In the cauldron, boil and bake, fire burn and glasstop break
January 8, 2010 5:39 PM   Subscribe

How can I prevent breaking my ceramic cooktop? Is there a list of dos and don'ts?

After reading this post about chipping a top and this post about to buy or not buy a glasstop, I'm wondering what are the cardinal rules of not destroying my cooktop.

What I have: Kenmore glasstop, 5yrs old. Two small burners in back, warming zone between them - Large two-ring burners in front (two each of two small rings surrounded by their own large rings - turn the knob one way to light just the small ring, other way to light both). Enamel-covered Cast iron, mostly. Otherwise Corningware.

What I do: I cook for as long as 4 hours - using the right size burner (pots don't creep over the edge much if at all). Usually on low because they are soups or stocks.

When I do a quick dinner or fry, it's never on higher than medium (5/6) and I don't mind the slow heat-up.

When I boil water it's in a steel saucepan, cranked up high until it boils, then down to 6 until cooking is done.

What else I do: I bake in the oven then put hot dishes on the cool stove.

Other: our house is usually about 78 degrees except now in winter we warm it to 73 (yes, we are wimps with bare feet and tile floors).

So based on that and the above posts - how long is too long to leave a hot pot on the stove? Are pressure cookers really really bad like I keep reading? Can I transfer from oven to stove or should I use a trivet? Can I pull something from the fridge and put it on the stove, starting on low so I don't heat the dish and food up too fast?

And finally, what can I replace all my lovely cast iron with that will be okay? I don't expect I'll be able to use them forever because of lifting/dropping concerns (though I've been good and careful for 5 years on this stovetop) and I don't like non-stick. Is Visions Cookware okay? I have two teeny half quart pots and pans, but if I have to spring for a "fry" pan by them I could ...
posted by tilde to Food & Drink (1 answer total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
"how long is too long to leave a hot pot on the stove?"

Never let a pot go "dry" while a burner feeding heat to it is still on.

" Are pressure cookers really really bad like I keep reading?"

From the perspective of the cook top, not unless you let them go "dry." As long as they are still producing steam normally, a pressure cooker looks to the cook top, from a heat transfer aspect, just like a bigger, cooler pot.

"Can I transfer from oven to stove or should I use a trivet?"

This depends on a couple of factors, including how hot the item in the oven might be when you intend to transfer it, and the materials and food load of that oven heated item. In general, it would be unlikely if you damaged your cooktop by transfering oven heated containers/pots to even a cold cook top, because of the inevitable, tiny, thin layer of air between a pot and the cook top surface, but if you had occasion to be roasting a huge meat item in a big cast iron Dutch oven at 450°F, and then set it on a cold cook top, you might, perhaps, have a problem. Better to pre-warm the cook top a bit, before doing that.

In general, I'd be careful using trivets on the cook top, as many provide a quarter or half inch of air insulation on three or four "points" or "legs," which tend to concentrate the force of the weight of the cookware and food they are holding. Trivets which spread the load over significant surface area, like some of the flexible silicon "trivets" available now, are vastly preferable in controlling long term wear and damage of the cook top.

"Can I pull something from the fridge and put it on the stove, starting on low so I don't heat the dish and food up too fast?"

Well, within "reasonable" mass and temperature restrictions, sure. "Reasonable" being mass of food + cooking vessel under 1 kg (2.2 pounds), temperature of food being at or over freezing point of water, and temperature restrictions meaning you keep the cook top settings to "low" or "medium" until the food at least defrosts.

"... nd finally, what can I replace all my lovely cast iron with that will be okay? I don't expect I'll be able to use them forever because of lifting/dropping concerns (though I've been good and careful for 5 years on this stovetop) and I don't like non-stick. ..."

Calphalon Hard Anodized. Accept no substitutes.

"... Is Visions Cookware okay? ..."

Visions cookware, in my experience, sucks, in all respects. Glass, even highly engineered glass is a poor conductor of heat, as well as being a very difficult surface to clean. You've already got the impediment of a ceramic cook top in terms of heat delivery, so don't multiply that with Visions.

A high quality anodized aluminum style cookware like Calphalon Hard Anodized is light, durable, very even heating, and appropriate for a large range of heat sources and cooking styles, from stir fry to slow braising, and is relatively easy to keep immaculately clean.
posted by paulsc at 5:33 PM on February 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


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