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Thread: heat diffuser for gas cooktops

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
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    Chester County, PA
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    494

    heat diffuser for gas cooktops

    Does anyone have one of these? Often times I am cooking a large pot of stew, soup or tomato sauce in my Le Creuset dutch ovens and the gas burner on low is too much heat for the pot and it starts to burn.

    I was looking at them at Kitchen Capers last night and they have a cast iron one and a metal disc. Was wondering which one is better?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    Out looking for a sous chef
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    You must have a really high-BTU cooktop; most of them have a "simmer" setting that I guess yours doesn't have . Cast iron would be the best heat diffuser, I would think. That's what I have, although I haven't used it since we got our new cooktop that goes very low as well as very high (my LeCr is fine on it).
    If you're afraid of butter, use cream. ~~ Julia Child

    As you cook, you enjoy omniscience about food that no amount of label reading can match. Having retaken control of the meal from the food scientists, you know exactly what is in it. (Unless you start w/cream of mushroom soup, in which case all bets are off.) To reclaim control over one's food, to take it back from industry & science, is no small thing; indeed, in our time, cooking from scratch qualifies as subversive. ~~ Michael Pollan

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Chester County, PA
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    It's a Miele cooktop and even on the simmer setting it gets too hot. Not sure it can be adjusted, I'll have to check that.

    Thanks for the recommendation on the cast iron!

  4. #4
    Either kind should work. I have an old, very cheap diffuser I use frequently. It's two layers of thinnish perforated metal with an air pocket between them, and a wooden handle. I do recommend getting one with some kind of handle, preferably one that won't transfer the heat.

    I noticed on an Alton Brown show the other day that he used an empty cast iron skillet under his saucepan when making candy. He put the skillet on the burner in cooking position and just plopped the saucepan inside it. If you have a cast iron skillet or double-burner grillpan/griddle, you could try that first and maybe avoid having to buy anything extra.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    IL
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    12,505
    Have you tried another burner. My gas cooktop has burners of different BTU's so for a simmer, I use the smaller ones.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Chester County, PA
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    494
    yes, have tried them all. They may need adjustment, as the clicking when first turned on is coming on sporadically when I cook now. I've taken them apart, cleaned them and still having some issues. Guess it's time for a service call.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    24,224
    I have 4 diffusers that I use on my gas stovetop. They are similar to this:



    Though mine don't have any handles (well the larger one came with a handle but I took it off). I believe I purchased them at BB&B.
    Well-behaved women seldom make history!

  8. #8

    Lightbulb

    I've seen Alton Brown and some of the other Food Network chefs just put a pan inside another pan (usually the outside pan is a skillet or griddle). The outside pan acts as the heat diffuser. No need for a separate device.

    I'm an AB devotee in that I also look for multitaskers instead of unitaskers in the kitchen.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Spokane, WA
    Posts
    373
    I have a gas stove that is from the 1940's and it was hard to simmer anything on it, especially rice until I bought a heat diffuser.

    Mine is just a cheap metal disk I bought at Bed Bath & Beyond for around $10.00 and it works great.

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