Convenience of use
The Sauter Gourmand Easy SPI164HSX hob is in line with the aesthetic lines of its predecessors. Dressed all in black, it uses circles on the right side to help the user place his utensils; a much more effective method than the lines or crosses sometimes used. On the left side are squares that are screen printed due to the presence of the inductor pairing system. But, on one side or the other, you place your utensils without any hesitation.
As always, the control panel is located on the front of the plate and, at first glance, it may seem complicated. It is divided into two distinct parts: the one on the left is intended for manual control of the SPI164HSX, while the buttons on the right are used to control the plate using the temperature probe.
Manual mode is not really a problem for anyone who has tried this kind of product. We start of course by lighting the plate by touching the appropriate key placed in front on the left. Just behind it, a small padlock indicates the button used to block the controls to avoid inadvertent manipulation by curious little hands or during cleaning.
To program cooking, continue by selecting the inductor (or inductors) to be used using the diagram representing the four cooking zones of the plate. You activate the Horizone system using the long icon that you see near the four circles. Once the zone has been selected, all that remains is to choose one of the 14 power levels using the “plus” and “minus” buttons and the cooking begins. Direct access settings would have made it possible to gain in responsiveness at the risk of complicating the control panel a little more, it is true. Sauter has nevertheless provided shortcut keys (soft, lively, boost which correspond respectively to power 6, 10 and boost therefore).
Setting a cooking time follows a similar logic and, before setting it, it is mandatory to indicate which zone is concerned. The manufacturer also offers a fairly wide adjustment range which can go up to 8 hours of operation. However, it will not be possible to set a precise duration to the minute after 99 minutes precisely. The increment will go from hour to hour beyond this interval.
The commands related to the use of the temperature probe are placed to the right of the digital segment displays. Before being able to use them, you will have to connect this accessory to the hob, without difficulty however. Once this first step has been completed, the probe can be used to monitor the temperature which will then be displayed directly on the plate. You can also launch an automatic program (melt, sous-vide, reheat, simmer, boil, sear, fry) and immerse the probe in the food so that the cooking stops once the temperature set by the manufacturer has been reached; the user has a small margin to adjust this temperature.
Finally, an expert mode makes it possible to set the desired temperature yourself (between 40°C and 180°C), to the nearest degree. The few tests we carried out (in expert mode and in automatic mode) proved to be conclusive. The configuration proved to be very simple and our measurements showed that the requested temperatures were respected.
The cooking performance of the Gourmand Easy SPI164HSX plate is very good.
As we know, Sauter plates are very quick to raise the temperature and this SPI164HSX is no exception to the rule. She needs just under 6 minutes (5 min 50 s very precisely) to heat 3 liters of water from 25°C to 95°C on the biggest fire in boost mode. To reach the desired 100°C, you have to wait one more minute all round. Without being the fastest, it shows good dispositions in this area.
Despite this gun start, she also knows how to go the distance. Indeed, in our two-hour test of heating an oil bath at minimum power on the smallest heat, the temperature never exceeded 49°C, which is almost a perfect temperature (55°C ) to maintain an ideal melted chocolate texture. Note that we repeated this test with the “melt” function and that the results were just as remarkable.
Thanks to the thermal plates, we can see that the temperature within the utensils is fairly homogeneous when the large inductor is used. It will not be necessary to shake the hazelnut potatoes too often so that they are well cooked evenly, regardless of their place in the pan. By using the small inductor, the heat is less well distributed in a large utensil and it will therefore be necessary to be careful to adapt the size of it.
On the other hand, the use of the twinned zone requires a little more precaution. The thermal imprint of the inductors and the very hot zones near them are clearly noticeable, while the more distant places are very cold; it will therefore be necessary to stir or move the preparations often. Otherwise, line-caught sea bass cooked in a fishmonger may have the head and back part overcooked, while the body will be almost raw.
Finally, and this is rare enough to be underlined, the Gourmand Easy SPI164HSX knows how to maintain a stable power, unlike other hobs which alternate operating phases and complete stops to simulate intermediate powers.
Versatile and well-operated temperature probe.
Fourteen power levels.
Intimidating control panel.
Temperature disparity in paired mode.