Auto-Dial Billed As Solution To Burned Sauces


A funded Kickstarter project wants to use a temperature sensor and automated control knob to stop you burning or undercooking the contents of your saucepan. The makers clearly haven’t met my stovetop.

While we can’t all afford a sous vide machine, several products on the market already automate cooking to make sure meats cook perfectly. These include ovens that contain a meat probe and automatically switch off when a roast is done, and a variant on a George Foreman grill that calculates cooking time based on the thickness of the meat and how well you want it cooked.

Meld Knob + Clip is an attempt to replicate that level of automated control for food you cook on a stove top or hob, particularly in pans. The makers say it’s designed to overcome the problem of vague instructions and the mystery of exactly how the various numbers and settings on stove top dials correlate to precise temperatures.

It’s made up of two parts. The knob replaces the existing control dial knob for a particular burner or plate on your stove top and automatically adjusts the heat as needed. The clip houses a wireless temperature probe that connects to the knob by Bluetooth.

Both are controlled by an iOS or Android app. The idea is that you can either simply punch in the precise temperature you want to reach and maintain, or use preset recipes that are bundled with the app or you’ve created yourself. Instead of selecting a temperature, you can also choose a state such as simmering. If you want to go back to manual control for a particular meal, you can still turn the replacement knob.

While I like the idea in principle, the proposed $149 price is extremely offputting, as is the prospect of replacing an existing dial knob. It appears that the Meld knob will simply overlay and grip your existing dial, manually turning it as needed, but I wonder if that will work well in every case. It seems far more suited to ‘analog’ dials where you can turn the dial the precise amount that you want, rather than those which click into place on a fixed range of setting.

I’d also suspect performance may vary depending on your hob type. While gas and induction hobs respond almost instantaneously to dial changes, I don’t know if the app would be smart enough to realize that with my ceramic hob it often feels as if you need to give 30 days notice in a letter witnessed by two notaries before your request to change the temperature takes effect.

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