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Griddles - Versatility Meets Modern Requirements
Griddles are an important part of the fine dining experience. Historically, a griddle was a large frying pan or skillet, which became a place to show off skills in cooking. The word "griddle" derived from the German verb Grache, meaning "to grill". Today, griddles are often referred to as the kitchen "tables" due to their rectangular shape and flat surface.
DescriptionA griddle is usually a round, flat cooking surface heated directly over a source of fuel, either electricity gas, coal, or wood. In industrialized nations, a griddle most often is a flat metal plate, otherwise usually a flat stone or slate. Griddles can be equipped with or without a removable plate; a common practice is for the plate to be removed to prepare food. The plates themselves come in a variety of thicknesses and cookware capability and can be used for preparing a number of delicate items.
Key Differences Unlike a hot dog or wok, griddles have a number of different heat levels that produce differing results depending on the type of fuel and cooking method employed. The flat top surface is where the food is prepared while the griddle itself contains a number of grilling slots or heat resistant layers. Each successive level adds another set of heat, until the desired temperature has been achieved. Griddles can also be found in two basic styles: the traditional European design which features a wide base and thin slits for the food to be grilled, and the U.S.A. style flat top which eliminates the middle section and relies on the raised, diamond shaped grill top.
Cooking Benefits Cast iron cookware offers the benefit of using a non-stick surface, which prevents contamination and allows for even cooking. Non-stick cooking surfaces also make cleanup much easier than that of conventional pans or pots, since the use of strong cleansers is not needed. The ease of cleaning a non-stick surface makes this a favorite choice among bakers and cooks.
Flat top griddles offer an additional benefit: they are not only easy to use but versatile as well. Non-stick pan linings make cleaning much easier than with traditional pan seasoning. In addition, non-stick surfaces reduce the amount of fat contained in the foods prepared. This means that less fat is transferred to the finished meal, as well as reducing the amount of calories consumed. Foods prepared on a non-stick pan tend to taste better and are also less likely to collect harmful contaminants like bacteria and spices.
Griddle Searing A key difference between the two cooking methods is the way in which they sear the food. Most traditional methods of searing involve heating the food by adding oil or butter into the pan. This causes the top of the food to quickly develop a smoke-colored exterior. Heat waves then cause the bottom of the food to become dark and even smoky in color - a process called learning.
In contrast, electric griddles do not require oil or butter to cook the food, because there is no hot surface to develop smoke or char. Electric griddles have flat, even surfaces that do not heat up at the touch of a button, so the outside doesn't darken as well as traditional pan surfaces do. These flat griddles are very convenient for families with children because they can be used for all types of family meals - from starters to main courses and are very easy to clean after use. Griddle plates, as well suited to this style of cooking, are available in a wide range of styles and colors, with each plate crafted from durable material.
One of the reasons griddles have remained so popular over time is their flexibility as a method of cooking. As more families moved out of the home and into apartments and workplaces, they found themselves with very few kitchen appliances to keep their cooking simple. In addition, many chefs began to work late, which limited their ability to devote time to preparing foods. In response, a variety of innovative cooking devices emerged to help them prepare food quickly, which made griddles very popular in the public kitchens of America. With such ease of use and portability, griddles have become an integral part of the American kitchen.