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What's your experience with stove top heat diffusers? I have tried using a Calphalon, but it was so slick that a Daube in a cast iron Dutch oven would start sliding if barely touched. I need something that is stable. For both electric and gas.

Oops! Edited to note that the title can not be edited.

Edited by Richard Kilgore (log)
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I haven't compared and contrasted different diffusers. I own a NordicWare one that I picked up for $20 or so at Sur La Table a couple years ago. I rarely need it but it can be helpful when I do need it, like for keeping soups warm. It works fine on my gas stove.

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I haven't compared and contrasted different diffusers.

Hmm, sounds like a project for Cooks Illustrated!! :laugh:

I'm thinking that maybe you could sprinkle something on it to prevent the skidding, but everything I come up with would burn. How about sand?!? :wacko:

A steel plate or crumpled foil sound good. You can also just put a skillet on the stove first, and top it with the dutch oven...

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I can't imagine how an expensive "name brand" heat diffuser could out-perform something inexpensive. I've been using a nifty thing made by Cook's Club, maybe a fraction of a step prettier than WHT's steel plate but not much, and it's served me well over the years. Looks ain't everything, after all.

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Richard, what makes you think you need one in the first place? Is there a particular cooking task you're finding that you can't accomplish now?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
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Richard, what makes you think you need one in the first place? Is there a particular cooking task you're finding that you can't accomplish now?

Speaking for myself, I cannot attain a gentle simmer (especially in an enamelled cast-iron dutch oven) on any of my elements. What I get without a diffuser is burned food! I have a bottom-of-the-line electric range. Anna N

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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Steve - I have trouble getting a gentle enough simmer or just keeping something warm, plus I thought a diffuser plate might even out any hot spots in the electric elements. The coil of foil would work for the former and maybe help with the latter, so I'll try it, and also check out the Sur La Table shop.

Thanks everyone.

Edited by Richard Kilgore (log)
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maybe a fraction of a step prettier than WHT's steel plate but not much,

Granted when you get the plate from the scrap yard it is a bit ugly if not partially painted and rusted. Grinding the cut edges smooth and cleaning it up go a ways to make it look better. Though it looks 10 times better than a pile of #10 can lids. Something in use in many kitchens.

Living hard will take its toll...
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  • Take one #10 can (filled with anything)
  • Remove one end
  • Pour out contents into another container; set aside contents
  • Remove other end from can
  • Remove label from can
  • Wash can thoroughly
  • Place can on floor
  • Jump on can until it is flattened.

I used to have one made from asbestos, but they are hard to find now. Probably only someplace like the Vermont Country Store has them.

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Due to health concerns and a litigious society I doubt many companies sell products made from asbestos anymore. I have seen it used in heat guards and some old trivets but not as a diffuser.

Living hard will take its toll...
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  • 8 years later...

They're labeling that as a trivet. Do you need a flame-tamer or a diffuser? Because cast iron would make a horrible diffuser since it doesn't conduct heat very evenly.

Cast Iron doesn't conduct heat evenly? News to me... trivet or not, it provides a buffer from the flame than allows my pots to actually simmer over the burner whereas they just boil without it.

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They're labeling that as a trivet. Do you need a flame-tamer or a diffuser? Because cast iron would make a horrible diffuser since it doesn't conduct heat very evenly.

Cast Iron doesn't conduct heat evenly? News to me... trivet or not, it provides a buffer from the flame than allows my pots to actually simmer over the burner whereas they just boil without it.

If you just want to tone down the heat, I supposed putting anything between the burner and the pot would be good, including cast iron. But cast iron is notorious for conducting heat unevenly. That's why I was looking into getting a flame diffuser made of aluminum (copper plates are a bit too pricey at the moment).

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Cragganmore17,

Gotta be kinda a careful with those, I have two, and they can warp, causing fry pans to slip and slid. That is why I am trying these new Bella cooper Plates!! Otherwise they worked fine.

Paul

Its good to have Morels

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So I bought a couple Bella Copper Diffusers, curious if these things need conditioning? Is out gassing of copper an issue?

No. And unless you spill something on them and bake it on, the usual discoloration, that sometimes causes uneven heating in copper pans, does not affect the heat across the diffuser. I've checked heat distribution with my IR thermometer and the areas of discoloration heat the same as the clear color areas.

Regarding an aluminum diffuser. My neighbor has a barbecue with a high-output burner that goes out if turned to the low setting.

His wife found what he described as a "cruddy" Magnalite roaster at a thrift store and he had the sides cut off and the edges ground down and uses it on that burner to keep things from burning. It modifies the heat enough to allow cooking without burning.

The resulting plate is almost 1/4 inch thick and is 11 inches in diameter.

I don't think he has checked the heat transfer from edge to edge but has checked how hot it gets when the burner is set on medium.

This should work with any cast aluminum pot - often people discard them because they are badly discolored.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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