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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

2
votes
1answer
692 views

Why does boiling cream have such a drastic effect on my salted caramel?

We have a recipe for a salted caramel spread that is basically a big pan of sugar, glucose, milk and butter, cooked until it becomes a thick paste, then mixed with double cream to achieve a smooth ...
7
votes
2answers
5k views

What determines how well cheese melts

I have had my fair share of eating cheese and experimenting with them. Sometimes they come out heavenly while other times, it turn out to be a huge flop. Usually when it flops, it's because I am ...
7
votes
1answer
779 views

What happens to cheese as it ages?

An answer* on another one of my questions sparked this: What is actually happening to the cheese on a molecular and chemical level as it ages? What processes are going on and why is there an upper ...
4
votes
1answer
523 views

What is the rule of thumb for mixing doughs?

Without delving too deeply into specialty doughs, but addressing more than just cakes and bread, what concerns can I evaluate when calculating the technique for approaching a dough? For instance, ...
8
votes
2answers
847 views

Why does Béarnaise separate as opposed to crème brûlée or lemon curd?

When making creme brulees in the oven, they are heated to something like 100° C, or over. When making bernaise, heating it like that is a sure way of making it separate. As far as I've understood, it ...
4
votes
1answer
906 views

Does adding oil to pasta water reduce the tendency to boil over?

I know that adding oil to pasta water doesn't keep the noodles from sticking--much better to do that after cooking. I also know that there's no need to cook pasta at a rolling boil. My question is ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

What makes a souffle rise?

A successful souffle is usually one that rises high above its own vessel. What active ingredients / parts of a souffle (regardless of the type of souffle) typically makes it lift or rise?
3
votes
2answers
865 views

Does the alcohol in wine affect cooking process?

When cooking with wine or other booze does the alcohol have an affect on the cooking process? Example: deglazing a pan or making a wine-based sauce. My understanding is that the alcohol evaporates ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

What happens when cheese is melted in a frying pan?

A guilty pleasure of mine is to put a small block of cheddar into a dry frying pan and cook it. The cheese melts and an oil comes out of the cheese. In this state, the oil drains off very easily and ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

What can I add to boiled lollies to stop them from melting in humid weather?

I've made a gingerbread house this year and popped in stained glass windows. The windows are made of crushed up boiled lollies. I baked the gingerbread, then added the windows, then baked the bread ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

Coffee foam vs. Tea foam

One sign of really good fresh well-roasted coffee beans is foam. When you pour hot water into the French press, it foams, often forming a head up to 2" high. And when you use an espresso machine, ...
-7
votes
1answer
262 views

Do you guys know that there is no such thing as an amateur chef? [closed]

They are called cooks. It's like saying there are amateur heartsurgeons.
4
votes
7answers
21k views

What happens if I brine my turkey for 2 days?

I have a logistical problem that leaves me with no fridge room for 2 days before Thanksgiving... I always brine my turkey, so I don't have any questions about that, but typically it's only an 8 - 10 ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

Is there any advantage to adding salt to onion while frying itself?

Is there any advantage to adding salt to onion while frying itself rather than adding it the last. My friends say it removes moisture from onion. Is it true ? Why is removing moisture from onion ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

What are ways to reduce cellulose in vegetables and fruits?

I (and some family members) have a medical condition that affects the ability to digest cellulose, so we have to avoid most fresh fruits and vegetables. We have found that cooking vegetables helps a ...
1
vote
1answer
824 views

Red beans and rice with salt pork

Does salt pork have to be fully cooked before you put it in your dish? I am cooking red beans and rice, and the dish calls for a ham hock. I don't have one of those, so I opted to use salt pork ...
6
votes
1answer
240 views

What property makes a liquid soapy/bubbly?

Is there a scientific or food industry term for what makes a water solution behave like a detergent, and perhaps an associated unit of measure? For example, the pH of a solution measures its acidity; ...
5
votes
2answers
4k views

Why does white vinegar taste better when at restaurants?

Just got back from dinner, where I had some decent fish and chips with white vinegar, and a thought came to me: At restaurants, I've found the white vinegar there helps to accentuate the flavour of ...
6
votes
1answer
773 views

Creating differing temperature fluid gels that stay separate

At the Fat Duck they serve a mug of hot and iced tea. The drink is served in a single cup yet the two different temperature drinks stay separate side by side with no barrier between them. I believe ...
9
votes
4answers
28k views

How to make puffed/popped rice?

Is it possible to make puffed rice at home like the rice used in breakfast cereals? I have a hot air popcorn maker and have experimented with that with little success. I imagine the problem is to do ...
5
votes
1answer
3k views

How much alcohol remains in strawberries soaked in alcohol?

I know that the alcohol content of food that is prepared with alcohol is a tricky study, as evidenced by the fact that food left out overnight stored overnight loses, by one study, 30% of its alcohol ...
5
votes
4answers
605 views

How do I diagnose and adjust my bread recipe?

Our family has maintained a sourdough start for several decades. It has great flavor, but we use it mostly for pancakes. I've tried making bread with it several times, but never get good results. ...
3
votes
1answer
521 views

What makes alcohol-free beer sweet?

Yesterday, I had a can of alcohol free beer which tasted almost like normal beer, just without the alcohol bite. Practically any other alcohol free beer I've had has a different taste. They all are ...
0
votes
1answer
1k views

How does meat nutritional profile change in freezing?

My teacher said that you cannot stop fats going bad with freezing. So fatty meat is not good idea to freeze over a long time. Are there other factors to consider in freezing meat?
2
votes
1answer
1k views

What can I do to dry out my marshmallows?

The recipe that I used did not call for cornstarch or corn syrup. The result is that they are slightly wet. Can I do anything to dry them up, such as dusting them with corn flour? I did dredge them ...
5
votes
3answers
7k views

Why do my egg whites separate after whipping?

Every time I try to whip egg whites, I seem to end up with the same problem. After a good bit of strenuous beating with the whisk, the egg whites finally reach the "firm peak" stage. I then go grab ...
2
votes
2answers
575 views

looking for edible paper

At some point I came across some edible paper. I don't know which company makes it or where to find it? I think I recall that it was possible to write on it. I encountered it back in the '80's. ...
10
votes
3answers
4k views

Why do marshmallows poof up so huge when put in the microwave?

As anyone who's put marshmallows in the microwave knows, they expand a ton! Sometimes they puff up to literally more than twice their original size (YouTube video for those who haven't seen it). So, ...
13
votes
1answer
5k views

Why don't dry bread crumbs spoil, when bread does?

Why don't store-bought bread crumbs spoil? Can you make your own bread crumbs and save them for later use? Will homemade breadcrumbs mold?
5
votes
2answers
795 views

What does a fridge do apart from storing and cooling?

There are quite a lot of recipes ending with 'Put it in the fridge for a couple of hours'. I've had this with tiramisu, chocolate mousse, panna cotta to name a few. All of these have ingredients like ...
4
votes
1answer
226 views

How Can I Make Flour More White When Under Process In Flour Mill

My father is a flour miller. He wants to know how he can make wheat, or flour more specifically, whiter during the milling process. Is there anything that can be done before in preparation or after ...
31
votes
3answers
1k views

Theoretical: why there's no gradient of doneness in bread?

I was always wondering, why there's no gradient of doneness visible on the cuts of bigger breads. For example: This one was made in the baking form, it has a thin visible crust, but after that the ...
3
votes
2answers
853 views

Freezing temp of carbonated beverages

I sometimes put bottles of soda in the freezer for 20-30 minutes to get them near frozen (taste SO much better that way). If I time it just right I'll pull the bottle out and the liquid will appear ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Why did my vinaigrette emulsify so quickly?

When I make salad dressing, I usually don't expect my vinaigrette to emulsify particularly well. I don't do any of the steps described in this question about vinaigrette emulsification, such as ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Is there an authoritative source on whether salt affects pasta stickiness?

The Seasoned Advice answer to Why add salt to the water when cooking pasta? is that it makes the pasta less sticky by inhibiting starch gelation. This seems to be a controversial question, with lots ...
15
votes
5answers
1k views

Tricks to ensure Mailliard/Browning reaction?

Seems like a question that would've been asked before, but I couldn't find a pre-existing question. Sorry if this is a duplicate. Anyway, I do a lot of stir-fry, usually with chicken. My usual ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

How do the ingredients in baking powder work?

Baking powder is baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), corn starch and creme of tartar mixed together. Can anyone tell me what the effect of these different ingredients have (and have on each other) and ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Why does bread taste raw if you stop baking it and continue after it has cooled?

Unlike, for example, almost anything that is made on the stove and even cakes (of course, as long as your cake doesn't fall as you take it out of the oven), if you stop baking a loaf of bread for some ...
2
votes
4answers
18k views

What are the functions of vinegar in cooking?

I have used vinegar for flavor as a substitute for salt and noticed that it is used in salads, not sure why perhaps as preserver/flavour. But I have never realized that it could be used in much more ...
7
votes
1answer
666 views

What is the purpose of a pressure cooker in a rice cooker?

Some of the more expensive rice cookers advertise that they use pressure in combination with induction to cook rice. On one Japanese website that sells rice cookers, they showed some diagrams that I ...
6
votes
1answer
270 views

Does accidental vinegar have a culture that I can pass along?

Background: A couple of years ago we left a half drunk bottle of Sirah on the counter and it went to vinegar. A really nice vinegar with a pleasant, mild flavor, and we've been using splash here and a ...
6
votes
1answer
3k views

How could I keep one-ingredient “ice cream” soft?

According to this question, guar gum and xanthan gum can be used to keep ice cream soft by preventing ice crystals and keeping the air that's been mixed in from leaving the ice cream. We have tried ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

Will potatoes turn brown / gray in oil?

When I was a fry cook we made fresh fries and kept them in a bucket of water to keep them from turning brown (not sure if that's oxidation or what), will oil inhibit the same chemical reaction? I ...
6
votes
2answers
924 views

Using seltzer to help a marinade

I saw the host on a cooking show claim that using seltzer in a marinade will help the flavors better penetrate meat via the carbonation. Is there any truth to this, and how would it actually work? ...
10
votes
3answers
24k views

Is it scientifically verified that bananas will ripen faster when kept in a bowl with other fruit?

I've heard you shouldn't keep bananas in a bowl with other fruit. But they all look so happy together. What I'd like to see is hard science here. Or at least documented and repeatable observation. ...
2
votes
2answers
985 views

How can I reduce nitrate concentration in vegetables before or during cooking?

Can someone tell me how to minimize nitrate concentration in raw vegetables before cooking them? I need this advice very much because I'm cooking vegetables for my infant son, and I've heard that high ...
3
votes
4answers
6k views

What are best practices for using Yoghurt as a Marinade?

I'm cooking for 30, Lamb Chops are on the menu and I want to do them in a Yogurt Marinade. I've done Yogurt Marinades with mixed results and I wonder if there are some best practices? specifically: ...
25
votes
5answers
20k views

Is “until juices run clear” a valid test for poultry doneness? Why or why not?

I've come across this particular recommendation many times in various recipes and cookbooks and probably even given it out myself once or twice. Poultry is sufficiently cooked when the juices run ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

Commercial Sponge Cake Improver?

Many years ago (35+) my grandmother received a container of a 'sponge cake improver' from a family member whom was a commercial baker. She describes it as looking like a thick amber liquid or paste. ...
12
votes
2answers
10k views

What does beating eggs actually do (chemically speaking)?

When I look at a lot of recipes, any eggs usually have to be beaten before they're added. If it's all going to be mixed anyway (and well, in dough for example) is it really necessary?