Game-changer? An automatic knob reads, controls the temperature of your stove

Russ Parsons
The California Cook
New product promises to bring smarts to your dumb stove

It’s one of the most common complaints in cooking: “How high is medium-high?” Now, somebody’s done something about it. 

A company called Meld is getting ready to produce a knob it says you can attach to any home stove that will read the temperature of what you’re cooking and automatically keep it stable to within a single degree. 

Sound like a good idea? More than 450 Kickstarter backers think so. Meld’s campaign hit its $50,000 goal within seven hours of its launch Tuesday.

“We’re definitely glad that the thing we’ve been working on for a year seems to resonate with people like we hoped it would,” says Meld’s Darren Vengroff.

It works like this: A temperature probe is clipped to the pot of what you’re cooking and connects via Bluetooth with your smartphone (IOS or Android). Your smartphone then communicates with the temperature dial on the stove, which automatically adjusts to maintain the desired temperature.

It’s like sous-vide cooking, but using the full range of possibilities of a home stove, rather than a big water bath.

Vengroff says the project started after his team ran a simple test. They heated the same pan of water to “medium” heat on six different home stoves — and they found the results varied by as much as 100 degrees.

“What we’re doing is taking the dumbest appliance in your entire house and bringing it into the 21st century,” Vengroff says. “We’re taking this thing that’s a great source of raw heat and bringing some control to it.”

The system will work no matter what's being heated in the pan — soup, plain water (as in a sous-vide bath), or even high-temperature fat for deep frying or sugar syrup for candy making.

The product is set to deliver in October with a retail price of $149. Kickstarter backers at various levels will get price breaks on the first releases. Backers are still signing on.

Are you a food geek? Follow me on Twitter @russ_parsons1

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