For decades, kitchen ranges came in two basic options: gas or electric. Serious cooks generally preferred gas stoves because they heat up quickly and give you more precise temperature control. But not long ago, a third option became available for your kitchen: induction ranges. Though there are definite pluses for each type, most cooks choose their range based on the way they like to cook.
Electric ranges are generally less expensive and are popular with most kitchens. Ceramic cooktops are smooth and look neat and clean when not in use. They’re also fairly easy to keep clean since they are a sleek, flat surface.
Electric stoves work great and for everyday meals, you can’t go wrong. Though it’s slightly more difficult to control exact temperatures on an electric range, most cooks get used to their stove and know how long it takes to heat a pan or boil water. You won’t get instant heat from a ceramic stove top, but you will still achieve great cooking results. You can fry, sauté, boil, sear, and simmer on an electric stove, just like a gas stove. However, if you need to quickly turn down the temps, it will take several minutes for the burner to lose heat. Likewise, if you want to quickly sear a piece of meat, you will end up waiting until the burner reaches the right heat level or temperature before you can do so. This might not be acceptable for a more serious cook or chef.
One area where electric cooking does excel is in baking. Electric ovens heat consistently and more evenly than gas ovens. They also provide a drier air, which is much better for roasting and broiling. Electric ovens with true European convection, like on the Café slide-in range, are very precise in temperature and circulate the heated air so that foods bake evenly for near perfect results.
Now You’re Cooking with Gas
Gas ranges have long been favored for their quick heating and excellent temperature control. You can boil, fry and flambé quickly and with ease on a gas stove. Most have sturdy metal burner grates that hold pans evenly above the flame and are fairly easy to clean, though foods can “bake” onto the grates or under the burners.
If you’re an adventurous cook who enjoys trying a wide range of cooking styles, a gas range might be your choice. You’ll need to be sure your kitchen is equipped with a gas line to hook up your gas range though. Many kitchens today don’t have a gas line readily available for a gas range, and it can be slightly pricey to have a gas line run. You’ll need to talk with a licensed plumber to get an estimate for having gas pipes installed if you don’t have them already in your kitchen.
Gas ovens are known to heat less evenly, and the air can be too moist for some types of dishes, but full gas stoves are still a good choice. One combination that has become popular is the dual fuel range, like the Café slide-in dual fuel range, which provides gas cooking up top with an electric convection oven to make sure all the dishes you cook, and bake are done to delicious perfection.
Is induction cooking he best of both worlds? Maybe so. The induction range has become a very popular appliance in recent years. These stoves provide the clean, smooth cooktop appearance of the electric range with the fast, easy-to-control temperatures of a gas stove. And they’re a bit of an amazing technology—they use electromagnetism to heat your pans and cook your food.
Coils of metal lie beneath each “burner” zone. When you turn on the power, current runs through the coils creating a magnetic field. You can touch the burner area with your hand and it won’t feel hot. But when you put an iron pan on the cooking zone, the magnetic field causes the iron to heat up by transferring the electrical currents to the pan. Induction ranges provide efficient cooking and fast pan heating. You can easily control temperatures much like with a gas range. And since the cooktop area is smooth, you can wipe up spills and splashes with ease and you can create the same meals as with a gas range, but foods won’t “bake” onto the surface.
For serious cooks who also want sleek, clean lines in their kitchen, induction makes perfect sense. With your induction range, you can quickly sear steaks and then turn the temperature down to instantly sauté veggies. And immediately after cooking, the surface is cool enough to wipe up any grease or spills—which is a huge plus for the cook who prefers to clean as you go.
Think about the typical meals you prepare daily before you decide on a range for your kitchen. If you have the skills of a chef or like to be challenged with new and exotic recipes, you’ll likely feel more comfortable with a gas or induction range. For more basic, everyday meal preparation, an electric range with ceramic top may fit your kitchen just fine. And if you prefer gas cooking with a convection oven, a dual fuel range would be a perfect addition to your cooking space. Café provides ranges in each style, so there’s something to fit your personal kitchen and cooking style.