Straddling induction hobs...

sojayNovember 30, 2013

I'm hesitating which induction cooktop to get. I had originally planned on a 30" induction and a 2-burner gas top with a gap between them, but now I'm thinking a 36" induction alone might be enough. My concern is mainly placement of large pots at this point.

Can you straddle two of the smaller burners with a 12" (bottom measurement) pot?

I'm looking at the Bosch 800 and the Gaggenau with the knob. Can someone here who has one of these (or similar) tell me how straddling works in reality?
I'd use the main large hub for anything that needs real power and the straddled hobs for simmering. Also, can a 12" pan fit on the large hob at the same time as a 12" pot is straddling two small burners?

My other question has to do with interface disks. Do they actually work? I'd love to use my (non-magnetic) scanpan pans for eggs at medium heat. No matter how well I season my Debuyer iron pans, they are never quite as good as scanpan for pancakes and eggs. They are great for high heat searing, though.

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In trying to understand your question about straddling hobs, I think you are asking if you can use two 12 inch pans at the same time on your induction cooktop even though there is only one large hob. I have a 30 inch Wolf Induction cooktop and I seriously doubt it would work efficiently on my Wolf. Unless most of the hob is covered by a magnetic pan, the hob will not work the way it is supposed to. Even if I put a small pan on a large hob it does not work right. If you straddle I don't think that both hobs will be covered sufficiently for the cooktop to work.

One thing you might want to consider is an induction cooktop that has a bridge element. I believe Bosch is one. Also check out Gaggenau induction cooktops. The 36 inch model has a large 11 inch center hob. Soon Gaggenau will be introducing their full surface induction cooktop in the US. There will be no hobs but the entire surface is induction and the cooktop will recognize the size of the pot and conform to it. The pot can be placed anywhere on the surface of the cooktop.

IMHO, you may regret mixing induction and gas. Once you get used to induction, you will never want to use gas again.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2013 at 10:50PM
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For spanning burners, download and read the cooktop manuals for any you are considering. Some allow it and some do not. Those that allow it are usually contemplating 10" x 20" (or larger) pancake griddles rather than large round pots. I think that LG has an induction cooktop with a bridge-able pair of burners that might allow you to run a 12" pot. Maybe herring_maven can give some insight on this as I think he has an LG induction cooktop. For the other induction cooktops that allow burner spanning, there is a basic rule of thumb --- and please note that I said rule of thumb and not a guarantee --- that you need at least 60% coverage of each of the burners to get each one to work. My recollection from stove shopping last year is that most smaller induction burners are spaced too widely for you to achive that with a stockpot.

If you are looking at 12" stockpots, this is probably academic because we usually don't care if the heat is perfect even across the bottom. (Think about the vast numbers of us who have used 12" and 14" canning kettles on 8" coil burners.) For stir frying, it would be problemmatic with induction for the same reason that it would be problemmatic with coil burners: the heat will tend to concentrate directly over the burners.

You are correct to focus on the bottom of th pan. . Not everybody understands that, when you want a pan that is no more than 1" larger in diameter than the induction burner, we are talking about the bottom of the pan, not the 12" measurement across the top which is how fry pans are measured. You apparently have figured out that a 12" measurement is across the top but induction only "cares" about the base and the bases of most 12" fry pans are actually around 9" in diameter, not 12".

As for using an induction disk with a 12" scanpan on an induction burner, that works as well putting the scanpan on a radiant electric burner. In fact, that is basically what you are doing with the induction disk: the disk effectively converts the induction burner into a radiant electric burner.

There have been a couple of threads here and at chowhoun on induction disks within the last couple of years if you want to search for them. Also, Cooks Illustrated did a comparison test a year or so ago. Basically, they liked the Max Burton version but didn't think much of the other two they tried. (Sorry, can't recall the other two brands.) Do you have access to CI's online site?

This post was edited by JWVideo on Sat, Nov 30, 13 at 23:11

    Bookmark   November 30, 2013 at 11:04PM
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I have the Gagg CI491 with the removable magnetic knob. There is no specific reference in the manual to spanning 2 elements and it doesn't appear to be possible. The spacing of the hobs allows for the use of 2 pans with an outside diameter of 12" easily on the centre and right front. The base of the centre one could be up to 12" and the base on the right up to 11".
I found that my cookware heats up differently on induction so your Demeyre pans may work just as well for pancakes.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 11:27AM
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JWVideo: " I think that LG has an induction cooktop with a bridge-able pair of burners that might allow you to run a 12" pot. Maybe herring_maven can give some insight on this as I think he has an LG induction cooktop."

Yes, we do have the LG model LCE30845 induction cooktop with bridgeable burners (the two burners on the left side). Those two burners are 7" in diameter, and the outer ring of the front burner is a full 2" separated from the outer ring of the rear burner. From the bridged burners' operation with a rectangular griddle that covers both burners, it appears, remarkably, that there is a third small induction coil in the gap between the two burners that activates only in bridged mode. (I have not disassembled our cooktop to confirm that visually, but there is no cold spot in the middle of the griddle when the units are bridged.)

However, if one were to place a round pot or pan on the bridged units, centered on the midpoint between them, the pan would need to be at least 12+ inches -- given the fall-off at the near and far ends due to the roundness reducing the area of burner coverage, I am not certain that just 12 inches would be sufficient -- to activate both burners; and in that case, you would have the pot not only going over the counter at the left edge of the cooktop, but also extending pretty far out into the zone containing the control for the far bridging burner. See the link below to visualize what I mean.

The LG also has an 11" burner center-right at the rear, which easily handles our 12" Griswold cast iron skillet, which may provide all the answer that sojay needs. The 11" burner on the LG can muster "only" 3200 watts, but -- as we found out accidentally when we paid insufficient attention to setting the level controls, that is more than sufficient to bring the Griswold skillet to a temperature that is literally smoking hot.


Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 4:13PM
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Thanks for your replies, everyone, they are very helpful.

The Bosch 800 (which is the one I'm leaning more and more towards) doesn't officially have bridgable elements, but I've seen mentioning about bridging them several places online, with a griddle or a teppan yaki pan, that is. My question was about a round pot, but I could use a griddle instead. The manual says nothing about bridging.

I guess I could always pull out my plug-in model for the times I really can't fit everything. Or an in-door portable gas unit (camping/catering -style) that I plan on getting for the extended power outages we seem to get here.

I almost opted for a modular setup with the Gaggenau Vario, but didn't like that the knobs were to be on the front of the cabinet since I want a drawer there instead. Also, it would require a much wider hood.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 5:45PM
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