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ability to sear/saute at high temps with an induction cooktop

Posted by Lorenza5064 (My Page) on
Tue, Nov 13, 12 at 15:01

I am considering the purchase of a Wolf induction cooktop for my kitchen renovation. I currently cook on a 36" Thermador professional gas cooktop. I do a lot of high temp sauteing and searing and I am concerned that the induction top would not perform well for those applications. I believe that an induction cooktop will "throttle down" at high temps to protect the electronics. The most powerful element on this cooktop is 4000 watts. Any advice/experience to share?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: ability to sear/saute at high temps with an induction cooktop

The only thing holding down power on induction is the threat of lawsuits,not protection of electronics.

Appliance makers have the ability to get induction hot enough to melt iron skillets.

My guess would be that your hottest Thermador burner is equivalent to about 2500 watts.

Usually,the highest rating on an induction element can only be achieved by "borrowing" power from other elements and it can only do this for a short time. So some induction units have trouble heating evenly on a two burner grill/griddle. Some induction units have a "bridge" to solve this problem.

And charring/blistering chiles on induction is completely different than over an open flame.

Other than that once you have induction compatible cookware searing/sauteing should be no problem on Wolf induction.


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RE: ability to sear/saute at high temps with an induction cooktop

I have a Thermidor induction cooktop. On boost, it will put out 4.6 kW which is enough to bring a 21 qt canner with about 15 qts of water to full rolling boil in under 8 minutes. That's the time limit for boost. The equivalent BTU (using theinductionsite.com conversion of induction to gas) is about 35000. I stir fry and sear on the cooktop regularly with no difficulty. I've never had the cooktop shut down on me yet.

I don't know much about the Wolf cooktop, but using a two-burner griddle on the Thermidor is a snap. We have an ancient cast iron griddle which we put across two hobs. Set to medium or about power level of 5 (out of 10), the griddle is ready in under 5 minutes.

Cheryl


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RE: ability to sear/saute at high temps with an induction cooktop

you will find once the pan is hot ( and that happens verry quickly ) , med to med hi will be all you need to sear ... My viking induction rocks at searing ...You really need to test drive an induction cooktop or range !!!!!! And Ive never had an issue with multiple burners ....Brad


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RE: ability to sear/saute at high temps with an induction cooktop

an induction burner has the ability to put 75+% of it's power to heating your pan and a Gas burner only has the ability to put approximately 50% of it's power to the pan.


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RE: ability to sear/saute at high temps with an induction cooktop

I've used an '83 Kenmore induction cooktop as well as a recent Windcrest and both will sear just fine in preheated cast iron. Saute as well--you just need to play around a bit and get things the temp you need. They will get hot enough!

The Kenmore would sometimes turn itself off until I realized I needed to leave the cabinet open for long hot cooking. I was still able to get a cast iron dutch oven hot enough to make a paper towel burst into flame (yes! You can have fires on an induction cooktop if you're me!).


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RE: ability to sear/saute at high temps with an induction cooktop

I have the Wolf 36 inch induction -
I would recommend going to a demo site to test to see if it meets your needs.

There is plenty of power in the Wolf - more than you will ever need to sear meat - but only the bottom of the pan gets hot unless you have some of the new layered pans that heat up the sides - therefor Wok cooking is more challenging.

Wow - I never heard of igniting a paper towel!!

The Wolf used a quad magnet system - so the burner will have 4 areas of induction. You will want to pre-heat the pan if you really want to sear.

If you have never used induction - it does have noises which are more noticeable when you first turn on the cooktop - it is a slight buzzing noise and more noticeable in layered pans than single metal pans (Staub is very quiet).

Another thing to know about the Wolf - you can't put a drawer right below the cooktop - as it requires 6 inch non-flamable below the counter height.

If I had know that - I would have put a fake facade on a double height drawer to store taller pans (functionally a 2 drawer bank)

I would also look at the new thermador which is zoneless...


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RE: ability to sear/saute at high temps with an induction cooktop

Grazie, mille grazie for all of the thoughtful posts re my cooktop quandry.

a2gemini, I appreciate your insight re the facade on the drawer front below the cooktop. Not only would that allow storage of taller pots/pans but I believe it would allow more air circulation around the cooktop.

Interestingly, Wolf suggests the use of a 39" base for the 36 inch induction cooktop that I am considering (the 5 element model with 4000 watt output on most powerful element). It is not required, merely suggested. I would choose the 36" base cab as it would optimize the size of the cabs flanking the cooktop.


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RE: ability to sear/saute at high temps with an induction cooktop

Lorenza:

almost no nominal width cooktop will actually fit inside the corresponding cabinet. For example, a 30" cabinet is 30" wide on the outside edges. But those edges are typically 3/4" thick. So the inside dimensions are of the cabinet and more like 28 & 1/2" wide. See the problem? There is a discussion of this at the Induction Site:

http://theinductionsite.com/replace-combos.shtml

Also, comparing induction and gas heat, the U.S. Dept. of Energy measures about 84% efficiency for induction burners delivering input energy to the pan while gas burners are usually about 35% to 40% depending on burners, grates and pan size (and it declines with altitude; at 6000 feet, you may be getting only 30% of the rated energy consumption going into the pan.)

These means you may get way more heat out of those induction burners than you need and more than might get out of your existing gas burners. Where folks run into issues with induction is when they want that huge amount of heat going into the bottom of a round-bottomed wok. If you absolutely have to use a round bottomed wok and need the equivalent of of 50K-btu-hr burner, then a flat surfaced induction cooktop is not for you. But, as others have pointed out above, using a regular skillet (especially cast iron) you can sear the bejesus out of anything.


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RE: ability to sear/saute at high temps with an induction cooktop

Grazie, mille grazie for all of the thoughtful posts re my cooktop quandry.

a2gemini, I appreciate your insight re the facade on the drawer front below the cooktop. Not only would that allow storage of taller pots/pans but I believe it would allow more air circulation around the cooktop.

Interestingly, Wolf suggests the use of a 39" base for the 36 inch induction cooktop that I am considering (the 5 element model with 4000 watt output on most powerful element). It is not required, merely suggested. I would choose the 36" base cab as it would optimize the size of the cabs flanking the cooktop.


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RE: ability to sear/saute at high temps with an induction cooktop

I will measure mine when I am home


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RE: ability to sear/saute at high temps with an induction cooktop

woops, I did it again.... Scusi for the double posting, L


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RE: ability to sear/saute at high temps with an induction cooktop

I did my remodel a few years ago and I don't even know if Windcrest is still around, but that cooktop had really easy-to-deal-with clearances as well as a lot of power and minimal angry beeps. Anyway, I gave the specs to my cabinet maker and it did end up in the equivalent of a 36" wide cabinet, or at least all the drawers under it (all THREE functional drawers) were 36" wide.

So do check the specs for your model. They vary. Building cabinets around appliances is sort of cheating, but it sure makes things easier.


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RE: ability to sear/saute at high temps with an induction cooktop

When the sensor in an induction hob senses that the pan bottom above it is reaching a very high temperature, probably around the softening point of aluminum, it will shut down the hob.

The flash point of a paper towel is in the ballpark of the smoke point of peanut oil. So it is possible to get ignition with too high a setting when pushing peanut oil around with a paper towel to condition a wok or cast iron. [How do I know this?]

Concave wok hobs such as Cooktek makes are best for convex wok cooking when using induction. It takes a pretty full wok to handle the 3500W maximum power setting. Most wok searing has to be done at a lower setting, or a quickly lowered setting.

I used the cabinet space below my induction cooktop for pan storage in wire racks, thereby leaving a lot of space for air to circulate. My Kenmore Elite (Electrolux Icon clone) 36-inch unit has never shut down due to overheating.

kas


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RE: ability to sear/saute at high temps with an induction cooktop

I started to use the oven to season cast iron after that--or at least to do it without a paper towel.


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RE: ability to sear/saute at high temps with an induction cooktop

Zowie!
I will keep that in mind

Our cabinet is 37 inches for our 36 inch cooktop


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