Silly, basic question about gas oven with infrared broiler

Madeline616December 13, 2011

I've only ever cooked in an electric oven, never a gas oven, and my local showroom only has DF on display.

That said, in an electric oven, my understanding is that it's the electric coil/element on top that both cooks the food in "bake" mode, and simply heats up higher to broil the food in "broil" mode.

Now for my question...Can you tell me how the gas oven actually heats up/cooks the food? Meaning, where is the bake element, is it a completely *separate* element from the infrared broiler, and where are each of the elements located?

When I fire up my infrared broiler, will I be heating up a separate element from the one that heats up when I fire up my oven to bake something?

Specifically, I'll be using the Wolf AG.


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Yes--they are wholly separate.

The bake burner (not an electric element) is under the oven bottom. This will light when you bake or roast. Heat is transferred up and around the oven bottom into the cavity to heat the food. "Bottom up" in layman's terms.

The IR broiler is located on the top of the oven cavity. This burner lights only when you are broiling. IR heat is radiated downward onto the food. "Top down" if you will.

So either the IR broiler is on if you're broiling OR the bake burner if you're baking/roasting. They're never on at the same time.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 1:51PM
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Congrats on your purchase of your wolf. You are going to love it.

Any gas oven I have encountered the infrared broiler is only activated for broiling. For all other heating requirments there is a burner below the oven floor to create the heat.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 1:52PM
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Thanks much, Cassity! That's really helpful.

It was such a simple question I couldn't figure out how to Google it :)

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 1:53PM
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IR like the Wolf (which I have) is a different type of energy than the more typical convection type you get from a traditional electric oven. IR is like standing in the sun and feeling the warmth of the sun's rays: they heat the surface of whatever they strike. Convection is like feeling a warm breeze: it heats the air around whatever is being warmed. This is why IR broilers crisp up food so well--you regulate the heat by the distance of the food from the broiler (inverse square law if you've had basic physics). Other broiler types provide both comvection and some radiant heat but don't cook in the same way that IR does.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 9:14AM
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"inverse square law if you've had basic physics"

The inverse square law only applies to a point source. An infrared broiler is a large flat source, so the energy received by the food varies much more slowly with distance.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 1:01PM
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so i take it you like your wolf all gas? That is what i am about to purchase. i had the same questions about the broiler.
We broil a lot. Also, has your oven made these banging sounds that i have read about? How does it bake?

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 9:11PM
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Hi Sue,

Glad to see you've narrowed it down to Wolf.

I posted a lot and got so much help from the kind GWers during my process. I actually ordered the AG (it arrived at the store and everything) then switched to the DF.

I changed to DF b/c I have a white marble slab backsplash. I learned at the last minute, per the Wolf appliance specialists, that the gas range vents out through the back--hot air and some grease--and that with the small island trim (rather than one of the taller trims that direct heat outwards) light-colored backsplashes have been known to discolor from this heat. The DF range vents the heat out the front, bottom left.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 8:55AM
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I am having a problem with my gas oven. I don't know how to works exactly but always the food turns brown from the bottom, when I bake and if I wait till it browns on the top, it burns the bottom. Anyways, most of the time the time is up when the bottom is done. I tried to make meatballs and they just browned on the bottom and no change on the top. Same thing happens when I toast bread. I am using the "bake" option. I always set the temperature & time as mentioned in the receipe online..

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 5:36PM
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An electric wire broiler will heat primarily by infrared just as a plate/ceramic/gas broiler element will. "infrared broiler" is just a marketing term because all broilers heat primarily by infrared heat.

Aside: Using the standard differential heat equations, Modernist Cuisine even estimated the uniformity of INFRARED heating from a 'wimpy' electric coil and then tested their model. Their predictions were spot on.

A gas 'infrared' broiler may put out more uniform and more intense infrared heat than an electric broiler, but it does not involve a different type of heat.

And even in any oven without the broiler element on there infrared heating after the oven walls heat up -- they emit infrared heat, too.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 10:04PM
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I've just started using a BS 24" range. The broiler is only about 7" X 10" with the longer dimension side to side. So you have to be conscious of where your food is on the rack. I don't know if larger sizes have bigger elements or not.

The heat is intense. If I put the rack on the top position and use the broiler pan that came with the stove a steak starts to char on the top 20 or 30 seconds after I put it in. The first one I tried caught fire after about a minute but it was on a flat pan that didn't let the fat drop down. I was hoping to be able to cook steaks like this and I'm not disappointed. When I drop the BS pan to the next position down it acts more like an electric.

The electric ovens I've used had a top element that is spread over the whole top of the oven. They were cooler. A steak just turned gray no matter how hard I tried to char it.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 1:44PM
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I know some great chefs who swear the only way to broil is with a flame. In fact they would say skip the dual fuel ranges because gas is so much better for broiling.

So isn't it interesting how when you get into these high-end gas ranges, they give you a broiler that isn't a flame?

Here is a link that might be useful: Playing With Fire

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 2:18PM
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