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Interesting article on kitchen myths

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter

In particular gas Vs. electric stoves.

The myth-Gas stoves are better than electric

It's become almost an article of faith that gas stoves are better than electric, and that any "serious" cook should aspire to owning one. This belief does not stand up to intelligent scrutiny, however. Gas stoves are fine, of course, but when comparing them to electric you will see that there's no overall objective superiority. Let's take a look:

Response speed

When you turn the heat up or down gas responds immediately. This is important for certain cooking tasks. Electric is definitely much slower responding than gas. You can compensate to some extent by moving the pan off and on the element, but it's not nearly as convenient as gas.gas


Many gas stoves, particularly high-end ones, have greatly improved simmering. For slow, even, worry-free simmering, however, electric is still the champ.electric

Boiling speed
In comparison tests, gas stoves are almost always slower to boil a large pot of water than an electric stove with the same BTU rating. This is probably because a lot more heat escapes with gas (see below).electric wins.

Use with a wok

Woks are designed for cooking over an open flame, and the fast response speed of a traditional thin steel wok will be compromised when used on an electric element. If you have an electric stove you can do a perfectly good stir fry by placing a flat-bottomed wok directly on the element, but a round bottomed wok over a gas burner is better.gas wins.

Escaping heat

It's unavoidable - a gas burner produces a lot of hot air that has no choice but to flow up and around your pan and into the kitchen. This means that less heat gets into your food, the pan's handles may get very hot, and the room heats up more. With electric and a pan that is not too small for the element, more heat goes into the food and less into the handles and the room. In addition, gas ovens vent more heat than electric ovens.electric wins.

Choice of pans

Electric stoves, particularly the flat top models, require the use of pans with reasonably flat bottoms. The bottom does not have to be perfectly flat - which is essentially impossible anyway - but if the pan is too far off flat the efficiency of heat transfer will be lowered. Plus, pans with a convex bottom (bowed out) can be unstable on a flat top stove, rocking or spinning while in use. In contrast you can use pretty much any pan on a gas stove regardless of how flat the bottom is.gas wins.

While the old-style coil electric burners are not all that easy to clean, they are still easier than gas because you do not have to worry about gunk getting into the burners. Needless to say, the new flattop electric ranges are a breeze to clean.electric wins.

The bottom line is that each type of stove has its strengths and weaknesses and it's impossible to say that one is "better" than the other in any overall sense. Choose the type that best suits you.

Honestly, the response speed is enough for me to go gas. You can go from a hard fry to a gentle sautee' within seconds without touching the pan.

And simmering... well, when you are experienced with gas it's not a problem. I'll admit a slight advantage to electric in the "hot spot" is enlarged, making a "center scorch" almost an impossibility.

I can't go along with the boiling speed...again if ya know how to use gas... you need to adjust the flame size to about an inch UNDER the pan bottom size. This allows max heat transfer to the pan, with less escaping up the sides. Also applys to escaping heat obviously. And pot/pan size in ratio to flame size.

Use of a wok...? Well, can't say I use one. Gotta get into that some day... but how in the world would ya do that with electric?!?

Choice of pans... obvious.

Cleaning... perhaps electric... and like they said..those ceramic/infrared glass tops are great. If I had one it'd be PERFECTLY I'd give up trying to cook on it. ;{)

Gas stoves are in MOST ways superior, and SHOULD be desired by a cook!

Whaddia all think?
post #2 of 15
I've had both....smooth top electric now and gas for many years before. I will choose gas every time!!
post #3 of 15
My home stove is electric. While I prefer a gas stove top the electric in no way hinders my abilities to do what I want including wok cooking but I don't do that very often. But I do prefer the electric oven over gas. Seems to cook more evenly and just better results in general.
post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
Agreed. Especially finishing that brisket or butt... LOL!
post #5 of 15
Have you ever checked out "What Einstein Told His Cook"?,M1

Interesting reading if you are into that sort of thing.

Kind of like an easier to read, but much less comprehensive, "On Food and Cooking".
post #6 of 15
I love "On Food and Cooking"...good book...lots of science! Sorry for butting in...

post #7 of 15
I agree with Richtee. The areas in which gas "wins" are the ones that concern me most. Besides, there's just something satisfying about cooking over FIRE! (Unfortunately, I don't get a choice and have to suffer with electric....)
post #8 of 15
You can still cook and boil water on gas when the power goes out .
post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
Have not....will have a peek. I have got thru most of "On Food and Cooking" but yeah, it's a toughie. I don't mind it much as I have a scientific bent, but to Joe Reader... better strap in and hold on.
post #10 of 15
Yeah, great book, but it definitely is not for everyone, you really have to have an interest in that sort of thing.
post #11 of 15
No need to apologize biggrin.gif
post #12 of 15
I prefer gas over electric. The electric we have now can't cook a biscuit without burning the bottoms. Preheating to temp makes no difference, raising the rack makes no difference. I hate my electric! lol , That sounds really bad comming from an electrician don't it .
post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
Outta the upper element perhaps burnt out??
post #14 of 15
I have a gas range in my outdoor kitchen, and an electric indoors. The outdoor unit came out of a camper that had a fire, not caused by the range but the water heater. Its a 4 burner with a small oven, use it everyday. Not being a high end unit, and made for a rv, the top burners are of a lower btu than a household unit. It does what I want it to do. It takes longer to boil water, and hard to get the flame to simmer. The oven makes biscuits, and baked potatoes better than the electric. With the cost of power getting so high, we use the gas more now and we don't heat up the house and make the ac work harder.

post #15 of 15
No upper works fine. Don't know what it is .
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