Simmer capabilities of gas commercial-style cooktops and ranges

Discussion in 'Cooking Equipment Reviews' started by kimpton, May 2, 2002.

  1. kimpton


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    What experience does anyone have with the simmer capabilities of a gas, commercial-style, cooktop or range?

    The Thermador 'Professional' series of gas cooktops and ranges have a burner setting called 'XLO' or 'ExtraLow' which cycles the lowest burner setting on and off for simmering.

    The Dacor 'Epicure' series of gas cooktops and ranges have a 'Simmer Plate' accessory that sits on top of one of the burners for simmering.

    Does anyone have any experience with either of these or other manufacturer's approaches for simmering on a gas, commercial-style, cooktop or range?
  2. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    I Just Like Food
    Wolf, the brand (or is it Wulf?), claims the cycler types don't maintain simmer temps very well but may actually intermittently boil. The ability of a stove to simmer is highly dependent on the amount of material you are trying to simmer.

    Wolf's solution is to use a two stage burner. On the low end, they have a variable small burner and on the high heat, a variable high output burner. Not bad. Not perfect.

    They also showed a concentric metal ring plate system. Each ring was physically separate from the next ones to cut down on heat transfer. The center was very hot and progressively cooler as you moved to the corners. Made it pretty easy to work with lots of pots at various temps on one large burner.

    I don't think any stove has a burner for maintaining a simmer across all sizes of cookware and amounts of liquid. I think one could be built but would be prohibitive in cost and maintenance at this time. I imagine a sort of dual control star burner. One control sets how many jets come on (the diameter of the burner) and the other sets the flame

  3. brreynolds


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    I very recently bought a Dacor range. My experience is limited because it's so new, but so far, I've been satisfied with the simmering temperatures I've used. (The plate is necessary, otherwise you get a slow boil.)

    What the range doesn't do is maintain a low enough temperature to keep a pot of coffee drinkably hot without scorching. With my former 40-odd-year-old electric stove, I could use its lowest setting and a heat diffuser to keep my Saturday and Sunday morning pots of coffee hot while I waded through the morning papers. That meant that I didn't need to go out and invest in a coffee making machine, but could keep using my $10 Melitta. (It also meant that I could hold butter sauces without breaking them, which may be a more serious concern for you.)

    From all I can tell through reviews of these commercial-style ranges, and from talking to friends that have them (and actually use them), holding a very low temperature is not their forte, and that is not a matter of one brand versus another; it's endemic to the breed.

    The butter sauce problem, by the way, you can solve with a warming drawer.