PDA

View Full Version : "Medium Heat" on a stove


Frylock
12-08-2013, 04:11 PM
Are there dopers here who refrain from using temperatures greater than "medium" heat on their stove? (For example if you have cookware that may warp otherwise?)

If so--how long does it take for you to boil water? (Per unit of volume...) I ask because I'm trying to calibrate just exactly what "medium heat" shall mean in my household on my stove...

thelurkinghorror
12-08-2013, 04:26 PM
I admire your scientific method, but doesn't yours have numbers? Mine goes OFF-LO-2-3-4-5-6-HI, implying that there are 7 settings and thus 4 is medium.

But I assume you're operating under the assumption that it's not necessarily linear? Another variable might be pot or pan material, shape, or type. Also (physics question), would 1 cup heat twice as fast as 2 cups?

But if cookware will warp on high, then I don't want its delicate ass. I crank it.

Frylock
12-08-2013, 04:36 PM
I admire your scientific method, but doesn't yours have numbers? Mine goes OFF-LO-2-3-4-5-6-HI, implying that there are 7 settings and thus 4 is medium.

But I assume you're operating under the assumption that it's not necessarily linear?

That, and that the highest setting might not be the same from stove to stove.

Another variable might be pot or pan material, shape, or type. Also (physics question), would 1 cup heat twice as fast as 2 cups?

Good questions.

But if cookware will warp on high, then I don't want its delicate ass. I crank it.[/QUOTE]

johnpost
12-08-2013, 05:39 PM
it may never boil before it evaporates (uncovered).

there is very good heat transfer into a pot of water, give it heat until you get a bunch of bubbles.

Weedy
12-08-2013, 07:44 PM
My stove takes a long time to heat up, so I'm not sure you can compare them that way. On my stove, the settings go from 1-6 and I know that 2 will not quite boil a litre of water, and 3 will keep it simmering (it's a pretty crap stove). To measure higher the higher settings, I thought about making a saturated sugar syrup and using a candy thermometer to see how hot it will get, but I haven't got around to that yet.

Medium is a good heat for pancakes, so find the setting pancakes cook nicely at, and that's medium for your stove. (Though I'm not sure if I'm actually addressing your point or not.)

DataX
12-08-2013, 08:01 PM
There are some informal/formal standards that have been used/tried - but generally your stove goes to whatever the max the manufacturer set it at - and then included a dual with marks around it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gas_Mark

Different burners on even the same stove will act differently.

Copper heats up much faster than cast iron - for example.

And it wouldn't surprise me if some substances such as glass (which I use for a tea kettle) would break at higher temps.

thelurkinghorror
12-08-2013, 09:01 PM
That, and that the highest setting might not be the same from stove to stove.
Ah, absolute temperature. Another variable is of course electric vs. gas, as well as the type of those, e.g. electric w/ coil element or glass-ceramic top.

And it wouldn't surprise me if some substances such as glass (which I use for a tea kettle) would break at higher temps.
Some glass can take high temperatures and much kitchen glass might be intentionally resistant. Just don't immediately put it in the sink or somewhere where it will immediately cool down! Rapid temperature changes are bad.

Chefguy
12-08-2013, 09:27 PM
A good stainless doesn't need to be turned past medium; it gets hot enough at that temperature to sear meat easily. Same with cast iron or the clad cookware.

Frylock
12-08-2013, 09:34 PM
A good stainless doesn't need to be turned past medium; it gets hot enough at that temperature to sear meat easily.

Right, but my problem is I'm trying to figure out what "medium" means.

don't mind me
12-08-2013, 11:21 PM
I thought "Medium Heat" was a TV show and "on a stove" a metaphor for cancellation.

Always keeping up with the hep jive, I am.

Chefguy
12-09-2013, 08:38 AM
Right, but my problem is I'm trying to figure out what "medium" means.

I am actually mystified by your question. Medium is the middle point between the two extremes of high and low. Since there is no thermostatic control on stove burners, it's likely to vary from stove to stove as to how much gas is allowed through the jets, or how much juice is flowing through the variable resistor, combined with the size of the burner. If I were to guess at temperature, I'd say 'medium' is likely in the 200-220F range, but the effect of that temperature is going to depend on the type of pot being used and the substance in the pot.

Floyd Burke
12-18-2016, 10:25 PM
Everyone seams to miss the point of Frylocks question. Medium Heat is considered 325 to 374. For most of the time 350 degrees is safe. Why? Its all about the Smoke Point of different Oils (point you burn the oils) such as Extra Virgin Olive oil for cooking. For instance EVO has a Smoke Point of 374 degrees, whereas most other oils and butter are 350 degrees. If you want to understand more read about the Leidenfrost effect. Also read the Water Test for cooking

pseudograph
12-19-2016, 09:17 AM
Thanks Floyd Burke. Surprised I hadn't heard of the water test before (could also be that my dodgy memory just hadn't retained it). Here's an instructional video (http://rouxbe.com/cooking-school/lessons/173-the-water-test-heating-the-pan), if anyone is interested.

DrCube
12-19-2016, 10:08 AM
A good stainless doesn't need to be turned past medium; it gets hot enough at that temperature to sear meat easily. Same with cast iron or the clad cookware.

You're the chef and all, so it's hard for me to question, but I have five different sized burners on my stove. Which one is the one which will sear meat when I put it on medium?

DrCube
12-19-2016, 10:20 AM
Everyone seams to miss the point of Frylocks question. Medium Heat is considered 325 to 374.

That's some great info. But it's hardly relevant to my stove. My stove goes up to 11. That's one better than most stoves out there.

And OP, if you're boiling water, the pan will be less than or equal to 212 degrees Fahrenheit until the water has all boiled away, no matter what you set the dial to.

Chronos
12-19-2016, 10:27 AM
The inside of the pan will be at most 212 degrees, but the outside can get hotter. The inside is in contact with the 212-degree water, but the outside is in contact with the thousandish-degree burner.

DrCube
12-19-2016, 10:44 AM
The inside of the pan will be at most 212 degrees, but the outside can get hotter. The inside is in contact with the 212-degree water, but the outside is in contact with the thousandish-degree burner.

True, but the pan itself transfers that heat pretty quickly from the outside to the inside. That's its job. Someone who is afraid of harming their fragile cookware should not be afraid of using it to boil water if they are open to cooking with it at all. Boiling water will be the easiest on your pans and the punishment they take from the heat will only go up from there.

Interesting (if short) discussion that just came up during a google search on this topic:

Temperature of a pot with boiling water? (http://boards.academicpursuits.us/sdmb/showthread.php?t=520914)

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: [email protected]

Send comments about this website to:

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

Best Topics: cognac substitute penguin lighter company tornado basement who names streets chiltons or haynes spell wrongly blacklist fedora cila jet red reddington hat think of england pj drink can t do sit ups mac 10 conversion kit late periods on the pill when do fahrenheit and celsius equal elizabeth montgomery twilight zone to whom it may concern synonym rah rah shish boom bah woodstock bird from charlie brown bread and butter vs dill pickles is there fluid in the scrotum we don t need no water let the mother humidity and sinus headaches