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

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5
votes
2answers
204 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 ...
33
votes
5answers
25k views

Why does a brown paper bag speed ripening?

I often see this technique suggested as a way to speed ripening. Why does it? Also, is there any data available on how fast it ripens comparatively?
4
votes
1answer
79 views

Lemon dill sauce broke

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
22 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 ?
0
votes
0answers
55 views

Good meals for a healthy brain, that will help you focus? [closed]

Caffeine is good and all, but I feel I am starting to get an addiction to it, and I need a healthier supplement. Would love to hear what foods you eat that help you focus on work.
17
votes
1answer
5k views

Garlic turning green?

When I try to make garlic bread or, in general, something where the garlic is not in a liquid, it sometimes turns green while cooking! It's worth noting that the taste doesn't seem to really be "off", ...
4
votes
5answers
11k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
489 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. ...
2
votes
5answers
1k 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 ...
20
votes
3answers
926 views

How can I tell whether an egg has been hard-boiled, through the shell?

At my workplace, there's a mysterious carton of eggs in the common refrigerator. Nobody I've asked knows whether they're raw or cooked. Is there a way to tell, without cracking one of the eggs open?
1
vote
2answers
177 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
81 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
3k views

Does marinating break down proteins the way brining does?

Brining makes meat tender because the salt (and some sugar) breaks down proteins. Shouldn't a salty/sugary marinade do the same thing?
3
votes
4answers
5k 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: ...
1
vote
0answers
34 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 ...
89
votes
9answers
35k views

Why add salt to the water when cooking pasta?

What is the effect of adding salt to the water when cooking pasta?
0
votes
3answers
254 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. ...
7
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
458 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
490 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
21k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
59 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?
4
votes
4answers
3k views

Does placing a metal spoon in an open bottle of sparkling wine (etc.. .) help keep its fizz?

Does placing a metal spoon in an open bottles of bubbles, sparkling wine & Champagne help keep its fizz ? If so why is this ?
33
votes
11answers
10k views

Why should I soak beans before cooking?

Every recipe says I should soak beans in water overnight before cooking. Why? I did some experiments. I have tried soaked and unsoaked beans from the same batch. There was no difference in cooking ...
10
votes
1answer
336 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
160 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. ...
10
votes
6answers
16k views

Why doesn't chocolate go bad?

After all it has oil and sugar in it. Why doesn't bacteria love it? Thanks!
0
votes
2answers
111 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
674 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
109 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
26k views

What causes curdling and how can you prevent it?

Some sauces are more at risk to curdle than others. What exactly (ingredients, techniques, temperature...) causes this curdling? What can you do to have the curdling risk at minimum? I'm not asking ...
4
votes
4answers
346 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
610 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
5k 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
18k 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. ...
6
votes
1answer
140 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
284 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
699 views

Why is my pumpkin pie filling separating from my cake mix?

I decided to mix pumpkin pie filling into a mixture of spice cake mix. I mixed the filling in well and in every try, the filling stays in the middle, with the cake moving to the outside. I am ...
3
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
17
votes
3answers
4k views

What is that gooey stuff from okra?

When cooking okra in a bit of water, the water becomes gooey. What does the okra release that makes the water slimy? Would the goo have other culinary uses (as an additive to thicken sauces or ...
8
votes
2answers
3k 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, ...
10
votes
2answers
5k views

Why is there cornstarch in powdered sugar?

I was looking up how to make my own powdered/confectioner/icing sugar. Some 'recipes' say that you should add a bit of cornstarch while others just leave this out. So what is the role of cornstarch? ...
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 ...
0
votes
4answers
217 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
7k 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?
4
votes
2answers
452 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
5k views

Why do microwave ovens make bread rubbery?

Why does heating bread (cinnamon buns) in a microwave give it a rubbery texture, when a regular oven doesn't? What are the chemical or structural changes?
8
votes
5answers
32k views

Beef: Red on the outside, brown on the inside

Take bright-red ground beef and put it in a freezer for a few days. After taking it out and letting it thaw, it looks fairly red on the outside, but brown on the inside. Why is that? From the ...
3
votes
1answer
210 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. ...
3
votes
2answers
281 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 ...