Whether you’re transitioning to a gas range for the first time and are excited to start or you just installed your new professional gas range and worry about cooking with gas, this post will put your mind at ease. Cooking with gas is a safe, efficient, and effective way to cook and can really elevate your cooking if you follow a few simple guidelines.
So this post walks you through the top ideas to keep in mind while cooking on your gas range. From temperature control to cooking times, you can work your ZLINE gas range like a pro if you remember a few important, straightforward concepts. With a little conscious cooking, you’ll be whipping up meals in no time, and you’ll find cooking on your professional gas range promises to be both simple and enjoyable.
1. Learn How to Simmer Perfectly with Gas
One of the first differences a person notices who has only used electric ranges before is that simmering can be tricky at first. With an electric range, it takes longer for your burner to heat up and cool down. So you can turn down the burner on an electric range without much precision—and for short simmer times even turn it off—and still have some degree of simmering.
Your ZLINE gas range and other professional gas ranges, however, are more precise. Precision makes for better cooking, and you can master simmering right off the bat if you remember one thing: With a gas range when you turn the burner off, the heat is off so your temperature drop is more drastic than gradual compared to an electric stove.
Do you remember how your grandma would bend down to “check the flame” under her pot on the stove? She knew what it should look like to get her flame to simmer. So make sure you look at the flame as you turn it down to ensure you don’t completely turn it off. Gas is very responsive, but with a little practice, you’ll know just how your flame should look to simmer perfectly.
2. You Can Cook with Natural Gas or Propane
Some fear that gas changes the flavor or look of their food. Some equate using gas with charring or grilling because of the open flame a gas range provides, but we’re here to assure you that whether you cook with propane or natural gas, the flavor of your food will be enhanced with the improvements a gas range can offer.
Gas doesn’t impart a flavor to whatever you’re cooking. On the contrary, the consistent, responsive flame actually gives you more control to bring out the best flavor in each dish. From heating up quickly to cooking consistently, you’ll understand why professional chefs prefer gas ranges once you’ve experienced cooking with one.
You won’t see any difference in how your food looks either, although you will likely notice that your food cooks more evenly on a gas stovetop, which can enhance its appearance. Although people may tell you the myth that gas burns hotter, just remember that temperature is measured in degrees.
So 350 degrees is, well, 350 degrees. The fuel—electric or gas—doesn’t change how “hot” a temperature is. Instead, how hot your burner’s temperature reads will depend on how high you turn it up—that goes for both gas and electric ranges. Gas ranges will heat up more quickly than electric ranges. So unless you’re heavy-handed with that dial, you don’t have to worry about natural gas or propane affecting your meal looks.
3. Pick Your Pots and Pans Carefully
While gas won’t affect how your food looks or tastes, the type of pots and pans you use could influence the quality of your finished dish. If you invest in a high-quality appliance, like a ZLINE gas range, you need to match that quality with the tools you use.
You may encounter some advice that suggests you only stick to pots and pans made with stainless steel, anodized aluminum, and copper. However, the quality matters most. High-quality cookware—regardless of material—works well on any fuel source. What does matter is that you choose the right pot or pan for the technique you are using and that you understand how to use it with your gas range.
4. Keep Safety First
While gas is certainly safe to use, you should remember these safety tips as you cook, especially if you’ve never used gas before:
- Watch the flame. If you’re used to an electric range, you may be in the habit of transferring a pot from the cooktop to the counter or another without thinking twice. However, on a gas range, when you remove a pot with a burner on, you expose an open flame. So remember to turn the burner off, and also watch that you don’t have towels, wooden spoons, or other flammable items even near a burner.
- Clean off food and other items. While cleaning your stove is good for hygienic purposes, it also helps prevent your flame from turning last night’s food bits into a fire. Additionally, avoid using your range like a countertop to prevent items from accidentally making contact with a burner’s flame.
- Know what gas smells like. While you should have a carbon monoxide detector in your home if you have a gas range, you should also learn what your gas smells like so that you can detect leaks. Gas is naturally odorless so suppliers add an odor to it for detection purposes. Check to see if your gas supplier has a scratch-and-sniff card, since many do, to help customers know what smells indicate a gas leak.
- Learn how to turn off the gas valve. Find your gas valve and ask your supplier or a professional gas plumber to walk you through how to turn it off so that you can do so if you ever suspect a leak.
Whether you have a ZLINE gas range, an ILVE, or a Thor, a professional gas range can be a rewarding culinary experience. With these tips in mind, you can find the perfect gas range that can both enhance the look of your kitchen as well as offer a highly satisfying cooking experience.