Introduction to Induction
In every commercial kitchen, things move quickly. Keeping up with high demands from a busy restaurant floor can quickly become overwhelming, even for the most experienced chef. Any way that things can be made quicker and easier are, of course, welcomed. This is why induction cooking has become so popular as the benefits far outweigh any initial investment costs. But what exactly does it mean to cook using induction? Here’s a quick rundown of everything you need to know when getting started with induction cooking.
What is induction cooking?
Unlike other methods of cooking, induction heating uses magnetic fields to create heat. An electric current is run underneath a low heat conducting glass ceramic stovetop or hob. When pots or pans with a ferromagnetic base are placed on the stove, they create a magnetic field that allows the pots and pans themselves to heat up, rather than the stovetop below it. Although the stovetop will still retain a bit of heat, it’s not nearly as much as with other cooking methods.
Because only the pots and pans heat up, they act like their own burner so you don’t have to wait for them to get to the right temperature. It’s an extremely fast and efficient method of heating, as well as safe and easy to use.
What are the benefits of cooking using induction?
Cooking using induction is fast gaining in popularity, not only in the home but also in commercial kitchens. With so many new appliances on the market, from hotplates to deep fryers, there’s an option to suit almost any kitchen. And because the heat is immediately available, you’ll never find yourself waiting for another pot to come to the boil ever again.
Induction is also seen as being much cleaner and safer than cooking with gas. Because only the pots and pans that heat up, you’re less likely to experience any accidents that may result in dangerous kitchen fires. And since the stove top itself doesn’t heat up, you’ll find it much easier to clean than the baked-on grease that inevitably happens with traditional electric stoves.
Are there any cons to investing in induction? Possibly. For instance, you may need to invest in new cookware if your current ones aren’t compatible. Induction stoves need pots and pans that are magnetic in order to work properly. Checking this is easy. Simply place a magnet under your current pots and pans. If the magnet sticks, you’re good to go. If the magnet doesn’t stick at all or only sticks a little, you may need to replace those items.
Another thing to consider when investing in induction appliances is your current menu planning. Many of your meals will take less time to cook each individual component. For example, you know your pasta takes 20 minutes to cook, including the time it takes for the water to come to the boil. You might usually use this time to make the sauce, cook the vegetables or meat and put everything together. But using induction could throw your entire schedule off. You may need to adjust some of your recipes and take a little time to get used to cooking so quickly, but one you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll certainly see the benefits.
How do I keep my induction appliances clean?
Cleaning induction appliances is actually even easier than cleaning traditional stovetops. Because the stovetop never heats up itself, any spills or drops only heat up a little and don’t become the baked-on grease we all know is tough to remove. All you need is a little soap and warm water.
For freestanding induction appliances, first unplug the appliance and remove the electrical plug from the wall socket. You don’t need to wait for these appliances to cool down entirely, but it is recommended that you make sure any residual heat has cooled to a point where you can touch it. Then, simply take a little bit of warm water and a mild detergent, and wipe down the appliance. It’s advisable to use a microfibre cloth so that you don’t scratch the glass surface. Don’t forget to dry everything down with a clean, dry cloth afterwards to prevent streaks. The stovetop should be cleaned after every use so that you always begin cooking with a clean surface.
So is it worth it to invest in induction cooking? For most catering businesses, the answer is probably a resounding ‘yes’! But if you want to try it out first, before converting your entire kitchen, why not start with a smaller appliance and see how it works? Maxima has a range of mobile induction hobs that can be used on any countertop, or even moved along with mobile catering units. And if you do decide to incorporate induction cooking into your kitchen, there are larger premium models that fit perfectly into any cooking line.