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What does "low heat" mean in temperature specifications?

Anonymous Modernist 817

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I´m quite curious when it´s writen low heat in cookbooks. What does that mean. I have never understood this.

And when i was reading in the modernist cuisine about clarified butter. In the text about Ghee it says

"To make ghee, contiune to warm the melted butter over low heat for 45 min." Can someone please tell me wich temperature low heat are?

I think it quite suprising that the authers write in this way in this of scienice based book.

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Hi ayhan,

We hate dumbing things down, as we love precision! But all stove tops are a bit different--they are all calibrated differently--which is why we say "low" heat as that is sort of universal. Most people who have worked with their burners regularly know if theirs is a little hot or cold, even if they haven't calibrated it. It really means the lowest setting on your burner.

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My $0.02...

Making ghee/clarified butter is a process that achieves the following things:

-remove water from butter

-remove solids that brown and impair a bad taste

To remove water you need to reach a temperature close to 100°c to evaporate it, so a slow boil will be necessary

Here's how I've been taught to make ghee by an indian chef:

-Gently heat butter to melt if, and scoop out the solids with a spoon of pour through a fine cheesecloth / sith

-bring to a very gentle boil. That will evaporate the water. Keep scooping up whatever solids form up

-Once bubbling has stopped, most of the water is gone. To test for the presence of water, dip a small strip of paper in the butter and light it with a flame. If the flame burns clean like a candle, the ghee is ready. If there are any snaps, crackles and pops in the flame there is still water in the mix so keep heating the butter

The resulting fat can be kept in a fridge for weeks

Bottom line: no two ingredients are exactly alike, except for chemicals that are 'analytical grade', so there will always be some adaptation required in cooking, no matter how much science you throw at it

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