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Simmering is a cooking technique where the food is cooked in hot liquid and kept just below the water’s boiling point or roughly 100 centigrade. Many dishes require this kind of technique.
However, many people are afraid of making meals that require simmering for fear that they cannot do the dishes right. The same people go about asking what number is simmer on a gas stove. However, simmering is no rocket science, and is fairly easy to do.
So, how does one simmer a dish? It is simple as the cook only needs to make the liquid boil and afterward lower the temperature until the formation of bubbles has already stopped. Keep in mind that one will see plenty of bubbles when boiling but should only see a bubble or two when the dish is just simmering.
The very first thing one must do to cook, and not just simmer dishes, is to know how the stove works. Keep in mind that gas stoves, while they may be the same in its power source, may work differently.
If cooking, check the burner sizes to know which would work best for the pot or pan that you would use for the dish you are cooking. Naturally, the smaller burner should be used for small pot or pan while the big ones should be matched with the large cooking equipment.
Temperature is crucial to making any dish. As such, one has to be familiar with how the gas stove’s flame adjustment control works. It is fairly simple to do as the cook should only look at the number of control settings on the stove.
For example, there are nine control points on the knobs; then the number five control would be the medium heat. The low ones would be from one to four while the high temperature would be six to nine.
If you need to simmer the dish, then boil the liquid first. Once you see the dish boiling or when bubbles start popping up, then it is time to put it into simmer by lowering the temperature. For example, if you boiled by using medium heat, then you need to lower the flame either to three or two.
Knowing whether the liquid is already simmering only requires looking at the bubbles. If there is a bubble or maybe two that pops every one to two seconds, then water is already simmering. However, if there are plenty of bubbles, then the liquid is still boiling. Continue adjusting the temperature down to the point when there is only a bubble or two appearing.
If you want to be a better cook, then know your cookware. Keep in mind that pots and pans come in different sizes, shapes, and materials. Thickness also varies from one cookware to another.
Some pots and pans are made from aluminum, clay, cast iron, carbon steel, ceramic, clay, copper and stainless steel, to name a few. Some are good conductors of heat especially those with metal materials while others are not, which may require higher temperature or longer time to make liquids boil. Plus, some cookware is thicker than others and might need more flame to bring a dish to a boiling point.
As such, one has to know how the pots and pans respond to heat. For example, stainless steel is a poor conductor of heat, thus might need higher flames to cook a dish or bring a liquid into a boiling state. The amount of flame reduction needed may be less for a stainless steel pot as it has a hard time being a conductor of heat.
On the other hand, aluminum is quite good at conducting heat. One might have shorter times or need a lesser flame to boil water or any other liquid and may require reducing the flame considerably when bringing the boiling dish to a simmering state.
Sometimes a recipe requires adding ingredients a few minutes apart while the liquid is simmering. If this is the case, then it is best to check if there is an adjustment needed to the flame to keep the dish simmering.
For example, if you have added tofu to the mix, then check whether the dish is still simmering. Again, the bubbles or the lack of them will be the primary thing to look at when checking. If no bubbles are appearing at all, then you might need to adjust the flame a bit higher.
If another ingredient needs to be included in the dish after the tofu was mixed, then check again if the liquid is still simmering and adjust the flame as needed.
If you are following a recipe, then make sure to read it before starting to cook. Sometimes, there are instructions missed out, hence affecting the outcome of the dish. Some recipes also recommend certain kinds of cookware because of the heat regulation, which might be crucial in the cooking process.
One also has to understand the terms used in the recipes as some would use phrases such as “slow simmer” and “rapid simmer.” Slow simmer happens when a bubble or two appears every one or two seconds while rapid simmer is similar to gentle boiling where bubbles continuously form and emerge.
Also, some recipes require simmering the sauce and putting the temperature to a boiling point after new ingredients are added. One might miss out on the instruction and let the liquid simmer all throughout, missing the part where the liquid has to boil. This might be a crucial mistake, which would likely affect either the taste or texture of the ingredients.
In the end, it takes more than knowing what number is simmer on a gas stove to whip up great dishes. The cook has to be familiar with the gas stove and how it works, the differences of the cookware in their heat conduction capabilities as well as following the recipe correctly.