Glass ceramic cookware seemed to solve the problem of cleaning food and burnt grease from kitchen burners when they entered the market in the 1970s. Tempered glass cookware was introduced a few years later, allowing cooks to “see” when the burners were on. Some cooks consider them inferior when it comes to cooking, but many enjoy using them.
Tempered glass cookware use toughened glass to cover electric burners’ coils, providing a perfectly flat top. Major appliance manufacturers offer them, including some high-end manufacturers that promise professional-type performance. Users find their use convenient and easy to clean, although cooking surfaces have some special requirements, especially in the type of kitchen utensils used in them. The new top glass ranges come with manuals containing specific recommendations for cookware.
Any type of pot or frying pan can be used in a glass-top cooktop, provided its bottom is perfectly flat. If the bottom is warped or rounded, it will take a long time for the pan to heat up properly, cooking unevenly and wasting energy. Flat bottoms use heat efficiently through the glass barrier. File burrs or manufacturing imperfections on the underside of metal utensils to avoid scratching the glass surface. Fluted bottoms, such as those on grills and some cookware, should not be used, as the uneven surface reflects heat back on the glass unevenly and could lead to breakage of either the glass or the glass.
The containers’ bottoms must be of a slightly smaller diameter than that of the burner in which they are placed. When cookware covers the burner, the heat reflected back to the burner control can trip the thermocouple, shutting off the current before the item actually warms up to the programmed temperature. The heat dissipation around the cookware allows the item to continue heating until it reaches the level at which it was set. Don’t abandon the big pots; just put them on the larger burners to allow the elements to continue heating.
Coated ceramic and enameled metals are recommended for use in kitchens with glass cookware. Flat steel trays work well as long as they don’t cover the burner element. Glass and cast iron trays can also be used only if handled properly. When using glass or ceramic for cooking, always make sure they are clearly marked for use on tempered glass cookware. Only utensils specifically tempered for high temperatures in high-end kitchens will survive.
Cast iron and anodized materials should always be preheated. Glass containers should not be allowed to “dry burn” because overheated glass could melt and merge with the surface. Never move or shake pans and pans, especially if they are cast iron or uncoated steel, during cooking; it will scrape or mark the glass lid. As with any electric cooker, turn off the burner before removing the pan.
The elements of electric cookers will get very hot and an item inside the oven during the cleaning cycle. Cast iron and anodized cookware should be used only on medium to medium-high heat to avoid uneven cooking and boiling overflow. You must know the correct settings for each of the pots in your glass cooktop. These will heat up faster than a conventional electric cooker. Test the pans by boiling one inch (2.5 cm). If the bubbles don’t form evenly around the bottom, replace the saucepan.