Fissler Vitaquick -- PSI/KPA Confusion
After doing a decent amount of research (but apparently not enough), I purchased an 8.5qt Fissler Vitaquick pressure cooker a while back. This was primarily swayed by very positive review that America's Test Kitchen gave it in a pressure cooker round up.
ATK stated in its article that its top-rated cookers could reach 15 PSI, but per the Fissler manual, which I read last night, its top setting hits only 60 KPA (8.7 PSI). This seems to be a US-only limitation -- I found a UK manual on the Fissler web site and it states that the cooker can do 80 KPA (still only 11.6 PSI).
I'm not sure what the deal is here, but I am unfortunately stuck with this cooker. I bought it a few months ago, opened it, discarded the packaging, and didn't touch it until yesterday. And since it was fairly expensive I'm not going to be able to toss it and replace it anytime soon.
Potential good news? On further reading I noticed that the manual states that its pressure release valve opens at 100 KPA (14.5 PSI).
So my questions:
A) Does anyone know what the real high pressure limit is on this? Has the US model really been reduced from 40 to 30 KPA? Has ATK completely lost track of how to conduct a proper review?
B) Is it safe to run the thing in the red zone, with the release valve constantly active? The pressure recipes I'm interested in all call for working at 15 PSI, so the closer I can get the better.
I have two Kuhn Rikon and two WMF Perfect Plus pressure cookers. My WMF's are very similar to yours. They should be 12 PSI, not the US norm of 15 PSI which matches my KR.
Are you really sure you not at the 12PSI standard Germany uses? I think I saw the episode you mentioned and it was a 12PSI model too so, I'm betting something was "lost in translation".
In regards to running in a constant safety venting state: NO - DO NOT DO THIS. Safeties are there for good reason, they are not a "normal" safe operating state option.
Regarding 12 vs. 15PSI, I never saw the difference in what I cooked and how I cooked. Some people obsess about such things but, this is one I don't understand. Don't get me wrong, I could argue the microscopic differences in some Japanese knife discussions but, most of them are academic and not practical. 12 vs 15PSI falls into this category IMHO.
If you cooking is very specialized, then I could see that minor difference making a tangible difference but you would have purchased a 15PSI model in the first place if that was the case.
FWIW, if I buy another WMF Perfect Plus for ~$100 off Ebay (NIB or gently played with), you won't hear me whining about the 12PSI limit. Keep in mind I'm a Kuhn Rikon owner too.
re: Sid Post
davis_sq_pro, I'm not familiar with Fissler's latest model but I do know that previous models had a version made specifically for the US that operate at 15psi. The way you can check is to look carefully at the top of the lid, on the rim next to the handle and see if the letters "US" are engraved in the stainless steel.
The number that you want to pay attention to is "operating pressure" because that is the pressure at which a pressure cooker cooks.
If you have any doubts, contact Fissler and ask about your pressure cooker - it sounds like maybe your manual has type-o?
Sid Post, you are not noticing any difference between your two cookers because your Kuhn Rikon operates at 15 psi and WMF 14 psi - not 12.
Most European cookers actually operate at 14.5 psi (that's equivalent to 1 bar and 100kpa - European pressure measurements) but are rounded up to 15psi when translated into American measurements - only American made pressure cookers fully operate at a true 15psi.
WMF has an actual operating pressure is 13.8 psi - rounded up that would be 14psi.
The true difference between your two cookers is less than 1psi so, of course, you would not notice any difference in recipe timing between them.
P.S. It is not safe to run your pressure cooker in over-pressure. Not only do you risk the valves getting clogged (and relying on the secondary safety mechanisms) but you are evaporating liquid and the food inside will scorch.
Thank you both for the replies! I'll do some further investigation, including a call to Fissler, and will circle back on this thread in case anyone else has the same question later. I did do one recipe a couple of days ago running it constantly in release mode, and while it came out quite well I appreciate the warnings and agree that it's probably not a good idea.
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Ok, i have joined Chow Hound since my research with the Vita Quick pressure cooker may help this thread and others purchasing in Canada or US.
I just purchased the 8 litre (8.5 quart) Vita quick after doing research and eventually being sold by the youtube chef clip from Americain Chef, after their comparisons of various pressure cookers. All is well, it is a solid and beautiful unit. High tech and very Euro German.
However some clarity is needed re. US/Canada models. I am in Canada, and the lid has the US designation. In other words although the unit is stamped on the bottom to have a 150 kPa max, and which is what the safety in Europe goes to on the release, the american version safety is set at 100 kPa. according to the manual.
According to the Euro manual things are different.
In other words an additional margin of safety has been built into the safety and the operating (white line button) the way i read it. I.E. operating temperatures (and associated pressures) are also lower.
In other words the little blue white stripe indicator button (operating indicator level 1 or 2) must come up sooner than the Euro version. This blue stripe pressure indicator must be different.
The European Great Britain manual states the following of operation;
setting one (first white line) shows 40 kPa, i.e.. 109 C / 228 F
setting two (second line) shows at 80 kPa, 117 C /117 C.
To be sure what matters is temperature and the Euro lids allow for 5 F or about 3 C higher operating temp. Perhaps not a whole lot of a deal. But in industry every second can count. Some clarity is required. I wonder if the safety and blue strip button can be purchased to Euro standard since all other aspects of the pot and lid seem to be Euro made.
Another unclear note from their manual and pot is the min. water level line. Be careful!!
Upon first use with simple cubed boiled potatoes, i used this line, but depending on your product within (and it's humidity and quantity) this may not be enough. I ended up scorching the inside of the base toward one side, and caramelize the bottom. Cleaning the inside of the pot base is no problem, but I hope the pot is not damaged within the base. There is a discolouration that may never go away.
There you go. The Fissler manual should have some upgrades to it, as well as their web site.
If you look at youtube.com they have an America's Test Kitchen video on Pressure cookers. Please note that ATK is a PBS show (Public Television).
That youtube video shows them testing the max PSI each cooker reached; that includes electric and stove top pressure cookers.
They state ONLY ONE pressure cooker actually reaches 15PSI and that was THEIR top choice.
ATK recommends Fissler VitaQuick 8.5 Qt at $280 avg and then the 2nd choice is Fagor Duo 8 Qt at $110 avg.
The video is great and since it is almost 2 years old.
In 2 years, I wonder if Fagor has stepped up to the plate to get improve their pressure cookers so they reacg 15PSI?