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From what I understand, a "simmer" is when you start getting small air bubbles floating up, but only one air bubble breaks through the liquid's surface every 2 seconds.

So then what is a "lively simmer" as I've seen in many recipes?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

If I were to guess, it would be that the ones that call for a lively simmer are sauces, soups, or other thicker liquids. The lively simmer in that case would refer something close to a light boil. For instance, tomato sauce simmers even when you have it on low, but if you were to cut the temperature up to a medium low, it would bubble much more actively and to me would be considered a lively simmer.

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By bubble more actively, you mean air bubbles breaking the surface of the water? – geofflee Feb 10 '14 at 23:21
yes, in a light simmer you will one have like one maybe two bubbles come up per second, and in a lively simmer you would probably see like 3-6 bubbles per second come up, of course this is with thicker liquids it would be more if it were a thin liquid, and the numbers i referenced would be in a tomato sauce, or similar. – thatdude38 Feb 11 '14 at 5:33

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