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

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33
votes
6answers
3k views

What does “natural” actually mean?

More and more I see "natural" or "all natural" labels on the slightly-cheaper alternatives next to "organic" products, and I find it somewhat confusing. I know that (for example) tofu does not occur ...
5
votes
2answers
7k views

Heated up oil for frying, stirred it, tiny bubbles appeared and rose slowly but with very loud popping sound - why?

Last night I tried deep frying stuff for the first time. As the oil heated in the pot, I thought it would be a good idea to stir the oil (I was really scared of it catching on fire). It was probably ...
4
votes
2answers
103 views

term for the fact that's easier to mix 2 things if the amount are different

I am asking this for a friend because we cannot find the answer in google (but did learn a lot about cocaine, dj mixers, bread, concrete and ligers). Seems like there must be a ...
0
votes
2answers
127 views

Does whole milk or soy milk spoil faster? Why?

I'm doing a science fair project and I need some help. My question is does whole milk or soy milk spoil faster? Does anyone know which one spoils faster or if they spoil at the same rate? Please ...
43
votes
8answers
77k views

Cooking away alcohol

When you cook with wine or spirits, when does the alcohol cook away? Obviously high temperatures will do it, but how low of temperatures will work? Also, does it vary by the type of alcohol?
1
vote
2answers
2k 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
56 views

Spicy foods and weight loss [closed]

It is well known that consuming spicy foods increases your metabolism and contributes to fat burning, mainly due to the presence of capsaicin. Since this effect is very small, how many spicy foods ...
109
votes
10answers
52k views

Why add salt to the water when cooking pasta?

What is the effect of adding salt to the water when cooking pasta?
3
votes
1answer
70 views

my black garlic cooking in a rice cooker went brown and hard before black any ideas?

I have my garlic in the skins in a rice cooker on the warming setting after 7 days the garlic was brown dried out and hard, is it over cooked and not slowly caramelized? what is the purpose of ...
0
votes
0answers
48 views

Can the duration of the whistle determine if food inside a pressure cooker is cooked

Building upon this question, I was wondering if the duration of the whistle can be used to determine if the food inside a pressure cooker is cooked. As suggested by a couple of answers in the ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

Why don't most non-East Asian varieties of rice stick together?

Having tried a number of different kinds of rice, I've noticed that the only ones that seem to have grains that "stick" together are white varieties often used in East Asian cooking (jasmine (to some ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Which foods are certain to never cause food poisoning?

After a nasty bout of food poisoning lasting nearly 5 days (rare I know) my trust levels and appetite for certain foods have dropped considerably however my inquisitiveness kicked in... ...from a ...
5
votes
1answer
274 views

In ingredient lists, does “lime” mean the fruit or the chemical?

Ingredient lists on packaged foods sometimes list "lime". Does this refer to the citrus fruit, or to the chemical calcium hydroxide? As an example, Mission Organics White Corn Tortilla Chips list ...
8
votes
2answers
720 views

Why does microwave popcorn burn?

I've been experimenting some with do it yourself microwave popcorn, and some trouble getting the 'burn time' right has led me to a question that I can't find a good, definitive answer to. What is the ...
5
votes
3answers
295 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 ...
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, ...
23
votes
2answers
11k views

How does a Miracle Thaw work?

Miracle Thaws are utensils for rapidly thawing foods. Put an ice cube on one and it melts before your eyes, yet the whole thing stays cool to the touch. How do they work? (Inspired by this ...
18
votes
2answers
6k 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
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 ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

What limitations are there to sauteeing with water?

I was recently helping with some recipes and was instructed to use water for "sauteing" onions, celery, garlic, etc. in place of oil (scare quotes on "saute" since it involves frying in oil or other ...
3
votes
2answers
609 views

Should I boil canned food in water?

Do I have to boil canned food, specially tuna can, in water for twenty minutes? I think it's necessary to prevent food poisoning by botulism. However, currently that I am in Europe, I have not seen a ...
17
votes
7answers
4k views

Can food be boiled “extra fast/hard” in water?

Once water is boiling you can either leave the heat on quite high, or turn it down a bit so that it just keeps boiling. Apart from extra water vaporating, does this have any effect on the taste of ...
3
votes
3answers
5k 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 ...
34
votes
5answers
37k 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?
11
votes
2answers
6k 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
184 views

Do pan “pores” exist, what are they, and what are their effects?

There are a number of common cooking lore techniques which revolve around the idea of "pores" in the surface of a pan. Two of the ones I've heard most often: (1) When heating a pan where sticking is ...
4
votes
1answer
119 views

Baking soda accident in pretzel dough - Can it be salvaged?

I made a mistake and put the baking soda in the pretzel dough! Instead of using it for its intended purpose ( Boiling the pretzel dough in it before baking.) It was a box mix: Pretzel Creations ...
7
votes
6answers
3k views

How do I stop my pans boiling over?

Yesterday the wife and I decided to boil some potatoes in a normal non-stick pan. We added salt, potatoes and boiling water. We put this on an electric hob, with no lid at maximum heat (marked at ...
9
votes
2answers
710 views

Science of fast (high heat) vs. slow (low heat) scrambled eggs and omelets

There seems to be a lot of disagreement about cooking "light" (as in texture) scrambled eggs, which would seem to be one of the simplest of foods. (To be clear, I'm specifically asking about the ...
2
votes
3answers
80 views

how can I get guar gum to smoothly blend in juice?

I watched a demo clip of a guy who simply tossed a tbsp of guar gum powder into a cup of cold water and 5 minutes later, it looked and acted like a glass of slightly opaque jello. Yet, when I've tried ...
3
votes
3answers
500 views

Why did my soy (Silk) milk suddenly become as viscous as rubber cement?

I used about half of a quart of Silk Milk and returned it to my refrigerator. Two days later the remaining liquid had been replaced with a colloidal mass with a gooey consistency not unlike rubber ...
14
votes
2answers
22k views

Why do red onions turn blue or green when cooking sometimes?

I cooked a pot of beans with some red onions last night. Today for lunch when I got them out of the fridge, all of the onions had turned a blue/green colour! They still taste ok, but sure looks ...
2
votes
1answer
412 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 ...
19
votes
2answers
6k 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 ...
13
votes
10answers
19k views

What causes the difference between Maine and Canadian lobsters?

In a first-season episode of the US TV show Kitchen Nightmares, the well-known chef Gordon Ramsay states that there's a "big difference [in] taste and flavor" between Maine lobsters and Canadian ...
3
votes
2answers
169 views

How does pudding make cake moister?

I've got a recipe that calls for adding a box of instant pudding mix to a box of cake mix (along with eggs, water, and oil) to make a cake moister. And there are lots of cake mixes that proclaim ...
13
votes
7answers
21k views

Why doesn't chocolate go bad?

After all it has oil and sugar in it. Why doesn't bacteria love it? Thanks!
7
votes
4answers
6k 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
568 views

How does “BHT added to packaging material” actually work?

This is not a question about the merits of BHA or BHT (butylated hydroxyanisole or butylated hydroxytoluene). It is a question about how BHA/BHT work when "added to packaging material". The BHA is ...
7
votes
1answer
3k views
4
votes
4answers
657 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
698 views

cake baking problem (white lumps of flour)

I have a cake recipe called oil cake that has been in my family for a long time. It calls for flour and sugar and to make a well and add egg, buttermilk, cocoa, pinch of salt, cinnamon, and oil. Then ...
1
vote
1answer
103 views

Binder, thickener, emulsifier for parmesan?

I want to make a paste for coating out of parmesan. With softer cheeses that's not so hard, but how do I blend a hard cheese like parmesan into a paste or colloid-like form? Any suggestions most ...
1
vote
1answer
46 views

Can we replace wheat flour totally with gluten and other grain flour like bhajra, oats etc?

Can we replace wheat flour totally with gluten and other grain flour like bhajra, oats etc? What is the amount of gluten added ?
2
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
135 views

Why don't other grain proteins behave like gluten?

There are many excellent explanations here (and elsewhere) of what gluten "does." What I haven't seen anywhere is an explanation of what makes gluten so special. Where do its marvelous elastic ...
2
votes
1answer
436 views

What makes lye food grade?

I've been looking around for lye to make pretzels and found few solutions for food grade lye. I want to continue using lye in my baking and would like to make my own lye going forward. The process ...
2
votes
2answers
208 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
3answers
5k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
133 views

When do you hear the Ping sound of the lid sealing?

I am new to canning. I made applesauce this morning and I pulled them out of the water bath and put them on a towel on my counter to seal, but I never heard the "ping" sound of them sealing shut. When ...