home Forums Pressure Cookers Fagor Wondering if things are working well.

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  • #4064
    sandi114
    Participant

    I tried this recipe without the mesquite or liquid smoke

    http://www.food.com/recipe/beef-ribs-pressure-cooker-and-bbq-190652

     

    I had previously followed in in my old faithful lagostina pressure cooker, and had amazing results.
    I tried this with my Fagor Duo, and did not enjoy my results. I either have a problem with the amount of liquid used (last time I didn’t take note of how much meat I had and used the full recipe. This time I realized I only had 1/2 the meat so I halved the entire recipe), with my cooking technique, or with my pressure cooker.

    The Fagor manual states, as does the vendor that if cooking on an electric stovetop (mine is glass) with something other than a clear stock, that one should come up to pressure at medium (or maybe medium high heat). Fagor customor support indicates that a heat setting of 6 should be used to come to pressure, and 2 to maintain it.

    I was using only 4 lbs of short ribs so I cut all ingredients in half. The liquid came to the top of most of the shortribs, and up 3/4 of the height of some of the others.

    I did not wait for a loud hiss, but waited for a gentle sound and until the yellow pin was solid (if I pushed hard it would have pressed down to release some steam). I cooked on the Duo’s high setting (mine has a 1 or 2).

    After 7 minutes (and a natural pressure release), I didn’t think the ribs seemed sufficiently tender as per the last time. I brought it up to pressure again and cooked for another 3-4 minutes with a quick release. After a  few minutes on the BBQ, we were ready to eat. Some ribs were a nice texture, and others were dry. None were infused with flavor from the sauce as was the case the last time I made this recipe in my Lagostina.

    So, do I have an issue due to insufficient liquid? Did I boil off too much of it bringing it to pressure at a lower heat, and therefore the ribs weren’t immersed to get all the flavor? All my experiences of bringing to pressure at higher heat unless it’s water or stock in the cooker have resulted in scorching so I’m hesitant to try that again….Any other possible issue?

    I do hear boiling sounds when my cooker is at pressure.

    FYI:

    I did a Water test:

    13 min to come to pressure with 4 cups of water at a heat setting of 6

    Cooked for 10  min on high then sat on burner with heat off (baby interrupted my intended 15 min timing!)

    Unless I spilled when emptying my cooker, I lost about 1/3 of a cup of water

     

    Any assistance appreciated!

    Thx!

    Sandi

    #4155
    Laura Pazzaglia
    Keymaster

    Hi Sandi!

    First, are the recommended heat settings working with your pressure cooker and set-up? Are the water tests coming out as they should and is your cooker maintaining pressure, now?

    Each burner, and cook top, has it’s own heat settings so those recommended by Fagor may not work with your cook top.

    Personally for both electric and glass/ceramic cook tops I recommend doing the “switcharoo.” This means bringing the cooker up to pressure on the largest burner that will fit the cooker, while pre-heating a smaller burner. When the cooker reaches pressure, switch it to the smaller burner and turn the larger one off.

    Each burner, and cooktop, has it’s own heat settings so those recommended by Fagor may not work with your cook top.

    I’ll come back to talk about why the recipe might have tasted different in your Fagor vs. Lagostina later – the food.com website is down for maintenance right now and I can’t take a peek at it yet.

    Ciao,

    L

    #4162
    Laura Pazzaglia
    Keymaster

    Oops, I think I got your reply by email instead of the forums.

    But to answer your question about whether it’s OK to put a pressure cooker on a smaller burner, the answer is yes. You can always go smaller, never bigger. While the cooker is AT PRESSURE. Bringing the cooker up to pressure on low heat will be an exercise in frustration so I always recommend blasting it as hot and wide as it can go (without going beyond the edges of the cooker) until the cooker is a t pressure.

    I think the way you’re bringing your cooker to pressure is part of the problems you’ve been having with this cooker. It should ABSOLUTELY cook FASTER than your Lagostina a not SLOWER. Very few models are designed to be brought to pressure on low heat – and Fagor is not one of them.

    Your manual must differ from an older (2008) version that I have online – which also recommends staring in high heat and doing the “switcharoo” – well, they call it something else…

    Two Burner Method:
    Turn on two electric stove burners,
    one on high and other on low. Place your
    pressure cooker on the burner set
    to high, and bring to pressure. Once
    pressure has been achieved, move
    your cooker over to the burner
    set on low and start your pressure
    cooking time. Make sure the burner
    is not too low; there should always
    be some steam coming out of the
    operating valve. If there is no more
    steam coming out of the operating
    valve and/or the pressure indicator
    drops, raise the heat until steam
    starts coming out of the operating
    valve, and adjust the cooking time
    by 1 or 2 minutes.

    pressure cooker manual & recipe booklet library

    (in a few days the “draft” in the address above will have turned into “www”)

    Now, to the recipe!!

    I took a look at the recipe, and there is an awful lot of liquid for those ribs. I think the cook’s goal was to braise them – boil some and steam some. From you description is sounds like everything was boiled, instead.

    When you see this type of “braising” recipe you can feel free to adjust the liquids to the minimum your pressure cooker needs to reach pressure – for your Fagor that’s about one cup (you can even under-shoot it just a tad if you have lots of watery veggies in there). As you already know, the meat will also release liquid!

    Ciao,

    L

    #4207
    sandi114
    Participant

    This was the post that should have gone between Paz’s two responses:

     
    Thx Paz! I don’t understand the criteria to be able to answer the first line of your response nor am I sure how to tell if water tests are successful. My pin stays up. There is gentle hissing and occasionally little spurts that are a bit stronger but not hugely forceful. 

    Can you use a small burner with much smaller diameter for the switcheroo? That would be great as I would like to use only back burners to cook and thought that would mean sticking with using just one. I sometimes lower heat to one for a minute then put it back to 2

    I’ll look forward to further input:)

    That’s it for now

    Sandi

    Paz, If I have less liquid, and there is sugar in the BBQ sauce/steak sauce, won’t this scorch? That is what the Fagor support person and the vendor (fastcooking.ca) say re: the electric stove.
    Any clarifications about the earlier comments you’d made that I wasn’t clear on? “First, are the recommended heat settings working with your pressure cooker and set-up? ”  How would I know if they are working?
     
    Are the water tests coming out as they should and is your cooker maintaining pressure, now?”-is the main result the pin staying up or is there something else?

    So are you saying that you think that bringing it to pressure on 6 is why the flavor didn’t infuse in the ribs, despite the fact that it did hit pressure? It is also possible that I was wrong and the ribs were overcooked, I’m just surprised at how little flavor…

    Thx

    Sandi

    #4208
    Laura Pazzaglia
    Keymaster

    Sandi, I’ve brought jams to pressure in a cooker that have just fruit and sugar – no additional water – without scorching. One of the things you can do, if you’re very concerned about scorching, is to bring the contents to a boil without the pressure cooking lid (uncovered) and as soon as they come to a boil and you see vapor rising you can slap on the lid (this is what I do with jams). The cooker will reach pressure very quickly – once the cooker is at pressure the contents CANNOT scorch.

    Things can cause scorch in the pressure cooker:

    • not having enough liquid to begin with
    • thickeners in the liquid that prevent it from boiling (flour, corn starch, chemical thickners in prepared food or flavor packets)
    • not turning down the heat when the cooker has reached pressure forcing it to vent the minimum liquid (this is what happens with electric cook tops)

    Try a water test with bringing your cooker up to pressure on 10 (or whatever your cook tops highest setting) and then doing the switcharoo. It think this will solve most of the issues you’ve been having with your cooker!!

    Ciao,

    L

    #4427
    sandi114
    Participant

    Hi Paz,

     

    Thanks for the tips. Still wondering how I know if my water test is a success?

    I have done things pretty much in every way with water already, bringing to pressure at ultra high, and at 5 or 6. Because of the manual’s instructions and Fagor’s tech support person’s insistance, I’ve been reluctant to try anything but veggies and water coming to pressure on high. I thought I might try the rib sauce without ribs on high to see if things scorch on high without risking any meat!  Once at pressure, on water tests, I’ve lowered the heat to 2, to 1 or to low with just water, but am still never clear on which amount of firmness the pin needs to have (it will stay up for 15 minutes at all the settings above) and which amount of steam is the right amount. I’ve settled on 2 (as on one or low I can’t really see the steam) . I will for sure be using the small back burner for “switcheroos” in future.

    I also wonder if some of my scorching for other recipes is from using a new kind of bouillon cube (organic vegetable). I used to use sachets of loose chicken stock powder, and it would dissolve. I think perhaps this one is too dense and may be scorching. I have now started to ensure that it’s fully dissolved.  I like the tip of boiling contents before locking the lid, but find it frustrating that my cooker is not (according to the manual) designed to be heated with the lid closed, on maximum heat, even with an electric stove…requiring extra steps.  Hopefully I’ll find that this extra step isn’t needed with your tips about which items scorch :)

     

    Thank you!

    Sandi

    #4428
    Laura Pazzaglia
    Keymaster

    Sandi,

    Alot of your frustration comes from having to change everything you knew about pressure cooking with your old Lagostina cooker – and what used to work- to a completely new kind of pressure cooker with its own quirks.

    I’m guessing the person who is answering the questions in Fagor support has probably not used an old-style cooker. Not until your last messages did I realize you were bringing the cooker to pressure on medium heat – which does not work well with most modern cookers.

    You’ll know the water test is a success if:

    1. The cooker reaches pressure
    2. The cooker maintains pressure
    3. You’ve figured out the right heat setting for maintaining pressure.

    Your Fagor Duo cooker will maintain pressure if the yellow pressure signal pin is COMPLETELY solid, with no give, the entire cooking time. Because of the way the Splendid, Duo and Futuro Fagor pressure cookers operate, there will always be a thin stream of vapor coming out of the valve during pressure cooking but the solid pin is the true indicator.

    Ciao,

    L

    #4543
    sandi114
    Participant

    To be clear, I always brought my Lagostina up to pressure on high.  I frankly resent the instructions manual and the rep stating that I need to bring my Fagor up to heat on medium high!  I will definitely see if I can get away with ignoring this advice for most ingredients…but suspect that using a two burner approach as you suggest will be critical. I did it today using the smaller burner for mashed potatoes and definitely see a different response from my cooker (my potatoes were a tad undercooked so I possibly a need to use number 3 rather than number 2 to maintain optimal pressure, using the switcheroo). I wonder now if the single burner approach was causing me many of my issues.

    So, here’s the important thing I want to ask. When the yellow pin is solid, with no give as stated above, can you push hard and force it down if you try, or should that be impossible?

    I am now starting to feel like I’m getting the hang of this pressure cooker. Thanks so much for the support. It has been a very steep learning curve!

     

    Sandi

     

     

    #7149
    Anonymous
    Participant

    The Fagor is a venting pressure cooker, i.e. the steam vents out of the dial when the pressure level has been reached; the steam vents in order to prevent the pressure in the pan rising any higher than the chosen setting.

    I’ve always started off on high heat. When steam vents from the dial, I turn the heat down enough to maintain a gentle flow of steam throughout the entire cooking time, then release the pressure according to the recipe (quickly or naturally). I’ve never needed to press down on the yellow indicator, since it’s easier judge by the steam coming out of the dial.

    No I’m not an expert at pressure cooking, but this is the method I follow every time.

    #11156
    [email protected]
    Participant

    David has it right. I know this post has been here a while but here’s my thoughts. Know that I’m an untrained home cook that views recipes as a guide not as gospel so experimenting is encouraged. I’ve found that timing is pretty important to some things in a pressure cooker and not as much on others. I only have my experience while switching from a Presto PC to a Fagor Duo PC.

    I switched to my Fagor Duo from a 30+ year old Presto PC. My old Presto cooker has a weight that rattles on top of the cooker. There is no mistake about whether it was at pressure to time a recipe.

    If I understand the workings of the Fagor Duo, my experience is that the yellow indicator isn’t an indication of full pressure. It’s designed to show whether there is some pressure inside the cooker so you can’t open the lid. The yellow indicator raises up long before the cooker reaches 8 lbs of pressure on the low pressure setting of the dial. This means that you MUST judge the pressure inside for both 8lbs or 15lbs by a stream of steam coming out of the dial vent (after the yellow post has raised up). This is a very subtle indicator compared to the rattle my old cooker made so it took a while to figure this out.

    I spent a lot of time trying to get the timing right on recipes because I was timing it from the yellow post raising up, not from a steady stream of steam venting out of the dial. The volume of liquid and other ingredients really influences how long it takes to come to pressure after the yellow post is raised. The yellow post remains up on the lowest “warm” burner setting on my gas stove. But there is not enough pressure to maintain 15 lbs unless the steam is venting out the dial. Because of these differences I spent months trying to get some success timing things. Many things came out under cooked but some also got overdone because I struggled with how to judge full pressure inside the cooker.

    Thanks to using Laura’s recipe for Perfect hard cooked eggs that are easy to peel, I began to get a feel for the subtle ways to judge time on my new Fagor cooker. Hard boiled eggs with no green ring around the yolk as well as being able to make perfectly cooked soft, medium, or hard cooked eggs at will can teach you a lot about timing and heat/pressure levels. Even the size of the eggs and amount of water in the cooker really influences the timing. Eggs need to have pretty accurate timing to get them done with constancy each time you make them.

    Judging from the reading I did online trying to learn how to use my Fagor cooker, I think they could do a better job of describing how to judge when pressure is reached. Mostly it’s needed for people like me who were used to an old cooker that was anything but subtle.

    Hope this helps.
    Doug

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