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Old 04-05-2012, 06:23 PM   #1
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Are temperature sensors going to change cooking?

I have a question regarding temperature control when cooking on the stove. Some of the new cooktops come with sensors measuring with both boiling sensors (using IR measuring the side of the pot, this way getting the temperature of the content) and frying sensors (measuring temperature at bottom of cookware). Do you guys think this will change the way we cook?

Imagine you are frying 10 small pieces of meat and that you can fit 5 pcs in your frying pan.

If the regular levels cooktops have (1-9, 1-12 or whatever) instead represented different levels of temperature. Maybe 12 is 200C and 1 is 40C. When putting the meat in the pan, the stove would then increase the effect to counter the cooling of the pan, and similarly when the first 5 are removed the stove would lower the effect so that the oil won´t burn when your reach for the last 5 pcs. As it is now one has to constantly change the heat levels.

What do you guys think? Will temperature control take over the regular "effect control" on out cooktops?

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Old 04-05-2012, 06:43 PM   #2
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Even with this type of sensing, you could exceed the ability of the burner to generate enough heat to recover in a reasonable time if you put too much into the pan at once.

'Constantly changing heat levels' isn't that big a deal. The temp markings on the burner dial would have to be connected to a computerized interface to start the burner at the highest temperature and reduce the heat to the set level once the contents reach the desired level.
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Old 04-05-2012, 07:46 PM   #3
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It won't change cooking. Not much. Few people understand the dynamics of boiling liquids or the nature of what's happening when concentrating a sugar solution to achieve a particular consistency. And it is often not the case that the target is simply bringing a solution to boiling. How will you use a temperature sensor to achieve and maintain a rolling boil? The temperature from simmer to full rolling boil will always be the boiling point of the liquid, 100C for pure water at sea level. But considerably more heat is required to maintain the rolling boil. I can tell when it's got it, but I can't tell it how to get there.

Plus, aside from the boiling point of water, how many cooks know the boiling point of what they're cooking? How could they? It's not knowable with any but the most trivial solutions. Few enough know the target internal temperatures for meats of desired doneness. Fewer still will know the temperatures that indicate desired finish of various baked goods. And if you can use it in the same way you use a meat or baking thermometer, why bother?

Nor can the sensor anticipate the cook's intent. It can't know how much of what food I will place in the plan, meaning it can't heat beyond the desired point so that the temperature won't drop below the target when I put in food. And most home cooks are now using tri-ply type cookware. It's good for creating an evenly heated surface, but it's slow to respond to changes in applied heat. It can't think, "Hey, I'm going to drop a bunch of meat in that pan, so I'd better hot it up a lot, so it won't fall off too much."

And, of course, any system that could bring something slowly up to temperature at a predetermined rate would require more programming that would be practical. You can't set a temperature target for an effect if you don't know that temperature. So what's the boiling point of two quarts of a ten percent sugar solution with a tablespoon of salt added? What will you tell the sensor control to bring it to an active medium boil and hold it there? I don't know, either.

The limit of a sensor system is its use to maintain a temperature once you tell it that temperature has been achieved. Like an automobile cruise control. That's not enough to interest me.
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Old 04-06-2012, 02:29 AM   #4
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any kind of sensing and automated control of a burner's output would also need an agc circuit (automatic gain control) so it doesn't keep trying to turn on or off, up or down when the desired temp threshold has been met. so then it's a matter of setting the gain and loss values.
still, the cooking surface/burner/oven would need to be able to produce a massive increase in it's output to offset an inexperienced cook overcrowding a pan or fryer. and then there would have to be some kind of venting or refrigerant system to produce a decrease in temp when again, an inexperienced cook starts off with the heat too high. you can only lose heat so fast.

so while bells and whistles are neat, nothing can replace the experience of a human "computer", and bells and whistles are just one more thing that can break down.
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Old 04-06-2012, 07:06 AM   #5
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Its like this, if something goes wrong, will the cook have something to fall back on to finish with good results? Ever see a young cashier try to make change without the register telling them or how confused they get if they already entered the amount tendered and you hand them exact change?
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