ago when I did a kitchen remodel, but I (stupidly) did not want to give up my copper pots and pans. Dumb! Really dumb! I have a portable gas hot plate I use for power failures, so it wasn't like I could never use the copper again. In fact, I still use a copper pan and the butane table top stove to make risotto because my electric risotto stirrer requires a deeper pan, and there is no way I'm going to stir rice for 20+ minutes at my age! '-)

          Anyway, at first I did buy several induction-ready stainless steel pots and pans for the Max Burton, including the large sauciers I mention above, but as time has passed and I've gained experience with induction I find I rely on my cast iron more and more because of its phenomenal reactiveness to induction. I've even gone so far as to buy one small DeBuyer Mineral B pan to just get a feel for it because it's made of 99% iron (cast iron is really a form of steel) and is therefore more resistant to rust. So I'm on the lookout for maybe 1 Mineral B saucepan, but an 11" no-handle deep fry pan is as close as they make. Not even a Mineral B dutch oven! <sigh>

          The most important thing I've learned from 2 years of cooking on the Max Burton is that the higher the ferrous metal content of a pan, the quicker it will respond to both heat increases AND decreases. For that specific reason I find myself using my old cast iron collection as often as possible because "induction-ready" stainless steel is like putting a governor on a Porsche! If you want speed, use the right model, whether saucepan or a car.

          The most surprising thing about cookware that I bought before induction was readily available is that my "new" favorite stove top steamer is now my 14" nested stainless steel mixing bowl with a dime store "basket steamer" inside with the lid from my largest stock pot. Who knew that stainless mixing bowls would be induction friendly? Oh, and I also get great results with my ancient 1950s turquoise Le Creuset on induction.

          I'm not one who much cares for "matched sets" of pots and pans in my kitchen, or knife sets, for that matter. I have a warm and friendly collection of individual items that each have special qualities I cherish. Like who knew my mixing bowl would pinch hit as a fabulous steamer? But I did have to go with a new induction ready pressure cooker, and I can't say I miss the hiss and wobble of my old pressure cooker's petcock!

          Yesterday morning I made a peppers and potato fritata stove top and decided to turn it with a spatula instead of finishing it in the oven. The spatula wasn't quite big enough for the job and I ended up sloshing half cooked fritata all over the place! Through the magic of induction, the only cook top surface that was hot was directly under the pan so clean-up was a simple 1 paper towel project! But I've got to get a larger spatula! Maybe a big fat round one designed for pancakes? Yeah! I need one of those!

          So what are your favorite pots and pans?

          Important addendum! You ask how my cooking has changed? Not at all, basically, if you're talking about favorite recipes and such. I have just about every modern cooking method available to me, including a Souse Vide Supreme and a GE Trivection oven that has roasted a 25 pound stuffed turkey for a family Thanksgiving in well under 3 hours! It can use thermal heat, convection heat, and microwave all at the same time to produce those results.

          I guess you could say I was cursed with an over-achiever bent at birth, so if anything interests me (and good food does!) I tend to go all out or nothing. "Nothing" undoubtedly would have been kinder to my waistline! '-)

          1. re: Caroline1

            Hi Caroline,

            <The most important thing I've learned from 2 years of cooking on the Max Burton is that the higher the ferrous metal content of a pan, the quicker it will respond to both heat increases AND decreases.>

            After cooking with a 12" Le Creuset ECI skillet for the last couple of weeks, my experience is a little different. I've experienced exactly zero downward response. It's been worse than using clad pans on a radiant range. There, I could help decrease heat by lifting the pan off the burner. Heat would drop instantly. That didn't happen with the cast iron.

            After frying some chopped bacon, then sautéing onions, the skillet had so much residual heat that it almost burned the pan sauce (cream cheese/sour cream) that followed. It did cool down, but it took a LOT longer than I'm used to. 15 minutes later, the pan was still too hot to handle for cleaning. All cooking was down between settings 3 and 4.

            Maybe a quick sauté followed by a pan sauce would work better. i haven't tried that. But cooking anything for a decent amount of time, about 20 minutes in my example, on about med-low power, really showcased cast iron's heat retention.

            I'm enjoying the pan for things requiring steady, sustained heat. It really shines when I need to avoid a drop in temperature, like pan frying, batch cooking, etc... Hash browns and a veggie sauté worked very well after preheating the pan for about 3 minutes. I'll be trying some Mongolian beef tonight. I have high hopes that it will prevent the sudden drop-off that results in steaming the meat, a common problem with more responsive skillets.

            Will you share how you use your cast iron? This is an ECI skillet. Do you preheat? How long and at what % power? Do you turn the heat off/down early? How long can a pan be on the heat and still exhibit downward response? If it can be made to lose heat quickly, I want to know how to do it. I'll happily try anything you recommend.

            Duffy

            1. re: DuffyH

              Well, the problem is that enameled cast iron will NOT be as responsive as "naked" cast iron simply because the coating is a good thick layer of vitreous china, aka "porcelain," inside and out. Porcelain is a non-conductor as well as an insulator, so that would be the most likely cause I can think of as to why your experience with your Le Creuset is not the same as my experience with buck naked cast iron. Different animals! '-)

              I think I worded something wrong in my mention of how much more responsive cast iron is than other induction friendly metals such as stainless steel, so let me see if I can clarify. I did not mean that my cast iron pans cool faster when used on induction than it does on traditional heat. But it does seem to "follow" a reduction in temperature more rapidly. And I'm not talking about 400F to no magnetic excitation at all. But it does adapt more quickly than my other pans if I reduce the "heat" from a boil to a simmer. Maybe it's an illusion or maybe it's because the iron is responding to the change in magnetic excitation more acutely than my indfuction ready stainless steel pans do. I'm no scientist, but I'm usually a pretty good observer.

              As for how I use my Le Creuset (or any enameled cast iron) fry pan, I don't. I set my 12" Le Creuset 1958 model turquoise Le Creuset frying pan on fire about 40 years ago now. We were still living in De Mar, it was Good Friday, and CBS? was presenting a feature length Charlie Brown movie on TV for the first time ever. The kids wanted to watch, so I said they had to take a nap if they wanted to stay up until 10 o'clock. When it was getting close to wake-up time, I decided to make tacos for dinner snd we could eat family style during the movie. I put a good inch of peanut oil in the Le Creuset to fry the tortillas, turned the burner on, then remembered I had to take a medication NOW! So I dashed into the bedroom to take it, the phone rang, I forgot about the pan, and when I came out, the kids were still sound asleep, but my kitchen wasn't! It was burning!

              I put out the fire, called the fire department for help with getting the smoke out of the house, and the kids slept through eight firemen with LOUD walky talkies, the sirens of the fire truck, the smoke control unit, and the fire chief's vehicle! Our insuranc company paid for evertything -- restoration, new floor, new stove, painting the interiors, brushing the soot out of the cypress ceilings, but... they would NOT pay for the Le Creuset frying pan because that was where the fire had started!

              Anyway, since I bought the set of Le Creuset in '58, as pieces have been retired for one reason or another (or cremated), I've never given replacing them a second thought. If I was much into outdoor cooking over a campfire, I would probably pop for an enameled cast iron dutch oven, but hey, at my age I'm not going out where wild animals can try to nibble on me. No way! '-)

              1. re: Caroline1

                Hi Caroline,

                I've never used cast iron on other heat sources, only on induction. I can only compare it to my other pans on induction. When you write that your naked cast iron pans "adapt more quickly than my other pans if I reduce the "heat" from a boil to a simmer." I'm confused.

                It sounds like you're saying that with two pans on the boil, if you turn off the heat, the stainless clad pan will keep boiling longer than a CI pan. Is that right? If that's what you mean, I'll try testing my carbon steel against my clad. That way I won't have the enamel to mess me up.

                When it comes to heating, do you handle your CI pans any differently than your other pans? Do you preheat less, more, not at all?

                Duffy

                1. re: DuffyH

                  I do handle my cast iron pans differently than my other pans. The other pots and pans do go in the dishwasher. Cast iron? NEVER! After use, they are cleaned/scrubbed with table salt, wiped with a THIN coat of peanut oil, wiped again and put away. Not everyone subscribes to my method, but it works for me and has for 6 or more decades. My 10" skillet is a hand-me-down that passed age 100 a few years back and is still going strong. Oh, and yes, I do preheat most of the time. For a slow sweat of diced veggies I usually don't bother.

                  As for ceramic coated cast iron, as in Le Creuset and the rest, it never has been my first choice for frying. My go to choices are uncoated but well cured cast iron or my wok, depending on what I'm making. For deep frying, it's a saucepan and a thermometer, or my wok. But these are what work best for me. Most cooks eventually figure out what works best for them. Lots of room for variety and trial and error. Who knows? In the end you may find Le Creuset isn't working all that well for you, or you might master it and love it for the rest of your life! '-)

              2. re: DuffyH

                Duffy,

                I wouldn't even consider an enameled cast iron fry pan by either Le Creuset or Staub. I'm sticking with AC d5 10" fry pans with lids.

                There is a place for the Staub perfect pan to do stir fry, because 1) it does change temperature at the high end rapidly
                2) It has an almost ideal stir fry shape

                but it requires warmup

                Best,

                Ray

                1. re: drrayeye

                  Hi Ray,

                  I'm lost. If you don't recommend ECI for a skillet, I'm guessing it's because you find it non-responsive, at least to downward heat, right?

                  But the Staub PP is responsive? Is it thinner than the others?

                  Duffy

                  1. re: DuffyH

                    Duffy,

                    They (LC and Staub) are both terrible for induction. To be somewhat responsive they need some liquid inside, like the perfect pan, a saucier, or a braiser. The liquid helps spread the heat. In addition, they are heavy and clumsy--require warmup.

                    I wouldn't consider them for induction at all.

                    1. re: DuffyH

                      Hi Duffy,

                      I think that there is also likely to be a mismatch between the power circle (about 6"-7") and your 12" pan. For my Vollrath, 8" to 10" is optimal.

                      Ray

                      1. re: drrayeye

                        Hi Ray,

                        The 12" skillet does run cooler along the outside. The outer 1" is reliably ~30º cooler than the rest of the pan. A 10" skillet is better matched to my big hob, no question. Moving food overcomes this. Of course, my more conductive 12" pans heat right out to the edge.

                        We made stir fry tonight, the veggies in our new-ish wok on a smaller hob, and Mongolian beef in the big LC. It worked out pretty well, with the beef searing more than it does in my other pans.

                        What you say about liquid may have some merit. I heated the finishing sauce for the veg in the LC to deglaze it and noticed that the heat dropped quite a bit. One thing that continues to impress is how nonstick this skillet is. I don't know what kind of magic Kaleo used, but it sears like stainless and is nonstick like, well, like nonstick.

                        Duffy

            2. re: Caroline1

              Cool. I probably read your original post too quickly. I only knew you wanted the Vollrath, but didn't know if you wanting one or you already have one. Needless to say, its main advantages it the precision with 100 power settings. In term of its max power, this Vollrath is 1800W which is the same as many other portable induction stove, right? Nice to see it offers fine tuning which will be important for the more delicacy cooking, like you said: making crepe Suzette or possibly poach eggs...etc.

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                yes, it's 1800 watts, which is the maximum for counter top small appliances on a 110/120 volt U.S. standard home power line, but I could have a 210v power outlet installed in my kitchen for 220v European/Asian counter top appliances.

                Even though All U.S. built-in electric stoves, cook tops, and ovens are 220v, on induction cook tops and stoves it's pretty much the norm that 1 or 2 of the hobs will not exceed 18 watts drawing power, leaving only 1 or 2 that will reach 400+F. The 1800 watts is what sets the 400F heat max for portable induction units, but its not a standard for all portable units by any means! I've seen some induction portables that draw as little as 1200 or 1300 watts, and for me that would mean deep frying more than one tempura green bean or French fry at a time would leave a LOT to be desired!

                I have no idea what the maximum cooking temperature is for the fairly new and very innovative "cook anywhere" built in induction cook tops is. Guess I'll have to research it one of these days.

          2. Congrats, Car. I think this is an excellent choice, and I don't think you shorted yourself one bit.

            Well, maybe if those rat b@$tards had gotten you that all-metal unit you wanted...

            Aloha,
            Kaleo

            1. Congratulations on your purchase.

              The Cooktek Apogee 1800G also has 100 cooking levels (Katom's website misstates it as 20 power settings), but it retails for almost $900. It is made in Chicago.

              I didn't know Vollrath produced its professional countertop hob in the US, too. I see now that it has moved its production of food pans from China back to the USA.

              Here's hoping that some day US-made cooktops with 100 power settings are installed in kitchens across the country.

              1 Reply
              1. "The most important thing I've learned from 2 years of cooking on the Max Burton is that the higher the ferrous metal content of a pan, the quicker it will respond to both heat increases AND decreases. For that specific reason I find myself using my old cast iron collection as often as possible because "induction-ready" stainless steel is like putting a governor on a Porsche! If you want speed, use the right model, whether saucepan or a car."

                This does not jibe with my experience. I use a Sitram Profiserie saute/chef's pan with a disk bottom that is more responsive than my CI skillets, although I use the latter successfully. Just this morning, I turned off the CI grill pan with bacon in it, which was almost done, and left the room. When I came back several minutes later, the bacon was finished cooking.

                I would not try to quickly bring down a CI pan to a low simmer from high heat, a thing I do successfully in my saute pan.

                It does sound as if your Vollrath induction burner is a great kitchen tool. I hope you enjoy it for many years.

                I too have boiled water to see the pattern the bubbles make. I love induction unreservedly too.

                17 Replies
                1. re: sueatmo

                  I seem not to have made myself clear. When I reduce the level of magnetic excitement to my cast iron pans to drop the temperature from a hard boil to a simmer, my cast iron pans seem to "follow directions" with amazing rapidity compared to how they performed on gas or radiant electric.

                  Induction ready stainless steel CAN be "fast," but it is never as fast as cast iron or DeBuyer Mineral B simply because NO stainless steel can carry the ferrous properties at the density of cast iron or Debuyer's 99% pure iron. That's the basic rule of nature when it comes to magnetic fields, and that is what induction does: creates heat in a pan with ferrous metal properties by exciting the atoms so they vibrate and the pan itself creates heat, which is very similar to what microwaves do to food, but not exactly the same.

                  When I bought my Max Burton, I also bought one of those "induction interface disks" so I could use my copper pots and pans. What a waste of money! Well, it's not if you like slow motion. I think it's been out of the drawer twice since I bought it, and when I want to use my copper, I use it on my butane hotplate. Works like a charm!

                  I DO use stainless steel on induction, but it is slower than cast iron/pure iron. Oh, and by the way, if you don't want something to continue to cook after you turn off induction, then move the pan off the hot spot on the induction hob. I have a wood trivet I move mine to when I want it to quit cooking relatively fast.

                  I think the most important thing here is that we are all happy with the way we adapt to anything new in the kitchen.

                  As for boiling water to check out heat patterns on a stove, that's something I've been doing for about fifty years or so now. ANYTIME I move or buy a new stove or hot plate, the first thing I do is put on a large flat pan with an inch or two of water in it. In my 50 or so years of doing that, I've learned that ALL "hobs", be they wood, coal, gas, electric, alcohol, kerosene, propane, or induction DO have "hot spots" and "cool spots," (both relative terms) and I need to know where they are so I know how to rotate a pan when I'm cooking something sensitive like an omelette or browning meat chunks for a stew. Maybe that's just me, but I find it an old and very valuable habit. I suspect we think alike. '-)

                  1. re: Caroline1

                    Car, c'mon, an induction doughnut translating itself up through the pan is nothing like what happens in the same pan atop a solid fuel stove or French placque. It's OK, that's--kinda--what clad is for.

                    As an aside, if you've seen the Demeyere vid Ray linked to, you can clearly see the doughnut in an Atlantis pan (arguably the best clad on Earth) on a commercial induction hob. Notably, you DON'T see the same thing in the A-C the skinny Belgian is demeaning. While IMO, this is merely a function of time, neither of those pans would show a discernible pattern on a solid top.

                    1. re: kaleokahu

                      I have NO idea how to reply sensibly to what you've written. WHY do you think all induction units share the same configuration? Or is that not what you think?

                      A "doughnut' is simply the best SHAPE to put a magnetic coil in for this application. But a magnetic coil can be fairly complex and for example, in a nuclear magnetic mass spectrometer there are multiple magnetic coils arranged in a manner that focuses on the specimen placed inside the rings of focused coils for the mass spec analysis.

                      In the new "cook anywhere" high end designs of induction cook tops there is a whole network of smaller "doughnuts" arranged in a side-by-side-by-side-by-side blanket network that spreads below the entire cook top area and has an ultra sophisticated "brain" that follows a pot or pan all around the cook top's surface and keeps the temperature settings in effect for that particular pan, NO MATTER where it is placed on the surface.

                      Some induction designs have a "double doughnut," one on the inside and a larger one on the outside that lay "flat", one inside the other beneath the surface of the hob. SOMETIMES one of the induction coils -- inner or outer -- may stop working for whatever reason. A short? A burned out circuit board? Because it hates the cook? Whatever.

                      Anyway, I don't know how to answer your "Car, c'mon, an induction doughtnut.... .... ...."

                      Sorry. Maybe I'm just stupid? '-)

                      1. re: Caroline1

                        Now Car, you are many things, but stupid isn't one of them...

                        While there are some new zoneless induction tops with segmented, nested and interlocking coils, the vast majority of all 'tops on the market (and, I believe ALL the hotplates) have torus-shaped coils. Hence me calling them doughnuts. It is this pattern we all see when we do scorchprints or boil tests.

                        The "C'mon" relates to your statement that all cooktops have hot-and coldspots. No one will charge you with perjury for this, but it is practically false equivalence to say that the torus pattern within the footprint of the hob's circle is the same kind of hotspot as the gradual temperature differential across a 40" woodstove cooking surface.

                        My point is illustrated not only by your own observations, but (unintentionally) also in that Demeyere video, where the best induction-capable pan is run atop a restaurant-grade induction hob.

                        Aloha,
                        Kaleo

                        1. re: kaleokahu

                          Okay, I *MAY* be grasping what you are getting at a little better now. Maybe! The ONLY wood stove I've ever seen anyone cook on belonged to my great grandmother, and she died before I was old enough to cook on it. But I HAVE cooked on a full masterly "vintage" gas stove that even had a full salamander in it, I've cooked on just about every kind of electric stove, cook top, single burner electric radiant coil and ribbon hobs as well as induction. I've had gas stoves, butane stoves, I've lived where I was forced to cook on our kerosene space heater in the winter time, I've cooked (full time) with an alcohol stove. And it is true. For at least the last fifty years I ALWAYS put a large pan of water on any cooking hob/surface that is new to me and scope out the boil pattern to see if and where the bubbles rupture and break away from the bottom of the pan first. Works for me! I'm gonna keep doing it. The ONLY cooking method I know of BESIDES my new 100 preset Vollrath that would give me an even heat under a pan up until now was a ban marie or a double boiler. I'm old now, and carrying around heavy pans of boiling water will NOT get me a McDonald's coffee scald award, so I just avoid doing such things if my housekeeper isn't around to do it for me! '-)

                          Happy cooking, Big Kahuna! I KNOW you LOVE retro! We'll see how much you still love it when global warming starts melting your socks! '-)

                          POST SCRIPT! I do have one other kitchen appliance that DOES hold a uniform temperature for as long as I want it to and that is my Sous Vide Supreme. But I' am too lazy and not interested in trying to temper chocolate in it! Not that I plan to temper chocolate any time soon on ANY appliance!

                          1. re: Caroline1

                            Hi, Car:

                            I want to complement you and recommend your hob test to everyone. This is really, really wise, and everyone should do this before buying any cooktop.

                            We live in a post 19th Century world where hobs are almost exclusively *discrete*. What I mean by that is that the "heat" source delivered to the pan is generally smaller than the footprint of the pan, and there are stark temperature borders. In fairness, I include electric coil and traditional gas hobs in this indictment. These hobs are figurative candles under pots and pans.

                            Contrast this with even the most primitive hearth or "fire containment" cookery, where the heat source is diffuse, amorphous, and generally even. The modern analogues of these hot and wasteful appliances are the placques and gas- and electric-fired solid tops, as in AGAs.

                            What it would take for me to enthuse over induction would be an approximation of this 19th Century diffuse heat, realized by pixelated coils. If/when this ever happens (along with all metal frequency appliances), we'll see truly even heating, and all the falderall over layers of clad will recede into oblivion. Such an all-metal, pixelated induction hob, under *ANY* bottom, would be a quantum leap forward. Until then, the only fair approximation is a high conductivity bottom over a good, least-discrete hob. Which for me in 2014 with my budget is 3mm copper over a solid-fuel stove (and whenever necessary, a gas hob).

                            Aloha,
                            Kaleo

                            1. re: kaleokahu

                              Honey Bunch, whatever rings your chimes! '-)

                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                Hi Kaleo,

                                You're correct about a transition that occurred over the past 50 or so years, but you've said it wrong: discrete contrasts with continuous, and we describe discrete as digital and continuous as analog. Edge effects between heat source and pan are a completely separate issue. We've moved into the digital age. It's not the interface with the hob that is critical, but rather the rate of change: regular or inconsistent.

                                The heat sources that you have relied upon deliver an inconsistently constant heat sources with holes--especially as you change temperature, whether it be moving the pan or putting more logs/hardwood on the fire. It's not that difficult to accommodate around those holes in an induction environment--which is what Caroline1 and I have independently discovered.

                                The supposed regularity of an analog stove perfectly transmitting heat through 3 mm of copper thickness is a total myth, masked by your personal artistic mastery of the media.

                                Don't fight it. The digital revolution has already happened.

                                Ray

                      2. re: Caroline1

                        Hi Caroline,

                        <Oh, and by the way, if you don't want something to continue to cook after you turn off induction, then move the pan off the hot spot on the induction hob.>

                        This was one of the things I relentlessly quizzed induction owners about, as cat, sue and others can attest. Quick response was my ONLY goal, and the only reason I would even consider replacing one glass top range with another.

                        I didn't have to do this with a gas cooktop and aluminum or clad cookware. I turned down the heat, the pan obeyed and cooled.

                        I first encountered it with the radiant range in my current home. Stuff kept right on cooking. I hated it. I experienced it again last week with the cast iron pan.

                        I don't have to do this with SS clad or aluminum cookware on my GE induction range. Honest, I really, truly don't. Even in the pans like my Mauviel dutch oven with a ceramic nonstick coatings. I turn down the heat, the contents come to a simmer. Otherwise, what's the point of switching to induction?

                        Duffy

                        1. re: DuffyH

                          Duffy, despite the things Kaleo says about idealistic heat distribution under a pan over a heat source, it ain't natural and it's unlikely to happen for everybody any time soon, so I say relax and forget about it!

                          Think of it this way: humankind has been playing with fire to make food taste good for maybe a million years now, depending on whose archaeological evidence you subscribe to. No matter. The primary objective of cooking has ALWAYS been to make food taste good. Always! And given the nature of humankind, we are ALWAYS in search of ways to do it faster and easier and better. Those were the goals of ancient man, and those are still the goals of modern man. And those are obviously still my own personal goals or I wouldn't have a kitchen chock full of things like induction hobs and thermal ovens and convection ovens and microwave ovens and sous vide water ovens, not to mention refrigerators and freezers and blenders and marvelously sharp knives. It is ALL about just one thing: Making food taste better.

                          Personally, I love classical Escoffier era haute cuisine, and in my day I've produced some pretty impressive dishes, BUT... Escoffier and Careme did it with tools and equipment that are shockingly primitive by today's standards! Yet I can guarantee that their results were over the top drop dead fabulous!

                          Long story short? It doesn't matter what tools you have or how you use them as long as dinner tastes good. And every guy in his backyard cooking over charcoal briquettes is simply doing his damnedest to get back to his ancient ancestor's tastes-good basics. Cooking is about feeding the hedonistic pleasures of our taste buds.

                          So to borrow a tag from one of my culinary heroes, "Happy cooking!"

                          1. re: DuffyH

                            Duffy,

                            There are tradeoffs. A DeMeyere pan will be very responsive, but not terribly heat retentive or especially stable at maintaining temperature. Le Creuset and Staub are great at heat retention. Once warmed up, they are highly responsive over a narrow temperature range, but not a rapid drop in temperature.

                            For rapid change and responsiveness in a fry pan, I use AC d5. For stir fry, I use the perfect pan by Staub. And so on. I personally would use bare metal cast iron fry pans for traditional meals, but not enameled cast iron fry pans. I preheat and use enameled cast iron for most anything else--especially one pot meals.

                            Ray

                            1. re: drrayeye

                              Hi Ray,

                              Trade-offs? Not as I see it. The pans you mention and the ways they cook is right in line with my memory of the way they cook on gas, and they react as you state on my induction top. This is how they're designed to act.

                              They did not react as you state on my radiant top. Response as we know it did not exist. Imagine cooking every single thing in a thick cast iron pan. That's radiant. The only way to quickly cool something in any pan on radiant is to move it off the hob.

                              Induction was like stepping back to gas. Pans behave as they should. Only with a cooler kitchen. Truly the best of everything.

                              Duffy

                              1. re: DuffyH

                                Hi Buffy,

                                There are always tradeoffs: there's no free lunch. Radiant is slow, so heat retention is not so important. That's why I almost never used enameled cast iron when I cooked with radiant. One uses lighter fry pans, a plus, and develops workarounds (like just removing it from the heat, adding liquids to cool it down, etc.). Or, one just cooks different meals.

                                Gas is very quick, but the rate of change is not regular, so increasing temperature is always an adventure. Stability is always a problem, as is safety. You get rapid change, but from what to what? Who knows?

                                Induction is different from both--it's not like gas or radiant. And induction can even be different from itself--really different if one has enough dinero. I'm having fun learning about one version of induction with my Vollrath cadet.

                                Tradeoffs are a fact of life.

                                Ray

                          2. re: Caroline1

                            I actually was fine with my bacon continuing cooking. I wasn't fine with leaving the heat on.

                            I am still not sure that I agree with you on the CI vs a good stainless w/aluminum + magnetized material. I find my chef's pan more agile with the temps.

                            As you say, there is more than one way to love induction.

                            1. re: Caroline1

                              Hi Caroline1,

                              You say,

                              "When I reduce the level of magnetic excitement to my cast iron pans to drop the temperature from a hard boil to a simmer, my cast iron pans seem to "follow directions" with amazing rapidity compared to how they performed on gas or radiant electric."

                              Agreed, but that's a small temperature change (200-220 degrees) after the pan has been preheated. The comparison of interest is between cast iron and cladded fry pans under similar circumstances. It's control across a broader temperature range where cast iron pan's may lag compared to cladded stainless steel. It may be that multi cladded do even better. I've been betting on my All Clad 10" d5 frypans, and they've been great.

                              Ray

                              1. re: drrayeye

                                Agree with Ray. Caroline is looking at bubbles in water. What about measuring temperature drops in the water instead. Compared to the temp drop in an All Clad stainless steel pan, I'd be surprised if the temperature drops as quickly in a cast iron pan as the retained heat in the cast iron would buffer against the loss of external energy application (induction, flame, electric coil).

                          3. Regarding power levels (love the 100 power levels of both portable hobs the Vollrath Mirage Pro G4 and the Cooktek Apogee):

                            I attended a demonstration of a 36" Miele induction cooktop at a Miele showroom last week. The Miele representative stated she had been using this 36" cooktop for several years and was a former restaurant cook used to gas cooking. She loved the "12" power levels of the 36-inch cooktop and was surprised to learn (from me!) that changing the factory setting (it's in the Owner's Manual!) she could convert it to 23 power levels (i.e, half steps between each power level: 1, 1+, 2, 2+, 3, 3+, etc.).

                            In any case, she had not missed the additional finesse that Miele is capable of. Wonder if that reflects standard cooking temps for most preparations or maybe her thoughts would be refined upon exploring the inter levels of the cooktop.

                            13 Replies
                            1. re: paly

                              Hi paly,

                              Does the Miele only have power level settings, or does it have temperature settings as well? What about the Cooktek Apogee? The power and temperature settings on my Vollrath Cadet are completely different functions. I use both, but I don't always know what I'm doing.

                              Ray

                              1. re: drrayeye

                                The Miele 36inch induction cooktop has just power levels as far as I can discern. The owners manual lists various cooking tasks and the corresponding power level to achieve them to give a user an idea.

                                See the table on page 20 of this pdf file
                                http://www.mieleusa.com//MieleMedia//...

                                1. re: paly

                                  The Miele 30 inch induction cooktop has 9 levels (level 9 corresponds to level 12 in the 36 inch cooktop), so there are wider temperature gaps between some power levels on the 30 inch unit. Therefore, using the inter-levels on the 30 inch seems important. Changing the factory setting on the 30 inch unit enables 17 power levels.

                                  The Cooktek Apogee 1800G has 100 power levels and 100 temperature settings. You touch the screen to switch between the two. I read that the temperature setting is a work in progress--maybe more accurate once a pan has had time to warm the glass below it to a stable temperature.

                                  1. re: paly

                                    Hi paly,

                                    I really like the idea of 100 power settings, and even better, temperature settings. I realize the heat on the floor of my pan would be different than the stated temp, but it's an excellent starting point.

                                    I think you're right about the half-steps being important. Mine has 19 steps, including the halfs, and I don't feel at all restricted. I think I'd be pretty pissed if I only had half as many settings. The half steps make small but noticeable differences, and I use them for fine-tuning. I would like to have temperature settings, though, that would be sweet.

                                    One point about the built-in cooktops we often forget- because they run on higher voltage, they're capable of putting out more wattage, and more heat. I can easily use my new round-bottom wok on one of my mid-size hobs and get that puppy smoking hot in about 1 minute, making me glad we've got a powerful hood.

                                    Duffy

                                    1. re: DuffyH

                                      "....100 power settings"

                                      but why does this sound like:
                                      0 - 100% of rated power....?

                                      1. re: PSRaT

                                        PSRaT,

                                        <"....100 power settings"

                                        but why does this sound like:
                                        0 - 100% of rated power....?>

                                        That's exactly what I think it should sound like. If I owned one, that's what I'd want, anyway.

                                        Duffy

                                        1. re: PSRaT

                                          Hi PSRaT,

                                          Have you read the pdf. that paly provided? 0 is off, but each ascending number corresponds to a vaguely expressed energy goal that can be reached by all the hobs, but not equally fast. The Meile manufacturer is mostly concerned with how fast the hobs achieve that goal. We're left to guess what the temperature might be, and it's probably not the same for each hob. I'd want to be able to at least monitor the temperature.

                                          Ray

                                          1. re: drrayeye

                                            Hi, Ray.
                                            I think you are on page 21 (the time to preheat a pan at a selected power setting). Scroll up one screen to find the type of cooking expected for each power level.

                                            1. re: paly

                                              Hi paly,

                                              No, I read that part too. It's similar to the preset numbers on my microwave--and my convection/microwave before. What is missing is a specific temperature associated with each power number (which I think will be different for the different hobs).

                                              I think that I understand why they don't provide those specific conversions, but I'd like to see what they say.

                                              Ray

                                            2. re: drrayeye

                                              as I read that chart, it is their estimation of how much time is required for any of the plates to bring "something" up to some "magic" temperature.

                                              truly informative, indeed.

                                              you can buy an induction unit on late night TV that has a temperature setting.

                                              my gas burners have a 0-100% setting.

                                              1. re: PSRaT

                                                Hi PSRaT,

                                                "as I read that chart, it is their estimation of how much time is required for any of the plates to bring "something" up to some "magic" temperature"

                                                No, not even that. They just suggest that a certain "number" would cook a vaguely described dish--pretty much like presets on a microwave. On my Vollrath, I rely on temperature or a number from 1 to 20.

                                                Ray

                                          2. re: DuffyH

                                            I agree, Duffy. I don't know why Miele hides half the levels from its customers (and showroom people). I think Miele should make the 25 power levels for the 36inch and the 17 power levels for the 30inch cooktops the default setting.

                                            I do own a Cooktek Apogee 1800G portable hob and it works great. The temperature setting comes in handy when making coffee with an induction ready stainless steel moka pot. I set the temperature for 195F and let the Cooktek do its thing. Reproducible results. No explosions or burnt coffee yet.

                                            I do have to place my small 2Q saucepan (I put some water in it) next to the Vev Vigano moka pot in order for the Cooktek to recognize a pan is present, however. There is more than enough space on the Cooktek to hold them both so it is hardly an inconvenience.

                                            1. re: paly

                                              Hi paly,

                                              Achieving temperature goals with induction is much trickier than achieving power goals. My intuitions on this is that power goals are achieved by simply setting a % of total power achievable at the moment, and viola! that's what you get. Too many gradations may be unnecessary for most cooking applications as long as the settings near to the boiling point of water are closely spaced.

                                              For temperature settings one must measure temperature achieved and then adjust power, either up or down, checking temperature change iteratively. Since the pot itself will always transform magnetic energy behind the temperature at the ceramic, the achieved temperature typically will go 50 or so degrees above and then drop back when going up, but not when going down. It's bound to be slower and less precise--but more interesting to most of us.

                                              Ray