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Thread: Flat top vs open burner

  1. #1
    Senior Member Carl's Avatar
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    Flat top vs open burner

    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?
    BBQ Heretic

  2. #2
    Senior Member wenus2's Avatar
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    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.
    -Enjoy the ride. *** All statements made herein are my personal opinion and nothing more, regardless of tone or context. ***

  3. #3
    Senior Member Carl's Avatar
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    Interesting. Thanks! I'd love to try one out. Maybe someday.
    BBQ Heretic

  4. #4
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    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.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Bulldogbacchus's Avatar
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    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.

  6. #6
    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.

  7. #7

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    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.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Notaskinnychef's Avatar
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    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

  9. #9
    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.

  10. #10
    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

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