Why the first pancake will never fail again

We solved the mystery of the failed first pancake. It has to do with how a normal cooktop works.

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How does a normal cooktop work?

You know how it is. The first pancake is for the chef. But that is because the temperature in your pan is not high enough when you start. When you cook with temperature control, you always know the exact temperature of your pan. This control gives consistent results from start to finish.

Your cooktop has power levels, e.g. from 1-9. These levels control how much power is sent to the cooktop to increase its temperature and how quickly the temperature increases. In theory, if you do not adjust the power, the pan will keep getting hotter and hotter. Adding food to the pan is a way of regulating the heat of the pan. The food absorbs heat from the pan, reducing the heat of the pan itself.

Controlling heat vs temperature

You control the temperature using gas, mass, induction, grill, or fire pit. You control how much energy is added: watts to the induction cooktop or fire under the bonfire—adjusting the cooktop’s settings – the added energy – while cooking is an indirect way of controlling the temperature of your pots and pans. With this method, you only control the speed of your pan heat, not the exact temperature it reaches.

Cooking today is about instinct and experience

When you cook on a traditional stove, you do not know the temperature of your pots and pans, as it constantly changes. So you are not in complete control of the process – but with experience and some “luck”, you can learn to cook this way – and get good at it! It just takes longer to master the art than if you know the exact temperature at which the food is cooked.

Like an oven

When you cook in your oven, you know approximately how many degrees your food is cooking. Because you set the temperature in the oven and know it will stay at that temperature until you turn it off again. You have learned exactly what temperature your chocolate cake needs to be baked at to be perfect after 30 minutes of baking. Imagine if you could do the same with your frying pan!

How to make the first pancake perfect

Set Ztove to 190 ºC, and you know that the first pancake will take the same amount of time as the last pancake because the pan has the same temperature the whole time. That is why it is much easier to use a temperature-controlled cooktop than a power-controlled one. You just set your temperature and let Ztove regulate the power for you. Ztove ensures the required temperature is reached and maintained – and you can spend your energy practising how to flip a pancake in the air.