Saturday, May 19, 2007


The stove in this house is old, and the door doesn't close all the way on the oven. This means that the oven temperature is really unstable. (Like as much as 200 degrees unstable according to my oven thermometer.) This means not much baking.

No cheesecake. No chocolate chip cookies.

Bob finds this very sad.

We went looking at stoves today, just to get an idea. I got really excited about power burners and started talking BTUs to Bob's amazement. Talking about how 11,000 BTUs was good, but really, 15,000 to 16,000 BTUs would be so much better. He looked at a stove with a simmer burner and said, "Is that for when you make your stock and you let it simmer for hours?"

"No," I said, "that's for tempering chocolate, that kind of thing." I was rummaging around looking for the paperwork on the stove to see what the power burner was rated. (16,000). I opened it up and he looked over my shoulder and said, "It says chocolate! It says just what you said! You know your stuff."

I think when I talk about BTUs, my husband the engineer finds it kinda sexy.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


The debate between Madeleine and I has always been about gas versus electric stoves. She grew up with electric and is used to putting a pot on the element and wandering away to do something else while it warms up.

She was very distressed when we bought a house with a gas stove and she found her old habit was not appropriate any more. I grew up with gas and think it is the only way to cook. Heat when you need it.

I'm with you. 16000 BTUs and a special burner for tempering chocolate. I had never appreciated what a complex process chocolate making was until I became diabetic and my only desert is chocolate with very little sugar in it. Lindt 85% cocoa bars keep me going now but before they became commonly available I had to make my own low carb chocolate by mixing unsweetened chocolate with chocolate containing sugar. My earliest efforts were pretty awful. Then I looked up chocolate tempering on the web and got to be semi-proficient. There is a German company that builds a machine that will determine the optimum temperature profile for tempering the kind of chocolate you are using. Unfortunately it costs several thousand dollars.

Have fun with your new stove.


May 20, 2007 7:10 AM  
Blogger David said...

I think when I talk about BTUs, my husband the engineer finds it kinda sexy.


(Man, I had no idea chocolate had to be tempered. Crazy! You realize though that this post means that once you get your new stove anyone who visits you is going to expect perfect chocolate-dipped everything, right?)

May 20, 2007 9:20 AM  
Blogger Maureen McHugh said...

Stuart, I grew up with electric, but always wanted gas, and got it when I moved to New York. Gas allows so much more precision. But if you're adapted to electric, the way Madeleine is, I think electric works well. And while gas stoves are the best, electric ovens are better than gas ovens. And electric convection ovens are best of all.

David, if anyone deserves chocolate dipped everything, it's the person who has been supplying me with high quality chocolate. I think chocolate dipped chocolate chip cookies would be a good start.

May 20, 2007 10:33 AM  
Blogger SquidgePa said...

I miss having gas, and like the idea of having a tempering burner.

I always used to have the double boiler slid mostly off of the burner, with the tiniest licking flames that I could manage.


May 22, 2007 9:27 PM  

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