The hob stands proud as the central appliance in your kitchen. Whether you are investing in an electric, gas or induction hob – read on to find out which one is perfect for your kitchen.
Whether you are passionate about cooking, or you only cook for very special occasions, choosing the right hob for your kitchen is a crucial decision. Mercia de Jager from leading kitchen appliance manufacturer, Miele, offers some advice on how to select the best hob for your cooking needs: “With so many hobs currently on the market, it can often be difficult to know where to start.” She works through the pros and cons of the three main types of hobs to choose from, namely gas, electric and induction.
A gas hob features burners that display visible flames, with a metal pan support on top. Traditionally, gas hobs have been the most popular choice amongst professional chefs and foodies, due to the fact that they offer access to instant, powerful heat that can be quickly and easily adjusted. Other benefits of gas hobs include the fact that they can be used with any type of cookware, they are comparatively quite affordable to run, and the cooking area cools down quickly after use. Says Mercia: “Gas is a primary energy source and produces no pollutants through conversion processes, as is the case with electricity generation – making it a very green option.”
The disadvantages of gas hobs are that they need access to a gas supply, which is not always possible, and they can be difficult to clean. However, if the latter is one of your main bugbears, then you can always opt for a gas on ceran model, such as Miele’s KM3054G model for example. Unlike traditional gas hobs that feature gas burners mounted on a stainless steel base, the gas on ceran models have replaced with stainless steel with a sleek glass surface. Says Mercia: “This makes them more aesthetically stylish, makes it possible for installation that is flush with the countertop, and it is a much easier to clean alternative.”
Mercia offers some notable features to look out for when choosing a gas hob:
- Electronic controls: Miele gas hobs with electronic controls offer even more safety and convenience: Quick-Start ensures accelerated ignition, GasStop & ReStart ensures automatic reignition in case of flame failure. Some of these hobs also feature a kitchen timer as well as a heat and residual heat indicator.
- Wok burners: Gas hobs and wok cooking – they simply belong together. Miele offers two varieties of wok burners – the Mono wok burner with uniform power regulation for both flame rings, and the Dual wok burner, on which the two flame rings can be regulated separately.
- ComfortClean pot rests: Miele gas hobs are equipped with pot rests, which can be cleaned in the dishwasher. This makes cleaning the Miele gas hob and the continued use of the appliance particularly easy and saves time.
- Enamelled pot rests and burner parts: Miele gas hobs are equipped with enamelled cast iron pot rests – robust and durable, a visible sign of first-class quality. In addition, some gas hobs are equipped with PerfectClean burner heads, making cleaning easier thanks to the non-stick coating.
- Safety switch-off: Automatic gas shut-off in the event of excessively long operation. Reassuringly safe – always a good feeling.
- Minute minder: Miele’s hob minute minder helps to make everyday life in the kitchen more relaxed. You can set a different time for each burner. Once the time has elapsed you will hear an acoustic signal which lets you know that your food is ready. So cooking just gets easier.
- QuickStart: No need to press or hold the controls – all gas hobs worth their salt should come with electronic controls that can be quickly, easily and conveniently switched on.
As their name implies, electric hobs use electricity to generate radiant heat. In the past, electric plate and electric ring hobs were popular, however, today, for the most part, they have been replaced with ceramic top electric hobs. These function via standard radiant elements that heat the cooking surface under the glass, while high-tech halogen hobs, such as Miele’s HiLight ceramic hobs for example, use a special form of red light to warm your pan. The main advantages of electric hobs is their sleek finish and frameless design, as well as the fact that they are really easy to clean and they are amongst the most affordable types of hob on the market.
However, they do have the disadvantage of costing more to run than gas and induction hobs. Also, with standard radiant elements, the heat is not very evenly distributed across the base of the pan and it can also be difficult to control it accurately. Time is another disadvantage, as the cooking surface takes a comparatively long time to heat up, and to cool down.
Mercia says that when looking for an electric ceramic hob, you should look out for some of the following features:
- Residual heat indicator: Miele hobs have a residual heat indicator for every cooking zone. It reminds you not to touch a hot cooking zone or to place any heat-sensitive items on it. Also, it enables you to use the residual heat in order to save energy.
- Safety switch-off: A maximum operating duration is defined for each power level. If a cooking zone is operated for an unusually long time at the same power level, it switches off automatically.
- Safety and system lock: The safety lock function prevents inadvertent changes to the chosen power levels during cooking. The system lock protects from accidental or unauthorised switching on, by children, for example. This function can be activated on a hob that is switched off.
- Overheating and fault protection: Every cooking zone is equipped with overheating protection. This automatically switches off the heating element of the cooking zone in case of extreme use before the ceramic glass or other components can overheat. If liquid or another item gets onto the surface by mistake, the hob automatically switches off as well. So you are always protected from unintentional power adjustment.
- Auto heat-up: This Miele automatic setting turns down the heat from its initial power (for fast heating up) to a lower temperature (for further cooking). This way you won’t forget to turn down the heat in time, and food will not burn. It also saves energy.
- Programmable options: Basic hob settings can be easily adapted to individual needs. For example, the response speed of the sensors can be changed.
- Timer: The hob timer helps to make everyday life in the kitchen more relaxed. For example, depending on model, you can set the duration for your cooking zones separately so that they switch off automatically or you can use the minute minder independently of the hob functions.
Induction hobs function by creating a magnetic field between the induction element and the base of the cookware. This way, they heat the pan or pot directly, rather than wasting energy heating the cooking surface first, which only then heats the cookware, and the food. Induction hobs are incredibly popular due to their many benefits, which include the fact that they heat up really quickly, they are extremely energy efficient, their ceran surface makes for a boast a sleek, flush-mounted design, and they produce very little residual heat for safer operation.
Aside from being on the upper end of the price spectrum, the major drawback of induction hobs is that you are restricted from using any cookware. Says Mercia: “Cast iron or steel cookware is ideal, but aluminium or copper pans won’t work unless the base has an additional layer that a magnet will stick to.” She advises that you look for the following features when investing in an induction hob:
- FlexTouch: Maximum versatility: The entire surface is available for cooking. In Multi mode up to five items of cookware are automatically recognised in any position. Operation is controlled via a large touch display. Based on your choice, the hob can be used as one large cooking zone (Solo mode) or as a three-part cooking surface (Trio mode). Three hobs in one: Impossible to ask for more!
- Turns off if cookware is not in place: With induction hobs, if a pan is not placed on the switched-on cooking zone or the pan is not suitable, the energy flow is interrupted or not started at all.
- Residual heat indicator, safety switch-off, safety and system lock and overheating, fault protection and timer: As above.
- Pan size recognition: With induction hobs, the size of the pan is detected by the cooking zone, and energy is only used on this area. This ensures the most efficient use of energy.
- TempControl: Miele’s induction hobs bearing the TempControl logo are equipped with sensors that are embedded in the ceramic screen, which permit precise temperature control: this prevents food from burning during frying.
CombiSet or domino hobs
As a general rule of thumb, hobs come in minimum standard format of 4 burners. However, the CombiSet or domino hobs have a format of two hobs, making them ideal for small kitchens with limited counterspace. These hobs also allow you to create a cooking zone with a wide variety of cooking appliances in a similar format so that they can be positioned next to one another – such as Tepanyaki, induction wok, deep-fat fryer, barbecue grill and much more for new spectrum of enjoyment.
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