What Position on an Electric Stove Is Simmer?

A sauce or other liquid must first boil and then simmer according to several recipes. However, it might be challenging to understand exactly what that entails, particularly as the majority of electric ranges lack a dedicated “simmer” option. The quick explanation is that “simmer” refers to a condition just below boiling rather than a setting at all. These suggestions will enable you to simmer effectively and recognise the role of simmering in the cooking process.

Simmering and Boiling

When water hits 212 degrees Fahrenheit, it begins to boil. The temperature is closer to between 180 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on what you’re cooking because a simmer isn’t a vigorous boil.

Large bubbles and the release of steam indicate boiling, whereas simmering typically produces more but much smaller bubbles. It may be more difficult to perceive that the food is boiling in sauces or other liquids that scald easily, including those containing milk or cream.

The Stove’s “Simmer” Symbol

You’ll need to experiment to figure out how to get a dish to simmer in your kitchen because every stove or range heats differently. In most cases, a medium-high setting is excessive, but on some stoves, even medium can bring a dish to a boil.

Still, medium is typically sufficient for most simmering liquids, while medium-low or even low settings are frequently needed for those that could burn or scald. Simply watch the liquid to make sure that tiny bubbles are still forming as it simmers. If not, some dishes, including pasta, might not cook correctly.

What Foods Need to Be Simmered?

Rice, couscous, quinoa, soups, vegetables, potatoes, sauces, difficult meats, stocks, and anything needing braising are examples of foods that frequently call for simmering. Even the preparation of various desserts, baked products, and sweets may need simmering.

Since some liquids, such as those containing milk or cream, can scald instantly or even rise to the point of boiling over, some recipes may need continual stirring to maintain a simmer. When preparing such foods, be sure to keep a tight check on them.

Poaching and simmering

Knowing the distinction between simmering and poaching is a good idea now that you are familiar with the distinction between boiling and simmering. While poaching is less frequently employed in recipes than simmering, it is nonetheless frequently used when preparing egg dishes and several kinds of vegetables.

If a recipe instructs you to poach an item, the water should be at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit (less than boiling or simmering). This appears to be tiny bubbles that are simmering at the bottom of the pot but aren’t rising.

Misha Khatri
Misha Khatri is an emeritus professor in the University of Notre Dame's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He graduated from Northern Illinois University with a BSc in Chemistry and Mathematics and a PhD in Physical Analytical Chemistry from the University of Utah.


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