All about the scientific theories behind food. Cooking myths debunked here.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

1
vote
0answers
23 views

Why commercial gummies do not melt?

I've noticed that commercial gummies do not melt, even when they are left in the sun, while home made gummies melt even at room temperatures sometimes. What is the secret ingredient? Sugar?
6
votes
1answer
75 views

Does the freshness of the ingredient impact the longevity of the cooked dish?

Using ingredients that aren't fresh will generally negatively impact the flavor of the dish, but does it impact how long the cooked dish will last before it goes bad? For example, if I make two pots ...
1
vote
1answer
60 views

steam oven vs conventional oven

I am in a debate as to whether diced, marinated pork shoulder cooked in a vacuum bag in a regular conventional oven gives the same result as the same pork, cooked in a steam oven. The bagged pork had ...
2
votes
1answer
106 views

Why is it that caramel sauce should not be stirred after it has boiled?

The internet says swirling is fine, but not stirring. Why is that so?
6
votes
2answers
118 views

Is sugar a thickening agent?

Is sugar a thickening agent? Palm sugar for instance? Let's say if sugar has a role in thickening liquid then how does it do it?
2
votes
2answers
79 views

Why doesn't my caramel sauce thicken?

The actual measurement of the caramel sauce is 50g sugar : 20g water. I divided it to 17g of sugar to 7g of water, but after following the necessary procedures the mixture doesn't boil, and nor does ...
2
votes
2answers
61 views

What is the purpose of heating agar powder

Is agar powder heated so that it will form a gel when it is cooled? if not then what is the purpose of boiling it?
0
votes
1answer
89 views

Why should I use garlic making roasted potatoes?

A recipe of roasted potatoes calls for some garlic to be put in the oven with potatoes that are covered with salt and black/red pepper and rosemary. I don't understand what's the role of garlic here, ...
4
votes
1answer
98 views

Lemon dill sauce broke [duplicate]

When making a lemon dill sauce will limited ingredients due to Lenten restrictions, we found the sauce broke after simmering. The sauce was vegetable stock with lemon juice then thickened with a roux ...
0
votes
1answer
30 views

Is carob bean cooked when used as a thickener?

Many yoghurts contain carob bean gum as a thickener. Does anyone know if this is raw or cooked carob bean ?
1
vote
2answers
223 views

How do I make instant chocolate powder from a chocolate bar?

I like the flavour of a certain brand of chocolate, is there a method to turn a chocolate bar into instant chocolate powder so I can quickly create a hot chocolate from it? I am aware I can make a hot ...
2
votes
2answers
106 views

Why or why not beat an egg before adding?

When adding an entire raw egg at the same point in a recipe (not separating the yolk and white), what determines whether it should first be beaten, or dropped in whole? I've seen some recipes call for ...
5
votes
2answers
256 views

Is it okay to throw the food, collected in the mesh in the sink, down the drain, if it doesn't contain plastic? [closed]

We know all food is organic (made of carbon). So if we throw organic stuff down the drain, it should get decomposed by bacteria and shrink. So why should we be worried about blockages if all the food ...
1
vote
0answers
40 views

Any cooking literature recommendation? [closed]

Salutation Seasoned Advice community. I'm just a college student learning how to cook. I wanted to check out some cooking books to expand my horizon in developing flavor and cooking techniques. I ...
15
votes
2answers
827 views

What is the science behind Magic Cake?

Magic Cake has a seemingly simple batter, that is mixed and baked as a single entity. (See link for the full recipe and method). When it is baked, it separates into three distinct layers: A dense ...
0
votes
3answers
331 views

Garlic Overflow — Why won't my olive oil stay in its jug?

I'm the kind of chef who chops up whatever the local bazaar has that week, adds a random amount of seasonings until the color suits my fancy and then cooks it. Somehow. Most days I don't go hungry. ...
1
vote
1answer
71 views

Bubbles on the Noodle surface

I observe lots of bubbles on the noodle surface after frying. What causes this and how can I control it?
10
votes
1answer
1k views

How does soaking liver in milk work?

Soaking liver in milk is said to be a common technique that supposedly helps to remove impurities, softens flavour, and tenderises the liver. I tried it, and the liver turned out alright, but it got ...
3
votes
2answers
180 views

All else held equal, does a pot of tea have more total caffeine than a mug?

Let's say you have one tea bag and can either brew it in a mug of boiling water, or a larger tea kettle of boiling water. The temperature, steeping time, type of tea bag, etc. are held constant. ...
0
votes
2answers
155 views

Convert chocolate chip cookie recipe to chocolate chocolate chip cookie

I have a really good chocolate chip cookie recipe. I'd like to convert this recipe to have a chocolate dough (ie make chocolate chocolate chip cookies). How can I convert it without losing the texture ...
3
votes
2answers
951 views

How do food producers determine expiration dates on products and ingredients?

It is well known that food expiration dates are somewhat arbitrary. For some foods, they are much more important than others -- for example, you can pretty easily tell on your own if milk has gone bad ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

Why do my stored cashews smell like fish?

I have a 30 Oz plastic jar of Roasted, Unsalted Archer Farms Cashew Nuts. I've noticed that after having it 'open' for a week or two (i.e. the lid is tightly screwed onto the jar, but the initial ...
2
votes
1answer
137 views

Why is it easier to separate a cold egg?

A lot of recipes that call for separating an egg, suggest that the egg be separated when cold rather than at room temperature even if it has to be brought to room temperature afterwards. I was just ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Making tea - milk first or tea first

For those who take tea with milk, opinion seems very much divided about whether to add milk to the cup before the tea or vice versa. I have seen some suggestions relating to the milk protecting the ...
6
votes
1answer
144 views

Detergent Contamination of Processed Foods

Today I bought a Jack Links beef jerky from a vending machine, and when I bit into it I got a distinct taste of something acrid and soapy. As far as I could tell the packaging was not damaged and the ...
2
votes
1answer
379 views

What are some alternatives to xanthan gum for stabilizing mayonnaise?

Xanthan gum helps keep mayo emulsified through the jar being pasteurized, shipped, stored on the shelf for months, and kept in the refrigerator after opening. The diet of my customers does not allow ...
0
votes
4answers
245 views

Why are some foods preferentially eaten at certain times of day?

At least in North America, eggs are most often eaten (or at least stereotypically eaten) for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, and a big hearty meal for dinner, accompanied with a sweet dessert. I ...
4
votes
2answers
538 views

Why isn't a Sourdough starter unsanitary?

Letting a bowl of flour and water go bad in a warm corner seems problematic at best. I'm willing to believe there is some process that goes on to limit pathogens, but reading around this doesn't seem ...
3
votes
1answer
255 views

Why does Mexican food taste dissonant with balsamic vinegar?

I assayed an attempt at hot sauce the other day by cooking 3 pounds of peppers (jalapeno and hungarian wax) in olive oil and balsamic vinegar for about three hours, then throwing them in a blender. ...
2
votes
5answers
2k views

Steel Cut Oats: cooking in milk vs. water

Most of the recipes I've seen (including Good Eats') recommend simmering the oats in 4 cups of liquid for 1 cup of oats. AB recommends 3 cups of water for ~25 mins and then (1/2 cup of milk + 1/2 cup ...
3
votes
2answers
316 views

Diagrammatic Notations for Recipes

Are there any interesting diagrammatic recipe notations out there? I have found Nassi-Shneiderman diagrams: used here at Cooking for Engineers. An activity diagram from here: Is there ...
4
votes
2answers
202 views

Can you tell how ripe a banana is by the actual fruit not the peel?

Hi I am doing a research project on banana ripeness and cannot find a way to tell the ripeness of a banana from the inside of it. I cannot use taste to measure the ripeness but I would really like to ...
3
votes
1answer
246 views

Does adding alcohol to dough prevent it from soaking oil when deep-frying?

Some culinary books and, for example, this Wikipedia article, state that adding alcohol (usually spirit) to dough, it will prevent the dough from soaking oil when you deep-fry it. Does it really work? ...
3
votes
1answer
192 views

What can “modified” mean when describing an ingredient?

I have been trying to reverse engineer a packaged glaze mix for fruit pies. It weighs 1oz/28g, and contains "modified tapioca starch, citric acid, salt, artificial flavors and coloring." The mix can't ...
1
vote
4answers
3k views

What alternative gelling agents can I use for jam and marmalade?

Rather than using natural pectin from the fruit being used or added pectin I am looking for an alternative setting/gelling agent that will enable me to get more jam from my two principle ingredients ...
2
votes
2answers
228 views

How can I make a mayo/ketchup-based sauce come out with a consistent color?

I'm trying to make a zesty sauce from a mayo base/ketchup base mixture. Sometimes color turns out dark orange, sometimes off white, even though I'm using the same recipe. I'm thinking that how I ...
5
votes
1answer
871 views

What is the “hot” and “cold” category that Chinese culture separate their food into?

I am unsure if this categorization of food exist only in Chinese culture or if it exists in other (Asian) cultures. In China, a lot of the food is separated into either "cold" or "hot". Some ...
1
vote
1answer
981 views

How are commercial protein bars made so dense?

I am trying to make protein bars at home from protein powder and natural sweeteners. I have basically all the ingredients mentioned on the pack, but mine come out much softer, whether or not I cook ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

what makes red tomato sauce turn orange in colour?

I have noticed that tomato sauce (having started with deep red tomatoes) can turn orange. The colour change isn't from mixing in an ingredient of different colour such as cream. It seems to occur in ...
1
vote
1answer
542 views

Why should you scrub/clean cast iron cookware with salt?

I've seen this a number of times (for example here, or here at cooking.SE), and I do it at home, but I'd like to know for what reason salt is good for cleaning (cast) iron cookware. I know it's a ...
3
votes
3answers
3k views

Why does broccoli turn brown when steaming?

I steam my broccoli until it's 'al dente' and some buds turn brown. I've done a small search, but haven't found anything. I'm thinking maybe the steam is too hot or I'm steaming too long. What do ...
11
votes
1answer
2k views

Room temperature “rest” for fresh mayo?

On the mayonnaise episode of Good Eats, Alton Brown recommends letting homemade mayo sit at room temperature for 4-8 hours before refrigerating. The idea is to let the acid in the mayo kill any ...
5
votes
1answer
4k views

Why do egg dye recipes include vinegar?

I have seen recipes for easter egg dyes that call for 1/4 cup vinegar per cup of water and others that call for 2 teaspoons per cup of water. That's a pretty wide range--what practical effect does the ...
3
votes
4answers
3k views

Why do Duck eggs have longer expiry than Chicken Eggs?

Duck eggs seem to get about a 6-week extension on their expiry date over Chicken eggs. (the latest pack I bought yesterday expire May 25th, where as the Chicken Eggs at best were Mid-April). Why is ...
8
votes
2answers
630 views

If salt dehydrates the meat, then why would brining make it more juicy as a whole?

As the title says, why does brining work? If salting, by osmosis, pulls the water out of the meat, then why is meat considered more juicy after it's cooked?
14
votes
2answers
1k views

Why does tomato sauce spatter more than other sauces?

Of all the (thick) sauces and creams I prepare in a hot pot, tomato sauce is the most jumpy. When it's hot, it's impossible to cook properly without having it jump everywhere and repaint the walls, ...
7
votes
3answers
4k views

How do I cook with bay leaves?

I am an amateur hobbyist cook. So a lot of the time I will toss in a dash of something, taste the dish, and add a bit more. Experimenting sometimes with disastrous results... but I learn :) One spice ...
15
votes
1answer
727 views

What's the science behind making German potato dumplings (Knödel) fluffy but not fall apart?

First off, I'm German, so you would think I know, but it seems traditional cuisine has not been passed down my family tree. This question really consists of two parts: What makes potatos dough (or ...
5
votes
3answers
5k views

Pork shoulder low slow cook time

I am planning to cook a 10lb (4.5kg) bone-in pork shoulder at 250°F (121°C) for about 8 hours. Is there any danger in overcooking if I cook for a few hours longer? I know it needs the time ...
4
votes
4answers
363 views

Why would pumpkin pie form a clear custard layer?

My PA Dutch grandma's pumpkin pie always had a thin layer of custard on the bottom. We have her recipe but none of us has been able to get the filling to separate... Anyone have any idea what might ...