So tell me about cooking with gas

I’ve been contemplating sometime in the next year replacing my crappy stove. (The oven temp is amazingly unreliable (and not by a consistent amount!), I hate it, hate it hate it, etc.) So anyway, I’ve been thinking about gas.

I’ve never used gas before. I like to cook and I hear that real cooks all love gas, but it scares me to have open flames around in the kitchen - I’m clumsy enough and there’s always piles of crap on the counter, I’d be afraid something would fall down or fall over or whatever and it would all go up in flames. Also I just read in Consumer Reports that while people like the visual feedback of gas, their tests suggest that good electric burners heat up faster and are more reliable at low temps.

Whenever there’s a thread here about gas or electric everybody comes in and screams gas gas gas, but is it really better? (Of course I have no gas line in the kitchen right now so I’d also have to have one put in. My water heater is gas, and I have gas heat and gas logs, but nothing else.) Also, gas is only getting more expensive. I thought about the dual-fuel thing with an electric oven, but CR didn’t really care for them and they’re also very expensive. Would you guys really get gas if you were me?

Yes, of course I eould get gas if Iwere you! Aside from the nominal fee for putting in a gas line and going through the rigamarol (sp?) of getting everything hooked up and the fees for having the propane guy come out every-so-often - I see no problems with cooking with gas.
The benefits of the temperature range and ability to control it are many… It’s like the person who wants a standard car instead of an automatic… you simply want more control… :slight_smile:

If you are talking about switching from a gas grill to a charcoal grill then we have a different set of circumstances all together…

Zsofia, I currently cook with gas, and have for years. Yes, everyone says it’s the absolute best, you can’t cook without it, yada yada yada. But I grew up with electric and that’s the way I learned to cook - and frankly, I would have NO problem at all going back to electric. So here’s one fairly experienced cook who won’t tell you you must have gas. :slight_smile:

For cooktops and broiling I recommend gas. For baking I have heard that electric has better temp control.

I have almost exclusivally used gas, both on cheap and expensive kitchens, and electric only in cheap ktichens. My summary is that top of the line gas rocks - you almost get a orgasm when you use it - nothing else I have used comes close. The cleap gas stuff works just fine and dandy, cheap electric just sucks any pleasure of cooking right out. Now I don’t know where top of the line electric fits in.

It’s less of an issue with the oven; but cooktop I hate electric. The burner touches the pan and causes hotspots where scalding/burning is more likley than the more even heating of a flame. This is especially a problem if you don’t have high-quality pans that spread the heat more evenly. Temp changes are more instant with gas. You can go from full boil to a simmer or low-heat instantly. With electric, the element retains heat longer and can cause a problem with temperature sensitive sauces.

If you own the house and plan to stay in it, I’d certainly spend the money to get a gas line to the kitchen. If the fireplace is near the kitchen, the line may already be there. Builders sometimes run both gas and electric in spec houses and hook up whichever the buyer wants.

For the most part, Consumer Reports is a bunch of dummies. I’ve never seen an electric anything that gets hot as fast as gas. Nothing cools off as fast either. This is for normal spiral element electric units. I’ve not had any experience with the newer (and startlingly expensive) radiant, induction or halogen surfaces.

Turn the knob and <foom> you’re at full flame in an instant. Too hot? Turn the knob, lower the flame, (or cut it off entirely) and the heat’s gone. Electric takes a long time to heat up or cool down the heating elements. If something’s about to boil over on a gas cooktop, just kill the heat - on electric, you have to grab it and pick it up. Might not be the safest thing to do.

Electric can be better for baking - it’s dry. Gas puts out heat and a bit of water as it burns, so a gas oven will be a bit more humid than an electric. Unless you’re a professional baker, don’t worry about it.

For the OP, you may be better off just getting a good electric range, rather than messing with running pipe around the house.

The house is 77 years old, I don’t think the builders ran anything to anywhere, I’m afraid. :wink: Even the gas fireplace has an ugly pipe work-around where whoever put it in ran the pipe up through the floor and around into the front of the fireplace. Making changes in the house is a lot more of a pain than it would be in a modern house, although I think a gas line in the kitchen wouldn’t be prohibitively difficult.

Philosphr… propane?

I’m a fellow klutz, and the only damage I’ve done is scorched a dishtowel when I stupidly decided to substitute it for a potholder. Oh, and I once melted a plastic collander. But that was not flame-related or gas-specific; the burned had been turned off but was still hot.

Really, “lit gas burner” no more dangerous than “hot electric burner.” They will both melt plastic (including wrapping left carelessly on the stovetop) and they will both set cloth or paper to smoulder. You will instincitively treat your gas burner with the same respect you give your electric burners, if not more, and I proimse that the flame will not jump out and try to get you.

And the finer control and instant response of a gas burner make it far superior.

Wait… really? There’s no heat after you turn the gas off? What about the thing the pot rests on, that doesn’t stay hot? If there’s really no heat when you turn the gas off, that might be the selling point for me!

The grill will hold the heat for awhile. It’s not instantly safe as soon as you turn it off. But it will instantly cool down enough to stop a pot from boiling over.

I’ve done both. Gas is bettah. Way more bettah.

The grill the pan sits on is hot but isn’t radiating heat enough to keep cooking the food. Go gas.

Like Kalhoun says, it’s way more bettah.

I have a gas cooktop, and put an electric convection oven underneath it. If you can do new countertops, you may want to consider that. It gives you one seamless countertop, with the cooktop in it, and you eliminate the crumb-catching gap between the range and the counters.

There is no way, and I mean absolutely no way, you can get a proper Chinese style stir-fry with electric.

wants to go back to gas :frowning:

As you mentioned propane, I just want to note that propane is not as hot as natural gas, which for most things is fine. Someplaces are starting to sell CNG (compressed natural gas) if you want the full gas experence (orgasimns included) it would help to look into natural gas.

The Prefect household went gas after Christmas after consulting with the Doper community.
Do it! You won’t regret it. If you have half-ass fry pans that have warped bases and don’t work well on electric because they can’t make contact with the element properly… they now will work just as great as a flat pan, the flame doesn’t care about flat.

Instant heat, instant cool, all great.

Our only complaint is clean-up. We came from a ceramic top stove and this wiping around elements is more work. The benefits definitely outweigh the downsides.

Btw, I won’t even get started on how great gas baking is.

Any kind of baking would be an improvement over my crap oven. I do bake, it’s just… exciting. I have good pans, though! Excellent pans that I saved up to buy! Well, I guess they’ll still appreciate the gas. :slight_smile:

I’ve about decided to go for it. What features are important on a gas stove? What exactly does “sealed burners” mean? Is that as easy to clean as those solid electric ones? My mom has one of those and the cleaning is definately a plus. Right now I’ve got a coil burner stove, so I guess it doesn’t really make a big difference. Do you have to light a pilot light? How does that even work?

I agree with this. I really miss my Jenn-Air cooktop, which I had in my last house. It was electric and I really, really liked it. Modular design, easy to clean, easy to get and replace new parts, nice attachments like a grill and a griddle …

One thing no one seems to mention in favor of electric stovetops is that they boil water faster. A gas flame may reach its maximum heat quicker and burn hotter than an electric coil, but the coil is more efficient at transferring its heat to the water. Sometimes I feel like boiling a pot of water on my current gas stove takes fordamnever, and it’s a pain because I make pasta all the time.

If you are concerned about cost, gas stoves don’t use much gas. Mine runs off propane, I use it all the time and if I don’t have the heat on between March and June, you can’t even tell any of the propane’s been used (we get tank fill-ups in March and June). I’m sure with natural gas the amount is very small as well.

As far as safety is concerned, you shouldn’t have junk around your stove that could fall on it and burn anyway, regardless of what type you decide to get. That’s asking for something bad to happen.

Gas stoves these days have electronic ignitions. This is good and bad. It’s safer, and you don’t have to worry about a pilot light going out, but your oven won’t work when the power goes out. You can still use the burners by lighting them with a match, though. Just be careful not to burn yourself.

No, unfortunately. I’m not even sure what’s “sealed” in sealed burners that I’ve seen in stores; they still require a bit more effort to clean than gas.-

Every stove I’ve seen nowadays has electronic ignition: you turn the flame on full and an electric spark ignites it. Frankly, I liked our old stove with a pilot light. It light more quickly - sometimes it takes what seems like forever for one of the electric sparks to actually catch.

Sealed burners are a bit of a misnomer. What it translates into is easy cleaning. There’s an enamelled cast-iron disk that sits on top of the burner, which is itself another cast-metal puck with an elaborate array of slots, notches and holes. The “unsealed” burners are a one-piece stamped and formed hunk of sheet metal, usually with one burner at each end.

Oddly, sealed burners are far easier to take apart than the old-style “unsealed” burners for cleaning. The disk that sits on top is essentially self-cleaning, as is the burner puck. If there’s a spill, the whole thing is held together by gravity, unlike “unsealed” burners that are impossible to take apart. Unsealed burners also have a much larger hole in the cooktop to poke out through, so spills are more apt to get under the cooktop where they’re a true pain to clean. The sealed burners have a snugger hole in the cooktop, and that top disk overhangs the edge of the hole, so spills are much less likely to get underneath.