Real-life reviews: Bertazzoni Master Series 36” range

Once the new Bertazzoni Master Series range arrived and was installed, I found out that while initially I would have preferred 6 burners rathar than 5, I was actually quite happy to have the 5 variable burner sizes instead of all of them being large as was the option on the “other brand” 6 burner model I was looking at. The reason is simple: the large burner at full tilt put out a flame larger than all but my full sized wok or my largest pot (which is a 10 gallon stock pot and is not normally used on the stovetop) can use – to be fair they do call it a wok burner… Larger burners can of course be turned down, but at that point you have better control with the smaller burners. Since the center burner on the Bertazzoni is the largest it makes good use of the larger pot size, but in a 6 burner pattern it would have been difficult to fit a pot large enough to make effective use of the flame while still having room for something on another burner. The dials take a little getting used to as they start at full when turned on and actually have a minimum stop, but after one or two times it’s second nature and it’s quite nice to have a stable set point for low rathar than trying to turn it down until it barely stays lit. Burner control from high to low is very good.

One thing which has taken some getting used to is having to hold the burner control knob in for a few seconds after it lights – there is a flame detection sensor which automatically cuts off the gas if it does not sense a flame, and it takes it a few seconds to start working. I have personally never had a burner flame go out and not know it, but I did once have a housemate who opened up the kitchen window, put the kettle on, and walked away. The flame went out shortly after, and when the kettle didn’t whistle a few minutes later he forgot he had put it on and took a nap. I came home a little later and was greeted by the smell of gas; fortunately the window was open (which is probably why the flame went out) and the gas had not built up to a dangerous level. Having once experienced that, I am quite happy to have a protection mechanism in place and have no issues at all with the couple of seconds required to activate it. But even after a few weeks it is not yet second nature.

The Bertazzoni oven is full width but surprisingly small (only 4.4 cubic feet – some 30” stoves have more volume) and shallow, but the shallow depth means the stove itself tucks neatly into the counter without jutting out like larger ovens would do. This is probably due to Bertazzoni being a European company and the oven being made to a shallower depth standard European counter. It also is a fairly short oven, which is suprising given that the broiler is at the top of the oven and there is no storage drawer so there doesn’t seem to be much of a functional reason not to extend the oven box down and reduce the size of the bottom trim piece – maybe it has something to do with the convection. The oven heats up quickly, though lighting it also takes some getting used to as there is a dedicated position on the knob (simply turning to the desired temperature does not light it). The oven door has it’s own cooling fan which blows air through the interior of the oven door to keep the outer surface relativly cool to the touch. A good idea, but unfortunately it’s a bit on the loud side. Convection is selectable, but oddly requires the oven light to be on as well. Due to the shallow depth pans longer then around 16 inches will only fit sideways – a standard half sheet pan will stick out too far to allow the oven door to close. Mitigating this though is that the same sheet turned sideways still leaves enough room for a small cookie sheet.

Fit and finish is very good, everything lines up and sits where it should. The 3 grates (1 on each side for 2 burners, 1 in the center) are nicely finished cast iron and are equipped with anti-skid feet to avoid scratching the stainless top. The range came with a broiler pan and rack, a cast iron wok ring to allow use of round bottom woks or similar items, and a cast iron “mocha” ring to allow use of pots smaller than the basic grate opening. Baking, roasting, and stove-top cooking performance has all met or exceeded expectations.

Update 30 July 2016 – The stove is still going strong and I remain very happy with it.  I’ve found that I really only use the two smaller burners on the right side and the wok burner during my day-to-day usage, only if I am pressed for space do I find myself moving over to the left burners.  I’ve become a huge fan of convection cooking, particularly for roasting and baking biscuts, and I’m having trouble remembering how I cooked before convection.   Once I finally found a round bottom carbon steel wok (at, of all places, a tiny asian grocery that I drive past everyday) I fell utterly in love with the wok ring and burner, but the amount of heat it puts out means I tend not to use it in the summer.  Cleaning can be a touch awkward at times due to the details of the formed stainless top – trying to corral crumbs out of smoothly rounded corners can  be a challenge, but those same corners make it easier to wipe down, so I’ve taken to starting cleaning with a vacuum.  I live in an area with somewhat hard water, and wiping down with a damp towel does sometimes leave water spots, but usually they can be polished off with a dry paper towel without issue.  I’ve only used stainless polish on it twice as it really doesn’t seem to need it, but when used it brings it up to a shinier-than-new appearance quite easily (at least until the next time I use it and have to wipe down spatters of tomato paste).  All said and done, I’d buy it again in an instant.

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