Glass ceramic cooktops are among the latest innovation in stoves and ranges, at time of publication. Unlike electric cooktops of the past that used visible coil heating elements on top of the surface, the heating elements for ceramic cooktops are underneath and the cooktop surface is sleek and smooth. There are "drop-in" ceramic glass models that fit into cooking island as well as floor-standing range styles. Cooks also have their choice in the type of heating element they desire for their ceramic glass cooktop.
The innovation of the glass induction cooktop is, to a large degree, "leveling the playing field" between gas and electric cooking. Induction cooktops offer heating efficiencies like no other type of cooktop, including gas. Induction cooktops utilize electromagnetic technology to distribute heat only where it is needed: the cookware.
Coil wires transmit electric currents that create a magnetic field that heats the cookware and the cookware only. The cooktop surface remains cool to the touch. Induction cooktops also heat quickly and distribute heat evenly, which in the past was a major shortcoming in terms for cooking with an electric stovetop versus gas.
Radiant Heat Cooktops
Radiant heating elements are common in the most economically priced ceramic glass models. These units use high-speed transmission to radiate heat to the cooking surface. The upside to radiant cooktops is that they produce heat quicker than older, above the surface, electric coil burners and even quicker than gas stoves.
The downside is that heat is not only distributed to the cookware but also to the entire surface of the stove. For this reason, most manufacturers have a heat indicator light on their radiant models to warn cooks to remember that the cooktop surface is hot.
Halogen units use conduction and radiation to distribute heat. The units have tungsten halogen quartz lamps underneath the glass, encircled by electric coils. When the unit is turned on, coils emit a red glow to indicate that the stovetop is in operation. Halogen units have temperature limiters to stop the unit from having heat surges and to protect the cooktop surface and cookware from overheating. A heat deflector directs the heat upward to the surface of the glass so that it provides heat to the cookware.
It is extremely important to use cookware made for the particular type of glass ceramic cooktop you are using. The wrong type can result in breaking the glass surface and ruining the cookware as well. Most manufacturers advise using new or "virgin" cookware on a glass cooktop, versus older cookware that may be warped.
A second rule is to use cookware that has a flat bottom so that the heat will distribute evenly. Cast iron and metal cookware is best for every type of glass cooktop. Glass cookware should never be used on glass cooktops. It will not conduct heat well and can scratch the cooktop surface.
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