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Old 13.09.2010, 11:29
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Electric/Gas/Induction - availabiliy in Switzerland

There's an amusing article by Matthew Fort in today's Guardian about his new induction range cooker.

In it there's one paragraph about normal electric cookers:

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Electricity, too, bothered me. Electricity, even more than Agas, is the power for people who don't really love to cook. There's something deadly about electricity. It's inert. It's the beige of kitchen heats. It kills the imagination. It's silent, boring, sterile and, actually, when it comes to all-important hob work, not very efficient. It takes hours, it seems, for an electric hob to get to the temperature you want, and then hours for it it get to, say, a lesser temperature when you want to turn it down. Still less did I like the heat of an electric oven, particularly those which were 'fan-assisted', which guaranteed the same dry, even, dull, characterless, utterly dependable temperature at all points. If ever called to cook on an electric cooker, my heart used to sink in exact counterpoint to the fan picking up speed as the oven was turned on.
I wonder if this explains much of the cooking in Zürich

Certainly my heart sank when I moved here and realised I had to use an electric cooker.

What's the distribution and availability of gas in Switzerland?

And lastly, does anyone here use induction? I have a single ring induction bad that I usually use for stock cooking (i.e. where I have to leave it cooking for many hours) or when I need rather more control than a normal electric ring would offer. Induction is responsive and safe.

What's the adoption of induction in Switzerland like? Anyone else using it? In particular has anyone bought a fully induction hob or range in Switzerland?
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Old 17.03.2011, 18:43
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Re: Electric/Gas/Induction - availabiliy in Switzerland

Our Gaggenau is, sadly, on it's last legs (after a good 20 years of service). We have gas and are now pondering our next stove top cooker. The oven is electric. I've never cooked with induction before, but am tempted by the "easy-clean" issue. On the other hand, I love cooking with gas and am sceptical about the quality of cooking possible with induction. Jsut for the record, I'm not talking about regular electric ceramic hobs.

So, does anyone have any recommendations - one way or the other, regardless of budget? I'd be interested to read...
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Old 17.03.2011, 19:21
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Re: Electric/Gas/Induction - availabiliy in Switzerland

We have induction - gaggenau, in fact. THe unit is probably 12 years old. In the US, we had gas. When we moved here, we bought all new pots as our pots in the US weren't induction friendly - so they made my friends happy.

I have a small set of Demeyere pans, designed for induction (and they are the best pans I've ever had). Most le Cruset and probably cast iron will also work on induction. I have a Dutch oven and tagine. When we bought a fondue pot, we made sure it was induction-ready (they come with a metal plate on the bottom). So you have to make sure any pots you use are induction capable.

The Induction heats up really quickly and achieves a high temperature.It is pretty easy to clean. Obviously, when you have to reduce temp, you may have to pull the pot off as it doesn't go down as quickly as gas. Newer units are probably even better than ours. I do like it a lot, and in our next house, if we buy and put in the kitchen, I'd go with induction, if that helps at all.

THe other thing that Gaggenau makes that I really like is their electric grill. We thought it was a gimmick (it's part of our cooktop unit), but I use it a lot for grilling. Also for toast, as we never bought a toaster.
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Old 17.03.2011, 19:37
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Re: Electric/Gas/Induction - availabiliy in Switzerland

That's a relief - when I saw the thread title, I thought capital punishment, US style, was coming to CH.
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Old 18.03.2011, 14:07
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Re: Electric/Gas/Induction - availabiliy in Switzerland

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Certainly my heart sank when I moved here and realised I had to use an electric cooker.
If you're talking about the kind with open coils or those awful cast-iron billets, yes. If you're talking about glass-top electric -- I've been pleasantly surprised by the V-Zug one in my apartment. It actually can pump out a lot of heat, somewhat reasonably quickly.

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What's the distribution and availability of gas in Switzerland?
Quite wide, especially in older buildings, but not that commonly used for cooking. In my apartment building, the building has gas, but it's not plumbed through to the units. I guess it's just used for the boilers.

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And lastly, does anyone here use induction? I have a single ring induction bad that I usually use for stock cooking (i.e. where I have to leave it cooking for many hours) or when I need rather more control than a normal electric ring would offer. Induction is responsive and safe.

What's the adoption of induction in Switzerland like? Anyone else using it? In particular has anyone bought a fully induction hob or range in Switzerland?
My mom got one a few months ago to replace a failed regular glass-top stove. It's great.

At my office, we have a single-burner induction "hotplate" from ALDI that cost 60 Francs. I should have bought three. Calling it a hotplate is an insult -- it's better than my home stove, and every bit as good as the "real" induction stove my mom got. (It's 2000W.)

Apparently single-burner induction cookers are common in Asia.

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n the other hand, I love cooking with gas and am sceptical about the quality of cooking possible with induction. Jsut for the record, I'm not talking about regular electric ceramic hobs..
As much of a fan as gas as I am, I love induction. It's got almost as good control as gas (it's still "bursts" of heat as opposed to true modulation of heat output, but it responds every bit as instantly as gas). Induction is by far the most energy-efficient type of cooking, and because the glass of the stove doesn't generate any heat at all -- it only absorbs heat conducted from the pan -- stuff doesn't get baked into the surface.

Induction is also the safest, as it is the only stove technology that actually detects whether a pan is placed on a burner. Since the heat is generated in the pan, not the burner, if there's no pan, no heat can be generated, anyway. This is definitely a safety boon for kids.

The only downside -- truly, the only one -- is that you can't use all cookware on them. Any pan with iron in it, including cast iron and cheap steel pans, but also stainless steel or copper with iron-sandwich bottoms (like the outstanding and inexpensive Ikea 365+ line). The test is easy: if a magnet sticks to the bottom of the pan, you can use it with induction.

OK, and I guess you can't light a cigarette on induction, if that's your thing.

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The Induction heats up really quickly and achieves a high temperature.It is pretty easy to clean. Obviously, when you have to reduce temp, you may have to pull the pot off as it doesn't go down as quickly as gas.
That's not true. Turning off an induction burner is every bit as effective as pulling the pan from the heat, since the heat is only generated in the pan. The amount of residual heat in the glass surface is negligible. (The "glass" is actually a vitroceramic designed to absorb very little heat. Of course it gets hot, but it's nothing compared to the heat in the pan.)
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Old 18.03.2011, 14:10
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Re: Electric/Gas/Induction - availabiliy in Switzerland

We have gas central heating - mains supplied. I was quite surprised when on holiday in Leysin last week, that our apartment had a gas cooker.
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Old 18.03.2011, 15:55
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Re: Electric/Gas/Induction - availabiliy in Switzerland

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If you're talking about the kind with open coils or those awful cast-iron billets, yes. If you're talking about glass-top electric -- I've been pleasantly surprised by the V-Zug one in my apartment. It actually can pump out a lot of heat, somewhat reasonably quickly.
I don't really care about it pumping out lots of heat. I care about how controllable it is . . . speed of change and degree of change. Gas is king for this and induction is pretty good. I have a glass-top electric hob and it's not good enough for me.
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Old 18.03.2011, 16:06
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Re: Electric/Gas/Induction - availabiliy in Switzerland

I've got a ceramic hob here and although it heats up quickly, it takes ages to cool down (so useless for bringing things to the boil and reducing to a simmer unless you predict the future and turn the thing off well before your liquid boils).

Also, I miss the central "triple ring of fire" wok ring I have on my gas hob at home. Can't use a proper wok here.
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Old 18.03.2011, 16:32
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Re: Electric/Gas/Induction - availabiliy in Switzerland

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I've got a ceramic hob here and although it heats up quickly, it takes ages to cool down (so useless for bringing things to the boil and reducing to a simmer unless you predict the future and turn the thing off well before your liquid boils).
I really hated that .

And you also need to find space, and heat-resistant mats to put those saucepans that are hot but you need to keep off the still-hot hob.


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Also, I miss the central "triple ring of fire" wok ring I have on my gas hob at home. Can't use a proper wok here.
Our cheap-as-chips wok works brilliantly on our induction hob - the top setting is usually too hot.
(The wok does have a base where the middle is flat).


The only slight problem with Induction is that it's heat control is not analogue (like gas) but I've only found this a problem with pancakes when I really wanted a 5.5 level heat rather than a 5 or a 6.

Having said that, we've got 1-9 plus a 'keep-warm' setting and a turbo-power boost so choice of settings is not really a problem.

Also, not all iron pans are equal. Some heat up faster than others.

Where induction is better than gas:

Ours has, what I'd like to call, a "Panic button". Press it and all rings immediately drop their temperature to the 'keep warm' setting. Press it again and they revert to their original settings. Great for when the door bell rings or one of your children falls down the stairs, or more importantly, when you need to fetch another bottle of wine from the cellar.
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Old 18.03.2011, 16:50
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Re: Electric/Gas/Induction - availabiliy in Switzerland

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Our cheap-as-chips wok works brilliantly on our induction hob - the top setting is usually too hot.
Yeah, but you have no control over making the sides hot, for example when cooking Thai food and I want to melt the palm sugar on the side of the wok before it hits the coconut oil at the bottom.

However, I admit I'm struggling to find major reasons for preferring gas.
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Old 18.03.2011, 18:33
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Re: Electric/Gas/Induction - availabiliy in Switzerland

We just put in a new kitchen this summer (here in the US) and chose induction. LOVE it!!!! Quick to respond like gas (both up and down), heats much more quickly than gas (boiling water for pasta is riduculously fast) and super easy to clean (unlike our previous 36" thermador gas top which was a nightmare to clean ). it is also much more environmentally friendly because it only heats what is in the pot (and not all around everything, like gas) so uses significantly less energy. As the budget was pretty depleted by the time we went to get our new pots and pans, I bought a set at IKEA and they work great. We are thrilled that the house in CH will also have induction because we have become total converts!
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Old 18.03.2011, 18:48
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Re: Electric/Gas/Induction - availabiliy in Switzerland

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boiling water for pasta is riduculously fast
That's really interesting to know! On my ceramic hob here, I boil the water in the kettle first and then add it to a saucepan (and wait while it gets up to the boil again). Even back in London when using my gas hob it can take a while to boil water. Is induction much quicker? Is it, therefore, cheaper to run?
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Old 18.03.2011, 19:15
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Re: Electric/Gas/Induction - availabiliy in Switzerland

A friend who has just bought an induction hob here in CH told me that if your pan base attracts a magnet, it is suitable for an induction. She bought Ikea pans too.
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Old 18.03.2011, 19:17
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Re: Electric/Gas/Induction - availabiliy in Switzerland

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That's really interesting to know! On my ceramic hob here, I boil the water in the kettle first and then add it to a saucepan (and wait while it gets up to the boil again). Even back in London when using my gas hob it can take a while to boil water. Is induction much quicker? Is it, therefore, cheaper to run?
It really is that fast. It's almost unreal. If you're getting used to induction and are used to stepping away for a second for the pan with butter in it to heat up… you'll have burnt butter before you blink.

Induction is the most efficient cooking technology. Gas is wasteful because 58% of the energy generated by the flames simply flows around the pan and never makes it to the food. And if you've got air conditioning, you get to pay again to remove all that waste heat!

Regular electric, with resistive heating elements, have relatively low efficiency -- 29% of the electrical energy is lost. And some of that heat is just stuck in the stove.

Induction wastes just 16% of the energy, and almost all of the energy used stays in the pan.

(Percentages courtesy of US. Dept. of Energy)


Some really high-end rice cookers actually use induction heating because of its advantages. I'd love to see induction water kettles. Maybe they exist? (I do the same as you, preheating water in an electric kettle.)
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Old 18.03.2011, 19:19
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Re: Electric/Gas/Induction - availabiliy in Switzerland

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A friend who has just bought an induction hob here in CH told me that if your pan base attracts a magnet, it is suitable for an induction. She bought Ikea pans too.
Correct. The installers told my mom the same thing.

I love Ikea's 365+ pans. They have really thick bases that resist warping and heat well.
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Old 18.03.2011, 19:26
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Re: Electric/Gas/Induction - availabiliy in Switzerland

I find that we cook at lower temps with induction.
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Old 18.03.2011, 19:36
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Re: Electric/Gas/Induction - availabiliy in Switzerland

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Yeah, but you have no control over making the sides hot, for example when cooking Thai food and I want to melt the palm sugar on the side of the wok before it hits the coconut oil at the bottom.

However, I admit I'm struggling to find major reasons for preferring gas.
What you need is a Induction plate with a wok molding in it.

This works very well with the rounded bottom wok.

Here is the site for more info.http://www.whitehouse.ch/index.php?id=37 Sorry only in german.

Salut Zämma
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Old 18.03.2011, 19:43
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Re: Electric/Gas/Induction - availabiliy in Switzerland

Yeah, induction wok jets* have been around for years for commercial use. But given how small the kitchens here are, it's hard to justify taking up the space for such a specific tool.

*The large, super-high-power gas burners used in restaurant kitchens for wok cooking are called wok jets because they have incredibly large, tall blue flames, like a fighter jet afterburner. A single wok jet has about as much heating power as five (!) regular burners.
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Old 18.03.2011, 19:45
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Re: Electric/Gas/Induction - availabiliy in Switzerland

I love my induction hob and find it much easier to use than gas. The guy who fitted it told me it worked by some kind of magnetic process affecting the food one is cooking, or at least that was what I understood. What I wonder is what is the magnetism doing to the food, if anything? Also my transistor radio doesn't work well when the hob is on, so what effect does the hob have on the person who is cooking?
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Old 18.03.2011, 20:02
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Re: Electric/Gas/Induction - availabiliy in Switzerland

The guy told you wrong.

Both microwave ovens and induction stoves work with strong electromagnetic fields. But that's basically where the similarity ends.

In an induction stove, a coil generates a (comparatively) low-frequency (~200KHz) magnetic field which excites the iron molecules in the pan, causing it to heat up. This heat is transferred to the food just as with gas or conventional electric. These magnetic fields are totally harmless to humans, unless you have a pacemaker, in which case you should look into it first.

In a microwave oven, a magnetron creates very high frequency (2.4GHz, or 2'400'000KHz) magnetic field which excites the water and fat molecules in the food, heating it directly. This is why high levels of microwave radiation is acutely harmful to human tissue -- just like any burn.

(The very fact that 2.4GHz is absorbed by water is the reason why this frequency is used -- at very, very, very low levels -- for unlicensed radio, such as cordless phones, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi. Water molecules in the air absorb the energy, thus prevent these frequencies from going too far, automatically limiting the range, thus making it practical to use these devices without interference. To put the energy levels in perspective, a typical microwave oven is 600 watts of microwave energy, Wi-Fi is about 0.1 watt, and Bluetooth is typically 0.0025 watts, but 0.1 watt and 0.001 watt Bluetooth exist too.)

Last edited by tooki; 18.03.2011 at 20:09. Reason: Added signal strength comparison.
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