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Electric Help!

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hi, I am a life-long gas range cook and I recently bought a brand new house that came with a new flat ceramic cooktop electric range. I am so frustrated, I either keep burning everything or I undercook it. Can anyone out there give me some advice or tips on using an elecrtic range?
(P.S. I can't afford to Install a gas range)
Thanks,
mo
post #2 of 16
What kind of cookware do you have? I've heard your pans need to be completely flat for best conduction of heat.
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post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
I am not wuiet sure, I got them as a wedding gift and they came from Dillard's. I assume they are completely flat, but I guess they could be a bitt off. Do you have any suggestions on good cookware for this range? Thanks
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
pardon me, "quiet sure".
post #5 of 16

Now we are cooking with gas, NOT!

Temperature regulation and hot spots are the big difficulty with electric ranges. Once you are used to it it will get better, but you may need to get some thick bottom pans.

Good old fashion iron pans work well as they have some mass to help distribute the heat.
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post #6 of 16
Spoiled by having a gas range in my rented house for seven years, I cried "OH NO!" when confronted by the glass top electric range in the house we bought 2 years ago. There are no public gas lines here in the Hudson Highlands because the ground is just too rocky to put them through. Our choices were to install a propane tank in the yard (!Yuck and Yikes!) or get used to the electric. I opted for the later and have since replaced it with a newer glass top.
Now I love my range.
The thing to remember is that it takes a while for the burner to heat up. You just don't get instantaneous heat like with a gas range. So set the burner to the heat you need, then put the pot on it and let it heat up. Hold your hand about 2" above the pan to test whether it's hot enough to add anything. Whatever you do, don't be tempted to start everything on high and then turn it down-unless you are boiling water. The reason being is that just as your stove heats up in kind of an ambling way, so does it cool down.
Be patient and you'll get used to it.
The glass and ceramic cooktops heat evenly in a way I haven't seen in other electric ranges do. I also love how I can put an oblong griddle or grillpan over two burners and it heats the whole thing quite nicely-unlike my old gas range.

Of course, flat bottomed cookware is also a boon to this process, but don't feel that you need to go out and buy all new pots and pans.

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post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much for your advice. I will definitley try to be more patient. I am making pasta for dinner tonight so hopefully I don't overcook it! I will keep you posted on how it turns out!
mo
post #8 of 16
I'd recommend strongly against this, especially if you're cooking with high temperatures to sear. I've seen a glass top crack when a cast iron pan was used on it.

There are some types of units that do heat almost as fast as gas. Take a look on the web and then go to the store in your area that has the best selection. Where I live we have two or three kinds of stores: basic quality (no frills), mid-range (some frills) and high-end (all the frills, bells and whistles). There may be models at the high-end store that are not stocked at the others. It's worth taking a look, even though the prices might not be drastically higher at the high-end place than at, say, Sears.
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post #9 of 16
I too am "blessed" with a glass top electric stove top. Getting used to it but will never prefer it to gas - hoping to update as soon as budget allows.

My frying pans are none too flat - they're budget non-stick - and its hard to get even heat, specially for pancakes & omelettes etc. I would like to get some heavy based pans for preference.

I find as I need to turn things down I just slide them off to the side of the element as it cools down then return it to the hob when the element's cooled down enough. It is just a matter of practice makes "perfect" and changing your methods and timings slightly in comparison to what you're used to.

But they really suck for wok cooking :(
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post #10 of 16
I remember our old electric stove in our rented place. I would burn towels like crazy.
post #11 of 16
Uh oh :( I was just going to ask about this. With all the repairs and purchases (washer & dryer, tractor lawn-mower, etc.) we'll need to make as soon as we move in (early July), we'll have to make-do with the electric stove for awhile. How DO people deal with wok-style cooking on electric?
Emily

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Emily

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post #12 of 16

Woking on electric

I use a 14" carbon steel w/ring and a 12.5" cast iron on my electric. The 14" I found in a Asian Market for about $15 + $3 for the ring and the 12.5" I ordered from sportsmansguide.com (search for cast iron wok) for $13 + $7 shipping. The steel wok doesn't work as good as the cast iron as I can get the cast iron REAL HOT, I think the steel wok needs gas to work as it should. For both I pre-heat them in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 to 60 minutes, trick I saw from Ming Sai <sp?> . I think I'm like most and prefer gas to electric but gas is not an option where I live, so I make do with electric. I just pre heat the pans using moderate heat and move the pans on and off the heat as required due too the slow response of the electric burners.
post #13 of 16
A friend of mine has a glass top stove and uses Berndes non-stick with what I must say are good results. I've got standard electric and what I've found is get pans with the thickest bottoms you can, I use copper which is expensive but I've got a little stainless Emeril 1qt saucier with a very thick bottom (and it's really cheap...$19.95) and it's pretty fantastic, I'm guessing the rest of his stainless might perform as well and the prices are very good. I've never tried his non-stick skillets though.

I had to learn to calm down with the heat on an electric burner, using high only when I wanted to bring something up to a boil. Otherwise I generally set the burner dial between the halfway and 3/4 marks, put the pan on with the oil in it and either set the timer for 3 minutes or stand there and watch the oil until it gets that funny little wavy look on it's surface...and yes I also hold my hand above the burner as well. It's taken some time to get myself to not always start with the heat all the way up and then turn it back down when everything's hot because I burned or scorched things all the time. This works much better, for non stick I generally have to move the dial about a quarter of an inch more to the hotter side.

Find your sweet spot, my burners I've had to fiddle around with their supports to get the front ones level (the back ones generally are used for liquids in sauce pans anyway so it doesn't matter as much) and it works pretty well.

My great grandmother had a bakery, cooked everything in a woodstove long after the rest of the world had converted to gas and electric; even her daughter had an electric stove in the same kitchen. I guess you can get good with anything you are willing to get used to but once I'd cooked on gas, I couldn't help feeling impoverished and backwoods ever since, having to use an electric stovetop.

Jannie
post #14 of 16
Yikes!:eek: We have a couple of wonderful Le Creuset Dutch ovens we use on top of our current gas stove all the time. They are cast iron with ceramic interiors. Will they crack a glass-topped electric stove top? And, if so, why/how?
Emily

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Emily

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post #15 of 16
"How DO people deal with wok-style cooking on electric?"

I bought the Bodum cast-iron, ceramic-coated wok with flat bottom and it works pretty well. You have to remember not to slide it around on the ceramic top. Those things are about $85 at W-S, but I rummaged around on the internet and got it for about $50.

After three years with the ceramic-top electric, I like it less and less- except that it looks really sharp on my black granite counter. To cool a pot, we've learned just to move the pot to a new, cold burner and turn it on low. The burners just take forever to cool down. :(

Mike
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post #16 of 16

Wok Solution

Re wok cooking - I've given up trying on the electric range - everything ends up soggy :( no matter which wok I use.

Now I just crank up the gas fired bbq, take all the tops off, and wok straight on the flames. Much better results (ok more burnt fingers!) but at least I can get it hot enough.

I have seen transporatable bench top single gas burners specifically to suit this dilemma - my sister-in-law has one and it seems to work for them
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
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