Following this motto, we replaced all the built-in appliances in our kitchen with new products in one fell swoop: cooktop, oven and – as a completely delightful new addition – a warming drawer.
I had my first contact with Panasonic’s built-in appliances a few months ago at a workshop with Christian Hümbs. And in fact, I was able to share his enthusiasm directly. The highlight of the induction hob with the unusually bulky name KY-T935XL is the precise temperature control. In other words, instead of cooking something on “medium heat” or on level 4, you simply set 140 degrees here. Or even just 80 if you want to melt chocolate. Or only 65, for example, if you want to produce your own dashi broth. And so we moved in a 90 hob with just these Genius functions. The Panasonic KY-T935XL also features an integrated touch display, which can be used to control a total of 5 flexibly scalable cooking zones in terms of temperature, cooking method and the desired cooking time. This is not only practical, but also functions as a real cockpit and dashboard that shows at a glance what is currently happening on the stove, which zone has which temperature – and how long the respective planned cooking processes are still running.
I recently took my first steps with the new cooktop with a classic Japanese dish: miso soup. A dish that I have not dared to try before, because the exact temperature is so extremely important here.
First and foremost for the dashi stock, which has to be prepared in the first step: Kombu seaweed is put into a pot together with cold water and slowly heated to just below boiling point (ideally a maximum of 95 degrees). If the process is too fast – or the temperature becomes too high, the flavor cannot be released properly and the desired umami taste is not achieved. After about 10 minutes, the seaweed can be removed and the katsobushi, dried and smoked flakes of tuna, is added. Now a temperature of maximum 70 degrees is ideal. As soon as the tuna flakes sink to the bottom, the stock can be strained through a straining cloth – do not squeeze out the flakes! Achieving these subtle temperature differences was so difficult for me before that I only ever worked with ready-made dashi.
And also the warming drawer is suitable for much more than just preheating plates. Through the 7 levels, a temperature between 30 and 75 degrees can be achieved and maintained for a long time and constantly. This is just ideal to let a yeast or sourdough rise precisely. But with the constant low temperatures, many more experiments can be done: The other day I prepared a variation of the onsen egg in the drawer. In contrast to the sous-vide method, the egg yolk can be checked again and again during the cooking process (i.e. carefully tested with light finger pressure). Once it reaches the right consistency, you can immediately continue to process it.
In my first test, I let it cook a little longer at first, to about a waxy consistency, and then combined it with leek ash. The latter can be easily made either on the Beefer or under the grill. The leeks are first briefly blanched, then dried, and then roasted on both sides to the point where they are minimally away from being completely burnt. The aroma is beguiling – and ideal for selective use. Together with the egg, a real umami bomb unfolds.
In another experiment, the egg yolk was to be only lightly faltered and then served in the center of a bibimbap.
By the way, for the Korean classic, I prepared all the vegetables (except the mushrooms) in the steamer. Only the peppers I lightly roasted beforehand to tickle the wonderful sweet and smoky flavors out of the skin. I cooked the carrot and the cabbage for 6 minutes each at maximum steam until crisp without any further treatment.
In terms of technology, a lot has happened in recent years with ovens, too. The current state of the art not only brings together heat, steam and microwave, the Panasonic HL-SX485S, which now performs its services in our kitchen, allows these functions to interact simultaneously. This is not only a novelty, but also super practical when it comes to baking bread, for example. Even at 230 degrees heat, you can add water vapor intermittently at the touch of a button, which keeps the dough nice and moist and elastic for the first few minutes. Here you have a free choice whether you want to work with steam for only one minute or longer. The intensity of the steam burst can also be varied. And vegetables, which is of course the core competence of the steamer, can be steamed gently. Turn on the microwave and it goes much faster without loss of flavor, texture and vitamins. Theoretically, this combination can also be used to thaw and regenerate very quickly – but this still needs to be researched further.
It is a great field of new possibilities that is now open to us in the home kitchen. Over the coming months I would like to take you along with me and in the future I will always label my new recipes with the intended cooking temperature.
In my opinion, this allows for much more reproducible results – which of course pays off especially when cooking more elaborate recipes for guests. At the latest then I am always very grateful for any “guardrail” that helps me to drive in the planned lanes to achieve the results that I have planned. Less stress is the result. The large TFT display also helps to keep track of what’s happening on the stove and the right timing.
I have to thank Panasonic and Prime-Connection, not only for making the three devices available, but especially for the great support and the introduction to the many new possibilities that will be available here in the future.