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Samsung Range: Induction stove and Flex-Duo Oven - Your Pros/Cons Please!

Sorry, but not sure I followed which range you are talking about when you talk about top and bottom ovens. It sounded from the description as though there might be a Samsung induction range with twin ovens each with its own door as on the KItchenaid/Whirlpool/Maytag twin oven induction ranges. But maybe the flex panel for NE599NOPBSR model divides the oven into compartments of unequal size? This is not criticism, just curiosity.

Jul 22, 2014
JWVideo in Cookware

Le Creuset dutch oven - high temperature over induction?

That little user's guide has bedeviled new owners for years. Have a look at this thread from a couple of years ago:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/346363

A search will turn up several dozen more threads like that here and elsewhere going back at least a decade. LC really needs to fix that little book.

I haven't seen my LC's owner's guide in almost two decades --- that says something about the longevity of these pots, eh?

Rest assured that the pans can take a lot of heat and LC just wants you to bring them to heat more gradually than just throwing a cold pan on a burner and immediately cranking the heat to boost. Two, maybe three minutes at 3 or 4 on induction, then crank to whatever heat you want to use for your dish. (Yeah, yeah, I know induction ranges don't actually have cranks, but you know what I mean.) You do the same process with other kinds of burners and it just takes a bit longer than with induction. Have you seen this possibly somewhat clearer explanation from the LC website?

"Medium or low heat will provide the best results for cooking, including frying and searing. Allow the pan to heat gradually and thoroughly for even and efficient cooking results. Once the pan is hot, almost all cooking can be continued on lower settings.

"High heat temperatures should only be used for boiling water for vegetables or pasta, or for reducing the consistency of stocks or sauces. High heats should never be used to preheat a pan before lowering the heat for cooking. Cast iron retains heat so efficiently that overheating will cause food to burn or stick."

Note the "can be" rather than "must be" and that LC's worry is burning food not wrecking the pot. Basically, they don't want you treating the oven as though it were a wok. Beyond that, no worries.

Jul 20, 2014
JWVideo in Cookware

Is it just me, or is my wall oven cooling down? Is it time to go to gas oven?

Yeah, it really is that easy. Also, calibrating your oven is easier with a digtral electric oven control set-up than with gas. Do not believe the preheat indicators. They only measure air temps. Oven air hits the set point long before the rest of the oven is at steady state heating. Give the oven 25 minutes or more to fully preheat and stabiliize. True for both calibration and for baking.

If you check the oven thermometer at the precise time the pre-heat indicators say the oven is fully preheated, it isn't. The oven is still going to be cycling up and down for over 20 minutes until the wall are radiating back the correct temps. Set the oven for 350F and it will cylcing up to 375 to 425, the cooling down, then heating up, etc. It eventually reaches a kind od equilibrium and then will stay fairly steady. That is when you want to calibrate. In the "old days" we would mechanically reset teh dial position so that the detting matched the oven emp. Know, we twiddlew ith the digital stuff and basically program in a display of a more accurate temp.

Jul 20, 2014
JWVideo in Cookware

Pressure Cookers: Stovetop vs. Electric

I've had my KR for a couple of decades now but I want to add a caveat to this comment:

"'I'd also recommend a Kuhn Rikon pressure cooker . . . because they don't vent when they cook..."

In fact, they can and do vent. It won't be much --- often less than many other brands -- provided you take the time to learn where the burner heat works best. Until you use it enough with your stove, you will spend some time fiddling with heat settings or else the KR will vent a lot.

I think that was the problem that Cooks Illustrated had in their last comparison test of pressure cookers. They down-rated the Kuhn Rikon for having a higher evaporation rate than others, but I'd bet they just had the heat a little too high.

Laura Pazzaglia took CI to task for this in one of her her blog articles. With a properly set burner, she found that the KR models have about the lowest evaporation/venting losses she has seen.

She also points out that the burner heat needed to maintain pressure in a KR is often less than with other brands, meaning less heat in the kitchen on those hot summer days.

Both findings accord with my experience.

One additional thing about KR longevity is that the pressure regulating parts are easy to disassemble and check. Replacement springs, gaskets, seals, etc. are readily available from the KR website and other sources. You can keep those PCs going for many decades.

Jul 18, 2014
JWVideo in Cookware

Is it true that deep frying in bare cast iron is bad?

Um, ... don't you think it might be trying to get 3 or 4 deep frying uses that results in the oils going dark and bad?

Its the heat that kills the oil. A wok can get pretty darn hot, and very likely too hot for the oils to last very long. If you are getting to four uses, I think you are doing very well.

Are you thinking that you should get dozens of uses out of deep-fry oil because McD's and all those fast food places get so many uses out of their oils? Consider that they are using formulated oils in equipment with very precise temperature control that is supposed to never get the oil too hot. Of course, the oil still breaks down, gets dark and grungy and has to be replaced. Heck, I consider myself lucky to get two uses out of a batch of deep fry oil and I use non-stick and enameled and stainless pans (except for fried chicken, of course!).

Jul 17, 2014
JWVideo in Cookware
1

Pressure Cookers: Stovetop vs. Electric

Have you seen Laura Pazzaglia's site? (She has posted here on pressure cookers, too, so maybe you can consider her a hound.) If you haven't seen it, here's the link to her comparison of the electrics and stovetops:

http://www.hippressurecooking.com/the...

To what the others have said, I would add only that that electric pressure-cookers are like other stand-alone electric cooking devices --- Cuisinart Griddler, George Foreman grill, slow-cooker/Crockpots, rice cookers, etc. Some folks in some situations find them useful, but others won't.

Jul 17, 2014
JWVideo in Cookware

Older/Vintage Kitchenaid Mixer Users - Get a Solid State Version or Not?

OMG - Campy parts? Totally off-topic here, of course, but now we're talking a weirdness that I can subscribe to --- and, about which, for others, we might as well be speaking in tongues. :-)>

Jul 07, 2014
JWVideo in Cookware

Older/Vintage Kitchenaid Mixer Users - Get a Solid State Version or Not?

Not a "Kitchenaid Guru" but I do have some experience with various older KA models as well as owning an older K5ss.

First thing: the "solid-state" is not the motor but the switch/lever on the side for speed control. (Think gear shift or throttle). The older models used a mechanical rheostat for this. Both the old and new switches tend to be very long lived, very reliable components. (Not saying they never fail -- some do fail which is why replacement parts have been available.)

Second, my experience with KA mixers: in the 90s, I sometimes used several friends' old K45 (rheostat speed controls) mixers before buying my own K5SS (solid-state speed controls) from Costco around 1998. Since then, I've occasionally used another friend's old-style K5, too. (Mainly, helping make mutliple batches of fruit cakes.)

About the only difference I've noticed between working the old rheostat-contolled models and my "SS" model is a slightly a slightly different "feel" to moving the control lever. Not better feel; just a little difference in the smoothness of the detents. To me, there was no difference in usability and if I hadn't been told that the switch was different, I wouldn't have noticed.

I certainly understand limited budgets and "get" the attraction of the savings of a durable used model over paying the comparatively high prices of new models. When others mention "holy grail" or "best" in this context, I'm not sure I understand the application of those terms for practical use.

Maybe it is because I'm not a collector. Maybe my preferences are not sufficiently refined or are too plebian for those who perceive a mixer model as a "holy grail or "best." Seems to me that notions of "holy grail" and "best" are a lot like enthusiasms for vintage cars which I also don't "get.". Which vintage Bentley's are the best? Has Chevrolet ever surpassed the '57 Bel Air? Those questions are very important to some people but totally pass me. Mind, I am not deriding the enthusiasts. I'm simply recognizing that the interests of enthusiasts may be different from my own purely utilitarian perspective.

Maybe "best" means longevity and durability? My friends' old K45 is still running without problems as is the other friends' old K5. The friends do the cookies, fudge, cakes, etc. kind of baking but not much bread. Once a year, they both make fruitcakes for holiday seasons and that's probably the heaviest load they put on their machines. My friends with the K5 also occasionally use the meat-grinder attachment to grind a pound or two of meat for hamburgers. They also occasionally use a pasta roller attachment.

I, on the other hand, have used my K5SS much more heavily over the 16 years that I've owned it. For a while, when I first started making sausages, terrines, etc. I borrowed the meat grinder attachment, (I quickly found that a stand-alone grinder was much better for the 10 and 20 pound batches I now work with,) Every week, I mix up multiple batches of breads, making 2 to 4 pounds of dough per batch. For a while, I was grinding grain (using the KA grain grinder attachment) on my K5SS and then making 5 to 6 pound batches of whole wheat and rye breads. I started out mixing those doughs in two batches but then, in the middle of the previous decade, I got lazy and started doing it all in one batch. The heavy loading inevitably took its toll and the sacrificial gear eventually sacrificed itself in December of 2006. Quick, cheap fix. The part was about $4.50 but shipping and handling were a lot more :>(. It took all of about 20 minutes to swap out with ordinary tool-kit tools.

Some people hear that and say, "see, I told you the old ones were better because they didn't use no stinking plastic sacrificial gears." Except that Hobart did. The current KA part is interchangeable with and can be used to replace the same "plastic and fiber" part on the the old K5/K45 models, too. If you abuse your old Hobart built K5 models as I abused my supposedly "crappy-new" K5ss unit, the same "crappy plastic" gear will shear in order to protect the motor from an overload. Replace the gear and stop abusing it, and the unit will go on for many more years.

So, if you are trying to decide between a good used K5ss and a more expensive older, Hobart-made K5, I'd say go with the K5ss. Of course, buying a used appliance can be a bit of crapshoot because we usually have no way of knowing if and/or how it has been used or abused over the years.

As for making "single batches" --- what is a single batch for you?

If you mean tiny quantities --- say, whipping the white of one single small egg or a quarter cup of whipped cream -- that's what I think a hand mixer is for. One pound loaf of bread, a cup of heavy cream, 3 or 4 egg whites? No problem with the K5SS nor the old K5 or K45, either. (Try to find a manual, though, as you might need to adjust bowl heights with an older K5 or K5ss.)

Also, a Side-Swipe paddle beater that is a good thing to get as jjm mentioned.

All other things being equal, I might be be inclined to go with the K5SS because parts are more readily available and because the collectors' theories of "best" and "holy grail" have bid the prices up on the older models.

Jul 06, 2014
JWVideo in Cookware
2

Induction cooker vs gas stovetop: what do I miss?

If you want an estimate for comparing gas to radiant electric to induction, check out "Mr. Electricity's" Gas vs. ELectric Calculator at this link:

http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity...

Plug in your local utility rates and daily stove usage and the calculator gives you cost estimates for cooking with gas, with radiant electric stoves, and with induction ranges. For many residences, the cost differences will be trivial, maybe $1 or $2 per month without factoring in heating and cooling needs.

Jul 03, 2014
JWVideo in Cookware

Tomato pasta sauces in cast iron?

Adding to what Chem just said, a quick-cooked sauce with tomato usually won''t be a problem for most folks. I recall reading a test report a few years back about making spaghetti sauce in CI pans. Might have been Cooks Illustrated or Saveur magazine. Anyway, most of their tasters didn't notice anything untoward with tomatoes in CI for ten minutes --- in a well seasoned CI pan. Longer than that started getting problemmatic. The longer the time, the greater the number of people that noticed unpleasant off flavors. The testers also concluded that you absolutely want to avoid adding any wine because the tannins interact quickly with the iron and acid and produce a distinctly bad taste in a very short time.

Jun 19, 2014
JWVideo in Cookware

Please help: range/speed oven/microwave...driving me nuts

Well, I just checked over on Gardenweb and found that you had a similar post there. So, obviously, you've seen the posting there and I didn't need to suggest that to you. Since some of those gardenweb folks had info on your question about speedovens, I'm posting the link here for anybody who wants to follow-up on that aspect.

http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/...

Jun 13, 2014
JWVideo in Cookware

Please help: range/speed oven/microwave...driving me nuts

joyelyse:

To add to what Duffy just said:

1. It sounds like you have already searched the postings on the gardenweb kitchens and appliances forums, but if you haven't, try a search engine (google, bing, ask, etc) and include "gardenweb" in your search string. (The GW search engine can be hit or miss). I've seen several threads about the double-oven Whirlpool induction.

2. Unless your house is very old and has only a 100 amp panel, upgrading the 240 line from 30 amps to 40 amps is going to require three things: (a) replacing that 30 amp breaker with a 40 amp breaker in the box (very simple and inexpensive as electrical work goes); (b) adding a 240v outlet in the kitchen (simple and inexpensive but needed because the electric ovens were hard-wired) and (c) replacing the supply cable with the larger gauge (# 8 AWG) required to carry a 40 amp load. The last one is the where there can be minimal or a lot of expense. If the cable is readily accessible and requires minimal fishing through the walls and the outlet is close to the panel, the cost will be low. (For instance, in my old house, the electrical panel is in the basement and almost directly beneath where the stove sits.) But if the panel is elsewhere and/or the cabling has to be fished through walls --- or, worse yet, rerouted to a new location that requires work on the walls --- then it starts getting much more expensive. Am I correct that you are facing the latter kind of situation?

3. The WP double-oven induction stove is a somewhat different beast than the other WP/KA/Maytag induction ranges. (a) The double oven offers both standard pyrolitic self-cleaning and a steam clean option. It thus avoids the many complaints about the steam-only ("Aqua-Lift") self cleaning on the brandmates' ranges. (b) The double oven WP induction has a slightly different burner layout and zone layout, but it still has the largest burner in the back where a large pot may be butting up against the backsplash. (c) As others have noted, the burners only have whole-number steps for settings. For higher-heat cooking -- stir-fry, saute, boiling --- not a big deal. But when you do lower heat cooking -- having rice on simmer, using a pressure cooker, making stock --- many of us find nine-steps insufficient. (d) You mentioned using a grill pan and also making pancakes and such. The WP manual forbids burner spanning griddles, if that matters to you. In contrast, Duffy's GE range (PHB925?) allows this. At least two induction ranges (Samsung NE597N0PBSR and the new Electrolux freestanding induction range) are specifically set up for it with a bridging control.

5. The twin ovens on the WP induction and gas ranges and the Frigidaire twin-oven ranges are both "real" ovens. An upper (small) oven seems to be pretty good at many of the tasks you might do with a countertop toaster over, but making toast will not be one of them. Frigidaire (like most manufacturers these days) claims to have rapid oven preheating but (as on virtually any other stove you buy these days) the rapid heat only measures air temperature, which is only a small part of how an oven toasts, roasts and bakes. IOW, the smaller oven will take noticably longer to heat up than a countertop toaster oven, and will not be great for making toast. (Equally true of the WP double-oven induction range, too, FWIW). An ordinary toaster will be better for that task and will use less counterspace and will be a lot more convenient. With those considerations, one of the double oven ranges might work well for you in your kitchen.

6. Will you hate moving from electric ovens to gas ovens? Probably not. Gas ovens do put more waste heat in your kitchen as do the gas burners on the stovetop. A vent-hood will be a good idea and can help with that issue. (Oh great, another budget issue?) Gas broilers are generally not as capable as electric broilers -- okay with small quantities but uneven on large trays if that's what you use them for --- but baking functions can be good to very pretty good and sometimes depend on how you use the convection fan. There is actually more variation between brands than between gas and electric ovens, per se. I say this having replaced a dual-fuel range with an all-gas range a couple of years ago. For me, my current all gas oven does a better job baking some things (say bread and pizza), makes me fuss more with a few things (such as multiple pans of sugar cookies or biscuits) and mostly produces results indistinguishable from the prior electric oven.

7. That double-oven all-gas Frigidaire you are looking at -- is that the FGGF-304DLF or 304BNF? Consumer Reports testing yielded the following information on them which may be useful for you:

This Frigidaire freestanding gas range has the following:
• 5 surface burners
• Among surface burners, 2 high-powered burner(s).
• Grates: Cast iron, continuous.
• Convection oven mode.
• Overall, this range was Good.
• Oven capacity is Very Good.
• Fair at broiling.
• Very Good at self cleaning.
• Large main oven window.
• Double ovens.
• Touchpads for setting oven temperature.
• Numeric keypad for entering oven temperatures and time.
• Has oval burner or bridge burner for griddle use.
• Has a split rack.
• Main oven relatively low to floor; use of low rack position and window viewing less convenient.

Highs
• Oven capacity is Very Good.
• Very Good at self cleaning.
• Large main oven window.
• Numeric keypad for entering oven temperatures and time.

Lows
• Fair at broiling.
• Unable to simmer tomato sauce on largest burner set to low.
• Small upper oven had uneven baking.
• Main oven relatively low to floor; use of low rack position and window viewing less convenient.

CR's comment about uneven baking in the upper gas oven seems common for many of the double-oven gas ranges that CR reviewed. Not so for the GE PGB950SEFSS (though, at $2500, it is $900 more than the Frigidaire) and the LG models (where there may be service and support issues if you need warranty service). CR membership surveys report Frigidaire and GE as being the most reliable brands for gas ranges over the last five years.

9. For aesthetics, have you considered that many of the double-oven gas ranges have black painted or black ceramic cooktop surfaces? AFAIK, only the above cited GE dual-oven gas range can be had without this. Some folks hate the "black-top" look, and some report them difficult to clean. Most induction ranges have black surfaces -- other than the GE PHB920 and PHS920, which are gray --- but induction rangetops are far easier to clean and keep clean as you doubtless know from the many threads you have been reading.

10. A speed-oven over the range? Were you thinking about an Advantium OTR model? You also mentioned a Miele, which I'm guessing means replacing that 24" electric wall oven. That's a lot of expense in a small kitchen, and IIRC, it is a pretty small oven, to boot. Likely an issue for Thanksgiving as you fear. There has been a lot of first-hand discussion of pros and cons of speed ovens in the Gardenweb forums if you haven't already checked those out. A countertop MW seems like a better idea, particularly with the kids being primary users.

Jun 13, 2014
JWVideo in Cookware

Tool to cut bone (with meat)

Okay, point of clarification and an apology for wandering off topic by mentioning another use. Sunshine is correct that you want to avoid the longer blades with the big teeth when sawing bones. If you are working unfrozen meat, they will indeed shred the meat and generally make a mess.

May 17, 2014
JWVideo in Cookware

Tool to cut bone (with meat)

Well, too large and too powerful makes it harder to use and usually means more set-up hassle which diminishes the convenience factor. If the cutting is a rare thing, it may be better to adapt a hacksaw or spend $17 for something like a W 47-1601 Weston meat saw (available from hardware stores and the likes of Cabellas.) But, if you figure on doing it once a month, adapting a reciprocating saw can be much more convenient and a lot faster and easier, to boot.

The thing about reciprocating saws (Milwaukee's version being the Sawzall) is that many of us already have one so we only need a new blade to dedicate to kitchen use. You do want to clean all the paint off of the blade, get it very clean and it give it a wipe with a little food safe mineral oil to keep it from rusting.

The reciprocating saw is also handy for dividing up large packs of things already frozen. Depending on how big the packs (or carcasses) are, you might want to consider using one of the 12" long ripping/demo blades.

May 16, 2014
JWVideo in Cookware

EXCEPTIONAL 'NONSTICK' COOKWARE

Mr. Bingley:

Actually, I do use a little butter these days --- for flavor and morale purposes, of course --- and there's never an issue with sticking when I do that. :-)

It's only when a guest absolutely wants no fat or oil added to the pan that the eggs get fried in a bare pan. Without the added lubrication, the old, bare Scanpan is still relatively more non-stick than my well-seasoned CI skillet.

Duffy:

Thanks for the suggestion. Although I've done that a couple of times over the last 13 years, it is a good thing to remind folks about. It is kind of like using kosher salt to polish a CI pan's interior.

First time I used this polishing was because a friend had sprayed the pan with some Pam for a relatively high-temp low-fat stir fry. (Hoo boy, can that turn non-stick to velcro!) Pan polished up a treat and was fine for another few years. I've known that fats polymerize during cooking and will build-up over time if you are not conscientious about scrubbing it out per the use and care instructions.

A couple of years ago, when the finish seemed to be dulling, I tried another polish with a baking soda paste followed by the oil wipe but it didn't make any difference that I could see. I I think the surface is just starting to wear a bit with normal use over the years. Like most things you use for thirteen years, the shine can wear off but its still eminently worth keeping. :-)

For the OP's purposes, the important thing is that the surface hasn't been flaking and it still has pretty good nonstick properties after all these years.

May 16, 2014
JWVideo in Cookware
1

EXCEPTIONAL 'NONSTICK' COOKWARE

Going back to the "Circulon" recommendations, the set that Costco carries is called "Circulon Premier Professional." It is induction capable (magnetic metal in the bases) and it is all non-stick. It is priced at less than $200. The set has: 8", 10" fry pans; a 12" fry pan with a lid; and 11" saute pan with a lid; and 6 qt. stockpot with a lid; and 1 qt. and 3 qt. saucepans, also with lids. Bought mine 3½ years ago and it all gets used a lot. Sometimes gets washed in the dishwasher. Held up really well. But, fried eggs don't just slip out of the pans anymore, although they do come out clean with the mere touch of a spatula. They seem to heat evenly on both induction and gas burners.

I also have 12.5" Scanpan frying pan (which I purchased) and an 8" All-Clad nonstick fry pan (which I got as freebie when I purchased some All Clad seconds.). Both the Scanpan and A/C came with "Lifetime" guarantees and both get used frequently. I treat these with more care than my Circulon, however.

My take on expensive brands of non-stick pans with lifetime guarantees: it is a pan subscription service. If the the coating dulls and gets sticky or starts to flake, I send the old pan and get a new one. My Scanpan was sent to me as a replacement when the prior one -- purchased in the 1990s --- started to flake around 2001.

Several friends bought sets of Swiss Diamond for five and six years ago. The sets have seen daily use (including use by teenagers) and seem to be fine.

May 16, 2014
JWVideo in Cookware

Induction. Can portables replace tradition 30" cooktop?

That was taught to me as correct usage back in the previous century when I was in school in Virginia. :>)

But, meanwhile, back at the point: like Duffy, I also am pretty much neutral on the gas versus induction thing except when it comes to the waste heat. My heat tolerance is far less than it used to be. Once upon a time, I was fine when the government had me running around in full gear in the mid-day sun at places like 29 Palms. Nowadays, I'm in trouble when it gets above the mid-70's. If I lived in a hot climate like Tampa, I would not have even considered a gas range.

Where I live in the northern Rockies, we do not get many summer evenings where it is too hot to cook in the kitchen. We did get a couple of days in the low 90s last summer where I was cooking for a big July 4th party. Like c oliver, I had to throw an a/c unit in a kitchen window. (I can hear the laughter from those of you who had weeks of 100+ degree/95% humidity days.)

On the whole, though, the waste-heat from gas burners is much less of a problem for me than it would be if I lived elsewhere.

Truth be told, I'm not completely neutral. I do have an abstract preference for induction over gas. But, we cannot buy appliances in the abstract. Buying real appliances for a specific kitchen always means having to choose between varying mixes of design choices and engineering compromises. Many of those will have nothing to do with gas or induction. Sometimes the best mix for a person's particular preferences will happen to be the induction appliance, sometimes not.

May 02, 2014
JWVideo in Cookware

Induction. Can portables replace tradition 30" cooktop?

I'm wondering as well, although I'm not sure I understand what is getting scratched.

Muddirtt, are you maybe trying to prevent rusting if the grates scratch the pan? Or, are you thinking that seasoning the bottom of the CI pan maybe helps prevent the grates from being scratched by the pan?

I've got hefty cast iron grates on my current gas stove. Those could scratch the bottom of a CI pan and get scratched, as well. But, the only time I've seasoned the exterior of the pan (with induction or gas stoves) or the grates was when I had to "scrub" with a wire wheel -- please don't ask :>) about that disaster. Otherwise, I've never had any problem with rusting. Do you maybe iive in a very humid, seashore type climate?

I do have a rectangular griddle with the ridged grill surface on the reverse side, but I've always done the seasoning/re-seasonings in the oven. For that matter, whenever I've done a full reseason on my other CI pans, I've done the "upside down" thing in the oven. Now, if I had a bad back, the stove-top way might be easier to manage because I would not have to bend over so much to move the pan around.

Or, maybe we can re-assure you that maybe you don't need to worry about the exterior base of your CI pan?

May 02, 2014
JWVideo in Cookware

cheap 30" Viking gas range... don't know what to do!

Oops. mispost. sorry.

Apr 04, 2014
JWVideo in Cookware

One carbon steel skillet?

Deal breaker? Protective exterior? I just have to ask: did you mean the beeswax mentioned in your earlier post? AFAIK, that only keeps the pans from rusting a bit during transit between the factory and end users. Beyond that, beeswax melts at around 150F and will burn at 300F, which is a pretty common cooking temp. (Beeswax does make wonderful candles.) That doesn't seem like much protection to me. To be sure, I've seen plenty of posts where folks have articulated reasons for preferring DeBuyer CS to Lodge CS (and vice versa), so I apologize if you had something else in mind.

Apr 04, 2014
JWVideo in Cookware

Un-impressed with Vitamix

+1 for everything Maguffin just said. I have the wrench but have never needed to use it. (Probably having the wrench is a talisman against evil or at least wards off my own stupidity.)

Mar 30, 2014
JWVideo in Cookware

Experience with Fagor Rapida 5 piece pressure cooker?

You do understand that I was not saying that I necessarily agreed with everything CI said, either? I tried to present the CI review article relatively neutrally to follow up on CindyJ's mention of it. My personal take is that they have biases and preferences which you have to take into account when deciding how useful their report is for you. I also provided their opinions on the Presto model because tcamp mentioned considering it.

FWIW, I agree that sometimes they seem wrong. I disagreed with their current evaluation of the Kuhn Rikon model, based on having had one for a couple of decades. I didn't go into that because they are now a lot more expensive than the budgetary range being discussed here and I thought it would be off topic to discuss them.

You certainly are not the only one to take issue with CI on details of their pressure cooker reviews. Have you seen Laura Pazzaglia's website? Here is the link.

http://www.hippressurecooking.com/

She has some specific critques in response to CI's recent review which were given in responding to comments and questions from readers about her reviews. Her reviews involve specific (even geeky) testing of several models of PCs including the the Fagor Futuro. (She takes comments and responds in detail with additional useful info.) I highly recommend the site generally for info on pressure cooking.

Mar 21, 2014
JWVideo in Cookware

Experience with Fagor Rapida 5 piece pressure cooker?

CI/ATK seems to think the bulging sides can be a problem with the pan on larger gas burners when the burner flame is on high and rising beyond the base of the pan. The sides of the pans being much thinner than than the base, stuff that is touching the sides (other than thin a liquid) is more likely to scorch when touching thin side than it will on the thick base (which generally has an aluminum disk that spreads the heat evenly.) I recall reading somewhere (or maybe hearing them say on the PBS show) something about turning down flames to match small pan bases makes it take longer to bring the pot to full heat. Might be that their concern is just that a bulging pan over a large flame isn't idiot proof enough for them to recommend it.

Mar 19, 2014
JWVideo in Cookware

Experience with Fagor Rapida 5 piece pressure cooker?

Been a while since I've seen a Mirromatic but I kind of recall there being a disk or dial of some kind where you could set the pressure to 5, 10 or 15. When you got the weight to jiggle 3 or 4 times a minute, you had the pressure setting. Is that what you have?

You'll find most current PC models are a little different. Most current "spring-valve" pressure cookers generally have spring-loaded pop-up pressure indicators with marks or rings for a "low" setting (7 psi above atmospheric) and a high setting (14-15 psi). When it comes to pressure, you adjust the heat to hold the indicator ring position for the pressure you want and then start timing. This allows for pretty precise timings which you see in many current pc recipes.

Following up on the previous posts, the Fagor model "highly recommended" by Cook's Illustrated/ATK was the Fagor Duo. They also tested a Fagor Futuro, but did not much care for it because it was only available in a 6 quart size (CI was clear it wanted an 8 quart model) and was not so easy to use, at least in CI's opnion. They gave it a "recommended with reservations" rating.

The Rapida/Rapid Express models are supposed to be the most basic in Fagor's line but were not tested in the CI/ATK report. AFAIK, "Rapida" and "Rapid Express" are different names for the same product line, Rapida being mostly used in Europe and "Rapid Express" being the North American version. Costco probably cut a deal directly with Fagor and so is using the "Rapida" name.

The Rapida models only have indicator markers for the high setting.

Three friends of mine each recently purchased the 6 quart "Rapid Express" model (from BB&B, I think, for around $60 or $70). All of my friends have been pleased with their purchases and use their pcs frequently. They also report being able to guestimate/eyeball a low setting for cooking things like large quantities of lentils or grains that might foam at the high setting and for which many PC recipes recommend the low setting. The problem with eyeballing a low setting is that recipe timings will be off but, fortunately, that rarely matters for them.

For a little more money, the Costco set gives you two pans with a pressure lid and a glass lid so that you can use them as sauce-pans as well as pressure cookers. Some folks like the smaller pan for pressure-braising because you can use less water than needed for the bigger 8 quart pan. Less water may result in more browning of meats and more concentrated flavors in the liquid.

CI/ATK also tested the Presto 8 quart Stainless Steel PC (model 01370) and rated it a bit lower than the Fagor Duo but still gave it a "recommended" rating (and thus higher rated than the Fagor Futuro). What CI said they didn't like was that the Presto's pressure indicator was hard to read and it only had an indicator for the high setting. They also didn't like the bulging sides which they felt could lead to scorching when used over gas flames.

Mar 19, 2014
JWVideo in Cookware

What do you think about Viking Appliances today?

To add to that, I want to emphasize a point that probably can be made about any brand. A certain percentage of any firm's products will be lemons, but many buyers never have problems or issues, If 31% of Viking owners had serious problems back in 2007, then 69% of the owners were fine. Whether you like those odds is a different question. .

CMC also asked about SubZero fridges and and Wolf wall ovens. There are a number of threads here and at gardenweb with titles like "Is subzero worth it?" Here are some links to get you started, but you can find a lot more if you want:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/740921

http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/...

http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/...

You can likewise find similar discussions on the company's Wolf ranges and ovens. AFAIK, Wolf does not have a french door style oven but, if you are getting a double oven, you might want to consider their combination of a combi-steam oven and a regular convection oven. Do be aware that there have been reported problems that some owners have experienced with the electric ovens with the Blue porcelain lining cracking and flaking on earlier models. It is supposed to have been fixed in the most recent models, but searches would be advised. We do not have hard data on what percentage of Wolf's blue-porcelain oven liners have had problems, but it has been the subject of persistent reports of problems. Wekick has first hand experience with this issue and useful prior posts here and at gardenweb.

Feb 28, 2014
JWVideo in Cookware

Ceramic hob Miele KM520 in new flat...cooking disaster?

I know nothing about and have never seen a Miele radiant electric cooktop. AFAIK, they don't sell them in the US.

But still, Miele makes good stuff and you are looking at a standard radiant electric cooktop.

As Duffy and Texanfrench say, using a smoothop electric cooktop just requires a little bit of technique to deal with lag time in adjusting heat downwards, Electric burners come to heat quickly. (You certainly can boil pasta water pretty quickly). Its the downward adjustments that have the learning curve.

Until you learn the alternative "tricks" suggested by Duffy and Texanfrech -- which will not take long --- using an electric hob it will seem like cooking everything in heavy cast iron cookware. Coil and radiant burners simply take a while to drop down in heat. Think of as cooking everything with cast iron cookware. To avoid that effect, you can move a pan off the burner or to a burner heated to a lower temperature.

Some things may go faster than with gas (depending, of course, on the gas burner you are used to). For example, coil and radiant burners can bring things to full heat more quickly that major-brand gas burners. So, boiling pasta water may be faster that you are used to.

It is the downward adjustment that takes a bit of time and technique. Bringing something to a boil and the dropping to a simmer usually isn't a problem. But, bringing a pressure cooker to boil and then dropping to the "right" temperature to maintain the pressure setting --- that's where you resort to the the tricks suggested above and also need a little experience with the burners/hobs.

You will need a little experience in figuring out what setting to use for maintaining the pressure in a pressure cooker, for example. The technique is, when pressure is reached, you pull the pressure cooker off the burner and either let the burner cool to the right setting or put it on another burner that you've preheated with the right setting.

The other thing you may have to learn is watching the inside of the pan rather than watching the flames to judge heat. The flames on a gas stove give some folks a pretty good guage of where they need the heat for certain kinds of cooking. Electric stoves don't give you that kind of visual cue. So, you watch the pans and it make take you -- as a novice user of an electric cooktop -- two to four tries to get comforable with a sense of where you need to set the burner control to get the heat you wanted.

You will be fine. An when you get the induction ccooktop, you will realllly appreciate it's greater flexibility.

Best of luck with the new adventure.

Feb 25, 2014
JWVideo in Cookware

Opinions on NXR or Bluestar gas range?

I just replied to your similar post on gardenweb and suggested that you call Costco. Here I find that you already have. Costco has an absolute satisfaction guaranty and three months is not too late. You can return it for a full refund or exchange it as you prefer. This Costco policy was an important factor for me in deciding to get my NXR a couple of years ago. While I haven't had problems with my NXR, it was still good to know that I could have skipped the warranty hassles.

One thing for anybody buying a brand with small market shares is that warranty service can be skimpy or bad. There are several postings on the gardenweb site about such problems with NXR service and a lot more about Blue Star. There are more about Blue Star simply because BS has a larger market share, not because NXR is better.

Feb 14, 2014
JWVideo in Cookware

Scanpan CTQ - Induction Performance?

I'm not sure what you meant when you said the copper cookware does not perform optimally. Did you mean that the pans heat and respond slowly or did you mean the heat was uneven across the base? Or, maybe both?

An induction disk basically converts your induction burner into a solid-surface radiant electric burner. Radiant electric burners, be they coil, radiant smoothtop, or solid surface hobs, all respond slowly to changes in heat levels. Also, much as some cookware heats more evenly than others, so it is with induction disks.

Feb 10, 2014
JWVideo in Cookware

Any defectors from induction?

Does a single induction burner need a special circuit and will they be unsafe if you do not do so?

To be precise, it depends on what kind of single burner induction unit you are running. If you are asking about the kind of single burner cooktops that are pemanently installed into your countertop or the 2500-3500 watt commercial countertop units made by the likes of Cooktek, Garland and Vollrath, then all of these will require their own 208/220/240 circuits and outlets, and it is physically impossible to insert a 220 plug into a standard outlet.

But, if you are asking about 120v portable countertop induction units, then Paulj is correct that you will be safe with them.

The formula for matching appliance watts to circuit amperage capacity is watts divided by volts = Amps.

Numbers of tho portable units (Fagor's come to mind) max out around 1300 watts. So, 1300w divided by 120v = 10.8 amps, which is well within the capacity of a standard kitchen wiring with 15A outlets and circuit breakers. Other induction units -- say the popular Max Burton 6200 or Cooktek's commercial MC1800 unit --- draw 1800 watts when used on full power and dividing 1800w by 120v = 15 amps.

Note that 15 amp is not the maximum circuit capacity but, instead, is the maximum appliance draw you should connect. (The outlets and circuit breakers actually have built-in headroom -- the rating means that you can use any appliance that draws 15A or less).

If your kitchen has 20 amp circuits and outlets -- as do my kitchen and paulj's --- there is ample headroom for running something else with the induction unit, provided the other thing does not pull a lot of power. (You can tell if you have 20-amp outlet because the left-hand plug slots are "T" shaped).

If you have standard 15A outlets (as many kitchens do), you are still fine with an 1800watt induction unit but there isn't enough headroom to run something else when you run the induction unit at full power. Thus, you want to avoid plugging the countertop induction unit into the same circuit that is used by your refrigerator. YOu avoid this not because of risk of fire but becuase of the inconvenience of having to re-set the breaker when the overload trips it. as paulj says. The whole point of having the breaker trip is that it avoids the kind of overheating of the wiring that that "risks starting a fire in my walls" which was your concern.

Now, bear in mind 120v portable induction units will give you the responsiveness of induction but won't give you the much-vaunted high-speed boiling. All the talk about fast-time-to-boil-big-pots-of-water -- comes from using the larger burners on cooktops or ranges where burners that go to 3700wats or more. To get that kind of power, you need a 220/240v circuit.

There certainly are some 220-240v portable induction burners rated for 2500 and 3500 watts and they most certainly will give you speedy high power boiling or allow you to quickly melt lead in a cast-iron pan if you are so inclined. These 220v units are mainly commercial products simple because: (a) they are comparatively expensive and (b) most people do not have extra, unused 220 outlets in their kitchens.

Feb 09, 2014
JWVideo in Cookware

Any defectors from induction?

Duffy makes a good point, and one that works for any rough surfaced pan on induction as long as you are not doing a high-heat cooking that takes the pan over 450F. I've found the paper trick especially handy when making surgary syrups.

For high heat searing, I once tried cutting a burner sized hole out the the paper so the pan wouldn't burn it. Clean up was then just a matter of tossing the newspaper sheet into the trash -- and then still having to wiping the walls, floor and rangehood. For me, it seemed easier to just spritz and wipe the induction top along with everything else.

Feb 08, 2014
JWVideo in Cookware