While gas and electric were once the only ways to cook, we now have a new faster, safer, more energy efficient, easier-to-clean solution. The induction hob is master of the quick change — delicate enough to melt butter and chocolate gently, but powerful enough to bring six cups of water to a boil in just three minutes.
Induction hobs look the very same as their ceramic alternatives, but the technology inside them is vastly different. Coils inside each induction hob generate a magnetic field when a suitable pot or pan is placed over this coil, the magnetic field causes the pan to heat. The hob itself doesn’t create heat — the heat is generated in the base of the pot itself.
It is important to realise that only pots and pans made from a ferrous metal can be used on an induction hob; non-magnetic pans made from materials such as glass or aluminium will not function. If you are unsure whether one of your pots will work on an induction hob, you can check by placing a magnet on its base. If the magnet sticks to the base all the way out to the edge of the pan, it will work, meaning that your favourite family heirloom saucepans handed down through generations can still be used once they pass this simple test.
• Extremely fast, responsive and controllable: you can heat water in an moment, or instantly stop milk from boiling over.
• More energy efficient: boil your kettle more cheaply on an induction hob than in your electric kettle!
• Safer: the surface of the hob around the pot does not get warm, so is much more suitable for stray fingers from small cooks.
• Easier to clean: because the surface beyond the pot does not get warm, liquids and foods don’t burn on as they would on a ceramic hob, meaning that spills can be cleaned up quickly and easily.
Optional extra features
Some induction hobs are available with touch sensitive controls, leaving their surface completely smooth and thus allowing for extremely easy cleaning. The lack of raised knobs or dials allows for more space on the hob and also eliminates the possibility of a pot melting the dials if they were to accidentally touch during cooking. Most touch sensitive hobs are supplied with a “child lock” to ensure that the hob is not accidentally turned on, making them safer in the kitchen.
A model with flex induction will allow you to heat pans of any size, positioned anywhere in the zone; for example, three small pans could be used in the same space that would only serve two on a ceramic hob. The flex induction zone is also ideal for over-sized pans or a long fish kettle.
An induction hob with a power boost zone makes it even faster, increasing the power of your cooking zone by up to 50 percent. This is the perfect option for fast heating, such as bringing water to a boil quickly.