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More Fagor Pressure Cooker problems . . .

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Having thought I mastered my new Fagor Duo, I tried to cook 4 pounds of cut-up chicken this morning, with 3 cups of water.

After 8 minutes, steam was coming out of the top handle/valve area. Based on what I learned next time, I just tapped the yellow rod, and it popped up and the steam stopped. After another 3 minutes or so, a large burst of steam came out the pressure release area so I reduced the gas stove to medium.

** I tapped the yellow rod and it was firmly up and locked ***

I lowered the heat further to low and light steam continued coming out of the pressure release area, which led me to think I was at full 15PSI pressure.

However, after a few minutes, the rod dropped so I obviously lost pressure.

I turned it back to high and after a few minutes the rod went up and heavier steam came out the pressure release.

However, this time, I tapped the rod quickly and I could tell it wasn't as firmly under pressure as initially, despite the steam coming out the top.

Here's a video towards the end which depicts the steam coming out but how limp the rod was:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_i3DR...

When I was done, I turned the knob to pressure release and barely any steam came out.

1) Basically, it seems like the steam coming out the top is not a reliable indicator that I'm at 15 psi, and

2) The yellow rod seems a bit finicky.

I'm really dissatisfied with the Fagor relative to my old reliable pressure cooker pictured here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LleJ9...

The only reason I purchased a new one was I wanted one that was less noisy, and one that would lose less steam. However, my old one is 10 years old, never required a gasket change, and is very reliable.

Any thoughts on what I could be doing wrong with the Fagor? I'm on the verge of returning it to amazon.

Thanks,
Mike

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  1. You're turning it down too low after it reaches full pressure. When I was using mine on a gas burner, it held pressure best at just below medium. On low, or even halfway between low and medium, it would lose pressure during a long session (such as for beans or stock).

    6 Replies
    1. re: ellabee

      I'm sure that's right.

      I am a bit sad, however, that steam coming out wasn't an indication that it was at the desired pressure per the knob position.

      Do the fancier ones like the Kuhn Rikon which has the 1 bar, 2 bar thing that rises and lowers accurately convey the pressure inside?

      That seems like that would be a handy feature.

      Mike

      1. re: mike2401

        I do not have a Fagor, but I do have a Presto that indicates the amount of pressure by how much steam is coming out. I also have a Kuhn Rikon Duromatic.

        I am VERY happy with the KR. Yes, it operates with a spring mechanism that can only go up if you indeed have the right pressure. Moreover, there is no steam that escapes (except for the occasional burp). I am using both today for stock, and the Presto is such a pain compared to the KR. It takes much longer to get to pressure even though it is smaller.

        1. re: ttochow

          Thanks so much for the reply.

          I was about to pull the trigger on the Kuhn Rikon but the Cooks Illustrated review convinced me not to. Ironically, the CI review said the Fagor and much less loss of water than the Kuhn.

          All the reviews on Amazon totally loved the Kuhn.

          I'm half temped to ignore the CI review and get the Kuhn which I initially wanted.

          I'm not concerned about the increased price. This is something I expect to last 10+ years and something I will use every week.

          Mike

          1. re: mike2401

            I haven't been happy with their reviews for some time. I watch a lot of cooking shows, and it seems that KR is near universal for those who don't make a big deal out of using them.

            I also don't understand how one could lose a great deal of water from one. My understanding is that the whole point of a PC is to reach a high temp without having the water boil, and if there is no steam escaping then there is no boiling. But I do my stocks over 2 hours, beans about 1 hour, etc., and I get out of it pretty much what I put in it.

            1. re: mike2401

              Mike, I have a Fagor Elite (same valve as the Duo, but only one pressure level) and a Kuhn Rikon. I like the K-R a little better, but if the Fagor were my only pressure cooker, I'd survive just fine. So I urge you not to abandon it yet! I can't access your videos right now, but I think ellabee is right: you're probably lowering the heat too soon, or too much, after it reaches full pressure.

              As I explained in response to another one of your posts, I don't think the CI review was fair to K-R, for several reasons. Also, the last time CI reviewed stovetop pressure cookers, they rated the K-R lower than the Fagor because they completely ignored the instruction manual's clear description of the quick-release feature and they didn't understand the locking mechanism. So while I find CI's reviews interesting and enjoy reading them, I don't rely on them.

            2. re: ttochow

              If your Presto has a rocking weight, the amount of steam is not a measure of the pressure. Any steam coming out and causing the weight to rock, however slowly, means it is up to pressure (15psi). More steam (faster rocking) means just that - more loss of liquid.

        2. "Basically, it seems like the steam coming out the top is not a reliable indicator that I'm at 15 psi, and

          The yellow rod seems a bit finicky."

          While the yellow rod is "limp" or not engaged, steam should NOT be coming out of the relief valve.

          There is a spring holding the relief valve completely closed. Until there is enough pressure inside to push the relief valve open for the steam to release. While the pressure cooker is pressurized, the yellow rod should be stiff. You shouldn't be able to push it down.

          There was a comment about turning the heat too low. I don't think that's the problem. The PC should be able to keep pressure for about 20 min while off heat, cooling down. Once pressurized the PC doesn't need to be on heat to maintain pressure.

          I have an old Fagor Rapid Express that's never had the problems you've had. It should be as easy to use as in their videos. I would just return the Fagor at this point.

          1. 'Pressure release area' - do you mean steam escaping around the rim because the gasket is bulging out at the opening in the rim? It shouldn't be doing that. That means the heat is too high.

            And simply lowering the heat does not guarantee that the gasket will reseat itself.

            My understanding is that at proper operating conditions a small amount of steam is supposed to escape around the black plastic on top of the lid.

            My Fagor is finicky in this regard. Besides the yellow rod problem that I mentioned before, it is too easy to produce a rim pressure release, and proper steam release is hard to detect. The heat level required to maintain pressure, but not rim steam release, is too narrow.

            3 Replies
            1. re: paulj

              No, it's not steam escaping from around the gasket that goes around the perimeter of the lid.

              If the yellow rod is up, then the steam just comes out from the black pressure release thing on top. When the yellow is down, steam comes out from all areas under the black plastic.

              I decided I am going to return the Fagor.

              My big dilemma is whether to keep my trusty old pressure cooker or buy the Kuhn Rikon.

              Mike

              1. re: mike2401

                Mike, you say above that you bought the Fagor because you wanted a PC that would be less noisy and lose less water than your Presto. I think the K-R fits the bill on both counts. One of the things I like best about this cooker is that it requires very little liquid to come up to pressure (and stay there). In almost 10 years, the only problem I've ever had with it was breakage of the plastic clips that hold the decorative valve cover on, but I think the design has since been changed to make them stronger.

                1. re: Miss Priss

                  Miss Priss is right. The less noise and less water loss was the main objective.

                  BTW, I don't have a presto. I have no idea what kind I have. I posted a quick video of it here in case anyone can identify it:

                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/888577

            2. <However, this time, I tapped the rod quickly and I could tell it wasn't as firmly under pressure as initially, despite the steam coming out the top.>

              No, it is fine. It is normal. It is +15 psi. The rod will come up even before +10 psi. How stiff the rod is depends on how much pressure is behind. However, once you have steam coming out of your valve at your setting (all the way to the right), then it means you are >+15 psi. In fact, if you are barely 15 psi, you won't even have steam coming out. Steam only comes out after the pressure excess the atmosphere by more than 15 psi.