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Heat Diffusers?

aching Oct 17, 2012 08:47 AM

I just moved into a new house with a lovely five-burner gas range (I've been wanting that fifth burner for so long!). The only problem is that the burners, even on their lowest setting, are very hot and make it impossible to do any low-heat cooking. I can't even make rice the normal way (only the pasta method works). I'm also concerned about them ruining my non-stick pans. A Google search revealed heat diffusers, something I'd never heard of before. Has anybody used them? Are they the answer to my problem? If so, any recommendations as to type and brand?

  1. kaleokahu Oct 17, 2012 09:20 AM


    1. g
      germanpotatosoup Oct 17, 2012 09:24 AM

      Thomas Keller calls for a heat diffuser in many of his recipes so after looking for one, I finally settled on a SimmerMat. Im very happy with it and have had no problems so far. I especially love using it when I make steel cut oats as scorching tends to be a problem (I dont eat that instant rolled oats stuff). Now that I have one, I no longer have that clean up problem when ever I want my oatmeal.

      1 Reply
      1. re: germanpotatosoup
        jhamiltonwa Oct 19, 2012 05:15 PM

        I second that recommendation for SimmerMat.

      2. aching Oct 17, 2012 09:46 AM

        What I'm not clear about it whether they only serve to better distribute the heat, or whether they would help with my temperature issue. The website that kaleokahu posted almost makes it sound like they would increase the heat, which is the opposite of what I want!

        2 Replies
        1. re: aching
          kaleokahu Oct 17, 2012 10:58 AM

          Hi, aching:

          While heat *moderation* and *even-ing* are different properties of these things, the two can happen simultaneously. The tips of your gas flames are 3500F. Putting a thick sheet of anything between your pan and those flames will moderate the heat. But if the material doesn't also spread it out (i.e., it hotspots),, you're only going to have a moderated hotspot.

          No, bella copper doesn't increase the heat. If they could accomplish that, the Nobel Committee should be given a head's-up.


          1. re: kaleokahu
            aching Oct 17, 2012 12:39 PM

            Ah, I get it now. Thanks for the detailed response!

        2. k
          kseiverd Oct 17, 2012 01:24 PM

          Have a 2 burner Lodge grill/griddle that lives iin my oven most of the time. Bought it at a yard sale cuz looked brand new and was CHEAP... and I just wanted it!?! I really don't use it a lot, so it will periodically get small rust spots... from sitting in oven while other things are roasting/baking, I'm thinking. I pulled it out, scrubbed it down a bit, reseasoned and just left it on stove top. Found that if I wanted to just keep something hot (or BARELY simmering), all I hadda do was put pot on top of griddle and turn burner on LOW under it.

          1. Chemicalkinetics Oct 17, 2012 02:46 PM

            Heat diffusers are different than flame tamers. While there are some overlaps between the two, they are designed for different goals. The solid disc heat diffusers you see are primarily for diffusing the heat before hitting your cookware -- thus the name. This produces a more even heating surface. A flame tamer, as the name suggested, is largely for reducing the flame reaching to your cookware .

            Here is an example of a flame tamer:


            It may also make sense to recalibrate your stove.

            1. j
              John Francis Oct 18, 2012 04:31 AM

              Got a cheap one at the local hardware store. No brand ID on it, but it looks exactly like the Flame Master Heat Diffuser at http://www.fantes.com/images/8635triv.... Its effect is to reduce the heat that's directly transferred from the gas flame to the bottom of the pan. The only way I can get a true simmer instead of a low boil. I just leave it on the stove all the time on a rear burner. Not recommended for use on a glass or ceramic stovetops.

              1. pdxgastro Oct 19, 2012 03:51 PM

                We had a pyrex coffee pot in the 70s. We need to put a wire on our electric stove's burner before we could put the coffee pot on it. I think that wire was a heat diffuser. That pot made good coffee.

                2 Replies
                1. re: pdxgastro
                  paulj Oct 19, 2012 06:10 PM

                  The wire was more of a separator, keeping the glass from direct contact with the burner. Electric coil burners are hot at the coils, and cooler in the gaps. Glass does not tolerated high temperature differentials. With the wire, most of the heat reaches the glass by way of hot air and radiation, not direct contact with the hot coil.

                  1. re: paulj
                    pdxgastro Oct 19, 2012 11:38 PM

                    Oh cool. Thanks.

                2. s
                  snagglepusstoo Nov 2, 2012 07:00 PM

                  Gas stove, I always doubled up the grates and adjusted heat. Takes practice, but easy and effective.

                  1. echoclerk Nov 4, 2012 07:25 AM

                    I use one of these heat diffuser things all the time:


                    I got it at a Chinese Supermarket I think. cost next to nothing. I use it on Gas burners to lower temperatures particularly for cooking rice or lentils.

                    I've also used it occasionally to try and spread heat more evenly for Paella.

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