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tashby


Nov 6, 2008, 4:42 PM

Post #1 of 27 (15157 views)

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Cooking with Propano

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Is it my imagination or does it burn about a thousand times hotter than the natural gas I used in the USA? And if so, I've noticed our stove seems to have two settings....high and hellishly high.

I haven't had the nerve to try to bake anything yet.

Any insights or tips?



Camille

Nov 6, 2008, 4:50 PM

Post #2 of 27 (15151 views)

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Re: [tashby] Cooking with Propano

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Cooking with propane is indeed very different from natural gas. The flame is much hotter, but I can't tell you exactly how much. There may be a conversion table somewhere on the internet. I used propane in my cabin in Texas, with an old Magic Chef stove without a thermostat, and every meal was an adventure. Every now and then I carbonized something completely.......
Maybe there's an oven thermometer in your future? I'll bet Esperanza will chime in soon with exact data....


Anonimo

Nov 7, 2008, 3:27 AM

Post #3 of 27 (15122 views)

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Re: [Camille] Cooking with Propano

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A good oven thermometer is a must for accurate baking.

We bought a GE (but made in Mexico by Mabe) gas range and oven, and with an oven thermometer, adjusted to its peculiarities in a short time.

In baking, double-panning can be useful to prevent scorched bottoms. For example, a cake pan resting on a small sheet pan. So also fiddling with the height and spacing of the oven rack. Rotating the item halfway or so through the baking is beneficial in many instances.

On the stovetop, the use of thicker bottomed pans will help in preventing scorches. Those blue-enameled-on-steel Mexican pots are not in my kitchen battery, except for a tamal steamer. I brought with us when we moved here a set of Revere stainless steel-copper clad bottom pots, two sizes of cast iron skillets, a heavy bottom Cuisinart lidded pan, etc.


esperanza

Nov 7, 2008, 10:10 AM

Post #4 of 27 (15106 views)

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Re: [tashby] Cooking with Propano

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More about propane than you ever wanted to know:

http://www.propanecarbs.com/propane.html

I think the points relevant to this thread are in the sections headed "Comparison of flammability range" and "Comparison of peak flame temperature", but I confess that I didn't understand a lot of this. For what it's worth, remember that the figures on the linked website are compared at sea level, and Lake Chapala is 5200 feet above that.

All that being said, I have to say that I haven't experienced what tashby mentions in his post. I lived at Lake Chapala's altitude for about 9 years without noticing anything out of the ordinary about hot flame, and I have currently lived in Morelia, about 1200 feet higher, without incident. I don't recall ever altering a recipe, a recommended temperature, or a cooking time. I use the top of the stove constantly and the oven fairly frequently for casseroles, etc, and for baking simple things like gingerbread, biscuits, etc.



http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









husker

Nov 9, 2008, 9:33 AM

Post #5 of 27 (15058 views)

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Re: [tashby] Cooking with Propano

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From what was in the site that was linked by Esperanza propane is ten% hotter also
http://askville.amazon.com/...do?requestId=4049089


Carron

Nov 9, 2008, 7:43 PM

Post #6 of 27 (15032 views)

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Re: [tashby] Cooking with Propano

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The gas we (meaning our family) have had access to here in Mexico is "butano", a slightly different chemical formula from "propano". I find that my stove tops (and I have had several) seem to burn much cooler than the dependable natural gas we had back in Texas. You may also find some difference in pressure if your tank is more or less full. This was one of the problems I used to ask about on Mex Connect after we moved here ten years ago.

You just have to learn to use your stove; it may take awhile to make real friends with your burners and oven!

I remind myself of our pioneer ancestors who had myriad ways to judge the flame and the immediate cooking conditions. No rules, just experience.


tashby


Dec 4, 2008, 11:23 AM

Post #7 of 27 (14939 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Cooking with Propano

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UPDATE!

I learned something new. The trick to getting lower/simmer flame on the stove we have is to almost turn it off. In other words, it lights at the "high" setting. Then you can turn the flame down lower (somewhat) by continuing to turn the dia counterclockwisel. But if I want the lowest possible flame, I need to turn the knob back in a clockwise direction PAST the high setting and almost to the OFF position. The greatest flame adjustability exists between HIGH and OFF.

It's just a design/functionality thing I didn't know about.

I also baked a "test" cake in the oven. Just a box mix....didn't want to put much effort into it.

It looked a little Lucy Ricardo, but it tasted fine.


esperanza

Dec 4, 2008, 12:22 PM

Post #8 of 27 (14935 views)

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Re: [tashby] Cooking with Propano

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Woohoo!

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Rolly


Dec 4, 2008, 1:46 PM

Post #9 of 27 (14929 views)

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Re: [tashby] Cooking with Propano

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There is another way to reduce the heat by using this thing. I don't know what it's called. It's main use is in toasting chiles for which it works great. As you can see, I have used mine a lot; so much that it has begun to rust.



Rolly Pirate


esperanza

Dec 4, 2008, 2:14 PM

Post #10 of 27 (14923 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Cooking with Propano

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Rolly, that is a wonderful thing! Have you seen others in Lerdo? I've never seen one anywhere, but I would sure like to have one. It looks sorta kinda hecho en casa--did someone make it for you?

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Rolly


Dec 4, 2008, 2:34 PM

Post #11 of 27 (14916 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Cooking with Propano

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Sometimes Soriana has them, but this one came from the town mercado.

A welder could make one easily.

Rolly Pirate


(This post was edited by Rolly on Dec 5, 2008, 4:48 AM)


esperanza

Dec 4, 2008, 3:26 PM

Post #12 of 27 (14906 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Cooking with Propano

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Tell me the dimensions, please, when you have time.

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Rolly


Dec 4, 2008, 3:35 PM

Post #13 of 27 (14904 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Cooking with Propano

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20x20x2 cms

The straps are 1.25 cm wide and are laid out in a 6x9 pattern.

Rolly Pirate


(This post was edited by Rolly on Dec 4, 2008, 3:38 PM)


esperanza

Dec 4, 2008, 3:59 PM

Post #14 of 27 (14896 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Cooking with Propano

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Mil gracias! I'll send you a picture, when I get it made.

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tashby


Feb 15, 2012, 8:11 AM

Post #15 of 27 (11266 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Cooking with Propano

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Three and a half years later....

I still find it almost impossible to achieve a simmer on our junk stove. Today I return to this thread to print out the photo of Rolly's wonderful device so I can go get one made. (Thank you, Rolly!)

Signed,
Slow Learner


Vichil

Feb 15, 2012, 8:23 AM

Post #16 of 27 (11256 views)

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Re: [tashby] Cooking with Propano

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Put half of the pan on the fire. I cook creme Anglaise on Mexican stoves without a problem or a double boiler just move part of the pan away from the flame.


sir veza

Feb 20, 2012, 6:38 PM

Post #17 of 27 (11126 views)

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Re: [tashby] Cooking with Propano

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Tashby, have you checked to make sure your stove has orifices for propane. A stove set up for natural gas will have bigger orifices due to lower pressure. This could be dangerous as propane has a higher vapor pressure and will require smaller orifices or some call jets, they are easily changed out. The propane company should be able to help you with this. Mexico buys lots of propane from the U.S. and cuts it with 10% butane to lower the vapor pressure, but it is still much higher than natural gas.


mazbook1


Feb 20, 2012, 8:14 PM

Post #18 of 27 (11118 views)

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Re: [sir veza] Cooking with Propano

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sir veza, It's really not the vapor pressure at all, it's that butane and propane both have a much higher energy content than natural gas and need more oxygen to burn cleanly (less gas, more air). Therefore, the "jet" orfices for butane are smaller than for methane (natural gas) and those for propane a bit smaller yet. The actual "pressure" (not vapor pressure but line pressure) is controlled by the regulator that hooks up to the propane tank and feeds into the lines to the stove or other "gas" appliance.

ALL the problems of excessive heat when cooking with propane are due to the much higher energy content of propane compared to the natural gas that most of us are familiar with. It's just a hotter fire!


(This post was edited by mazbook1 on Feb 20, 2012, 8:16 PM)


sir veza

Feb 21, 2012, 1:32 PM

Post #19 of 27 (11075 views)

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Re: [mazbook1] Cooking with Propano

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Mazbook 1, you are right about the regulator stepping the pressure down. The bigger orifice would let more fuel in and burn hotter. For an example, with the same water pressure, you'll get more water from a 1 " hose than you will with a 1/2" hose. I have used Nat. gas and propane and if you have the right jets and correct regulator, and they do make them for different pressures and adjustable ones, you should set your oven temp. and it should stay close to that temp. Tasby has a problem somewhere in the system and should be checked out. I know a family that lost their house due to a faulty regulator, and would hate for it to happen to someone else if it could be prevented.


tashby


Feb 21, 2012, 5:21 PM

Post #20 of 27 (11054 views)

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Re: [sir veza] Cooking with Propano

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(Thanks for the suggestions sir veza -- and funny name, but....)

I truly think it's just a really crappy stove/oven. We rent this house and the unit came with the place. I have to think it was built for this market and the type of gas available here. It's some funny brand name. I've never heard of it. It says "Functional - Klasse" on the front. (I always laugh when I notice that....gives it sort of a Germanic flavor, doesn't it?.....as in precision German calibration. Hardee-har-har.)

Anyway, sometimes - SOMETIMES - I get along with the oven, but the stovetop burners are just too damn hot, even at their lowest setting. Even Vichil's suggestion of putting the pot on only half of the burner doesn't work unless it's a perfectly shaped pot....the design of this thing is just that lame.

During the cold weather last week I made a giant batch of chili. Even with a heavy duty stainless steel 12-quart stock pot, using two difusers (sort of like Rolly's but more flimsy....like ping-pong paddles), and with the flame at the lowest possible setting, the best I could do was get a slow rolling boil. Use mostly cast-iron based Le Cruset for other stove-top stuff, and still...

This thing should be taken out back and shot.

P.S. On the upside, the chili turned out really well! In some ways, this stove has trained me. I'm much more attentive than before.


mazbook1


Feb 21, 2012, 7:44 PM

Post #21 of 27 (11035 views)

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Re: [sir veza] Cooking with Propano

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sir veza, "Mazbook 1, you are right about the regulator stepping the pressure down. The bigger orifice would let more fuel in and burn hotter."

Sorry, but you completely mis-read my post. Propane has a much SMALLER fuel orifice for the burner than does natural gas. The higher temperature of the propane flame has nothing whatsoever to do with the fuel orifice or the the pressure regulator, it's due to the much higher energy content of propane over natural gas. tashby's problem is just the same as anyone's when switching from cooking on a natural gas stove (or electric) to cooking on a propane stove. The temperature of the flame at the lowest setting is just plain HOTTER than one at the same setting using natural gas. It takes a lot of getting used to and for those very low simmer recipes usually needs some sort of heat disbursing material between the flame and the cook pot. I have seen (NOB) and used some really nice cast iron disks from Italy that were made to solve this exact problem.


whynotwrite

Feb 22, 2012, 5:55 AM

Post #22 of 27 (11013 views)

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Re: [tashby] Cooking with Propano

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I have been following along for some time but your latest post seems to have hit the nail in the head. With two ·disfuserors· or what ever you want to call them and you still can not get your pot of chilli to simmer...you have a bad LP regulator. Change it out, less than 60 pesos in my town. It should take less than 10 minuites or pay the gas guys to change it out.
I know crappy stoves and none are so crappy they will not dial down to a 1/4 inch flame. 3/16 to 1/8 inch flame should be easy even with a crappy set of valves...which would be the only other problem.


tashby


Feb 22, 2012, 3:30 PM

Post #23 of 27 (10981 views)

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Re: [whynotwrite] Cooking with Propano

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I only resurrected this thread to thank Rolly for the photo/visual aid for the iron worker, but anyway...


Quote
I know crappy stoves and none are so crappy they will not dial down to a 1/4 inch flame.


That's the thing. I CAN get a tiny flame...really tiny, but still it's not enough to get a simmer. On this stove, I need to elevate the pot further away from the heat source. And that, is that.

Thanks, all!


robt65

Mar 6, 2012, 8:31 AM

Post #24 of 27 (10598 views)

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Re: [tashby] Cooking with Propano

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Hi Tashby,

No matter how old this post originally, I found it very interesting and helpful. I'm sure this post and the different responses gave a lot of folks new and pertinent information. It was very informative and helpful. Thanks for starting the subject to begin with a ndI'm glad you resurrected it.

robt65





Anonimo

May 23, 2012, 2:28 AM

Post #25 of 27 (9206 views)

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Re: [LisaCraft] Cooking with Propano

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Can SPAM be cooked over propane?

"En Boca Cerrada No Entran Moscas."

Saludos,
Anonimo
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