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Article

The Smoothtop Advantage

Fine Cooking Issue 71
Photo: Scott Phillips
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It’s conventional wisdom that most cooks prefer gas burners to electric—gas is faster, easier to control, and more responsive—but if electric is your only option, take heart. Electric burners have come a long way since the slow-to-heat coils of the past, and the newest smoothtop (also called glass- or ceramic-top) models have several advantages.

Adjustable rings. Many smoothtops come with “dual-element” burners, which can be sized bigger or smaller. Use the inner circle for small pans or add an outer ring of heat for bigger pots. Some models even have three rings.  Manufacturers that currently offer or are introducing triple-ring burners are Thermador, General Electric, and KitchenAid.

Bridge burner. On some models, an additional burner can be activated to provide heat beneath a roasting pan or griddle (see the photo above).

Efficient. Smoothtops heat up quickly and are superb at holding a low simmer.

Continuous surface. It’s easy to slide pots and pans across a smoothtop’s flat surface. When the burners aren’t in use, a smoothtop can double as a countertop.

Easy cleaning. No nooks and crannies to scrub, though you might need a special nonabrasive cleanser.

Safety. No open flame makes smoothtops less of a fire hazard.

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