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Carl
11-05-2012, 01:13 AM
Not being a professional cook, and having never used high end equipment, the "flat top burner" range is a mystery to me. A 12" cast iron grate over a round gas burner I totally understand. What's with the flat top? But I saw a line of very high end home range one of the options is a flat top in place of 2 burners. This was distinct and separate from the "grill/griddle" option. In photos I've seen these things as well, on a grander scale. Flat metal surfaces with pots and pans on them, with rings in them to expose the flames directly, but were usually left in place. I also saw this kind of surface on 2 of my grandmothers cooking stoves, her wood fired kitchen stove/oven, and the wood fired heating stove in the living room (living in the deep woods many things served double duty.).

So, is there a simple reason the high end places use the flat top over the open burners?

wenus2
11-05-2012, 01:21 AM
AKA- French top.
It provides gradient heat. The whole thing heats up and is hot at the burner, then progressively cooler as you move away from it. It's ideal for finding the prefect simmer point and cooking at low heat.

Carl
11-05-2012, 01:26 AM
Interesting. Thanks! I'd love to try one out. Maybe someday.

GlassEye
11-05-2012, 01:44 AM
You can also fit more pots in that space than traditional burners, if you need to.

My mother used to have a huge Wolf range with 8 burners and a big French top (about the size of four burners) in the middle, the range I started cooking on. That French top can be nice, I am really going to miss that thing once Thanksgiving comes up, cooking for about 60 can really take up all available space.

Bulldogbacchus
11-05-2012, 06:40 AM
My range has a 24" x 24" French top with one 18000 btu burner beneath it. Although you can simmer/boil several pots at once, I rarely use it, except as a source of heat during the winter. It radiates heat like crazy. a good thing if you live in Greenland..... Not so good in Texas.

stephenblake
02-24-2013, 05:24 AM
i use flat/french tops everyday at work. in fact i kind of hate cooking over open flames these days. for me the main plus is that, while in service and cooking every thing to order, i can cook more things in smaller pots at the same time vs dedicating a single burner that can hold bigger pots and pans but. the smaller (1 and 2 QT) pots i use dont really sit nicely on the open flame burner greats. and also, although this is just me being a wimp, the handles of pots and pans on a french top dont really get as blazing hot as they do with a flame blasting over them.

ChefOnAWire
02-24-2013, 08:19 PM
I too use a French top everyday at work but I don't cook on it, I just use it to hold things during service. I keep my clarified butter, veg/chicken stock, rabbit Ju and a few sauces on there in water baths. Now that I think about it the French top really only has its place in restaurants or a kitchen for a large family. Bulldog is right they throw off crazy amounts of heat and if you want to use it they take 20 plus minutes to heat up, not ideal for the home cook but very useful in the pro kitchen.

Notaskinnychef
02-25-2013, 02:48 AM
guess for those wanting something similar to a french top you could get the copper plates that were discussed around here last month or two. They take less time to heat up, can allow multiple small pots at once and ultimately, are removable and tossed in a drawer

stephenblake
02-25-2013, 04:14 AM
i always think about using a nice heavy plancha on my crappy non-gas burner at home as a make shift cook top. i could keep 3 pans on one plancha that is heated by 2 elements making them more efficient. but yeah unless it is kept on all day and used to heat your home i think they are a bit impractical for sure.

kostantinos
02-25-2013, 04:40 AM
A combination of french stove top and induction units will yield great results . I could not say if a gas french stove would be better in a home setting it definitely would be less efficient in energy consumption compared to induction.And because both cooking tops have pros & cons a combo of the 2 would be optimal

stphntrjllo
02-25-2013, 10:43 PM
French tops all the way

stephenblake
02-26-2013, 11:00 AM
here is a a cool range i saw in a window front in austria in 08. it is pretty small compared to the size of our oven/ranges
http://www.flickr.com/photos/25632499@N07/4048371734/

also here is on in my buddies farm house. he lives in white cross nc and uses it as the only heater for the winter.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/25632499@N07/4229810423/

longhorn
03-02-2013, 03:22 AM
One kitchen I worked in had the coolest flat top stove. It was electric and built kind of in the premise of a french top, but instead of the usual burner in the center/hottest in the middle colder on sides effect it was warmed from the corners. Also one could control which corner were on and how high they were each turned up to. During service it was fantastic, but during prep it was just phenomenal.

Unfortunately it had a crack in one part of it, so it couldn't be used as a plancha nor could one spill anything on it. On the occasion that someones pot boiled over or something everything would stop and look over, as if expecting the whole thing is just explode....fun times

jcsiii
06-24-2013, 03:11 PM
Burners are best for large stock pots or blanching. French tops for more controlled cooking and sauce work. I absolutist love cooking on a plancha though. The large surface area and consistent heat are so much better than the hot spot cooking you can get with pans.

WiscoNole
06-25-2013, 01:55 AM
They're great for restaurant cooking because of the ability to fit significantly more pans on the same space as burners.

ChuckTheButcher
07-15-2013, 02:47 AM
Flat top. No question.

brainsausage
07-15-2013, 03:29 AM
Flat tops are the worst way to bring a pot to boil, or find a perfect simmer, and have a hard time recuperating from a sudden glut of product. They're great for quick pick ups during service though, and for making giant batches of steak sandwiches!!!

aser
08-07-2013, 04:37 AM
French tops are great, I work with two right now. The only minus is how gross I feel after a hot night's of service. Exacerbated by the salamander sitting right above two french tops. It's a sauna....

Would like to work in a kitchen kitted out w/ induction only one day.

quantumcloud509
09-22-2013, 03:31 PM
AKA- French top.
It provides gradient heat. The whole thing heats up and is hot at the burner, then progressively cooler as you move away from it. It's ideal for finding the prefect simmer point and cooking at low heat.

Agreed


French tops are great, I work with two right now. The only minus is how gross I feel after a hot night's of service. Exacerbated by the salamander sitting right above two french tops. It's a sauna....

Would like to work in a kitchen kitted out w/ induction only one day.

Accept the grossness, love it, nurture it like its your child. Be one with the sweat. Youre lucky that all your station entails lol. Ive got that, a flat top, and a grill AND a broken swamp cooler for the past week to boot. Coldest part of the kitchen - 95 degrees fahrenheit. ;)

Geo87
10-02-2013, 09:05 AM
Not too sure on the terminology as we may call them different things.
However, a flat top or flat grill for us is usually exactly as it sounds but product is cooked directly on it.
Better yet is a "target top". 4 heated plates with a circle in the middle.. like a target. This is where pans are placed at certain spots to achieve different temps. Although I have heard people mentioning cooking directly on them. I've also heard claims of "tuning them like a piano"

The number 1 benefit of cooking on a target top or a flat top is... No flames! Without flames licking up the sides of your pans during service it's just less messy.
Better yet is induction cook tops ... They are brilliant for very precise prep work needing exact temps especialy sugar work

eshua
10-16-2013, 01:24 AM
Different terms by use.

Descending from radiant holding for saucing to quick sear pickup. Agree/Disagree....more beer brb.

French

Flat top

Plancha

I love my knives, but the space you work in....however trashy or broken, is better. The pace it facilitates...Gota learn tempo.

Chefget
10-25-2013, 07:15 PM
Don't know if it's been mentioned, but dropping a bit of oil on the flattop (say, 1 Tbsp), then putting a pan on top the oil before it bursts into flame, brings the temp of the pan to very hot almost immediately...water will boil in an aluminum pan almost instantly!

Careful though...if there is ANY moisture on the bottom of the pan it can explode like a bomb, throwing the pan straight back at you.....

-Michael

jbl
10-30-2013, 02:38 PM
Cooking direct on flat top also good. Foie, scallops etc.

jbl
10-30-2013, 02:44 PM
An currently designing a new kitchen for a bar opening next year and we're going all induction. It's a beautiful thing working in a cool climate!