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This hob was another of the appliances we had installed when we had our new kitchen fitted a few months ago. Previously we had been using an electric hob, and we decided we would prefer a gas hob as the electric one took forever to get to temperature. This hob was chosen due to the fact it was a 5-pan hob, with a large plate in the centre for woks, which is something we use quite often in our house.
We bought the hob as part of the kitchen, and we chose Bosch over other brands because it has a good reputation, and the company providing the kitchen did a price match on all Bosch appliances. This basically meant that instead of paying an inflated price, we paid the minimum we could have purchased this hob for elsewhere. We paid £260, but searching online I notice it now costs around £317 from the likes of Currys and Comet, and the cheapest I have found it is £307 from applianceworld.co.uk.
The hob is steel with cast iron pan supports. It is stylish but sturdy looking, and very classy with the Bosch logo embossed onto the cast iron surround. It is longer than most hobs due to the number of pan burners, and so this is something to take into account if you are a bit short of worktop space. The hob measures 70cm by 52cm so is quite large, but it sits in the worktop. It is only 5cm high, however, so it doesn't "eat into" too much of your cupboard or drawer space underneath the unit where it sits.
The hob offers a choice of burners, including two standard burners, a high-speed burner, an economy burner, and a high-speed wok burner. This means that you're not likely to be short of hob space if you're cooking a roast or entertaining people, and also you have a choice of which burner to use depending on what you're cooking. For example, the high-speed burner is great when you've realised you need to cook something pretty quickly, especially if you're trying to time a meal and some parts are nearly ready whereas your spuds are still rock hard. The economy burner is useful for heating things like milk in the pan (isn't that what a microwave is for I hear you ask?!), because it would be wasteful to have one of the larger rings on high for a tiny milk pan. The economy ring is still pretty quick at heating things up though.
As this appliance is gas fuelled, it has a Flame Failure Device built in, which basically means it detects when the flame has been extinguished and automatically cuts off the gas supply in order to prevent any gas leaks. You will, of course, need the services of a qualified gas fitter to fit this hob.
We absolutely love this hob, and find we use it most days for one thing or another. We eat a lot of rice and pasta based dishes in our household, and when we're in a hurry we tend to use the wok or deep casserole pan for things like curries, casseroles, and stir fries. The great thing about this hob is that it can fit five pans on it at the same time, without having to juggle things round or finding that the wok is too big and gets in the way of the other rings. The wok plate is large and has plenty of space around it, so you can comfortably fit five pans on the hob.
In my opinion, the best feature about this hob is the speed with which it cooks food. That might sound daft because you'd expect most appliances to cook food within the same time frame, but I find using the wok plate or the high-speed burner really does cook our food so quickly, it's great if you're in a hurry or you've forgotten to put the rice on when you're cooking your main meal. The downside to this is that it takes a bit of getting used to when you first start using the hob, because initially I found myself drying food out as I was misjudging how long things would take to cook.
The hob is easy to use in terms of turning the different rings on and off. It has brushed-steel knobs at the front which control each different ring, and it is simply a case of pressing the button down until you hear it igniting (the clicking sound), and then adjusting the heat from minimum to maximum. You'll be surprised at how high the flame can get on the maximum setting! There are pictures beneath each control showing which ring it operates, so there's no room for confusion over this.
Cleaning the hob is very very easy. The first time I cleaned it (which I have to admit was after the first time of using it, I'm quite precious about our new kitchen!), I didn't realise the iron pan supports come off and tried cleaning around them. This led to some swearing as I hit my hand quite heavily on a bit of the iron, and it was only then I realised that they lift off to allow for easy cleaning. So far, I have only used a damp cloth to clean the hob, as we never let splattered food sit there for long, so I'm not sure what I would use if it needed a deeper clean. I expect some kind of generic kitchen spray would be ok but like I say, I'm still a bit obsessive about keeping it clean so I just use a dishcloth which has been dampened with a little washing up liquid. I did expect it to attract fingerprints with it being stainless steel, but to be honest I've not noticed this being a problem as it's not really something you put your fingers on to use it.
I can't really think of any negatives to this hob as I absolutely love it. Although it's not the cheapest, for something we use every day I think it was a worthwhile investment, and I would never go back to using an electric hob after using this. Obviously I can't comment on durability as we've only had it a few months, but we also had a two year warranty with it, and Bosch have a good reputation so I would expect to have no issues with this hob. Five stars from me (and my husband!).
(Review may also appear on Ciao under the username Gingerkitty)
Bosch Exxcel 70cm Gas Hob / Colour: Brushed Steel / 70cm wide / Front controls / 5 burners / 1 high speed wok burner 4.0kW- 1 high speed burner 3.0kW- 2 standard burners 1.7kW- 1 economy burner 1.0kWFlame failure device Ignition via control knobs Main safety switch / Cast iron pan supports / Two piece burners Factory set for connection to mains gas LPG jets included for connection to 28-30/37 mbar bottled gas /