Welcome to ‘Kagoo Explains’ - a series of short articles de-mystifying some of the confusing terminology used to describe tech. This week we’re looking at hobs, and a helpful function of induction hobs known as ‘bridging’.
If you have upgraded your kitchen recently, you may have a shiny new induction hob to play with. There are many benefits of induction cooking such as having instant cooling, less heat wastage and being significantly easier to clean. However one extra that requires more explanation is the ability to change the shape of the cooking zones.
This feature can have a lot of different names: bridging, flex zones, multi-zone support, but they all use the same technology.
We looked at the basics of induction heating in our previous Kagoo Explains: Induction Cooking article, but to summarise - induction cooking uses an electric current running through a copper wire to generate a magnetic field. This field then induces an ‘eddy current’ in an iron cooking pan placed on top of the wire - the resistance this current faces when flowing through the metal of the pot generates heat.
Induction heating allows for far quicker heat-up times than gas burners, as well as cooling almost instantly. However it also means that the individual ‘burners’ (or zones) of an induction hob aren’t limited by the physical constraints of a traditional gas hob - such as the need for set outlets for the gas, or bulky pan rests. This gives manufacturers far more flexibility to change the setup of induction zones on the fly.
‘Bridging’ uses this flexibility to create an ‘internal bridge’ between several different induction zones - for instance merging the bottom-right and top-right zones so they both run simultaneously. This allows the zones to double in size as needed - very helpful indeed! Additionally, with multiple zones synchronised together, they can offer more uniform heat than if used individually.
This functionality is extremely helpful when cooking with large or unusually-shaped pans, such as:
As long as your pans are induction-compatible, then buying a hob with a bridging function will allow you to use them far more effectively. Although your choice may depend on how much you use large pans like those outlined above - if you tend to reach for a small frying pan for every meal, you may be able to save yourself money and choose a smaller induction hob instead.