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cooking temps

 
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seabee
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 4:11 pm    Post subject: cooking temps Reply with quote

what temperature is medium heat, high heat, etc.
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1631
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's not really a good way to answer this because it's not really the temperature that you need to worry about, it's more about how much heat the burner/stove/range is transmitting and that's different for gas, electric, radiant, etc.

Another problem is that visually it's hard to determine if the heat is medium, medium low, or low because cookware is so different, so I'll set the bar with an All-Clad Stainless (aluminum clad with stainless steel) 4-qt. saucepan with loop handle containing 2.5 quarts of water. Once you get that water hot, low heat is the setting on your burner when the water just simmers with the lid off (small bubbles). This is about a 3 on my stove (out of 10) on the medium sized burner. Medium would keep that pot at a rolling boiling. Medium high is just a bit more than that. High is the highest heat setting your burners can provide (used mainly for bringing water to boil - not for general cooking).

I used to never put heat levels in my articles because they aren't very useful because there are so many factors (burner size, intensity, pot shape/thickness/material) that the setting is almost meaningless when it comes time to prepare the food on your own. I put it in the instructions now because a lot of people have written in asking for the info. Please keep in mind that heat settings are only guidelines. If the food's cooking too fast for you, turn it down a little; too slow, turn it up a little. If stuff starts burning, then you know next time not to turn it up to that level. Usually, most cooking takes place on low to medium settings with brief periods of time on medium high if needed.
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GaryProtein



Joined: 26 Oct 2005
Posts: 535

PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It seems to me that when cooks on the food network describe high, medium, low and all temps in between, that their temps are much higher than ours in the medium and high temperature ranges because they are using "superstoves" even in what looks like normal household kitchens in their studios. Certainly, in Kitchen Stadium and Emeril Lagasse's show, their medium-high and high temps must be much higher than our's. Even Rachael Ray has a high output stove in her studio kitchen that I wish I could own.
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1631
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, the problem that I have, is when I want HIGH heat, it's just not high enough. People should cook at low, medium-low, medium, and absurdly high (depending on the application).

I remember once seeing Emeril address the question of what do you do if medium heat is starting to burn your food. He responded by having the camera guy zoom in on the dial on the stove and said, "if medium is burning your food, then you turn this knob and the heat goes down". A seemingly silly response, but he was trying to tell the audience to not be afraid to deviate from his instructions and fiddle with the stove temperatures. An important lesson.
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ps6155



Joined: 06 Apr 2007
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

High medium and low heat are NON-ENGINEERING relative concepts, promoted and fostered by people who can't do math, and/or couldn't design gas valves. They only indicate the relative speed of delivery of energy.

It takes engineers to turn something like the primitive use of fire into a predictable tool. I say that if you are going to use something as a tool, you should be able to measure it, in something like BTUs.

Start with the BTU output of your biggest burner, which is a published specification. Crank it all the way up, and measure how long it takes for cold tap water to boil in a 9 or 12 inch fry pan that was at room temperature. Repeat using each of the numeric marks on the burner knob. If you have different size burners, repeat the first step for each burner.

You now have a way to know the percentage of maximum heat for each burner setting, and a good approximation of the BTU output for each burner setting on each burner.

As far as the high, medium and low heat concepts go, I approximate them as 10,000 BTU, 5,000 BTU and 1,000 BTU. Even this isn't directly useful, because the size and mass of a cooking container and the mass of its contents will determine cooking time, but it does help when switching to a different cooktop/ burner.

In my experience, unless heating liquids, you always should almost always bring a pan up to cooking temperature before introducing the food, and the best way to control reducing heat during a recipe is to switch to a different burner, not just dial down the burner you are using. This eliminates the lag time in bringing the mass of the burner grate down in temperature.

The mass of the pan will continue to deliver heat to the food, unless you are using very light weight (camping) pans. (When camping, I'd suggest lighting multiple burners)
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GaryProtein



Joined: 26 Oct 2005
Posts: 535

PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 3:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, if you want to get technical and very quantitatively objective, what you need are an instant read thermometer (Thermapen) and an infra-red thermometer (Fluke 63) with laser aiming. Rather than specifying low, medium or high heats, recipes should specify cooking vessel temperatures, and as the chef and knowing your equipment, it would them be your job to control heat output of the stove, grill, campfire, etc, to maintain that cooking vessel temperature after the food has been placed in it. Unfortunately, I don't see this happening in what is really the very subjective world of cooking. We can only dream.
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OutdoorAdventurer
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No one has actually answered the question. The original question was what are the temperatures of medium heat, medium high, and high heat.

This is actually a good question. When it comes to regular cooking you probably wouldn't need to know this. But I want to know at what range on the stove you get 200 degrees C.

The problem with someone answering this is that it probably isn't the same for every stove. It could however give a general idea. I need to know what range to be in to get between 200 and 240 degrees C.

From the sounds of it I'll have to take a thermometer and figure that out myself.
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