Simmering ensures gentler treatment than boiling to prevent food from toughening and/or breaking up. Simmering is usually a rapid and efficient method of cooking. Food that has simmered in milk or cream instead of water is sometimes referred to as creamed. The appropriate simmering temperature is a topic of debate among chefs, with some contending that a simmer is as low as 82 °C (180 °F).
In traditional Dutch and Flemish cuisine, less tender cuts of beef are simmered during several hours to obtain Carbonade flamande. Traditionally a small flame is used, fed by burning oil. On modern stoves, the source of heat is put very low, or a simmering plate is used to diminish the heat. Usually a cast iron pan is used with a thick bottom. The meat is ready if it can be easily torn apart into threads.